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For our opinions on the local real estate market and lots of helpful tips for real estate professionals, home buyers and sellers, please enjoy our blog.

Key Decorating Tips To Make Any Room Look Better

September 19, 2018
Some people are born with a natural flair for design. Their eyes seem to hover over a blank space and paint a million possibilities into it. Others are glued to Pinterest and are constantly disappointed when their projects don’t turn out as envisioned. Fear not, because this article is here to give you an insight into the minds of the designing geniuses and how you can use these tips to make any room in your home look great.

Colour Schemes

Colour-blocking is incredibly important to create cohesion in a space. You’ll generally want three colours in a room, and the more adventurous you are the more you can add. But it is safe to say you have two main colours and one accent colour – the accent colour usually being the pop of life and brightness.

If you are looking for stripes in your room that have an architectural elegance, use the failsafe 50/150 rule. Mix one batch of paint 50% lighter than the base and another 150% darker. This will always create an extremely sophisticated look and will make you stand out in your strong understanding of colour.

Another colour scheme tip you can use is to paint your ceiling. This is an especially good idea in a room that has lots of tall cabinets or shelving. If you paint the ceiling a slightly paler version of the walls this will make your room seem brighter, even if it only has one window!

Fake Height

If your room doesn’t have the high ceilings you were hoping it would, the best way to get around it is to create strong verticals. An example of this is long, large mirrors that add space and height to a room. Additionally, buying furniture that is low-slung will emphasize the height of the room.

Go Big

Big wall art stands out and makes a statement in a way small art never could. It makes the room visually look bigger and draws strong attention to the space. So please throw away your collages and your string of photos and opt instead for a big piece that will become the focal point of your room.

Create Space

Believe it or not, but not every nook and cranny in your home need be filled. Less really is more. By having negative space for every piece of furniture you add to your room your room will appear bigger and comfier. It is also a good idea to remove the last piece of furniture you put into the room. The less clutter there is, the easier it is to allow light through a room.

Go Green

Sometimes the best way to add life to a room is by doing just that. Adding live plants to a room softens the edges of a stark colour scheme and can especially brighten up a space in a corner of a room or behind sofas and chairs.

We hope these tips inspire you that designing a room and making it better than your dreams is a job that is easily achievable!

Is It Time To Downsize?

September 12, 2018

All our lives we have been told that the more successful we are, the bigger our house will end up becoming. Maybe it’s time to ask your clients if that is necessarily the case. There are so many opulent condominiums popping up around that offer as luxurious a lifestyle, if not, more, than many of the mansions that are dotted around the city. For some, downsizing into a gorgeous Edwardian build filled with character is the perfect downsize for them. Downsizing isn’t just for empty nesters. Here are some important questions to ask your clients about their current lifestyle and whether downsizing is right for them.

Does size matter to me?

Jokes aside, if they really can’t shake that they will be happy in a smaller home, then don’t encourage it! But for many, a home’s value comes from its use. Ask them about how often family, friends and neighbours come to visit. How often do they use all the rooms in their house? If some spaces are bare or underused, perhaps moving into a smaller home isn’t as unconventional and against the grain as they might have previously thought.

Will I miss the space?

This answer is based purely on perspective. The number one thing people who have downsized loved about less space was that there was less cleaning. Instead of spending entire weekends devoted to yard work, pool maintenance and goodness knows what else, downsizing can mean that you only spend 2 hours a week total cleaning your house! Also, for those who are interested in downsizing but are still cautious about losing their spaciousness, suggest them properties that have cathedral-style ceilings that will make the room feel bigger than it is. Alternatively, finding a property that is very centrally-located should cure them of any worries they might have had over losing space.

What if life events affect me after I downsize?

This is something your clients will need to seriously consider before downsizing. If your client is a parent whose child has moved away for university, ask them what is the likelihood that that child might move back in after university? A one bedroom one bathroom property might be hard to share.

 

Alternatively, if your clients are a young family it might be worth considering that what is in their home or around their home suits the needs of their family such as parks, play areas, community centres, etc.

There are many things to consider when downsizing beyond the financials. But the financials are also very important. Many people need more money than they have already saved for retirement. Others are afraid of all the maintenance that goes into their current home. Others still, are afraid of the maintenance fees they might pay if they downsize into a fancy condo. Suggest to your clients that they speak with a financial advisor to see what is best for them and discuss how a specific neighbourhood or style of house would suit their lifestyle. We hope these questions give them a good springboard to figure out what is right for them!

Why Is The Concept Of Agency So Confusing?

September 5, 2018
Most people appreciate that when hiring a real estate agent, that agent will help them in the process of buying or selling a property. However, that is probably as much as they understand when it comes to the agent-client relationship they may form with you. Important concepts such as fiduciary duty, representation, handling confidential information, executing administrative duties and dealing with disclosures are all part and parcel of what it means to be an agent. But how do you explain that to your potential clients without making their head spin?


The concept of agency is a complex one but it needn’t be complicated. Here are some pointers when you next talk to your clients about what it is you do for them, and how unique the role is that you hold with them.

 

The History of Agency

Client representation has been a profession since the middle ages. Back when the servant-master relationship existed, it was understood that if the servant caused damage to someone, that person could seek recompense from the servant’s master. Over the centuries, this relationship of agent-client has developed, and while damages are still a fundamental concept of agency, today the concentration of the agency concept is on advocacy and representation.

 

Agency as a Whole vs. an Agent’s Duties

A lot of the confusion that stems from people trying to understand what an agent does stems from being hung up on what agency as a whole means. It’s far easier to break down what the duties of an agent.

A duty, when talking about agency, means a legal obligation to someone. An example of this could be a real estate agent’s duty to balance caveat emptor (buyer beware) laws with seller disclosure statements. An agent needs at least one duty in order to be functional. If you are describing the concept of agency as a whole, tell your client that that large notion only tells you how to act on the duty, not the other way around.

 

Real Estate Agency is Different than Most Other Agencies

Another reason many people get confused about what agency means, especially when it comes to real estate is that real estate agents are their own special version of agents. Traditional agents deal with responding to situations. For example, lawyers, pharmacists, plumbers – there are all people you as a client go to because a situation has been created in your life and you need an agent’s help to respond to them.

To be a real estate agent, there is often the opportunity to create situations. Real estate agents will commonly speak to opposing consumers to a transactions despite only representing one of the clients.

 

Timing is Everything

The problem with being a real estate agent is that sometimes it can be very hard to understand when your role as an agent begins. One moment you could be having a casual conversation at a local café with someone and then the next thing you know, you’re knee-deep in what should be a conversation held as an agent. Unlike the “response” or traditional type of agent role, the role of a real estate agent doesn’t have a formal way or time to create the beginning of the relationship.

The best way to determine when you have truly started your agent-client relationship is to recognise when your passive duties have turned into active ones. Active duties generally require an agent to do something on the behalf of their client. Passive duties need no such formalities.

 

Real Estate Agents Care About More Than Their Clients

This is not meant to be read in a negative light! On the contrary, it shows how complex and thoughtful the role truly is. If an agent only cared about their clients it could create potential zones of conflict. But real estate agents also owe a duty (albeit a much smaller one) to non-clients such as the opposing side of a transaction, other agents, and potential clients.

We hope that this list can help you better explain to your clients what you do and how unique your position is.

How to Be the Best Real Estate Agent

August 29, 2018
Whether you’ve been in the game for years or days, there is always room to grow in the field of real estate. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas that can help you be the best real estate agent around!

Pitch Stories to Reporters

Reporters online and in print are always looking for a new story to tell. Instead of just being a source for them in their regular real estate articles, why not help them by giving them real scoops. You know what’s trending better than anyone as you’re out on the field every day. Are cobblestone driveways trending? What about a certain countertop finish? Forming an excellent partnership with the press will help generate more connections and leads than you think!

Maintain Connections with Past Clients and Referral Sources

Please, please, please ditch the postcards, notepads and other mass-mailed trinkets you send to neighbourhoods. You only get a 2% return on your investment . If you must send something to current and former clients, send them market updates, a card saying their property has just been listed (or better yet, just been sold!) as well as birthday and holiday cards. For a unique spin that can get you approximately a 10% return on your investment, consider taking your contacts out for lunch (about $50 dollars total) four times a week. The more you stay in touch, the more up-to-date you are with how to best be there for your clients and team!

Define Yourself as a Consultant

Many people often mistake real estate agents as salespeople. Worse yet, they think that in order to be a successful real estate agent you must have stellar sales techniques. While these are excellent qualities to have, they are not the foundation on which to base your career. To be the best real estate agent you must be amazing at hunting, researching and understanding your clients’ needs. As much as you may be desperate for a deal, stay out of “sales” mode as much as you can. Remember to consult and never push and you will succeed.

You Don’t need to “List to Last”

You’ve probably heard that in order to make it in real estate you need to list. But this saying is as outdated as it is old. If you want to focus on buyers in the early stages of your career or make it the bulk of your career you can! Creating a niche and being an expert in a certain field such as buyers can help you stand out and balance your business income a little better.

We understand you are bombarded all the time to make sure you have a good mentor, that you have a strong online presence with great search-engine-optimization skills, and that you are throwing as many open houses as you can. We are here to credit your intelligence and give you ideas and tips you might not have heard or thought of from your typical, run-of-the-mill sources and hope they can help your business blossom!

Summer Tips for Busy Gardeners

August 22, 2018

Summer presents unique challenges for the wellbeing of your garden. To compound things, whether it be entertaining now very idle kids, or making time for a plethora of summer events, summer can be just plain busy. Follow these 8 tips to give your garden a lift when your time’s a hot commodity!

Keep your lawn a healthy length

Want to save time? Mow lawns as tall as your mower is able to. It may be counterintuitive, but scalping your lawn causes many knock-on problems that far outweigh the time you might save by a tighter shave. A thick layer of grass helps prevent weed growth, and you will have less work to do overall.

Plant beautiful, weather-appropriate plants

Placing some succulents in simple terra cotta containers goes a long way. These quirky and colourful plants can be used to beautiful effect, while being tolerant of missed waterings. Consider succulents such as Echeveria and Aeonium when you want a low-maintenance splash of colour, great for complimenting other natural features such as rocks or beach glass.

Water deep and less often to encourage deep roots

Plants try to grow their roots to optimize water intake. Shallow watering is like teaching your plants a bad lesson - that is, that they should grow their roots near to surface, leaving them vulnerable. Make sure your plants get a long drink in the morning and you will be rewarded with hardier plants.

Do not be afraid to pick vegetables early

Along with the benefit of reaping a tasty harvest earlier, picking vegetables often stimulates production. Remember to check behind leaves for camouflaged vegetables.

Take care of your young plantings

Your plantings are your investment, do not let them go to waste! Shelter them for a week or two while they establish and are able to withstand direct sunlight. Use shade cloth or leaves of other plants to make sure your plants have the best chance to thrive.

Place fresh mulch to reduce maintenance

Mulch serves many benefits for making your gardening life easier and getting the most productivity out of your soil. A layer of mulch will keep soil cool and stop fertilizer from being washed away.

Pull weeds before they seed

Use a long handled weeding tool to effectively remove weeds as they begin to crop up. Removing weeds before they begin to spread will save you a lot of work - and is an entirely organic means of weed control.

Plan your time effectively

The most important skill for having a beautiful garden when life gets busy is good time management. If you can, always work when it’s cool. Gardening tasks such as weeding and mowing take a lot of energy, and you both are safer and more likely to work quickly if you are not overheating. Make a schedule to check for problems such as disease and insect problems before they get out of hand. An ounce of preventive maintenance will save you a lot of work.

Hopefully these tips help you stay on top of summer while staying green! And of course, remember to take time to just sit back and enjoy the (possibly literal) fruits of your labour. The days are long, the sun is shining, there are few better times to enjoy your garden!

Downsizing Tips for Luxury Buyers

August 15, 2018
For luxury buyers who are used to sprawling, opulent homes, downsizing can be tricky. Oftentimes, they have amassed very important collections or valuable pieces they struggle to part with. If you are looking to provide invaluable support to your luxury buyer, here are some important tips you can pass along to them to help them prepare for a completely new chapter in their life.

Deep Clean The Current House

While many see cleaning as the last thing to do before you move out, a deep and thorough clean can help you reveal what hasn’t been used in years and what is important to a lifestyle. This will help them get the ball rolling and help to get them onto the minimalist track.

Three Labels Of Organization

Thinning out your current lifestyle can come with a lot of emotional turbulence. Advise your clients to have a bin that is for things to keep, things to sell and things to give to charity. To help them make these important decisions more easily, remind them to always ask if they have used the item in the last six months. Chances are, if they haven’t, they aren’t likely to use it again. Another easy tip to lessen their load is to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit – clothing or furniture.

Auction High-End Items

Your luxury client might have over time invested in a very comprehensive wine collection, art collection or something else entirely. If there was ever a good time to cash in on those investments, now is that time. Since they have already begun to divide up their life, aiming to keep a third to a half of what they currently own, at least they should get some profit from it!

Get An Objective Opinion

It is inevitable that there will be some items that will leave a luxury buyer stumped as to whether they should keep, sell, or give to charity. This is a great time to have an outside perspective be it a family friend, an appraiser, or even you to help them out.

Design The House Before Move In

Provide floor plans to your luxury buyer so that they can get started on truly appreciating the size of their new home. Once they try to envision what that room will look like they will start to get a clearer understanding that perhaps the room can only take one armoire rather than two. Save them the hassle of having to trip over their own furniture, or move it twice – once to the new house and once to the dump. Designing the new house with minimalism in mind can help ease this process. After all, moving into smaller quarters doesn’t mean they are reducing their quality of life.
 

Outdoor Entertaining

August 8, 2018

This gorgeous summer weather has us all begging to be outside, so this summer, instead of keeping your party indoors, lean in to the gorgeous weather and bring your entertaining outside! Having an outdoor party however isn’t as simple as bringing the inside out, so here are some helpful tips so that you can be the talk of the town this summer.

Seating

There will never be enough seating for all your guests. However, make sure the seats you do have are comfy! Putting comfortable cushions on top will make it easier for your guests to lounge outdoors for longer. If you’re into a boho chic look don’t be afraid to mix and match and bring your chairs from indoors – as long as it’s safe to sit on (think bean bags or benches) bring them out!

Table Decoration

What’s the perfect balance of aesthetic and low maintenance while still being environmentally friendly? Doing disposables carefully. For a rustic and eco-friendly vibe use brown craft paper across your table for a casual look that’s incredibly easy to clean up.

If you don’t want to use disposable plates and cutlery, use everything you’ve got in the house! An eclectic combination will create a more laid-back feel which is what everyone is truly seeking for on a hot summer’s day.

If you need help defining your outdoor space, try putting an umbrella over the table or wherever you can to create your “outdoor room” while providing some necessary shade!

When making centrepieces, the less fussy the better! Get a large serving platter you have lying around the house and get some floating candles and cut the stems off of some peonies and gardenias and let them float next to the candles. An easy and gorgeous look! Alternatively you can use colourful sand bucket pails and fill them with sunflowers.

Lighting

The classic lighting for outdoor entertaining is a fire pit. It’s perfect to sit around for s’mores, stories and warmth. However, it won’t be enough lighting if you’ve got more than 5 or 6 people coming to your event.

For larger groups consider using a vintage chandelier and fill it up with fairy lights for a romantic vibe or dot some flameless candles around path ways so people can see where they’re going. For a truly magical experience get some paper lanterns and light them as dusk falls – your group can even set them off into the sky and watch them float off into the distance.

Themes

If you want your event to have an extra pizzazz consider creating a theme to set the tone. For example, a Mad Men style party can have everybody come out in their best vintage looks. In the mean time you can serve them smoked oysters on the half “shell”, salmon rillettes while they sip on death valley martinis.

If the vibe you are going for is more garden party / afternoon tea, consider serving some English breakfast tea and Pimm’s along with cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, and salt-and-pepper cheese puffs.

If you want to get creative, consider throwing a breakfast for dinner outdoor party. You can serve Mediterranean devilled eggs, cardamom rolls, and tomato breakfast toasts. For drinks, keep the brunch vibe going with sea breeze mimosas and garden bloody Marys.

We hope this gets your juices flowing for your upcoming outdoor party. Have fun and remember, don’t forget your sunscreen!

5 Gadgets That Will Improve Your Health

August 1, 2018

You always put your client first – it’s how you maintain an expert level of customer service. But did you know that if you don’t take care of yourself you might actually be doing your clients a disservice? Your health and your success in business are far more interlinked than you may think. Your posture can affect your energy levels when speaking to a client which can impact your sales. To get you at the right balance of health and work here are five gadgets that will improve your health.

Gym Watch

No, this is not a smart watch in the typical sense. What this watch does, unlike any app on an Apple Watch or Android Watch is that it can detect when you have poor form while exercising. And not only will it point out your poor form it will provide tips to correct it. Gym Watch can tell the difference between a half-hearted rep and a full effort one and uses movement data to help you reach your personal fitness goals. You officially don’t need a personal trainer anymore, just get this watch!

Healbe GoBe

Taking care of your health is not limited to just exercising regularly, it’s also looking after what you eat. But when you’re constantly on the go you might not always have saved the wrapper to your food to remember how many calories there are. Or, if you’re a fan of cooking, you might not know how many calories went into your lunch. This little device packs a punch in that it can measure your calorie intake without having to scan a barcode or type of everything you ate. On top of that it will keep track of your calories consumed as well as your stress, hydration and sleep levels!

TempTraq

If you have little ones, you’ll know how difficult it is to get them to sit still while taking their temperature. TempTraq is a smart gadget that sticks to your baby or young child’s torso and connects via Bluetooth to a smartphone app where it will record and log temperatures. Because you can have it stick on your child for prolonged periods of time, it will alert your phone if your child’s fever spikes.

Sense-U Clip

We have all been told our posture could be better. It is inevitable that given enough time in front of a computer, you will slouch while reading your email or talking over the phone. Correct posture not only reduces back and shoulder pain, but also fatigue! This posture grainer will track your posture throughout the day and nudge you into sitting properly. For $75.99 you can have a chiropractor invisibly hovering over your shoulder and telling you to live your best life all the time.
 

hOmeLabs

Many people don’t like obnoxious alarm clocks because they are a harsh way to get out of bed. But did you know that traditional loud alarms can increase your adrenaline and cortisol levels which can create lasting negative health impacts? This sunrise clock will help you gently wake up in the morning, but also will gently put you to sleep at night. It will slowly increase or decrease a natural light that mimics an outdoor hue so you can slowly and healthily wake up or fall asleep every day.

Remember that despite your incredibly busy schedule, there is always time to take care of yourself. Maybe one of these new gadgets will help maintain your fitness goals and help you to be the best at home as well as work!

Elements of a Residential Therapy Garden

July 25, 2018

We all know the value of curb appeal, but many don’t stop to think that the reason curb appeal is named the way it is, is because outdoor living can add enormous joy to a homeowner’s life. The idea of a therapeutic garden is nothing new: during the Middle Ages, therapy gardens were used in monastery hospitals! The Japanese have also been using Zen rock gardens for centuries as sacred places.

We live in an age where slowly but surely the stigma behind mental health is being erased. Architects and developers are starting to take seriously how to create and sustain a world that centres around wellness. You can see modern therapy gardens in cancer clinics, hospitals and memory-care centres across the country and how much of a positive impact they are providing to their patients.

Today, we are encouraging you to do the same with your own backyard or front yard. A therapy garden isn’t just for those who are suffering and seeking relief, they are great healing centres for caregivers who need to relieve from their own stress.

So, whether you are looking to boost your morale or your property’s value, here are some helpful tips when creating your own therapy garden.

Size, Care, and Location

People are easily daunted that a garden should be expansive in order for it to have a lasting effect on a person. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A small footprint garden is easy to maintain and is very affordable. And because it is so small you can put it almost anywhere on a property. Think about whether you want the garden to be a secluded or social area, and about its elevation.

Consider the Five Senses

Taste, smell, touch, see and hear – as long as your garden engages with one of these senses during every season, you will have a successful therapy garden. Smell is arguably one of the most important senses to appeal to as therapeutic landscape artist from Cornell University, Naomi Sachs argues that a person’s smell is one of the last senses to go and fragrant plants such as lilac can trigger sweet memories for those with dementia or brain injuries. It is important to remember that smells are good in most but not all situations. If you or the person you are designing this therapy garden for is undergoing chemotherapy it is best to avoid scents as patients during their treatment are easily nauseated. Sensitivity should also be practiced with the amount of light in the garden for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Choose a Few Essential Elements

Make sure when designing your garden that it is to your skill level and your ability to maintain it. Too many features can add stress – be it on the eyes or on the notion of upkeep.
Make it happy and don’t be afraid to keep it simple. If you only go for three plants try to make them different heights to add character and personality to your garden. Rocks, hardscape and paths are a great way to add depth to your garden without much maintenance. If sound is the sense that matters most to you consider getting smaller pebbles for your garden paths to make a pleasant crunching sound. Also consider getting wind chimes, but be careful that your neighbours don’t find them annoying! To avoid any auditory issues with people who are picky about sounds, you can’t go wrong with a water feature that has a small waterfall or fountain. If music matters a lot to you, consider bringing some wireless speakers into your garden (just be mindful of rain or snow!)

If you are making a therapy garden for someone with dementia, a path that winds in circles and returns to the starting point helps remove confusion and allows for more enjoyment of a safe space.

Seating can be a great idea if you want to sit and soak in your views of your therapy garden. But also it can be great for those with mobility issues. Having a seat with arms, backs and cushions can add a pop of colour and a great sense of comfort to your therapy garden.

If light matters to you in your garden and a fire is a bit too risky for you, there are plenty of battery operated fairy lights you can install throughout your garden. You can also install solar lamps along paths so that you can safely enjoy your garden at night.

Your garden should be your oasis. It should relax and unwind you and provide you that respite you desperately need from your daily grind. We hope these few tips will help encourage you that creating a therapy garden is easy to do and can add so much to your life and your property’s value!

5 Red Flags for Luxury REALTOR®s

July 18, 2018

As your business gains traction and you experience success with moderately priced real estate, it is natural to consider the higher end market. It seems very glamorous and exciting to do business with the top 1 percent of earners. However, different price points serve different needs, and the luxury market is almost by definition considerably more discerning. Here are five red flags that can send highly negative signals to your ideal clients.

  1. You are presented as a generalist. Luxury real estate deals are highly specialized; you do not want them to seem like an afterthought in your branding. Everything about your image, from your logo, social media, website, to your photography, needs to be designed with high-end customers in mind. You need to show that you are actively involved in their section of the market.

  2. You are visibly impatient when the process is lengthy. Living sale to sale simply is not sustainable. Luxury buyers are making a multimillion-dollar investment while also finding an ideal space to live, entertain - and quite possibly, work. A client’s search can easily span multiple months, and, in some cases, multiple years. Your clients will not tolerate being rushed into such a high consequence decision.

  3. You are not in tune with the needs of luxury buyers. If you come from low to moderate end markets, you may not even realize that you are not doing adequate homework. Do you know where the nearest golf course or riding stables is, and how much membership costs? Depending on your customer, this can be a top of mind item. Researching private schools, fitness clubs, upscale restaurants and services are all items that can be critical in showing preparedness. The ideal message to your client is: what is important for you, is important for me. As a practical tip, you can learn a great deal about what messaging to present your clients from other luxury brands on social media.

  4. You are not reassuring and calm in the face of volatility. Any real estate transaction is involved and emotional. Your client’s needs are very close to their vision of their future. It is important to have a firm grasp on how to manage your client’s expectations and emotions. If you show you respond only with stress and frustration when deals break down, you are failing to reassure your clients that you are a professional who puts their needs first. You should see every challenge as an opportunity to show your buyer that you are on their side.

And, last but not least, the most critical red flag for your success in the luxury market:

Your ideal clients never even hear of you. It is important to consistently be present at open houses and events where you can meet prospective clients - or those close to them. Network with bankers, accountants, and lawyers who might be in a position to recommend you to a high end client. While it is easy to put off highly discerning clients, a more likely fate is to never even be on their radar. Make networking a top priority.

 

Is Your Business Plan Up To Scratch?

July 11, 2018

For those burgeoning entrepreneurs looking to make it big and lead a successful life, it is important to note that ambition without guidance is akin to a wound-up spring with no direction to release its energy. If you want to live a certain lifestyle or achieve certain goals, you need to create a solid business plan that aligns your team toward a common set of goals. By creating a business plan and putting thoughts to paper you and your team can sit down and examine what is feasible in the plan and what needs tweaking. Once it has been adjusted to everyone’s liking, a strong business plan will attract the right clients and investors to make your dreams come true. At the end of the day, a business plan will not guarantee success, but it will boost your odds and create cohesion amongst your team and those are the key elements to a healthy and thriving business.



 

So, how do you go about creating an enticing and inspiring business plan?

 

Step One: Have A Goal

This may seem obvious to you, but it might not be to your team, your clients, or your investors. Sit down and come up with an actual goal you would like to achieve by a certain deadline. Are you looking to get an investment? A loan? You might have more than one goal in which case creating one just for your team and one for clients or investors will be necessary. Just make sure that you have a clear business need and goal for each of the plans you are creating.

 

Step Two: Make It Feasible

It’s all well and good to have ambitious goals, but if you can’t create a realistic plan the people who are reading your plan won’t take you or your business seriously. A business plan can be beautifully formatted and written, but all for naught without an achievable goal.

 

Step Three: Establish A Market Opportunity

In an effort to make your business plan viable you need to note down how large your target market is and how fast is it growing. Think about the opportunities and threats of your market and how you will deal with them. A great source of information to help you answer all these questions is by sizing up your competition and checking out how they answer these very questions. In researching your competition you will also get a better understanding of what the market already has and what it is lacking and how you can fill in those gaps in your profession so that you can get the most profit.

 

Step Four: Ensure It’s Specific

The more specific your plan, the easier it is to track its progress. This way you can find out if you and your team are behind schedule, if you can zoom ahead to certain stages. Examples of important details to include in your business plan that help achieve this is identifying responsibilities for implementation and assumptions. Knowing what needs to be done and what is only assumed can be done is critical when it comes to revising plans.

Remember that a business plan is not words carved into stone. It should be fluid and grow as your company grows. Prepare for bad weather and learn to fare through the storms and adjust your plan accordingly. As long as everyone is on the same team, you can accomplish anything!

Working on a Team is the Safest and Most Positive Thing You Can Do

July 4, 2018

When agents consider joining real estate teams they are usually thinking to do so for additional support in marketing and client services. However, one of the best reasons to join a real estate team is for the security it can provide. Here are just a few examples of why working on a team is one of the safest and best choices you can make for your real estate career.

Safety in Numbers

Working with a team can give you the added benefit of having a safety buffer. You can attending showings in pairs or co-list a home. Make sure that your team has this as an explicitly stated practice so that your team always knows where you are. Not only is it a great way to feel safe but it’s also an excellent way to hold fellow team members accountable.

Another great way to do this is to follow the REALTORS® Code of Ethics which dictates that teams must display the name of their parent brokerage prominently in advertisements. This reinforces your solid reputation, that you are less likely to work alone and this will frighten criminals who might not have thought before you had such strong resources at your fingertips.

A Big Team Has A Big Online Security Blanket

Working for yourself or in a small group might not provide the same firewall or antivirus protections when setting up websites and email addresses in the way that large agencies can. Regardless of the size of your team, make sure that your personal email has no place in your business. Your firm’s protected email address is the only one you should be using, as Gmail and Yahoo do not offer the same strong methods for protecting against harmful viruses.

Taking Initiative In Your Agency’s Safety Shows Promotion-Worthy Skills

Safety in a real estate agency shouldn’t just be talked about in REALTOR® Safety Month September. Step up your agency’s safety game by integrating the topic into team meetings and continuing education events. It could be an easier way to identify buyers or reporting emergency situations, but showing responsibility and forward thinking in all aspects of your company will get you noticed and help you stand out amongst your team.

A great start is to get everyone on your team to use a safety app such as Life 360 or Life Alarm Smart Alert (the latter being designed specifically with the real estate profession in mind). With this app your team members can track each other’s location in real time and send strong push notifications when one team member alerts danger so that the rest of the team can call law enforcement or emergency services immediately.

We tend to think of buying and selling homes as a great way to meet exciting clients and make great deals, but there is always a risk of criminal or dangerous behaviour. We hope these steps can set you on a safe and assuring path that working in a large team can provide you the security and steps to success both in the office and during client meetings!

How CRM is a Game Changer for your Business

June 27, 2018

If you store your client’s information in Microsoft Outlook or Excel you aren’t able to effectively share that data and you are missing out on opportunities to connect with your clients, anticipate their needs and make potential sales. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can fill in the gaps of your current client information storing system and grow your business in many ways. Here are just some of the ways that a CRM could change the way you do business.

A CRM Can Find The Right Customers

By connecting your email, social and marketing automation to a CRM platform your sales and marketing teams can have a complete view of leads and prospects so they can create and target communications into successful clients.

A CRM Can Help Establish Sustainable Relationships

Instead of shifting through notes and rolodexes, store all of your client’s goals, challenges and preferences in a CRM system so that whenever you speak to them it’s like you’ve never even skipped a beat. This way, no matter how big or small your business is, your clients will always feel as if you really know them and care about their needs.

A CRM Can Thread Data Across Your Sales Team

You may have more than one person on your team calling clients and potential clients. To avoid mix-ups a CRM can log when one of your team members calls a client and they can report how the conversation went. That way, when another team member picks up the phone to call the same client, they’re not repeating what the first client said or stepping on any toes. Whether its emails, phone calls or documents, a CRM can store all the documents you need about your clients so everything and everyone feels centralised and connected on your team.

A CRM Can Offer Your Clients Better Customer Service

This includes when your client opens an email – a CRM system can record that information and update everyone, everywhere instantly. Essentially, a CRM system frees up your teams process-heavy tasks which gives them more time to connect with clients. No more hunting for contact information or entering data which can be automated – a CRM system increase your team’s overall productivity full stop.

A CRM Can Improve Customer Retention

Now that you can thread your data and provide better customer service, your team has the time to proactively address at-risk clients and provide them the right opportunities at the right moment. By retaining more of your prospective clients, your profits can increase exponentially.

A CRM Can Analyze Performance and Forecast Reports

Retaining clients isn’t just by harnessing important client data in one repository and keeping tabs on it, it’s also monitoring the performance of your team members who interact with those clients. A CRM system can examine the performance of each of your individual team members by analysing how many deals they close and investigate where lost deals go wrong. Based on this information they can provide reports on how your company will perform in the future and how many deals your company are likely to close and when.

As you can see, a CRM doesn’t replace your team, it enhances the raw materials your team possesses and amplifies everyone’s productivity so that your company performs at its optimum level. There are many CRM systems out there to choose from and we hope you will consider them when looking to improve the overall efficiency and productivity of your company!

The Ins and Outs of Investing in a Winery

June 20, 2018

If you have clients with deep-pockets looking to invest in real estate, a successful vineyard could provide a big payoff. If you know and explain to your client the complexity of the deal, and give them a great deal of due diligence, they could wind up making the best investment they’ve ever made.

There will be important questions you ask your client before you even begin the process such as their previous experience in agribusiness, their capabilities of investment, the type of grapes or wine they want to grow or make etc. But knowing these answers is important as it will help understand whether the property they buy will make the wine onsite or whether they will just grow the grapes and sell them to be manufactured elsewhere.

Once you have a very thorough and clear understanding of your buyer’s intentions, you must channel those intentions with the location of the property. While location is important when purchasing a residential property, it is even more so important when it comes to purchasing a vineyard as the type of soil, air, wind and nutrients in the environment are paramount to the quality of crop you can grow. Being in an area near other professional winemakers can help create a strong network that will give you the mentoring and help you need during tough periods.

One of the most noted areas in Ontario for vineyards is the Niagara Escarpment / Niagara-on-the-Lake region. Looking around the area you can see that the vineyards vary in age from about a hundred years to only a few. And the new wineries are gaining acclaim in the leagues of the older ones so long as they are under the right care and supervision. For example, one of the newest wineries in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region to have won awards at the National Wine Awards 2016 is Two Sisters Winery. Other good wine regions that have gained high ranks in the National Wine Awards in the Ontario region are Hockley Hills (near Orangeville) and Westport (near Ottawa).

When showing winery properties to your client, be prepared to have the vineyard’s history and financial model. It’s important your client understands how costs differ from starting from scratch versus purchasing an existing vineyard. Because this process can be complex it is important to have every ounce of information at hand such as land reports, diseases in the plants, to legal claims and labour issues. Legal claims could be issues with titles for easements as well as securing proper insurance for extreme weather conditions such as fire and floods.

Once all of this is done and you and your client have come across a winery that has positive reports and ticks all of the boxes, you must sit down and understand how the return on investment works. Investing in a winery is a lifestyle investment, the success of which depends on the grape marketing plan. Look at the ratios of how much a vineyard costs per acre versus its recent sales range prices and see if any additional investment is needed and how much profit is left after.

At the end of the day, purchasing a vineyard can be worth all of the complexities that come with its purchase. So long as you regularly consult with knowledgeable experts and have current and detailed data appropriate to the specific vineyard and similar vineyards, your client should be prepared to embark on one of the more adventurous, artistic and extremely profitable investments they could make real-estate-wise.

Justifying Your Commission and Value To Your Clients

June 13, 2018

Regardless of the type of transaction a person is making, they will always look to get a good deal. When buying a house which is often the biggest purchase a person will make in their lives, they especially want to cut as many corners as possible. One of the corners many real estate clients try to cut is their agent’s commission. This is often because they view your commission as a jackpot pay check rather than a hard-earned income. Talking about your commission to your client shouldn’t be an awkward conversation, this is your chance to describe your value and your worth to them. Here are a few suggestions to demonstrate to your clients when trying to differentiate yourself from the competition.

 

The Number of Transactions You Have Completed in the Past Three Months

Experience and knowledge comes from the volume of transactions you process. The more transactions you have, the more you know about the market and how to help your client. Without this experience, a client is essentially allowing themselves to be a guinea pig on an agent who is finding their feet during one of the biggest purchases of their lives.

 

Testimonials From Previous Clients

It is a known fact that people buy people rather than product. Your website and your number of transactions can speak volumes to your professionalism, but if a previous clients writes a genuine, positive review of their own volition that holds great weight to a client who is unsure of which real estate agent to pick. Testimonials are a great way to show prospective clients that you are a reliable, trustworthy, and experienced professional in your industry.

 

You Know Where the System is Broken and how to get the Best Deal

Your client or prospective clients may think that based on their hours of google research they know which houses are available and they can look up articles on real estate agents, but they cannot appreciate how the business is essentially a closed, esoteric system. Your education gave you knowledge and access to knowledge that you have perfected through months and years of repetition. You can do most of the thinking for your client and can ensure the best deal possible for them that they might not have thought of. Google is no substitute for your knowledge and you have many tools at your disposal to show that to your prospective clients.

 

When you Make Money, Your Clients Benefit

Clients need to understand that when you make commission, part of that money goes back to them. It can be in the form of rewards for loyal customers, gas and meals when taking customers out to showings, as well as all the expenses you pay for advertisements, photography, signs, open houses, and listing fees. Your commission is an investment in your business as well as yourself.

 

At the end of the day you should never feel shy justifying your worth to your client. If you feel unsure, so will they. Through their weeks of google searching they might not have come to 

Regardless of the type of transaction a person is making, they will always look to get a good deal. When buying a house which is often the biggest purchase a person will make in their lives, they especially want to cut as many corners as possible. One of the corners many real estate clients try to cut is their agent’s commission. This is often because they view your commission as a jackpot pay check rather than a hard-earned income. Talking about your commission to your client shouldn’t be an awkward conversation, this is your chance to describe your value and your worth to them. Here are a few suggestions to demonstrate to your clients when trying to differentiate yourself from the competition.

 

The Number of Transactions You Have Completed in the Past Three Months

Experience and knowledge comes from the volume of transactions you process. The more transactions you have, the more you know about the market and how to help your client. Without this experience, a client is essentially allowing themselves to be a guinea pig on an agent who is finding their feet during one of the biggest purchases of their lives.

 

Testimonials From Previous Clients

It is a known fact that people buy people rather than product. Your website and your number of transactions can speak volumes to your professionalism, but if a previous clients writes a genuine, positive review of their own volition that holds great weight to a client who is unsure of which real estate agent to pick. Testimonials are a great way to show prospective clients that you are a reliable, trustworthy, and experienced professional in your industry.

 

You Know Where the System is Broken and how to get the Best Deal

Your client or prospective clients may think that based on their hours of google research they know which houses are available and they can look up articles on real estate agents, but they cannot appreciate how the business is essentially a closed, esoteric system. Your education gave you knowledge and access to knowledge that you have perfected through months and years of repetition. You can do most of the thinking for your client and can ensure the best deal possible for them that they might not have thought of. Google is no substitute for your knowledge and you have many tools at your disposal to show that to your prospective clients.

 

When you Make Money, Your Clients Benefit

Clients need to understand that when you make commission, part of that money goes back to them. It can be in the form of rewards for loyal customers, gas and meals when taking customers out to showings, as well as all the expenses you pay for advertisements, photography, signs, open houses, and listing fees. Your commission is an investment in your business as well as yourself.

 

At the end of the day you should never feel shy justifying your worth to your client. If you feel unsure, so will they. Through their weeks of google searching they might not have come to 

Regardless of the type of transaction a person is making, they will always look to get a good deal. When buying a house which is often the biggest purchase a person will make in their lives, they especially want to cut as many corners as possible. One of the corners many real estate clients try to cut is their agent’s commission. This is often because they view your commission as a jackpot pay check rather than a hard-earned income. Talking about your commission to your client shouldn’t be an awkward conversation, this is your chance to describe your value and your worth to them. Here are a few suggestions to demonstrate to your clients when trying to differentiate yourself from the competition.

 

The Number of Transactions You Have Completed in the Past Three Months

Experience and knowledge comes from the volume of transactions you process. The more transactions you have, the more you know about the market and how to help your client. Without this experience, a client is essentially allowing themselves to be a guinea pig on an agent who is finding their feet during one of the biggest purchases of their lives.

 

Testimonials From Previous Clients

It is a known fact that people buy people rather than product. Your website and your number of transactions can speak volumes to your professionalism, but if a previous clients writes a genuine, positive review of their own volition that holds great weight to a client who is unsure of which real estate agent to pick. Testimonials are a great way to show prospective clients that you are a reliable, trustworthy, and experienced professional in your industry.

 

You Know Where the System is Broken and how to get the Best Deal

Your client or prospective clients may think that based on their hours of google research they know which houses are available and they can look up articles on real estate agents, but they cannot appreciate how the business is essentially a closed, esoteric system. Your education gave you knowledge and access to knowledge that you have perfected through months and years of repetition. You can do most of the thinking for your client and can ensure the best deal possible for them that they might not have thought of. Google is no substitute for your knowledge and you have many tools at your disposal to show that to your prospective clients.

 

When you Make Money, Your Clients Benefit

Clients need to understand that when you make commission, part of that money goes back to them. It can be in the form of rewards for loyal customers, gas and meals when taking customers out to showings, as well as all the expenses you pay for advertisements, photography, signs, open houses, and listing fees. Your commission is an investment in your business as well as yourself.

 

At the end of the day you should never feel shy justifying your worth to your client. If you feel unsure, so will they. Through their weeks of google searching they might not have come tounderstand the true value of REALTOR®s, but now you should feel confident in being able to show them what you are worth! 

Are Your Websites EUGDPR Compliant?

June 6, 2018

On May 25, 2018, a European Union law governing data privacy took effect that potentially affect real estate brokerages and associations. At its simplest interpretation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) makes it a crime to collect data on any resident of an EU country without their express permission. It also requires businesses to delete information about EU residents if they request that information to be deleted.

It is important to remember that all companies are now digital companies and that data collection is no longer limited to Google or data brokers. There is no grace period according to the president of the International Association of Privacy Professionals, Trevor Hughes and he ushers us all to “expect regulators to be activists in policing the new rights.”

Although no formal guidance for compliance has been issued yet for Canadian companies by the GDPR’s advisory group (aka the Article 29 Working Party), the group has indicated that there is no plans or intentions to go after Canadian companies unless they target EU residents or have the bulk of their online traffic from Europe.

If you target EU residents be prepared to wholesale delete your customer mailing lists, and you will likely need to perform a basic audit on what data you hold, how it is used and who outside your company has access to it. The crux of this new regulation forces us to look at how all companies are collecting data.

If you want to ensure best practices are used on your website it is always good to ask for permission upfront before you collect data on people who visit your websites, but you needn’t worry about being severely or harshly affected by the EUGDPR. Other ways to stay on top of EUGDPR and be safe rather than sorry are to examine all the areas of your business where personal information is used and put in steps to clarify the legal basis for such usage. You can update your internal processes to support the key technology guiding principles, and you can have a training day for all associates so that they are fully aware of the EUGDPR.

In instances like these, it is easier to be proactive than not. While it is true that it is unlikely for EUGDPR to seriously affect brokerages across Canada, it will put customers’ minds at ease that you are a forward thinking business who truly cares about the privacy and well-being of their clients. It is also possible that the EUGDPR will inspire Canada and other countries to follow in the same footsteps and ensure data privacy for all.

For more information on the EUGDPR and how you can engage in best practices for your company please look at this site. The official website with every detail you could hope to look for can be found here. We wish you an easy and pleasant time in adjusting your websites so that they are in accordance with the new EUGDPR.

Are Your Communication Skills As Good As You Think?

May 30, 2018


We all think we’re good communicators, and we all understand why communication is important. We understand that if we properly convey and receive messages either in person or through other means we can be hired for jobs, land promotions and avoid conflict. Before walking into an interview or meeting a client for the first time, sit back and carefully think if you’re going to achieve all eight of these factors that are essential to being an amazing communicator. Check off the ones you think you’ve achieved and re-evaluate how you can improve on the ones you haven’t checked off.

1 – Listening

We all know what it’s like to be heard and not listened to. The best way to reach onto someone’s page is to give them what they want the most – to be actively listened to. So the next time you’re speaking to a co-worker or client put away anything that can distract your attention. When giving them your undivided attention, ask clarifying questions to ensure you are actually understanding what the person you are speaking to is saying. Refrain from interrupting as much as you can, and you’ll be on your way to being a great communicator.

2 – Non-Verbal Communication

Body language is a real thing and seriously affects how good of a listener you are. If you are slouching, looking away, rolling your eyes or crossing your arms you are sending non-verbal communication to your conversation partner that you are not interested in communicating with them. Providing a healthy, occasionally broken eye contact with a neutral tone of voice and facial expression will take you very far.

3 – Cohesion and Clarity

If you want someone to understand you, you need to understand yourself what you want to say and what you want out of a conversation. Rambling to someone until you get the point can lead to your conversation partner getting confused, or worse, uninterested. Think beforehand when speaking to a client or co-worker about what you want to say and what you hope to obtain as a result of your conversation.

4 – Friendliness

Being professional is often mistaken for being completely emotionless. In fact, the best way to be professional with others is to engage them with personalised messages. It needn’t be a saga or speaking to someone as if they were your best friend, but asking them how their weekend was, or wishing them well if they are sick demonstrates an emotional intelligence only the best of communicators possess.

5 – Confidence

When you have cohesion and clarity in your dialogue as well as friendliness you tend to emit a healthy confidence people gravitate to. This is very different from over-confidence where you are trying to compensate for a security you are lacking. People respond and feed off of firm but friendly tones – as long as you are still actively listening and demonstrating friendliness to your conversation partner you will be an excellent communicator.

6 – Respect

All of these factors intertwine heavily. In order to be an excellent communicator you must respect the person to whom you are speaking. This can be through active listening or demonstrating empathy. Your confidence will read as arrogance if you don’t show respect to your conversation partner.

7 – Feedback

To be a great communicator you must be able to give and receive feedback. Oftentimes we’re just good at giving feedback. Remember the vulnerable feeling you get when receiving feedback and make sure that your negative feedback is always constructive. It is also just as important to provide positive feedback as it is negative. If someone doesn’t receive recognition for their good work they can feel taken advantage of or neglected. Giving and receiving healthy positive and constructive feedback creates and maintain a motivated work atmosphere.

So how many did you tick off? Share this around your office and see what you’re doing well on and where you can improve. When everyone learns how to be better at communicating you will have a more efficient and happier workplace.

 

Now I Am A REALTOR® , What Next?

May 23, 2018

Congratulations on successfully completing your exam! You’ve worked incredibly hard to get to this point, but it’s not over yet. To get you started on your brand new career, here are six important steps you need to take immediately after becoming a REALTOR®.

Select A Broker: This should be a very careful decision you make because it can significantly outline your path to success. Interview a few brokers to see what each offers when it comes to compensation, knowledge, leadership and training. While it may be tempting to just focus on compensation, a high compensation does not necessarily mean you will get the best training or knowledge. Make sure they tick off every box in a way that makes you feel like you can really thrive under their tutelage.

Learn Neighbourhoods: Your broker may have a specific neighbourhood or you may want to start off with a very specific cache. Either way, do your homework. As a new agent, clients might be wary to work with you so you’ll need to overcompensate with a very thorough knowledge of an area to make you appear as an expert straight out of the gate. Research house styles, price points and amenities – if you think it could help you be a better agent, learn it!

Keep Learning! Whether it’s getting a real estate coach or listening to a bunch of podcasts, completing your exam should not be the end of your real estate education. Rather, it should only be the beginning. If real estate coaches don’t fit within your budget, try hunting online for top-producing agents and reach out to those who you feel have the personality or business model you want to emulate in your career. Give them a call, offer to host an open house or provide something else of value to show your interest and investment in the betterment of their career so that they’ll want to do the same for you.

Whether you have Android or Apple there are many podcasts for you to listen to on your commute to work or during meals that will help you be the best agent you can be. Try listening to Super Agents Live, Real Estate Rockstar, Real Estate Uncensored, or Master Mind Agent (note that Master Mind Agent is not free but it is very detailed and highly rated).

Get An Accountant: Do not wait for tax season when your files are already beyond messy and you feel overwhelmed at what could be deductible or not. Find an accountant now before you get very busy so that when you do get busy you have nothing to worry about. They aren’t as expensive as you think, and it will save you so much more than money in the long run.

Create A Website: While you probably already know you need to make a website, you might not realise that if you want a website that generates leads, you’ll need to own your website rather than have an agent page on your broker’s website. WordPress, Placester or Websitebox are great website building engines that can help you bolster your online strategy. The earlier you start the bigger your search engine optimization advantages are. Search engines like 

Google reward and favour older websites so the longer you’re up and running with a website, the better the chances are that clients can find you online.

While not all of these options are free, a serious real estate agent will invest in their future both financially and with time. We hope these next steps provide you a road map of your immediate future and wish you the best of success in your new career!

How To Make Your Productive Lifestyle A Healthy One

May 16, 2018

We all aspire to be the very best at our jobs. Yet, going above and beyond at work can often mean going above and beyond typical work hours. Without realising it, you may end up having to sacrifice your personal life. “I’ll have a social life when I have time for it” is an oft-heard phrase amongst go-getters in the workforce. But putting all your eggs in one basket is the exact opposite of leading a productive lifestyle. In order to be the most efficient and productive version of yourself you need to allow yourself time to unwind and rest. It may sound counter-productive but the better rested you are the more able you are to perform at work. It’s one less chip that will hinder your capabilities on top of an already challenging position you hold. While the balance might not be achieved overnight, here are some genuinely useful and tangible suggestions to turn your productive lifestyle into a healthy one.

Get A Second Cell Phone

If you’re truly of the mind-set to divide work and play, the best way to do this is by having a separate phone. It need not be the fanciest phone with all the bells and whistles, it can be a really affordable unlocked one from Amazon. The point is, at 9 pm after a long day’s work and your favourite show is about to come on or you’re finally going to see your friends for the first time in forever, being inundated by work messages and emails is the worst case scenario. Having a second cell phone allows you to turn off physically and mentally from work from evening until morning, putting you in control of when and how you will be available for your team after hours.

Make Time For Exercise

We all know exercise is so good for our physical and mental well-being, yet most of us could all improve the number of hours we spend being active. Whether it’s an hour before work or helping you to unwind, getting out all that pent up energy will help you sleep better and stand out amongst the crowd at work. You don’t need to start with P90x, but get in the gym, or start taking walks every day. Setting aside even 30 minutes a day for physical exercise will show a notable difference in your concentration levels at work.

Schedule Downtime

If your work life is organised, why isn’t your home life? Knowing what’s ahead of you, whether it’s meetings or conference calls, helps you plan out your day. Knowing what to expect and when to expect it will help ease your mind at home as well. If you set aside Thursday evening from 6pm – 10 pm to catch up with friends or on a hobby, you can plan your week around knowing you have that downtime. Take it as seriously as your work schedule and don’t neglect it! While it may be great to spontaneously give yourself spare time, it’s not a consistent or healthy way to live, as you’ll end up feeling stressed, wondering when will you ever have time to yourself.

Be In The Moment
This is important for both work and play. When you’re at work, don’t daydream about what’s on TV tonight or what’s for sale at the mall. Focus and devote yourself to your task. This way you’ll be able to fully engage with your team and get the most out of your project. The same mentality applies to your downtime. If you are very serious at work, you should be equally at home. If you get annoyed at people who are on their phones during work meetings, why is it okay for you to be checking your work messages on your own downtime? Pick one task at a time and allow yourself to fully immerse in it. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but you will be amazed at the rejuvenation you will feel.

We understand that life doesn’t always allow for you to balance your goals the way you want them to be. But if you’re going to be the best version of yourself that means you have to put yourself first. Take your work life as seriously as your home life, and you will feel that sense of fulfilment and happiness that you are seeking.

Design Trends To Look Out For This Spring

May 9, 2018

As the beloved Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada once said, “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” This article is not here to tell you about fluffy ideas that everyone expects or no one will do because it’s too expensive or too fussy. No, this article is here to tell you that there are some amazing functional yet gorgeous trends that not only will you notice in 2018 amongst the hottest houses, but that you could actually incorporate into your own.

Closet Renovations

Let’s get real for a quick second. Chances are, there’s not enough space in your closet and there hasn’t been for a while. There are clothes you forgot you had, and shoes buried in between scarves and hats because spring literally came to Canada overnight. There is dirty laundry scattered everywhere, and you have nowhere to sit down and it’s just easier to avoid the room altogether. Renovate. Your. Closet. If you don’t have the means to turn a guest bedroom or spare room and go all out, sit down and look at your bedroom and your closet. Look at what you use most. Do you use a lot of bags and satchels? Create a changing station for your handbag. Imagine a place that has all of your pens, paper and electronics that you can easily swap in and out of your bags. You are an on-the-go professional. Sometimes your big tote bag, briefcase or backpack will not work into the night and it can be an actual nightmare to take everything out of one bag and put it into another. Create a changing station and have extra supplies and your stress vanishes as quickly as your summer weight-loss goals should be.

But it shouldn’t start and end at your bag changing station. If you appreciate how easy it is to find things in your favourite store, you’ll understand how important space is. Sure the first time you unpacked your wardrobe into your closet everything fit, but it might have only just fit. Display things in an easy to view way with space in between so it’s less daunting to you, and minimises the eventuality of a clothing mountain. Not only will you feel more relaxed and at ease in your closet, but you’ll also be the envy of everyone on Instagram.

Wallpaper
Do you have time to paint? I don’t have time to paint. I want something I can slap on that makes my room like it came off of one of those awesome home renovation shows. For those of you who remember wallpaper being in every grandma’s home, let me tell you that wallpaper styles have entered the 21
st century in an awe-inducing way. If you can think of print you can turn it into wallpaper. There are small boutique wallpaper companies, there are places where you can digitally print your ideas, there are literally a hundred options out there that can burst life into your room in a way that paint never could. There aren’t just beautiful prints to choose from, if you want a beautiful solid colour with sophistication there are textural wallpaper options such as silk, grasscloth, even vinyls that will make your room be the one that everyone remembers.

Cerused Wood Finishes
Everyone has wood in their home. It could be a table, a desk, a chair, a bookshelf, even a cabinet door. It’s also likely that the wood furniture you’ve had in your home you’ve had for a while because wood is a beautiful and durable material to make furniture. However, what was in style ten years ago (aka sleek elegant lacquer) can either fade with time, or fade with your new fashion interests. I am here to tell you your wood can easily be revived with a finish that will look like it just came out of a magazine. Cerusing your wood reveals its natural grain and uses a white pigment to fill in and emphasise those unique grain lines. It’s a technique that is centuries old and strips back your over-manufactured wood furniture into an organic and natural look that is also incredibly modern. Make it a simple touch on your sofa legs or redo your whole kitchen for a dramatic look. Either way, I promise you, you’ll love the look in your home.

Spring felt like it would never come. April’s flurries scared away any hopes for rain showers, so now that May’s sunshine has rolled around the corner I appreciate all you want to do is enjoy that sunshine in your spare time. I do too. But after a long and wonderful day in the sun, and you return to your home, it could be that your home is still stuck in winter. Why not try one of these quick and easy design changes that will significantly and positively impact your life?

Helpful New Technology for REALTORS®

May 2, 2018

When thinking about technology in relation to the real estate profession, there is far more than just the lockboxes and cell phones agents use. But out of all the gadgets and all the apps available to the real estate profession, which ones actually improve your ability to be an amazing real estate agent? Here are some hardware and software suggestions to put you a notch above the rest of your competition.

Virtual Reality Showcases

While many REALTORS® use YouTube and other similar video streaming websites to showcases homes they are listing, it’s often the case that a video can’t provide the same atmosphere and appreciation of the entire home the way being in person could. If your clients are scrambled for time but are in your company, consider having a VR pair of goggles or two for your clients with videos you’ve made specifically for the most immersive piece of technology to date. Clients can tangibly appreciate the home without leaving your office now, making it easier for sellers to live in their home while it is on the market.

Facebook Live Open Houses

The magic behind open houses is that for one day only, many buyers can come in throughout a large window and appreciate a home for its true potential. Yet it’s very easy for potential homebuyers to be busy that day. Or worse yet, people who would like to come to an open house but are not able to due to business or their own residence being too far too appreciate it. With Facebook Live, come rain or shine, sickness or health, anyone who wants to take a tour of the house without actually going to the house can! Best of all, you can connect with more potential clients by growing your Facebook brand.

E-Signatures

Mailing and driving documents to clients consumes a lot of time for a REALTOR®. Why not instead collect your legally binding signatures remotely? HelloSign offers a free version of this service for signing 3 documents. Docusign lets you send an unlimited amount of documents with your own branding on the documents for just $20 a month. If your budget is very important to you, there are also free versions such as importing your signature into Preview on Mac or Adobe Reader on PC so you can sign documents.

Yesware Email Marketing Optimization

Building your business, it can be difficult to determine how your emails are being perceived. Yesware goes beyond basic email tracking (even though it’s hard not to mention it lets you track 100 emails a month for free). Now you can find out whether readers have clicked on a link you send, get notifications for messages that have been opened but not replied to, and provide a link that constantly tracks your availability and only sends those times to your clients seeking appointments.

Curb Call Home Viewing App

Think of it like Uber for home viewings. As a REALTOR® you select when you’re available and which homes you’re available to show, if a buyer wants to see something near you right away, you’ll receive a notification. The app is incredibly safe as your brokerage will always know where you are and you can always hit the big red “panic” button if you ever feel unsafe. This will notify your broker and your emergency contact immediately.

Virtual Staging Solutions

Some potential homebuyers really struggle with seeing blank canvas homes. Instead of paying a lot of money for a stager to stage your home, using Virtual Staging Solutions your empty house for sale will not be virtually filled with couches, tables, chairs and other tasteful décor that will appeal to homebuyers.

As you can see, there’s a different piece of technology for almost every facet of a REALTOR®’s life. Whether you want to improve the home viewing experience, or the time-consuming end processes of a sale, there are many things at your disposal that can make you shine.

Tips for Generating and Maintaining Real Estate Leads

April 25, 2018

Real estate is a people business - networking and meeting people is the name of the game. In order for a REALTOR® to succeed, they always need to be generating leads and making conversions. So what is a lead?

A lead is simply the name and contact information of a potential client. Some may argue that in order for a contact to be a lead, the person has to express interest in your business. Although it's fantastic to hear someone say they need a REALTOR® right now – it's not usually the case. Just because a lead isn't expressing interest right away, doesn't mean that they aren't a viable lead.

So you have a name and email, what now?

Get Organized. Post-it notes and a dry-erase board just won't cut it. Having a proper, scalable, organized software or system in place is crucial. You should be putting leads into a database with as much information as possible and updating any time the lead is touched or if changes occur. Organize contacts by lifecycle state. Are they a lead, a prospect, opportunity, or client? It's important to know where each contact is in your sales funnel.

Record Data. You may not have a lot of information on someone but you can record when they became a lead (and how) and the measures you've taken to reach out to them. Any other information you have should be included as well (if they're looking to buy, sell, if they have a family, what they're looking for, etc.).

Don't get Discouraged. In any business, it can be easy to get discouraged when a lead doesn't respond right away. But just because it's not happening now – doesn't mean that it won't happen. It's important to remember that it takes time for people to co-ordinate their desire to buy/sell with their ability to do so. That being said, not all leads are created equal – spend your time and energy wisely.

Spend More Time Nurturing. You spend a lot of time, energy, and money generating leads – don't forget to nurture them! Put the same amount of thought, time, energy (and yes, even money) into setting up a lead nurturing process. Some experts believe that when it comes to leads, REALTORS® should spend 20 per cent of their time generating and 80 per cent nurturing. You aren't selling a $15 product – you're asking to be the person people turn to when making the biggest transaction of their life. The more time you spend providing resources, asking questions, and checking up – the better your chances are of making the sale.

Remember that nurturing leads can in turn help you generate leads. Think about it – if a person is not ready to buy or sell but they like what they see from you, they may recommend you to their family or friends.

 

Facebook is Great for Leads. Having an active Facebook page and interacting on Facebook is a great way to generate leads. You can assume that almost 100 per cent of Facebook accounts are tied to a person and even with private profiles, you get to learn something about them. At the very least, you have a way to contact them. You can easily get to know people on a level that just isn't possible with typical email sign-ins.

Any time you get someone's information, upload it into your database right away and use your nurturing system to keep in touch until they're ready to reach out. Having non-responsive leads can be discouraging but your persistence and hard word will pay off.

How to use Original Content as a REALTOR® to Attract Clients at Every Stage

April 18, 2018

Consumers tend to be more positive about a brand after they consume content from it.

As a REALTOR® it is important to be seen as a source of information and helpful resources at every stage of the buying or selling process. To attract clients, it is helpful to create and share content that appeals to readers in every stage. You're not only writing for the people that are first getting to know you, you are writing for those that are ready to buy or sell.

Create content that speaks to prospects in every stage - the right information at the right time can help turn potential clients into lifelong customers:

First Stage: Awareness

In this stage, a prospective client is just becoming aware of their need to buy or sell their house and they begin to search for options. They are starting to research solutions (this is when you want them to become of aware of your services).

Since most real estate searches start online, it's important that you are easy to find and that you provide information that is useful and interesting to a wide audience. Create content that appeals to prospects in this initial stage:

  • Write informative articles about general topics like: the buying and selling process, what to expect when working with a REALTOR®, how to decide what kind of home to look for, etc.

  • Use high-quality images and videos to showcase properties that you have sold or that are currently for sale.

  • Go one step further and provide first-time visitors with your own roadmaps to success. Create handouts and worksheets that walk them through the homebuying or selling process or something more specific like helping them identify the perfect neighbourhood for them.

  • Include a page on your website with answers to frequently asked questions. This provides value and gives readers the confidence to ask more detailed questions (since they will now know more about the basics).

  • Content in the awareness stage should discuss buyer/seller pain points, challenges, and opportunities.

Second Stage: Consideration

The prospective client is now considering different options for their needs. They begin to search for competent agents that will be able to assist them. Your goal is to provide content that helps persuade them to use your services:

 

  • Include customer testimonials in written or video form – this gives prospects an idea of what they can expect from working with you.

  • Provide no-nonsense fact sheets about your business that include the number of properties you've sold or the number of clients you've worked with.

  • Provide facts about the market in general. Include buying and selling trends, average prices, and 

  • the time properties spend on the market and general facts about the neighbourhoods you specialize in.

  • Creating webinars or video tutorials allows you to further demonstrate the process of buying and selling and gives visitors a glimpse into your personal style and the way you do business.

  • During this stage, content can serve as a touch point and a way to reach back to someone who is aware of your services but who hasn't taken the opportunity to reach out yet. If someone signed up for your email newsletter but you haven't heard from them, send them an email with a fact sheet as a way of following up without being too pushy.

    Third Stage: Decision Making Time

    The prospective client is choosing between different agents and brokerages – they're weighing the pros and cons of their options. Since the prospect is ready to hire an agent, this is your opportunity to give a final push. The goal during this stage is to show why you're better than your competition and instill confidence in your services - you want your clients to walk away feeling like they've made the right choice:

  • Write personalized articles. This is where blogging pays. Once you feel a potential client is ready to make their decision, take content that you've previously written (for the awareness stage) and send it to them with personalized touches and updated data. These changes should speak directly to their needs and circumstances. For example, if it's a family with two small children who is looking to buy in Liberty Village, and you've written a 'Best Toronto Schools' post, personalize it specifically for Liberty Village with a focus on Kindergarten programs.

  • Create checklists that showcase each step of their particular buying or selling process. This will show that you completely understand their needs.

  • At this stage you want to build trust and ensure that they feel confident when they make their hiring decision. Use content to keep in touch. Tailoring content specifically for them will give you a competitive edge and set you apart from the rest.

  • Send news about recently bought or sold properties that are similar to theirs. Be sure to highlight quick sales or offers received above asking price.

  • Keep an organized collection of properties that they might like in their neighbourhood of interest to show how dedicated you are to finding them their perfect home.

Start Blogging! Get More Traffic to your Real Estate Website

April 11, 2018

According to the National Association of REALTORS® Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report, only 16 per cent of agents said they had real estate blogs. This means that those who create high-quality consistent content are more likely to show up in online searches!

One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to publish regular, up to date, relevant content. Your website content can include original blog posts, articles, infographics, research, podcasts, videos, photos, eBooks, newsletters, and anything that you feel would be of interest to your client base. Sharing original and interesting content provides value to your site visitors and identifies you as a knowledgeable leader in the industry.

When you actively post, it shows your clients that you are involved in the industry beyond the home buying and selling process. Creating content that readers want to share and that are of interest to others increases your chances of getting discovered, exponentially.

Here are some tips on scheduling, organizing, and creating relevant, consistent content for your real estate website:

Decide how often you want to post and stick with it. If you are going to have a blog, it's important to be consistent. Even if you only plan on posting once a month – follow through. There is nothing worse than clicking the blog link on someone's website only to see that the last time they posted was over a year ago. This gives visitors the idea that your website isn't maintained and can reflect badly on you as REALTOR® and how they perceive that you handle your business.

Plan out your posts - create a spreadsheet. Use Google Sheets or Excel to create a schedule a month at a time. Your schedule should include the author, topic, status of article (started, draft, completed), and any notes on the subject. This keeps you organized and gives you a visual of what your month will look like and will allow you to go in and make updates as you work on your content.

Consider seasonal themes and trends. By creating a calendar you are able to see the year as a whole and take inspiration from the season, holidays, or specific events that are happening during that time in your local area. Each season is an opportunity to discuss seasonal maintenance and the beginning of the year is a good time to talk about goals and tax tips. Holidays are an opportunity to talk about decor, home entertaining, winter safety, etc. Between seasonal themes and industry trends, you have at least one article topic created for you each month!

Write down your ideas as they come to you. As a REALTOR®, you have a ton of options to write about for your blog. Create a sheet in your calendar specifically for your ideas. You might think you'll remember that brilliant idea about showcasing local cafes, but it can slip your mind in a matter of minutes – write it down! Generally, your site visitors will expect to read about the local area, selling and buying tips, and general tips about the housing market. Article topics can also include maintenance, decor tips, news, and other topics that you specialize in.

Start filling out your calendar. It might seem daunting to have to fill out a month's worth of content - but you have to start somewhere. Create a calendar and start playing with different themes and ideas. Create a schedule for when you want to post. Start off by posting once or twice a month and switch to once or twice a week once you start getting more traffic to your website. Before you know it, you'll feel comfortable in your role as content creator!

Be original, be consistent, and show your potential clients that you know what you're doing! Do you regularly read certain blogs? What sets these blogs apart from others and how do they keep you interested?

New REALTOR®? Kick-Start your Career with These Tips

April 4, 2018

As a new REALTOR® you are taking on a brand new career, a new uncharted path that can be hard to navigate. How can you be sure you are making the right decisions? Where do you begin? Help advocate for yourself and get a quicker start to your career with these tips:

1. Find the Right Brokerage for You

One of the most important steps you will take when beginning your career is finding the best team to join. The team you enter into will determine the kind of support, training, and mentorship you will receive:

Speak with team members. When looking into a brokerage, speak with the team leaders and other members. Ask them how many deals they've closed in the past year. You'll get insight into whether you'll be busy and productive. A team with low sales volume may not be generating enough business to keep you occupied. Conversely, if they are busy, find out if they have support staff who help handle incoming leads, schedule appointments, or perform other routine tasks.

Negotiate your contract. Getting a brokerage to accept you might be easy, but not all will have the same offerings. Find out the following:

  • How much of your commission will the broker keep?

  • Will you get training?

  • Will you get lead generation support?

  • What are the company's growth goals

Be upfront about your expectations and what you're looking for in a brokerage and don't be afraid to make negotiations – don't settle until you are satisfied with an arrangement.

2. Get Yourself out There.

With so much that needs to get done, it can be hard to know where to begin. One of the most important things you will be doing as a new REALTOR® is getting your name out there and deciding what kind of business you want to run.

Make real estate your priority. Even if your goal is to do this part-time, it's important to start off by putting as much time and energy into it as possible. Take every opportunity you get to network and get your brand out there. When you talk to people, let them know what you do: shameless self-promotion is the name of the game!

Have a plan and set a schedule. Create a schedule that works for you allowing you to allot yourself personal time, lead generation activities, meetings, and anything else in your business plan. Identify your goals and create a routine that will facilitate success!

Brace yourself for failures. Not all deals will go through; not all clients will find their dream home - it's a part of the business. Bouncing back from failure is the secret to your survival, embrace your successes and stay focused on the good.

3. Start Making Money as Soon as Possible

Be proactive and start doing the activities that will ensure you'll be making money as soon as possible. Remember that while you are transitioning into your new career you could be going a few weeks or even months without a paycheque – get the ball rolling as soon as you can:

Avoid time-wasting clients. Ask the right questions to pin-point whether a potential client is motivated or what their motives are for reaching out to you. It's important to nurture leads and offer helpful advice whenever you can, but it's also important to focus your energy on the clients that are the most motivated. If they are side-stepping questions or are unwilling to take steps like consulting with a lender about getting pre-approved, they might be just be looking to find information for other purposes or to test the market.

Remember that working smart is more important than working hard. When you're starting out you might be tempted to try a dozen different strategies, but what strategy is the most effective? Make a plan and focus on what will make you money- should you be canvassing door to door, or perhaps calling on expired listings, instead? Do your research and identify what the most effective strategies have been in the past – remember to pay attention to the situation and use tactics that work best in the market you are dealing with.

Look for 'brushed' leads. Brushed leads are prospective clients who are likely ready to buy or sell. You can identify these prospects by looking for buyers who already have pre-approval letters from the bank or sellers who have recently invested in home repairs – these are signs that they have taken steps to prepare for a transaction. Unbrushed leads are important too, but they are more of a gamble and these people may be noncommittal about buying or selling. It is important to secure a few quick closings early in your career so that you can start making money and earning referrals.

Ready to start your new and exciting career? See what we have to offer.

The Emotional Side of Real Estate: 8 Ways to Better Understand and Support your Clients

March 28, 2018

Buying or selling a home is often the biggest transaction someone will enter into in their lives. As a result, these experiences can be fraught with emotion, but these emotions aren’t always easy to understand. As a REALTOR®, it is expected that you will put your emotions aside so you can put your client’s emotions and desires first. But when their emotions run high, it’s only natural that yours might as well. Here are eight healthy and helpful ways to discuss emotions with your clients to maintain a solid working relationship:

Disappointment: Teaching your clients about the market will help them better deal with unsuccessful offers or a lack of multiple offers on a property. Help them find a price that they won’t regret offering the next day and reassure them that if their best offer isn’t good enough, there are plenty of other options available to them.

Sympathy: This is an important emotion to wield in front of your clients. Even if you have prepared them for tough situations, some clients can get very down on themselves for not being successful in the sale or purchase of a home. Taking time to sit down and acknowledge your clients’ feelings and letting them know that their feelings are valid can provide a great source of comfort to them. It will also give them the much needed encouragement to keep going when they might want to stop house hunting or trying to sell their home.

Apprehension: This is an emotion that is more common amongst homebuyers rather than sellers. These clients can be unsure about a variety of things: how long their commute should be, how much work they should put into the home, the neighbourhood, etc. Instead of letting your clients slowly overwhelm themselves out of buying a house, sit down with them, and step by step explain what each will mean to their future lives and determine what’s most important for them.

Anxiety: Having a house picture-perfect for people to stop by at a moment’s notice for viewings can be very tough when sellers have big families, small children and/or pets. Helping your clients through this process by offering them a list of cleaning services or temporary care of little ones can help ease their minds.

Panic: It can sometimes be easy to forget or overlook the sheer panic a family may have when they have sold their home but haven’t found a replacement yet. They may be worried about not having the time or money to find the perfect new home. Preparing your clients ahead of time and providing them a course of action can easily help alleviate these natural fears.

Anger: There can be many reasons why clients experience anger. They may be having financial hardships, problems at work, personal problems, etc. Checking in emotionally with your clients to make sure that anger isn’t directed at you and that it is most likely a form of fear or panic can help you arrive on the same page together. Everyone has rough times, buying and selling a home doesn’t have to be a part of that.

Empathy: This is the best tool you can use for working with your clients. Getting to really know them as if you were helping a friend will make you go the extra mile in your work - your clients will truly appreciate it. They will be a lot happier to work with you and will be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family. What you put into your work in real estate, you truly get out.

Accomplishment: Some clients are very goal-oriented and can get easily hung up when these goals aren’t easily achieved. Providing them easy and manageable tasks that they can handle day by day will help them from stressing about not selling their house fast enough, or not finding the perfect house to move into. These tasks can be getting pre-approved for a mortgage, finding a stager, etc. Give them small tasks one at a time that fit within their hectic schedules and go at their pace.

Emotions can easily flare up when you least expect it – and that’s okay! Just remember to take deep breaths, keep a calm and professional demeanour and plan for success. Have an action plan for the challenges that may come ahead and don’t be afraid to sit back and try to analyze why a situation panned out the way it did. You might just have an easy solution for it!

5 Ways to use Facebook as a REALTOR® in 2018

March 21, 2018

You've probably been using Facebook for a number of years now and whether you love it or hate it, you'll probably agree that it's necessary for business (especially a business based on connections).

As a REALTOR® you most likely already have a Facebook business Page, and you've probably already noticed that it's harder and harder to get engagement and reach. In fact, right now posts from business Pages reach only about 5 % of their intended audience. As frustrating as it may be, there are ways to work with Facebook and get the most out of the ever-changing platform.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your followers will see what you want them to see:

1. Upload videos directly to Facebook. Facebook is competing against YouTube. Videos that are directly uploaded on to their platform see a “Reach bump” over videos uploaded through YouTube. Facebook's algorithms are constantly changing, in 2016 Facebook-native videos saw a 1000% higher average share rate over YouTube videos.

What videos should you share? Here are a few ideas:

 

  • Create an honest FAQ video. Share common misconceptions, answer questions you think people might be too shy to ask; offer advice and guidance.

  • Show people that you are a local expert. Create a video exploring your favourite neighbourhood. Showcase the schools, businesses, parks and beautiful homes in the area.

  • Do you specialize in helping people downsize? Are you an income property expert? Showcase your specialties by making informative how-to videos that provide value for your followers.

  • Interview professionals in the community - speak with a trusted home inspector, contractor, stager, etc., to offer helpful advice and show off your network.

2. Use Facebook Live. Facebook especially loves live video. Since Facebook wants to compete with Snapchat and YouTube Live (and other live video platforms), they reward live videos more than any other content type. See for yourself – post a Facebook Live video once a week along with your regular posts and compare the engagement and reach. Your live video will most likely have significantly more activity than anything else you post.

As a REALTOR®, you have plenty of opportunities to do live video:

 

  • Do a walkthrough of a home you're selling (answering questions about the property as you go). This is great to do the morning of an open house because you can invite people to come out and meet you.

  • Offer a sneak peek of your exclusive showing before it goes up for sale – show the photographers shooting photos or the stagers adding final touches. This will build anticipation for a future listing.

  • Share behind the scenes footage showing how to stage a home, any challenges and obstacles you're dealing with and the process of setting up for an open house (hey, there are dozens of hit shows about it – people love seeing it!)

  • Share a bit of yourself. Don't forget about personal branding, give people a reason to like and 

  • remember you. Record yourself while you are with your kids or while regular life is happening – it humanizes you and makes you relatable.

  • 3. Show your personality. People use Facebook to connect and find information, if you want to engage with them, show off your personality and be social. Don't be afraid to use humour - if you're able to both entertain and inform, you'll get the shares, comments, and likes that you're after.

    4. Ask questions. An easy way to engage is to simply ask questions. Include posts where you ask for your followers to weigh in on something or ask for recommendations or opinions. Questions can drive interaction up by 10 – 20 per cent. Create posts that facilitate discussion.

    5. Promote your posts, but do so sparingly. Facebook's algorithm has made it harder than ever to have a high organic reach so promotions are often necessary for a business. Put out high quality content and promote only the posts that are time-sensitive or especially important.

    Facebook loves video and original content – curate posts that inform, delight, and entertain. You never know who could become your next client!

     

8 Ways to Improve your Time Management Skills

March 14, 2018

Have you ever wondered why it seems like some people have all the time in the world to do things while others are constantly rushing to get things done? While we may have different work loads, it is much more likely that some of us just use our time more effectively than others.

 

Time management is not a difficult concept, but it's surprisingly hard to do in practice. Here are 8 tips to improve your time management skills today:

 

1. Prioritize your work. Before you start your day, make a list of all the tasks that require your immediate attention. Prioritize these tasks and focus on the ones that are most important to you. You may want to make three lists: work, home, and personal. Keep in mind how much time and energy each task requires.

 

2. Learn to schedule tasks appropriately. Scheduling affects your day, your week, your month, as well as other people and their projects. Most people have specific times in the day when they feel the most or least energetic and become more productive when they schedule themselves accordingly.

 

3. Set Goals and Deadlines. With any task, set a realistic deadline and do your best to stick to it. Challenge yourself to meet deadlines even if there is no reward for doing so. Getting into the habit of completing tasks in a timely manner will help you work through stressful situations in the future.

 

4. Be Self-Aware. No two people work the same way. We all have our own preferences, needs and things that motivate us. Our preferences can affect our work – take the time to observe how and when you do your best work. Any time you perform to a very high standard, take time to identify what happened that allowed you to perform so well. Just as importantly, when you perform poorly, identify what happened to encourage your poor performance. Get to know yourself and tailor your schedule, work environment, and routine to fit your own style.

 

5. Take Breaks. Too much stress takes a toll on the body and affects productivity. Ensure you take breaks through out your day. Whether you go out to a restaurant for lunch, or simply take five minutes for fresh air, a break will help you stay energized and focused. Don't forget to take time off work every once in a while to spend quality time with friends and family, as well.

 

6. Stay Focused. Regardless of what you are trying to do, there will always be something else competing for your attention. Dispel the myth of multitasking – working on one thing at a time is the best way to achieve focus. You can only work on one task at any given moment. Rather than trying to get everything done at once, identify the most important task and block all others out. Remember, focus is the ability to identify the most important task (that you're able to complete at the time) and the ability to block everything else out in order to complete it.

 

7. Delegate tasks. Let's face it, we often put way too much on our plates. This can result in us feeling stressed and burned out. Sometimes we just have to share the load. Delegation is not giving up or running

away from your responsibilities – it is an important function of management. Prioritize your tasks and decide if there's something you can get help with.

 

8. Learn to say no. It's okay to refuse work when you feel like you have too much going on. Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you feel you are already overloaded with work. Take a look at your 'to do' list before agreeing to take on extra work. Having too much to do will not only stress you out but could potentially affect the quality of your work.

 

Do you have amazing time-management skills? How do you stay organized and focused?

 

 

8 Positive Habits that Make you More Likeable

March 7, 2018

There is a common misconception that people are just naturally likeable - that it comes from innate, unteachable traits. In reality being likeable is under your control and it comes right down to your emotional intelligence!

 

A study in LA had participants rate 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance to likeability – can you guess which adjectives were rated the highest? No it wasn't 'gorgeous', 'intelligent', or 'outgoing' (innate qualities). Instead, the top words were 'sincerity', 'transparency', and 'understanding'. These adjectives actually describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence.

 

Research shows that those that possess these skills aren't just really likeable – they also outperform those who don't (possess these skills) by a large margin!

 

So what does it mean to be emotionally intelligent, and how can you learn the behaviours that make you more likeable? Here are 8 things you can start doing today:

 

1. Ask More Questions

Sometimes, we're not the best listeners. Even when we think we're listening, we're often thinking about what we are going to say next or how what the person is saying is going to affect us. When we do this, we fail to hear what's being said. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. This forces you to actually take in what the other person is saying and get clarification to better understand them. People like to know you're listening and you'll be surprised by how much respect and appreciation you'll gain just by asking simple questions.

 

2. Be Genuine

Being genuine and honest is a key factor to being likeable. People want to be around genuine people because they know they can trust them. It's hard to like someone if they are hard to read and you are unsure how they really feel. Likeable people know who they are and they are comfortable enough in their own skin. Concentrate on what drives you and what makes you happy. By being yourself you become a much more interesting individual. Do what feels right for you, not what you think will make others happy.

 

3. Be Open-Minded

If you want people to like you – you shouldn't pass too much judgment. When you are open-minded, you are approachable and understanding. No one wants to have a conversation with someone when they feel like the person has already formed an opinion. You don't need to believe or condone what someone is doing, but you should wait to pass judgment until you truly understand the situation and the person you are talking with. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace – approachability means being able to access new ideas and receive help.

 

4. Be Consistent

When people approach you, they like to know how you're going to react. To be consistent, you must be reliable. Ensure that when your mood changes, that it doesn't affect how you treat other people.

 

5. Smile More

People subconsciously mirror the body language of the person they are speaking with. If you want people to like you, smile at them during your conversation and they will return the favour without even knowing it (and feel good as a result).

 

6. Use Touch

When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain (a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and other positive feelings). A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or friendly handshake is all it takes. Remember, not all people like to be touched, nor is it always appropriate to use touch. Use your good judgment.

 

7. Greet People by Name

Our names are a key part of our identity, it feels good to hear someone speak our name. Research shows that people feel validated when someone refers to them by name during a conversation. Have a hard time remembering names? When introducing yourself to somebody, make eye contact and take notice of their eye colour. Taking that extra second to notice something about them helps you to attach their name to something concrete and increases your chances of remembering it. Saying their name back to them helps with memory, as well.

 

8. Look for shared interests – When it comes to building rapport with someone, look for ways to establish common ground through shared hobbies and interests.

 

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to look at the people we admire and take note of their positive habits. Think about the people you work with, who would you consider to be likeable? What do they do that sets them apart from the rest?

7 Instagram Tips for REALTORS

February 28, 2018


With over 700 million users pressing the 'like' button on posts about 4.2 billion times per day- Instagram is a social media powerhouse. It's also a great tool for REALTOR®s. Instagram is user-friendly and mainly accessed on mobile devices – making it great for sharing content and interacting with people. With the proper use of Instagram you can increase views, strengthen branding and create conversations. Here are 7 tips to make Instagram work for you and gain the followers and engagement you need: 

1. Share Videos 
Instagram is no longer just about photos - video now accounts for a large percentage of posts. Attention spans are on the decline and we love nothing more than to scroll through and watch entertaining 15-60 second videos on our feeds. Share interesting videos! Do property tours, interviews, DIY tutorials, neighbourhood walks – anything that you think would be of interest to your target audience. Don't have the time to edit a video last minute? Use Flipagram to create short videos with music using your photos or video clips. 

2. Pay Attention to the Insights
Speaking of audience, who is following you on Instagram? Take time to analyze what the Insights are telling you. What is your current Instagram demographic, and why? Is your Instagram audience the same as your target market? Why are some of your posts getting more engagement than others? Take note of what has been working for you and what hasn't and change things based on what people are responding to. 

3. Go 'Behind the Scenes'
Hey, guess what? Real estate is exciting and interesting to people! Think about how many reality tv shows there are about the industry. Between house flipping, home renos and shows about first-time homebuyers – real estate shows account for a good chunk of reality TV air time. Take advantage of this interest by giving people a peek into the life of a REALTOR®. Share videos of you walking through a desirable neighbourhood, post reactions of first-time buyers finding their perfect home and share the renovation process for a house you're flipping. Share posts that showcase who you are and the great work you do. 

4. Simply Take Great Photos
When it comes down to it, quality reigns supreme. Think about how many posts you scroll through in the span of a single minute. Your photos should be colourful, sharp, eye-catching and designed for storytelling. Be honest with yourself – if you're not a good photographer, hire someone that is!

5. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories offer a variety of engagement opportunities, including the new Poll feature. Instagram's algorithm takes into account all engagement types – so if you post a poll, and you have 100 people weigh in, your posts are more likely to show up in someone's feed. Using live video is also a great tool because your video is automatically bumped up in the Stories feed. Share your day to day activities in your stories and let your audience get to know you! 

6. Post During Active Hours
To increase your chances of engagement, schedule posts when your followers are the most active. Not sure when this is? This post breaks it down. Your business Instagram account will also show you which days and times have the most engagement for you. 

7. Incorporate Instagram Ads
If you have a time-sensitive post about a property you've just listed, or perhaps a contest you're running, Instagram ads are the way to go. Ads ensure that your post will be seen when you want it to be seen. Instagram ads now offer a variety of goals and targeting options. This post explains how they work and how to make the best use of them. 

Instagram is a fantastic tool for REALTOR®s, and if it's done right – it can help generate leads and build your personal brand. Do you use Instagram? What tips do you have? 

8 Ways to be a Better Leader in the Workplace

February 21, 2018

Do you consider yourself to be a leader in your workplace? What leadership qualities do you possess, and did they come naturally to you?

 

Some of us are more adept at leadership than others, but as with all skills, there are ways to improve on this. Here are 8 ways to become a better leader, today:

 

1. Only make promises you can keep. If you say you're going to do something – do it. Leadership is about trust. Be mindful of the promises you make and ensure you can actually do what you set out to do. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver than to give people high hopes and leave them with disappointment.

 

2. It's about collaboration, not power. Leadership comes with power and responsibility. The best leaders use their role to collaborate with others. Position yourself in such a way that you have the time and energy to support the success of those around you. Be humble and share the credit for the things that happen as a team. Business is about people – the people you work with are your most valuable asset.

 

3. Be a good role model. If you hold a certain standard for your employees, make sure you are meeting this standard, yourself. Respect cannot be demanded, it is something that is earned over time. Lead by doing. Share your expertise, support people, and ensure you are mindful of the things you say and do – people are watching.

 

4. Demonstrate accountability. Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results. Take responsibility for your own actions and others will follow suit. Follow through and admit when you make a mistake.

 

5. Pass on the baton. True leaders nurture and mentor others on their team. This means sometimes allowing others to lead. When you allow others to take the lead, you give them a chance to showcase their skills and talent and inspire them to do their best. Don't interfere unless it is absolutely necessary. Empower people by taking their ideas to the next level and giving positive feedback.

 

6. Keep learning. Business is competitive- a great leader is always one step ahead. Learning, growth, and responding to challenges are key. Lead by example and reward others for their accomplishments and desire to learn. Find a mentor and seek advice – always be improving.

 

7. Know your strengths and your limitations. Know what you don't know - be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and find ways to manage them. If there's something you are not good at, get support, acquire the knowledge you need, or simply get someone else to do it. Managing your weaknesses is important, but focusing on your strengths is crucial. Know what you're good at and make use of your natural talents.

 

8. Be accessible and available. Demonstrate good communication skills. Let your team know that they can talk to you. Be approachable, open-minded, and give them your full undivided attention. Connect and spend time with your team on a regular basis – the closer you are with your team, the more valued they will feel.


What makes you a great leader?

The Future of the Office: How Workspaces will look in Ten Years

February 14, 2018

The surge in technological advancements and the boom of the start-up company has undeniably created one of the biggest shake-ups the office has ever seen. Today, we are already seeing massive changes like app-controlled meeting rooms, the use of 3D printers, and the implementation of tall, standing desks in many offices. But what will offices look like in ten years’ time?

 

The Physical Workspace

In the early 2000s we saw a huge rush towards open plan offices which were believed to encourage collaborative work and a more relaxed environment. This was to counter the antiquated and isolated feel many loathed of the 80s style cubicle formation of an office. Today we have learned that it is incredibly important to have hybrid workspaces that have both private and open spaces.

 

The future: Hybrid workspaces will be a combination of enclosed and open workspaces available for users on an as-needed basis. These buildings will be lighter, brighter, and substantially more environmentally friendly than their predecessors. Imagine unassigned workspaces, privacy rooms, focus booths, open project spaces, lounges and dens. Establishing an environment that is welcoming towards both the client and the employee and that constantly fosters a productive mindset.

 

The Remote Workspace

It is predicted that up to 50% of the workforce will work from home in the next 10 years. Employees will have more flexibility and freedom to work from remote locations and have less incentive to go into the office. This makes it that much more important to reimagine the physical office to entice employees to use the space for work. Alternatively, some companies won’t have a physical space at all but purely have remote workers to better service their customer base.

 

The Virtual Workspace

Whether employees are working from home, or a newly-redesigned office, one thing remains the same - they’re probably on a computer. The virtual workspace will get the biggest infrastructure redevelopment in the next ten years. When you work with people from all over the world, how can you develop the same office culture and work relationships as you do with the people sitting next to you at the lunch table? Emphasis will be put on reinventing a virtual space and culture that supports successful team building and personal growth. Offices in the future will also have collaborative robots in the virtual workspace and we need to imagine carefully how they will integrate into the office’s ecosystem in a way that is healthy and ultimately productive.

 

The future of the office will look radically different from most people’s idea of an office today. What changes do you hope to see? What are your predictions?

4 Tips for an Attainable Work-Life Balance

February 7, 2018

Work-life balance: the mythical aspiration we all dream to have. When most of us work well over 50 hours a week we have no time to unwind which inevitably hurts our relationships, health and overall happiness. While the perfect balance is difficult to strike as it differs from person to person, these four tips will help guide you to find out what your optimal work-life balance is:

 

1. Drop Your Perfectionism

Compared to the workplace, being a perfectionist in school was relatively easy. All you had to do was separate your time between school, hobbies, and maybe an after-school job. But the adult world unfortunately is significantly more complicated with ever growing responsibilities. Being a perfectionist in the working world can destroy your mental health, so always make sure you’re doing your best, and striving for excellence rather than perfection.

 

2. Unplug

The advancement of technology has undoubtedly improved the lives of everyone on the planet. We can talk to anyone wherever we want, and research things with a simple click. But those very tools can also be our biggest detriment. For your own health, force yourself to divide your work life from your home life. When you are at your kid’s soccer game, or at family dinner, don’t just turn off your phone - keep it at a distance. Those emails can wait an hour, or longer. It will be incredibly difficult to start at first, but your habit of resilience will develop over time and will make you feel like you have greater control over your happiness.

 

3. Exercise and Meditate

If you can remember to eat and sleep and go to the bathroom every day, you can remember to exercise. Exercise and meditation sound like wonderful superfluous activities to many, but it is one of the best stress reducers available to you. Don’t let it be one of the first things you drop once your schedule gets busy. You can always slot in 5 to 10 minute breathing exercise a few days a week. Find something you can easily integrate in your life – that’s the key to making it stick.

 

4. Break Your Routine

You may not have realized, but your routine might have gotten too much for you. What seemed easy before work can become a lot harder to maintain with a full time job with crazy hours. Cooking yourself dinner every day after work most likely will take a lot energy out of you. Create a meal plan, or if you live with others take turns cooking dinner. But more importantly, when creating your new before and after work routine, focus on the activities that mean the most to you – delegate or outsource everything else.

In order to successfully alter your work-life balance your transition must be gradual. Don’t be afraid that you’re not changing as much as you want overnight because those changes won’t stick. Make sure everything you do has been carefully thought through and easy enough to integrate and maintain in your lifestyle. Day by day, things will get better

Why Improving Company Culture is an Important Leadership Skill

January 31, 2018

We all know that being a good leader doesn’t just mean churning out lots of results and revenue – there are things that are not found on a performance review that establish what makes a good leader great. One of these not-easily-quantified things is a leader’s ability to create and maintain a thriving culture in the office.

 

It’s easy to discredit the word “culture” as simply a buzzword and altogether unimportant in the face of strategy and execution when trying to build a successful company. But we’ve all experienced a team falling apart, and we all appreciate the importance of a good team: that all comes down to culture. Here are five things all good leaders do to take care of their work’s culture.

 

Consider Your Work’s Culture
This may sound silly, but reducing the concept of culture in the workforce as something that is unnecessary or soft is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a workforce leader. Having a culture will help you differentiate yourself from your competition and create a familial personality employees and clients can flock to.

 

Understand what is at the Centre of Your Work’s Culture

Did you know that the word culture has Latin origins? “Cultus” meant “to grow”? When trying to ensure the best culture for your company, realize that it’s not just creating buzzwords that form a personality – it’s about tending to and helping your team on every rung of the ladder. Go beyond giving your team a ping-pong table that’s purely filling up an empty room. Understand what your team needs to help them achieve their goals and grow.

 

Measure Culture
Employees get performance reviews each year - company culture should be reviewed as well. By measuring culture on a yearly basis you’ll be able to notice which implementations worked, and which ones need tweaking. You won’t know how to improve without having a base line, so make sure you take it as seriously as you do those performance reviews!

 

Don’t Reward People Solely On Performance

This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s not. You will always want to reward a top salesperson, but they may actually be the worst team player in your office. A good leader will make sure that profits as well as work ethics and professionalism are rewarded. Look toward people who are living out the core values of the company’s culture the best and make sure they understand their work does not go unnoticed. They may not individually provide the most for the team, but their personality helps fuel and improve everyone else’s output.
 

Follow Through

A huge part of building and maintaining any solid culture in a company is following through. We all know the bitter resentment that comes with being promised something at work and not getting it. No matter the size of your promise, not living up to your words will crush your culture and create a negative environment where the output will rapidly decline.

 

In order to be successful in today’s competitive world, a solid and uplifting culture can set you apart from most competitors and maintain employee satisfaction and retention. How do you improve the culture in your workplace?

8 Ways a Good Employee can become an Exceptional One

January 24, 2018

It’s easy to spot a good employee at the office: they’re hardworking, a great team-member, they’re dependable and proactive and do quality work. But these buzzwords that can often be found on performance reviews can be a bit hard to qualify. Here are eight ways you can shine and get the notice you deserve:

 

1. Always Go Above and Beyond. We’ve all thought or said to ourselves, “this isn’t in my job description” for one reason or another. But going beyond your job description, thinking on your feet and adapting to quickly shifting priorities is exactly what will help you stand out amongst the crowd and sparkle in your office. Don’t be afraid to take that leap!

 

2. Be an Individual. It’s commonly known that when you go to work you have to be your professional self – and often people think that your professional self is different from who you are. Don’t sacrifice your quirks! Different personalities can not only make work more fun but they can help bring new ideas to the table and challenge the status quo.

 

3. Read the Room. Being an individual is great and can definitely make you a leader in the workforce, but in stressful situations being an individual can cause more friction than solutions. Though it’s a tough balance to strike, always try to be aware and considerate so that you know when to dazzle your eccentric personality and when to fit seamlessly into the team.

 

4. Praise Publicly! You love being told by your boss you did a good job – fun fact: so does everyone else! That praise can brighten your whole day so why not do the same to your peers? Speaking up and acknowledging the contributions of others doesn’t impact on your job performance. It means you’re a great team player, you’re able to recognize good work, and you create and maintain a happy, sustainable work environment. There’s literally no downside here.

 

5. Disagree Privately. We understand; sometimes in a meeting tensions can flare and you just want to speak up and bring an issue forward. But the best way to avoid tension is to bring up an issue before or after a meeting so that your disagreement isn’t the main feature of the meeting and everyone’s office talk of the day.

 

6. Speak Up! We’ve all been there before: it may have been a classroom, it may have been a meeting – nobody knows what’s going on and everyone’s too afraid to ask questions. Being an exceptional employee means taking one for the team and asking those questions you might be afraid to ask. This also comes from reading the room where you’re in tune with the environment and can innately feel when to step up and ask questions or raise important issues.

 

7. Drive and Motivation. A good employee is driven to do well at their job simply because they want to do good work. That won’t be enough to get you through the toughest of situations in the office, unfortunately. If you want to be the best of the best you have to have something deeper and more personal – maybe even something to prove. It could be that you are lacking a certain qualification but you know you can do the job just as well, if not, better than those who do possess it. Look inside yourself and see what gets you going every day. Hold onto that and let it be your fuel. 

 

8. Aim for Better. Say your boss hands you a project and sets you a list of steps they want you to follow. A good employee, driven just to do a good job follows the list to the letter. Great employees who have a bit more courage will add a tweak or two. But exceptional employees? They can’t help themselves – they’ll find ways to reinvent processes without expectation. This is part of always going above and beyond – don’t just improve for the sake of improvement. Your individuality can help you look at a situation differently and help your company.

 

At the end of the day, it’s important to be reminded that you were hired by your company because they saw qualities in you that made you stand out from dozens, if not hundreds of other candidates. You have it in you to also stand out amongst the cream of the crop. Hopefully you can add a few of these tips into your toolkit so you can get that promotion, reach that goal, or create the most cohesive team. You can do it!

What are the Costs of Selling a Home? What to Expect When You are Ready to Sell

January 18, 2018

Every home is different and unless you've gone and built your dream home yourself – odds are that there are things you wish you could change. Not everyone is lucky enough to have 12-foot ceilings and 500 square foot rooms, but there are ways to trick the eyes into thinking things are bigger (and better) than they are. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your spaces:

 

1. Rooms feel small? Add height to a space:

 

  • Focus on the ceiling – paint the ceiling a matte white and remove crown molding to add height. Alternatively, use wallpaper or paint designs on the ceiling to draw eyes upwards.
  • Large mirrors – large mirrors add scale to a room. Anything that allows the eyes to move upwards (vertical lines, tall mirrors, patterned ceilings) will add to the perception of height.

 

2. Things feel cramped? Make a room appear larger:

 

  • Paint your space bright colours – make a small space appear larger with bright walls and light flooring.
  • Position furniture away from walls – when everything is against the wall, a room can appear cramped. Pull furniture away from the wall at least a few inches.
  • Decorate with larger accent pieces – small decorative pieces can crowd a room, instead find slightly larger pieces and display them in threes. One well-known designer refers to the 'cantaloupe' rule. If a decor piece is smaller than a cantaloupe – it will clutter your space.
  • Use vertical lines - just as vertical lines help increase height on walls, vertical lines on floors or carpets will help to lengthen a room.
  • Utilize mirrors and windows – Keep windows uncovered and strategically place mirrors to create depth and a feeling of spaciousness.

 

3. Don't have an entryway? Fake it:

  •  
  • Create a 'landing strip' – Customize a small shelf, desk, or table to throw keys, mails, gloves, hats, etc. on. This will help to organize clutter and keep things from getting lost.
  • Use paint or pattern – Even if there is no structural division between the space in front of the door and the rest of your home, you can set it apart visually by using paint or pattern on the floor, wall, or ceiling.
  • Enclose the space – You don't need to build a wall, give the entryway an enclosed feel by placing a leafy plant next to the door, using a furniture piece as a divider to guide traffic, or just something that will create a visual cue that this area is set apart from the rest.
  • Low furniture – Trick the eyes and fake height by utilizing low seating and tables paired with strong vertical lines. The lower everything is to the ground, the taller the room will appear.

 

4. Use the 'little walls' in your home: (Little walls are the slender walls, usually two or three feet wide, that are the transition space between two rooms)

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  • Create a message center: If you have a little wall near the kitchen or entryway, create a message center with dry-erase or chalkboard, calendar, and a place to talk on grocery lists or bills.
  • Make a seating area: A slender wall can be utilized by placing a small chair or bench against it. This can be an extra spot to put on your shoes, take a phone call or simply an attractive way to store an extra chair for when you have company over.
  • Do an accent wall – Small walls are easier to decorate and give you an extra opportunity to display more of the things you love. Paint the wall your favourite colour, create a small gallery or use an eccentric wall paper to add interest.
  • Use for storage – These walls can be made functional by adding shelves, creating built-in book cases, or installing hooks. Every bit of storage counts!

 

With a bit of creativity and design know-how, any space can be made brilliant!

6 Ways to Be the Best REALTOR® for Your Homebuyers

January 10, 2018

Buying a home, especially for the first time, is no easy task. A homebuyer is embarking on one of the biggest purchases of their life – and it's you they're counting on. Here are 6 ways to go above and beyond and be the best REALTOR® for your homebuyers:

 

1. Know Your Client’s Potential Neighbourhood(s) Well: While your client will usually do their own research, it’s up to you to be their knight in shining armour. Go through a thorough interview with your client and see what they really want from their home and from their neighbourhood. That way you can look up the best schools, restaurants, transit connections that suit your client’s needs that can be as important as the property itself!

 

2. Negotiate the Home’s Contract: Nothing about a home contract needs to be standard – read it over carefully with your client and see if there are any changes they can benefit from. The best REALTORS® negotiate price as well as the little things that can make a big difference for their clients. Sometimes, even something as simple as getting a seller to throw in the patio furniture is what will set you apart.

 

3. Be Helpful with Home Inspections: Just like REALTORS®, some home inspectors are better than others. In addition to having a great lender and broker in your pocketbook of professionals, throw in the best home inspectors for the areas you sell homes. Between you and your home inspector, you’ll be able to advise your clients whether they need to look for mould, water, lead paint or other tests they might not have thought of. And most importantly, don’t forget to tag along on the home inspection! It will give your clients an extra boost of security and confidence when it comes to buying the home. At the very least, know what goes on in a home inspection - it will give you serious leverage when negotiating the contract and the price for your client!

 

4. Stay in the Loop with the Seller’s Agent and your Client’s Attorney: The key to any solid relationship is communication. Keeping updated means your client can always be in the know. As a REALTOR®, you’re the best qualified person to measure the importance of information – you’ll know who needs to know certain bulletins and when to keep the ball rolling.

 

5. Monitor Your Client’s Loan Commitment: Mortgage mistakes, especially among first-time homebuyers, are all too common. Making sure your clients understand their current credit status and that they need to maintain it is a prudent move as a realtor: it shows you care while protecting your client. It’s all too easy for your client’s financial situation to change so make sure they tell you if they’re making any substantial changes like buying a car or taking a loan. Helping your client getting approved is important, but an outstanding buyer’s agent will help their client protect their approval.
 

6. Stick With your Client Through to the End: As an amazing REALTOR® you’ve held your client’s hand from the beginning when they didn’t know where to look or how much they could afford, through to the negotiation period and helped them to get the best price on their new home. Congratulations! But the cherry on the cake is making sure all the loose ends are tied together so that the closing goes through without a hitch. Standing by your client’s side throughout the entirety of the closing process to provide support and advice will help you stand out and ensure that they would refer you to their family and friends.

 

In this current market, it’s natural for buyers to have high expectations of their agent. They’re about to embark on the biggest purchase of their lives and you’re going to help them achieve that. By doing the above things you can create a great and lasting relationship with your client. Happy new year!

Quality over Quantity: Making Connections that Matter

January 3, 2018

Let's face it – networking and making connections is an important part of being a REALTOR®. The more people you give your business card to; the more potential connections you make - the more clients you're likely to get. It's easy to see networking as simply a numbers game but it's just as much about the quality of our connections. If you go to a networking event and only have one meaningful conversation - this could mean more success than handing out your business card to 100 strangers.

 

It's not always about the numbers - here are 6 things to think about when making professional connections that count:

 

1. We don't benefit too much from superficial relationships. In a time when social media reigns supreme – it's hard not to focus on the number of 'followers' we have. Switch your focus to your content and interactions rather than your reach – in real life and online. Knowing a lot of people in a superficial way is one thing, but it's not necessarily the best thing. Think about the business or personal relationships that have shaped your success, is the number of people that come to mind in the hundreds? Is it even more than ten?

 

2. Quality trumps quantity. It's all about making the right connections – finding the people that lead us to new opportunities. We often spend energy on handing out our business cards and expanding our reach to as many people as possible without taking the time to nurture and focus on the connections that matter the most. Key relationships can be recognized from the start. Yes it is important to get your name out there, but it's also important to put the time and energy in the relationships that you feel are going to be important to you.

 

3. Learn from people unlike yourself. If we only surrounded ourselves with people that thought like us and did business like us – we'd only be able to get so far. If we want to learn to grow and expand our business to new levels, we need to ask different questions, imagine different possibilities, and challenge ourselves to rethink the way we do things.

 

4. Make time to search for new ideas and inspiration. Get out of your comfort zone and talk to artists, athletes, museum directors, etc.the people you're not used to doing business with. Find out how they approach problems and opportunities. Challenge yourself and your colleagues to imagine how their perspectives can provide a framework for looking at your own business.

 

5. Be spontaneous and open. Put yourself out there. Be open to making connections wherever you may be. Start a meaningful conversation with the person in front of you in the Starbucks line, ask a stranger for a recommendation. Offer to be helpful to someone that looks like they could use a hand. Simply say 'hello' and start a conversation – you never know where it may lead.

 

6. Make connections with the people you work with. Don't take the people closest to you for granted. Build personal and working relationships with the people in your office – take time to hang out and get to know one another. When you are comfortable with each other you are able create a culture of conversation and openness. This can help to inspire everyone to be more innovative.

 

Remember that it is not just about who we know, but who we could know. Be open – to new people, new ideas and different points of view.

4 High-Tech Home Trends to Watch For in 2018

December 28, 2017

The New Year is just around the corner, here's a look at the home technology and decor trends that will influence the way we see our homes in 2018:

 

1. Robots in the House. It sounds futuristic, but robots have been a part of our homes for years. They may not be the kind of robots we imagined as kids, but they're still powerful machines with ever-expanding capabilities. Our lifestyles are busier than ever- it's no wonder that technologies that allow us to clean, organize and entertain with a touch of a button are here to stay. Here are two 'robots' that will be a favourite in 2018:

 

Smart Vacuums – although the Roomba has been around for quite a few years, robot vacuums and mops are more sophisticated than ever before. The latest models are WiFi enabled and have app controls. Certain models can also mop and sweep - perfect for cleaning up pet messes while you're away from home. You have full control over where the machine cleans, and the best part is - it returns to its charging station after the job is done!

 

Home Assistants – Google Home and Amazon's Echo are examples of smart home assistants. With Google Home you can play music, do quick calculations, translate words, set alarms, check your calendar, control smart home gadgets, order an Uber, and even get information on nearby restaurants and businesses. With the popularization of smart-everything (phones, televisions, thermostats, appliances, etc.), it's no surprise that home 'assistants' are becoming a house staple.

 

2. Smart Glass – The future of windows. Everyone wants a home with a lot of natural light, right? The problem with having a lot of windows is that you end up having higher energy costs and need to invest in window coverings to ensure privacy and UV protection. A new solution is arriving for homes in 2018 - the future of windows lies in smart-tinting glass. Halio is a smart-tinting glass that tints to shades of neutral gray to deliver sun-blocking, anti-glare protection, and privacy. It looks like ordinary glass but it incorporates the latest technology that can be programmed, as well as used on-demand. This all-in-one window solution might serve as a niche product for now, but as technologies advance and more competitors come in, there is no doubt that it will be seen in many homes, everywhere, in the years to come.

 

3. Attractive Kitchens that are Practical and Versatile. Modern kitchens continue to be number one on the list of 'wants' for homebuyers. In 2018, emphasis will be put on dark colours, customization and convenience. People are on the look-out for counter space for prep, antimicrobial surfaces like quartzite and copper, modern appliances and flooring that's easy on the feet. Comfort plays a huge role – kitchens are being outfitted with height-adjustable counters and easy-to-clean surfaces. More high-tech than ever, here are some kitchen technologies we'll see in 2018: A Dialog Oven that cooks with radio waves, and “listens” to the food it cooks, a microwave that can also “blast chill” food and Bosch Vario Style appliances that allow you to swap out colourful panels to match your kitchen and home.

 

4. Black is the new...black. Grey palettes have taken over for quite some time but a more high-contrast

look is making its comeback. After years of off-whites, grays, and beiges, it's time to go a little bolder. In 2018 we'll see sleek black tones in appliances, plumbing fixtures, metal finishes, lighting, and hardware. Black is classic, neutral and sophisticated and is a welcome addition to almost any palette. If you aren't ready to paint your walls black quite yet, try out the trend by painting a door or trim, instead. Incorporating black accents can help make a home appear more modern. Many tech companies and appliance-makers are following suit by offering sleek black finishes in 2018.

 

Where do you think the future of home technologies and decor trends will take us next year? Any of this year's trends you'll be happy to see go? Let us know!

7 Selling Tips to Make you a Sales Superstar

December 20, 2017

Look at a top seller on any team, in any industry – you will probably notice they share a few distinct traits. Amongst having confidence, good people skills, and a lot of energy – they probably also spend a decent amount of time learning.

 

Luckily, selling is not a gift, but rather a skill that can be developed – here are 7 selling tips that will help you become a sales superstar:

 

1. Be informed. Learn everything there is to know about what you are selling – your knowledge adds value to your service. Go to workshops, listen to audiobooks, and find the motivation and information you need to get you to the top.

 

2. Don't fear rejection. Rejection is, unfortunately, a part of any sales job. Not everyone is going to be interested in what you're selling – and that's okay. The key is to remember that sales are a numbers game. Some people are going to say no. Actually, a lot of people are going to say no, but with enough determination, you'll find your YES soon enough.

 

3. Always have prospects. Work on getting as many prospects as you can. The more people you interact with the more likely you are to make a sale. When someone says NO, you say NEXT (maybe not out loud in front of them, but you get the idea). Don't dwell on the NOs, keep your eyes on the prize. Get lead generation help or invest in some online tools if need be – your sales funnel should always be full.

 

4. Get referrals. After closing each sale, get referrals from your clients. It might be a good idea to offer a referral incentive. Check in with your clients periodically – send them holiday cards, birthday wishes, promotional information – the more you connect with them, the easier it will be for you to stay top of mind.

 

5. Show enthusiasm. You don't choose your passion, your passion chooses you. Show potential clients what makes you passionate. Prepare yourself for every meeting and call. Take pride in your appearance – present yourself as successful and important. The more energy and enthusiasm you have, the more confident they will be that you are the right person for the job.

 

6. Know what problems you're solving. Think of yourself as a consultant, rather than a sales person. You are offering something that benefits people; you are solving a problem. A person who is offering grocery delivery isn't just selling a service – they're relieving people's stress and helping them manage their time. Alternatively, someone who is selling pet insurance is offering more than just that; they're offering peace of mind, stress-relief and protection for a beloved family member. Think about what it is that you offer. Put yourself in the position of your clients – what is it that they're struggling with?

 

7. Learn to close. Novels have been written about the art of closing a sale, there is so much to learn! Here are a few points to keep in mind:
 

  • Always present a proposal in writing
  • Communicate clearly and confidently
  • Make eye contact
  • Be prepared with a pen and any necessary documents
  • Keep the mood light and positive. People are more likely to make decisions when they are less serious.
  • Don't be afraid to circle back and reposition negotiations. Ask one more time.
  • Treat everyone as if they are the buyer. They might not be the decision-maker or they may not have the budget, but they have the potential of turning into a buyer.
  • Always smile. Smile while you negotiate, smile while you argue, smile while you close. Successful people are always smiling.

 

What makes you a sales superstar?

 

 

5 Tips to being Happier at Work Today

December 13, 2017

Winter is here and that means shorter days and colder nights, for some it also means having less energy and feeling a little more low than usual. It's important to remind ourselves of the impact of positivity - when we're happy, we're productive and engaging. Feeling happy in the workplace is important too, it ensures we do better work. Here are 5 tips on how to be a little bit happier at work today:

 

1. Smile more. The act of smiling can benefit your health and happiness! When you smile you release neuropeptides – neuropeptides work to relieve stress. Smiling also helps to release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin – these relax your body and lower your heart rate and blood pressure. If that wasn't enough – flashing your pearly-whites also makes you appear more attractive. Studies found that when you smile, people treat you differently – you're viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Smiling is also contagious – lift the mood of everyone in your office by coming into work with a big smile on!

 

2. Get cozy in your space. We spend a lot of time at work – make your office your own. You may have limitations on how much you can personalize - work within the realms of what is acceptable. Tailor your space with personalized items and any creature comforts that make you feel good. Buy a quality chair, hang a plant over your desk, and put up that photo that always makes you laugh!

 

3. Make a friend. Friendships in the workplace contribute to the creation of a support system, comradery and loyalty. Those who have friends at work perceive their job to be more fun, enjoyable and satisfying. Refer friends that you know you'd work well with and make the effort to form friendships with the people around you. Why not ask your coworkers to go out for lunch or a coffee? You may have more in common than you think.

 

4. Take that break. Everybody needs some breathing space – without taking time between tasks, we can feel overwhelmed in the face of constant demand. When we don't take a moment to recharge we can lose out on creativity, competency and cheerfulness. Short breaks between tasks will keep you happier. A vacation or weekend trip doesn't hurt, either!

 

5. Do meaningful work. Whether you are setting out to cure a disease or simply make someone's day brighter, doing something meaningful is important. When there is a positive impact to our work, it makes us feel good. When we feel as though our work is meaningful, we are happier and more productive. Remember that your work doesn't have to be monumental to have meaning. As long as what you are doing is aligned with your long term plans and goals - you'll feel satisfied!

 

Are you smiling yet? What do you do at work that makes you happy?

 
 

Home Design Trends to Watch out for in 2018

December 6, 2017

 

It’s December, and 2017 is coming to an end. In just a few weeks we’ll have a new year full of new beginnings, fresh starts, and of course, new home design trends to look forward to! The new year is a time for change and what better way to inspire change than to update and beautify our living spaces. Here are 8 decor trends we think will be popping up everywhere in 2018:

 

1. Colour forecast includes lavender/lilac and olive green. Design experts are predicting that lavender and lilac will be the new 'Millennial Pink' - used to bring out soft tones with deeper accents. These pair well with olive green - a soft shade that mimics nature and helps to create a cozy and warm environment. Yellow, red, and coral are expected to make a bold appearance, too. These colours can be paired with white for a balanced high-contrast look.

 

2. Geometric patterns, specifically circles. Geometric patterns have been popular for years, last year it was triangles, this year it will be circles. Circular graphics will be seen on pillows, wallpaper and incorporated into furniture. Circular mirrors with wooden or metallic frames can be found in just about any home decor store right now.

 

3. Matchy matchy. You don't need to go 'high-contrast' to make a bold statement - you can create interest by painting trim and walls the same colour and even going as far as to matching your furniture to the walls. Seem like a bit much? You can see a good example here.

 

4. Switch up the trim. If matching the trim to walls is not your cup of tea, consider painting walls white or off-white and switching up the trim to a bright colour. It's a different take on the high-contrast look and looks great when done properly.

 

5. Artisan pieces over mass-produced goods. Handmade and one-of-a-kind quality pieces continue to reign supreme. Go bold with artisan light fixtures, wall-hangings, sculptures or funky art prints. Designers are noticing that trends are moving away from minimalistic and allowing more room for personalized and eclectic decor.

 

6. Brass shines the brightest. Of all the metals that have been popular in the last few years, brass seems to be edging its way to the top. Moving away from stainless steel to golden brass tones allows for a warm and subtle look. Brass will be seen incorporated into light fixtures, door handles, kitchen and bathroom accents as well as statement pieces.

 

7. Velvet is back, for now. Design experts are seeing a resurgence in velvet furniture and textiles but are unsure of how long the trend will last. Velvet offers a luxe and old-world look and can easily be incorporate in the form of throw pillows, blankets or bed covers. If you're feeling extra bold, you can always incorporate a modern take on a vintage-style sofa.

8. Bar carts as a statement piece. Beverage carts are making an appearance and are being

used as cocktail accessories or simply to display interesting decor pieces. Vintage carts bring a bit of old world charm while modern carts boast a mix of darker woods and luxe metals.

 

What design trends do you look forward to seeing in 2018? Have any predictions yourself? Let us know!

 

What's for lunch? Planning your Lunch ahead of time can help you Increase Productivity

November 29, 2017

 

We've all heard the analogy that food is fuel, but if that was the case our performance wouldn't be affected by the type of food we eat. Consider when you pump your gas - you aren't typically too concerned about which gas station you're pumping at – as long as it's the grade of fuel your car needs.

 

What if every gas station's fuel gave you different results? Perhaps at one you could go 45 km further on one tank, at another you couldn't go faster than 100 km an hour – would you take more care in choosing a gas station, then? This might be a silly example but it's how we should think about our food (the way we fuel our bodies). Food has a direct impact on our cognitive performance.

 

The types of foods we eat (and when we eat them) can affect our mood and energy levels – a poor decision at lunch can derail your whole day:

 

Don't wait until 11:45 to plan for your 12:00 lunch. Think about when you make lunch/eating choices. Is it in the middle of the day when you are already hungry and tired? You are at your lowest point of energy, which means you're also at your lowest point of self-control. We typically go for what is fast and cheap, which unfortunately is usually pretty unhealthy. We know what's good for us, and what isn't, it's just harder to make the right decisions when we're hungry.

 

It's easier to plan to eat healthy, than to make the choice when you're hungry. When we plan healthy meals we tend to stick with them more than if we were to try and make healthy choices while we're hungry. It's easier to resist unhealthy food in the future than it is to resist them in the present.

 

It's hard to concentrate on an empty stomach. Just about everything we eat is converted by our bodies into glucose, which provides the energy our brains need to stay alert. When we're running low on glucose we have trouble staying focused. Foods like pastas, bread, cereal, and soda release glucose quickly – so you feel energized almost immediately, but crash shortly after. High-fat foods like cheeseburgers or BLTs provide more sustained energy but reduce oxygen levels and end up making you feel groggier because your digestive system needs to work harder. Eating healthier foods throughout the day allows for a more steady glucose intake.

 

The British Journal of Health Psychology found evidence that eating more fruits and vegetables may be linked to increased levels of curiosity and creativity. The study found that young participants that ate more fruits and vegetables felt more creative, more engaged, and reported feeling happier than those that ate less fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that foster the production of dopamine -helping to improve memory and enhance mood.

 

So what can you do to ensure you eat healthy and stay productive during your work day? Every Monday, bring a variety of fruit and vegetables to store in the work fridge for the week. Grab different fruits and vegetables throughout your day and have an assortment of protein bars and almonds at your desk within sight. Spikes and drops in blood sugar are bad for productivity - eating small nutritious snacks throughout the day will help to make sure you don't crash in the middle of an important meeting or call.

Snacking will also help to ensure you're not starving by lunch time – you'll make smarter eating choices when you're not super hungry.

 

We know what's good for us and what isn't - make things easier on yourself by planning the food you eat ahead of time.

Sit down and Exercise: Easy Ways to Exercise while at Work

November 22, 2017

We spend so much of our time sitting; our modern lives allow us to spend most of our time sitting down. Think about your day: you sleep for around 7 hours, sit in you car (or on the bus, train, etc.) to get to work, then you sit at your desk for at least part of your day. You sit to drive, sit to eat, sit to have meetings, etc. All the sitting in your day adds up. Here are a few ways to introduce physical activity into your day...even if you're stuck sitting!

 

First of all, if you need to sit – make sure you are sitting properly. Ensure that your desk chair is the right height. Your feet should be able to be flat on the floor and your knees and hips at a 90 – degree angle. Keep your lower back pressed against the chair to maintain good posture. Avoid forward head posture – make sure one-third of your monitor is above eye level.

 

Stretch at your Desk. Before doing any physical activity, it's important to stretch. Even if you plan on sitting all day – stretching will help improve blood flow and help to prevent aches and pains.

 

1. Neck Stretch.

Sit up straight and drop your right ear to your right shoulder for a few seconds, do the same for the left side. Repeat a few times.

Turn your head to the left and look over your shoulder for a few seconds, do the same on the right.

Drop your chin down to your chest and gently roll your head from left to right.

2. Back Stretch.

Lock your fingers and reach upwards with your palms facing towards the ceiling.

Bring your hands behind your back and press your palms together. Sit up tall and hold for a few seconds.

3. Glutes Stretch.

With a bent knee, lift your right leg up and pull it towards yourself, holding it as close to your chest as you can, hold for a few seconds and do the same with the other leg.

With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against your right knee a few times. Repeat with other side.

4. Shoulder Stretch.

Raise your shoulders to your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times.

 

Exercise in the Office. Once you've sufficiently stretched, it's time to take your office workout to the next level. Instead of taking a break to browse through Facebook, use your breaks for these quick exercises:

 

1. Walk, jog, or run – in place! Stand up and start lifting those knees. Want more of a challenge? Bring your knees up to waist-level with every “step”.

2. Chair Squats. Super simple – Stand up from your chair, and sit back down. Repeat 10 times.

3. Wall Sit. Stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position – hold for 10-30 seconds at a time.

4. Shoulder Press. Grab something that weighs a few pounds. Perhaps a phone book, or a package of computer paper. Hold the item at shoulder height and raise it all the way over your head – do 10 repetitions, 3 times.

5. Calf Raises. Stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor and stand on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor, do 10 repetitions, 3 times.

 

Be more Active Outside the Office. Small changes to our routine can facilitate a healthy and active lifestyle.

 

1. Park Further Away. Instead of being on the look-out for the closest spot, find a spot that inconveniences you just enough to get a minute-long walk or jog into work.

2. Take the Stairs. Unless you work on the 18th floor, taking the stairs is a great way to get a little exercise in. Even if you work high up, you can go up or down a few flights and then take the elevators from there. A quick jog up the stairs can be a great way to increase your heart rate and burn a few calories.

3. Be less Lazy with your Commute. If you rely on public transportation, try getting off the train or bus a few stops away from your usual spot. If you live close enough to work, try walking or riding your bicycle, instead. Anything you can do to help get more steps in during your day!

4. Walk and Talk. If you know you're going to be on the phone for a while, why not go for a walk while you do it? Need to have a meeting? Grab coffees to-go and walk through the neighbourhood together. Exercise improves brain function – you may come up with some amazing ideas during your stroll!

5. Do more things yourself. Instead of asking someone to bring you lunch, head out yourself. Leaving the office and getting some fresh air and exercise can help you have a productive day.

 

The possibilities to increase activity are endless. The most important thing is to be aware of how much time you spend sitting and doing what you can to get up and get yourself moving. Get up from your desk at least once per hour to improve circulation and energy levels. What do you do to ensure you're active during your day? Let us know!

Tips for Marketing to Baby Boomers

November 15, 2017


More than 70% of Baby Boomers own homes and will be looking to make changes sometime soon – ensure you are not missing out on this huge demographic with these tips:

 

What is Generational Marketing? Just what it sounds like – you market to a specific generation of people based on the preferences and attitudes that set them apart from other age groups. It's about tailoring and customizing messages that allow you to reach a particular audience - they must feel you understand and meet their needs.

 

Who are Baby Boomers? Primarily categorized as those born between 1946 and 1964, people born during this time are considered the “me” generation. Emphasis is on self-fulfillment and individualist attitudes. Boomers have a strong reputation for being hard working people who save and spend wisely. They're brand loyal - especially towards brands they grew up with; they make up the largest sectors of consumers.

 

They have money to spend. Compared to those who grew up during the Great Depression, Baby Boomers are quite affluent – they make up 70 % of the country's disposable income.

 

70% want to improve their current living situation. Whether it's upgrades or finding a new place – boomers are looking to make changes. The trend is moving away from a “relaxed” retirement towards active lifestyles surrounded by the latest amenities.

 

Yes, they're tech-savvy. Baby Boomers haven't always had the luxury of online shopping but they love it now. This generation outspends younger adults online, 2:1! Make it easy for Baby Boomers to find you online and reach out to you – place call-to-actions on your marketing materials. User-friendly websites add to the customer service experience – the simpler the better. Ensure you have a FAQ page where common questions are answered.

 

The internet is the most important source of information for Boomers when they make purchasing decisions. 60 % spend time reading blogs and online articles and about 70% enjoy watching videos about products and services.

 

They use social media. Baby Boomers are more likely to use Facebook and Twitter over other platforms and instead of posting about a night out, they are likely posting photos of their children or grandchildren or showing off their latest RV. Boomers are the fastest growing age cohort on Facebook – customized Facebook ads can be a great tool.

 

They're not “old”. First of all, referring to someone as old is disrespectful but it also disregards the way this generation is redefining what it means to age and retire. If you want to appeal to them, don't treat them as though they are old. They want to be encouraged about their accomplishments and their future. Share opportunities and experiences they have to look forward to in the next chapters of their life. They are healthier and more active than their parents. Many are not yet thinking of themselves as an aging population – be mindful to not use terms like 'aging' and 'elderly'.

 

They crave one on one interactions. Providing exceptional customer service is the key to winning this generation over. As many Baby Boomers enter retirement, they are faced with more free time and potentially less social interactions. A little extra effort can go a long way. Take the time to build rapport - write a personalized email, make a phone call, invite them to meet you over a cup of coffee. In order to build loyalty and trust, make sure you can provide what you promise. It's better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around.

7 Reasons REALTORs® should Think like CEOs

November 8, 2017

CEOs exude power, confidence, and success. CEOs are at the top of their company and you, as a REALTOR® are, or can be, at the top of yours. Here are 7 ways that thinking like a CEO and treating your career like a business can help you on your path to success:

 

1. CEOs take Calculated Risks. Risk taking is essential to personal and professional success. Whether it's taking on a client that you aren't sure you are ready for, or doing something a differently when you think there is a better way. Without risks, you are destined to have a mediocre business.

 

2. CEOs Embrace setbacks. Instead of giving in because things didn't go as planned, step back and analyze the situation. Put together a new plan to continue to move forward and remember you might have to adjust your goal.

 

3. CEOs delegate Tasks. You are not just selling homes- you're running a business. You know that you can't do everything on your own. Even if you aren't able to now, one day soon, you'll be in a place where you are able to delegate non-essential functions to other people. Think about your own skills (or lack thereof) and decide where you could use assistance. Consider what takes up the most of your time, could some of this work be outsourced?

 

4. CEOs hold Employees and Companies Accountable. Delegating is one thing, creating a system to hold people accountable, is another. By staying on top of the people and companies you do business with, you remove unnecessary expenses, services, and personnel. Keeping up to date and tracking numbers will help to hold people accountable and ensure they are performing.

 

5. CEOs Crunch the Numbers. The concept of profits and losses might sound simple, but a surprising amount of people are actually clueless about it. Do you know how much you retain for every dollar you earn? How about your marketing costs per listings? It's crucial to understand and keep track of basic data to see where your money goes and to make necessary changes in spending.

 

6. CEOs Implement Budgets. Does your office have a marketing plan or a set budget? An annual budget helps forecast income and expenditure. A budget also acts as a tool to aid decision making and helps to monitor business performance. Make a plan and review your spending quarterly; see what works and what doesn't.

 

7. CEOs Collect Data. Collecting data allows you to assess the effectiveness of your spending. For example, if for a year you have been paying $500 monthly to have your advertisement in a magazine and you have only closed one deal off of it for $4,000 – it may be time to reassess where your marketing dollars are going.

Being a successful REALTOR® means being the CEO of a business in a competitive and fast-paced industry. Stay ahead of the curve and make the best use of your time and resources. It might be more work but staying on top of the important stuff will help to keep your profits high and your expenses low. You are accountable for your own success!

Organize your Workspace Today

November 1, 2017

Where you work greatly impacts how you work. Working in a cluttered or unorganized office can affect your work habits in a negative way. It's hard to concentrate and be productive when things are messy or chaotic. A proper desk and workspace can provide a feeling of control and competence and help to increase productivity levels. Designing and organizing your space doesn't have to be difficult -keep these points in mind:

 

Being clutter-free doesn't have to be hard.

 

Create a 'catch-it' space to catch incoming items before they enter your actual workspace. The three main kinds of items that flow into an office are 1) important documents, 2) stuff you need to keep (jacket, travel mug, umbrella), and 3) garbage. Placed near the entrance of your office, a catch-it space should have a tray for documents, a shelf or set of hooks and a trash can. This way stuff gets organized before it even enters your space.

Ensure that your recycling bin and garbage are big enough – nothing worse than trashcan overflow!

Have two document trays on your desk. One tray should hold new documents and one should hold old documents (things you've opened and looked at, that you need to deal with). This is a simple approach but helps to eliminate paper clutter.

 

Decide what you need to have in front of you.

 

Unless you use it regularly, you don't need to have it out. Avoid clutter by keeping only necessary items within view.

It might be tempting to place your favourite family photos, souvenirs, or collectibles on your desk (we get positive feelings when we look at them, right​​?), but organizers suggest that we shouldn't display more than three personal items. Our eyes take in everything in front of us and our brain processes it – even if we don't realize it. The more stuff we have to look at, the more distracted we become.

Think about your daily routine – do you get up from your desk to grab the same thing four times a day? Having a clutter-free space is important but your most-used supplies should always be in reach. Getting up even once a day to grab a pencil or paper clip is taking your attention away from your work – it takes effort to re-center and get back into whatever you were doing.

 

 

Get your layout right and find the perfect spot for everything.

 

Whether it's your laptop or your desktop monitor – screens should be in front of you at eye-level and about 17-inches from your body.

Frequently-used item, like the phone, or a pen and notepad, should be kept on your dominant side to avoid having to reach across yourself.

Items that you use on a daily basis can go on your desk, while items that are used one or two

times a week can go in a drawer or cabinet under or to the side of your desk.

Ensure your desk is positioned in the best spot within your space. Find a spot with minimal foot traffic and as little noise as possible. If you're able to, position yourself near a window – it's always nice to be able to look outside and being able to feel the sun's rays can do good for your mood, as well.

 

 

We all have different habits and ways we like to do things. Your space should be suited to your unique needs. Think about your habits (good or bad), how can you organize your space to make life easier for yourself? For example, if you find you need to stand up and stretch often, consider using a height-adjustable desk that you can stand in front of when you get restless. Alternatively, if you find you consistently misplace paperwork or mix-up files, you might want to reconsider your filing system. Updating your workspace can help you to reach optimal productivity. What kind of changes do you think your space needs?

4 Easy Lunches you Can Bring to Work

October 25, 2017

We all have those days where we barely have enough time to sip our coffee – let alone eat a nutritious meal. We've all been guilty of skipping lunch or eating junk because we don't have time to go and get proper food – some days, we just feel too busy! Make life a little easier for yourself and ensure you have the proper nutrients to fuel your day by doing some easy lunch prep in advance:

 

1. Pasta Salads - Easy to Eat and Require no Heat. Pasta salads are great because they're quick to make and easy to change up. From pesto, to tomato feta, to a greek pasta salad – the options are endless and you can include whatever veggies you have in your fridge. These make the perfect work lunch because they are easy to pack up and can be stored in your fridge for days. Here are a few tasty recipes.

 

2. The Lunch Staple – A Spin on the Classic Sandwich. Sandwiches are one of the easiest lunches you can bring to work. Simple to make and easy to eat. Put together your sandwich at home before you leave, or bring your favourite ingredients and prepare it at work. The latter ensures your sandwich is fresh and your bread isn't soggy! Sandwiches don't have to be boring – next time you are at the grocery store, try out different types of cheese, deli meats, leafy greens or spreads! The Food Network offers these sandwich-making tips. If you want even more variety, swap out your bread for a croissant, pita, crepe or even rice crackers!

 

3. Prepping for a Week's Worth of Delicious Salads. Even the healthiest of salads can be flavorful and filling. Whether it's your meal, or a side dish – preparing a week's worth of salads is easy. Choose your favourite greens, wash, dry and portion them in individual containers. Choose a variety of toppings and prepare and pack those in individual containers, as well. Toppings can include hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, apple slices, avocado, dried cranberries – the sky is the limit. After you have your greens and toppings packaged, prepare some dressings in small containers. Every morning before work, grab a container of leafy greens, sprinkle a few toppings of your choosing and grab a dressing container. When you get to work, simply drizzle your dressing, close your salad container and give it a good shake – voila! Fresh salad on the go. Here are some tips on preparing a week's worth of salads.

 

4. Skip the Starbucks and Make your Own Bistro Box. Many coffee shops sell delicious bistro boxes, save some cash and make your own at home! These boxes are great because they're completely customizable - they're easy to prep and eat and you can make them a few days in advance. A bistro box can be anything you want it to be. Make a sandwich/wrap/salad and pick your favourite fruits, vegetables, and proteins - packaging them in containers for a quick on-the-go lunch. Here is a great bistro box recipe.

 

You won't always have the luxury of taking an hour for lunch (or even have the luxury of eating at a table, some days), these mess-free, easy-to-prepare lunches will save you during your busiest days!

5 Important Website Tips for REALTORS®

October 18, 2017

Picture this: You're browsing the internet, looking for information about dog kennels in your area. You click on a site and after 10 seconds of loading, loud music starts playing, a sign-up window pops up the size of your screen and a video of dogs barking begins in the background. You close the pop-up ad, turn your volume off and stop the video...only to have to navigate through three pages to find a contact number...

 

Sounds like a disaster, right? Although this is an extreme example, many of us are guilty of one or more of these website no-no's. Here are a few tips to ensure that your website is user-friendly and keeps visitors coming back:


1. Use pop-ups with caution. Avoid turning potential clients off by bombarding them with ads or audio and video within seconds of them opening your site. Let your website sell itself. If people like what they see, they will contact you or sign up for email alerts themselves. They should know exactly where to go – make it as easy as possible. After a few minutes, a little nudge might be helpful. Something like a sign up window that pops up in the corner is okay once someone has been on your site for a couple of minutes. Remember, it takes time for people to decide if they like what they see. Give visitors a few minutes before asking them to sign up for anything.

 

2. Make sure it's fast. The more information you have on your website, the greater the risk for slow-loading pages. According to one report, if your page takes more than 5 seconds to load, visitors are likely to leave it. Remember that high resolution images and videos will take longer to load – ensure that your website can handle it. We generally have short attention spans when it comes to browsing the internet – make sure your site is fast and easy to navigate. If you have videos on your home page, make them short and sweet, allowing visitors to click through to watch more.

 

3. Have quality content. Your website should have a regularly-updated blog. A blog not only offers visitors valuable information - it positions you as a knowledgeable leader in your field. Think about who your target audience is – your content should be relevant and timely, catering to their interests. If you're able to create a dialogue through your articles – you're doing it right. Posting unique content also ranks your site higher in Google searches and when people share your content, you increase your reach and increase traffic to your site. Other types of useful content: white papers, step-by-step guides, how-to videos and links to helpful resources.

 

4. Provide lots of information. People are visiting your site because they are looking for something. There will be first-time homebuyers and sellers looking to educate themselves. The more information you provide, the more valuable your website becomes. Apart from your blog, a FAQ page or a page specifically for newbies might be helpful. As a REALTOR®, you might take for granted that many of your clients know what industry terms mean, but it's important to remember that many do not. Having an encyclopedia of terms as well as a 'Real Estate 101' type page can help your visitors feel more confident about contacting you. The more they know, the more comfortable they will feel about moving forward.
 

5. Make it attractive. Your website should be sleek and easy to navigate. Use an appropriate colour scheme and keep things simple – avoiding ads at all costs. Content should be easy to find and the most important information should be found right on your home page. Remember that many people will be visiting on their phones or tablets – so being mobile-friendly is a must! Over 90 per cent of people search for their real estate needs online, make sure they like what they see.

 

Your website is a representation of you. Take the time to make it as beautiful and functional as possible -without overwhelming your visitors!

 

How to Meditate at Work

October 10, 2017

It’s easy to discount meditation full stop, let alone in an office. You can complain that you haven’t any time to go to the bathroom, let alone find time to meditate. You can argue that you couldn’t possibly pause all the chaotically running thoughts in your mind for that long. But meditation isn’t always the stereotypical pose most people have in their heads with someone sitting cross-legged, humming “omm” out loud. Meditation is about thinking quietly, not clearing your mind altogether. And with this article you’ll see you can do it anywhere in the office

 

Focus on the little things you do every day between tasks: walking to your next meeting, going to the bathroom, copying or faxing documents. These are all places where you can spend time thinking quietly and meditate, which can easily improve your productivity levels at work.

 

Meditation can be as easy as drinking water. First off, you need to be drinking a lot of water every day anyways. It’s not just enough that you need it to live, but the correct amount lets you live optimally. But as a form of meditation, water, as an Earth element, can help you feel calmer as it replenishes and cleanses you. As you take a sip of your water, recognise that you are so fortunate to have clean drinking water at your disposal that is helping to nourish and care for your body. Stopping for a moment to show gratitude for the gift of health is a great form of meditation.

 

Bathrooms are the perfect meditation oasis. Imagine yourself in a very tense or very boring meeting (perhaps even both). All you want to do is get away. Chances are, you’ve thought about going to the bathroom, perhaps you might have even faked needing to go to the bathroom just to go away for a couple of minutes. That in and of itself is meditation. Taking 5 minutes to disappear to a different environment to cleanse your mind, to think only about washing your hands, is a great way to restart your brain and give you the strength to get back in that meeting and succeed.

 

Adding nature to your office can help ground you. Plants, another Earth element, let us immerse ourselves entirely when in its presence. Bring in a potted plant, a beta fish or even a rock garden if you really want low maintenance at work. Your day can be lightened so much just by picking up a rock every day or watering your plants and taking 30 seconds to just feel gratitude toward the beautiful things you have in your life.

 

Slowly, but surely, all the hogwash you might have thought about meditation will come to make sense. When you allow yourself to feel happy even in the most frustrating of moments, you keep the window of success open for your future. So enjoy that minute you give yourself every day to think about your talents and your gratitude, and kick butt!

Taking a Course? Remember these Study Tips

October 4, 2017

 

In the world of real estate, there’s always opportunities to develop skills, gain experience, and get new certifications. Learning is a big part of the job. This means classes, reading material, and often times, exams. If the idea of taking a test stresses you out, here are some study tips to help you succeed:

 

Spaced Repetition
We all know cramming doesn’t work. What especially doesn’t work is trying to learn a large amount of information in one sitting. Break up your study material into small chunks (half an hour, for example) and review them consistently over a long period of time. The more you review, the more it will stay inside your brain. This can also mean that you don’t have to study one topic all day long. If something gets too hard or confusing, just switch it up with another small chunk so that you can better process it.

 

Stories and Mnemonic Devices
Creating a narrative or a story of the information you collect is one of the best ways to remember the information. You’re creating connections that help your brain remember the information better, even if the story doesn’t make sense. That’s also why mnemonic devices work, for example MVEMJSNP – My (Mercury) Very (Venus) Energetic (Earth) Mother (Mars) Just (Jupiter) Served (Saturn) Us (Uranus) Nine (Neptune) Pizzas (Pluto) can help you remember the order of the planets in our solar system.

 

Change Your Environment

Have you ever found a good study space, only to realise that after a while you’re not obtaining as much information as possible? It’s not you, it’s the space! Your brain can get complacent with too much studying in one space so make sure that on a semi-regular basis you switch it up from coffee shops to libraries, to home, to other places you find that work for you. New places force us to create new associations in our brain which means there’s a higher chance of you creating stronger memories of the stuff you’re learning.

 

Exercise

Exercise helps you get stronger physically and mentally. The endorphins you get and the energy you put into your workouts will help you focus and concentrate better (sometimes better than a coffee).

 

Study Music

Some people prefer to study in silence – not everyone can improve their concentration listening to voices or songs while studying. But if you find that you’ve tried the above tips and they don’t work, try listening to some music. Some people

like top 40s, but most people show improved concentration when they listen to classical. So, you may not be a fan, but Mozart might help you study!

 

Get Off The Internet

It’s a plain truth that in today’s society we are constantly surrounded by distractions and most of them are internet-related. We think to ourselves, “it’s just one Facebook notification, that won’t take up more than a minute” and half an hour later you’ve gone through your entire Instagram and are somehow on YouTube. Do yourself a favour and get a self-control app or study where there is no internet connection.

 

Scents Make Sense

A lot of students get very stressed when studying and struggle to study because of the stress. Lighting a candle, having a diffuser in the room, or even having a bottle of essential oils handy can help you calm down and focus a lot more on studying. Lavender is a calming smell and will help clear your mind so only the important stuff goes in, and none of the stress.

 

Exams and new learning material can be daunting no matter how you spin it. Get yourself in the right mind frame and establish a productive work environment that works for you. It might not always be easy, but learning is always worth it!

6 Creative Ways to Network and Market Yourself as a REALTOR®

September 27, 2017

As a REALTOR®, it's important for you to get your name out there and talk to people. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out a way to do just that. Here are 6 simple, yet effective, ways to be active in your community and let people know who you are:

 

1. Plan a community event. If done properly, even a small-scale event can generate dozens of leads, position you as an active member (even leader) in the community, and get your name seen and heard far and wide. Planning a successful event takes time and resources – it's not for the faint of heart. Take a look at a current event calendar in your community – is there something you think is missing? Team up with your brokerage, or get together with family and friends to coordinate an event that your community will remember.

 

2. Sponsor a local team or event. It's easy to find sports teams, dance groups, charities, etc., that are looking for sponsorship. If there is a cause close to your heart, or a local sports team you are particularly fond of – consider becoming a sponsor. Before deciding on being involved, ensure you know what your sponsor package includes and what kind of exposure you can stand to gain. Sponsorship can help you get your name out there and support people in your community.

 

3. Join online discussions and groups. Join Facebook groups centered around your community or town. Even if these groups are not real estate related, stay active and join discussions. One second you may be talking about vintage cameras, football or local cafes – the next, the conversation can turn to real estate. Before you know it, you may get the opportunity to offer advice or share a story and let people know a little bit more about you. Be genuine, helpful and actively involved – you might be surprised who will private message you for help. Keep an eye out for new home buying/rental groups and ask around to see what groups your friends are members of.

 

4. Leave your business card everywhere. You already know that you should never leave home without a few business cards, but why not make it a goal to come back home with none? Do you have a cafe you frequent everyday? Ask to leave your business cards by the cash. Leave a card at the bank, at the gym, at the library – wherever! Many restaurants, bars and coffee shops have community boards that you can pin your card to. Better yet, create an attractive poster and hang it up at these places.

 

5. Host an information session. Host a free informational meetup at a local cafe or community center. You can keep it general and offer people the opportunity to ask questions – no strings attached, or have a specific theme. For example, host a 45 session for first time homebuyers or a Q & A for those interested in investment properties. Give advice, network, and have a good discussion over coffee. Give valuable advice without the hard sell – your generosity and expertise won't go unnoticed.

 

6. Publish an article. Write an interesting and informative article about your neighbourhood, local housing market, home renovations, whatever! Contact local newspapers and magazines to see what kind of pieces they are looking for. Is there a local blog that is respected in your community? Ask to be a guest writer. Writing is great for exposure and it positions you as a knowledgeable leader in the industry.

Last but not least - network, network, network. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing - ensure that people know who you are and what you do! Show people that you care and genuinely love your job.

Marketing to Millennials

September 20th, 2017

Marketing properties to millennials may appear daunting to those who have strong experience catering to other generations. Yet, at the end of the day, millennials are generally first-time homebuyers and should be treated as such. Here are some tips to better market yourself to millennials and first time homebuyers in general:

 

Set The Communication Tone – Right at the beginning of communicating with your new potential clients, ask them how they prefer to be contacted. Some millennials may still prefer phone calls, but others would prefer to exclusively text. Also mention which hours you will be checking your phone – you may say they can text you anytime, but you might not be ready to respond to a dozen texts at 2 am about a house they just found. Set the tone from the beginning and everything should be smooth sailing.

 

Millennials Are Smarter Than You Think – We’ve all heard the shtick that millennials spend absurd amounts of money on avocado toast and that they’re poor at money management. On the contrary, millennials are very careful with their money and as a result, are arguably the most informed consumer generation to face marketing professionals. If you want to grab their attention you will need to have a very well-designed website. Cater it to first-time homebuyers (which millennials will most likely be), include a list of frequently asked questions or use your website to host webinars that allow you to stream or even directly interact with your potential clients.

 

Be As Accessible As Possible – You’re well on your way if you have an established online presence using the tips above, but you want to make sure you provide all the necessary tools to clients who enjoy doing massive amounts of research before going ahead with the largest purchase they’ll make next to their education. Provide them links to apps that will help them house hunt such as Realtor.com (unless you have your own branded app), a mortgage calculator, a staging app, etc. To go the extra mile for your clients, buy the app for them if it comes with a cost – small gestures will go a long way. In addition, any documents that can be scanned and provided online in one forum such as Google Drive should be placed there. This can make interactions with millennials a lot faster, but also more comfortable for them as they have all the information they need in one place. If you want to create your own checklists or spreadsheets for them that create a personal touch to the home-buying process this will make you all the more appealing to millennial homebuyers.

 

Tailor Your Social Media Presence – Millennials will appreciate that you post your listings on your Facebook or Twitter, but chances are they already know that you are selling those properties. Rather, try to create a conversation with your clients through your social media by telling them about a couple that looked for the perfect house for a year and finally found the one they wanted. Show millennials information about the city and neighbourhoods that you are selling – where you would like to go running, cool coffee shops, or where the worst traffic is. Be as personal as you can to foster relationships with your target audience.

 

Stand Out – When millennials spend all their time researching, they will pick up on patterns very easily. They will see the same few shots of a house with certain descriptions. Get creative and take drone shots (or videos!) of the house and the surrounding neighbourhood. Make a virtual reality video or allow your clients to “test drive” a house using Airbnb or a similar app. Your attention to detail will make a lasting impact.

 

When it comes down to brass tacks, all first-time homebuyers want the same things: stability, safety and a solid financial investment. They need and will benefit greatly from your help, and hopefully this list will help adjust your toolkit to better cater to them.

 

8 Tips to Improve your Focus Today

September 13, 2017

With so many things vying for our attention at all hours of the day, it's easy to get a little...distracted.

 

Studies show that people have about an 8 second attention span (less than that of a goldfish!). This has shrunk due to digital connectedness; our brains are always seeking what's new, what's next. Focus (or lack thereof) is linked to our survival as a species; we need to be able to focus on what's important, generally, that means focusing on what's moving. This skill hasn't changed – it's just moved online now. Unfortunately for us, there is always something 'moving' so here are a few tips to get focused and stay focused:

 

1. Prepare your mind and body. About to do something that requires your undivided attention? Relax your mind and body; do a few stretches, clear your head, listen to enjoyable music or go for a brisk walk. This will help prepare your body for the focus you require.

 

2. Plan ahead. Consider what needs to get accomplished and ensure you can dedicate enough time and energy to each task. Developing a routine and assigning blocks of time for different work will help you understand where your attention needs to go.

 

3. Log out. Disconnect - get rid of the distractions you can control. Limit your distractions by logging out of email and social media and putting notifications on silent. When we're listening/looking out for new notifications or messages it interrupts our thought process and gives us an excuse to switch focus.

 

4. Break it up. We lose focus over time - taking a short break in the middle of a long task helps to re-engage your brain. Brief mental breaks are important to keep us focused, they allow us to detach and return with fresh eyes.

 

5. Do one thing at a time. Don't fall into the 'multi-tasking' trap. Your brain's reward circuit lights up when you multi-task (it feels good), but your IQ actually drops when you do multiple things at once. If you want to do something right, give it your full attention. Distraction becomes a habit, slow down and give yourself more than enough time to accomplish your tasks.

 

6. Do important tasks right away. People tend to focus better in the early morning. Start your day with the hardest or most creative tasks. It might be tempting to get the easy stuff out of the way first, but our energy drains and focus diminishes as the day goes on. Put the time in while you are energetic and sharp.

 

7. Grab that coffee. Caffeine is connected to cognition. It can't improve memory or learning but it does increase physiological arousal and makes you less likely to get distracted. So if you catch yourself daydreaming mid-day – consider grabbing a cup of joe.

 

8. Adjust your environment. Our environment plays a big role in how well we're able to focus. Think about the sounds, light, temperature, and visual distractions in your current environment – can you focus well here? Background music and ambient noise can be helpful but intrusive sounds can distract you.
 

Ensure your workspace is comfortable too, proper lighting and temperature is important. Researchers found that people are most productive when their workspace is between 20 – 25 degrees Celsius, with the 'magic' temperature being 21.6 degrees Celsius.

Use techniques and measures that help limit your distractions and keep you on track. Take breaks, reward yourself, and establish a productive environment. Remember that with practice, you can improve your focus – it's like a muscle, it can be trained!

9 Success Tips for New or Aspiring REALTORS®

September 6, 2017
 

Are you a new REALTOR®, or aspiring to be one? Entering the world of real estate can be equally exciting and intimidating. There is so much to consider! Success is not achieved by one single thing alone, it's a culmination of preparation, education, personal skills and a solid attitude. Think you have what it takes? Here are 9 tips to start you on your path to success:

 

1. Be financially prepared. A career in real estate has the potential to be very lucrative, but don't expect to be hitting the jackpot right away. Like with anything, success takes time and work. Leave financial stress out of the equation by starting your new career with savings or part-time work that you can depend on. Understand the costs of starting your new career path (signage, office fees, marketing expenses, etc.) and take into account that it could be a few months before the first glorious commission comes through.

 

2. Have realistic expectations. Don't let yourself get discouraged! Remember that it will take time for you to learn the ins and outs and gain experience. Be prepared for your only clients to be friends and family in the first little while. Treat them professionally - this is your time to gain experience and credibility.

 

3. Join a top-notch brokerage. Finding capable mentors and connecting with established REALTORS® will help you get the support and exposure you need. When choosing a brokerage, find out what training is offered, what their expenses are, and how accessible management is. There's a lot you'll learn on your own before joining a brokerage but the assistance and education you'll receive afterwards is priceless.

 

4. Develop a web presence. If you aren't online, where are you? Over 90 per cent of home buyers begin their search for a home online. Create a professional website and be active on your social media accounts. Put yourself out there - make sure you are easy to find and that you and your branding are recognizable.

 

5. Do the dirty work. It might be tempting to pick and choose what jobs you want right away, but it's more important to put the work in and gain experience. Turning down less desirable commissions is a luxury that will be earned with time.

 

6. Remember that everyone is a potential client. The average homeowner moves every 5 years. You'll meet people that don't need a REALTOR® right now, but they may need one soon. Remember people and ensure they remember you. Make the effort to check in with people, send holiday cards, attend events - do what you can to be present in your community and social groups. Networking is one of the most important jobs you'll have. Take every single opportunity to let people know who you are and what you do.

 

7. Treat past clients like current clients. Just because your clients signed on the dotted line - it doesn't mean your relationship with them is over. Maintaining a connection will ensure you're in their minds for their next move or when they have family and friends ready to make a change.
 

8. Be a 'one stop shop'. Have contacts for your clients on hand. Make connections with real estate lawyers, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, etc. Send your clients to the people you know and trust. This is an easy way to add value for your clients and ensure that these professionals keep you in mind, as well.

 

9. Educate yourself. Learn. Learn. Learn. The more you know, the more confident people will be in your abilities. Go above and beyond the basics. Study mortgage rates, mortgage qualifying tactics, learn about home renos, know the basics of how utilities work or have minor plumbing and electrical know-how. The more you know, the more valuable your services become.

 

Last but not least, be confident. Be confident in your abilities and take pride in yourself. Show people that you appreciate their business and that you love what you do! Real estate might not always be easy, but with the right attitude and work ethic, it can be an extremely satisfying and profitable career.

 

Why your Attitude is Important for Success

August 30, 2017
What do you think is more important for success – a positive attitude, or a high IQ? Are naturally gifted people more likely to find success than their less talented counterparts?

 

According to new research, your attitude is actually a better predictor of success than your IQ. If you don't have an aptitude for something, get the right attitude:

 

There are two types of core attitudes, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

 

The fixed mindset: The belief that you are who you are – you can not change. Problems arise when you're challenged; anything that feels like more than you can handle makes you feel overwhelmed.

 

The growth mindset: The belief that you can improve with effort - you embrace challenges and treat them as opportunities. Those with a growth mindset outperform those with a fixed one, even if they have a lower IQ.

 

With a fixed mindset you avoid challenges, give up easily, and see your efforts as fruitless; you have a hard time accepting negative feedback, even if it's constructive. With a growth mindset you have a desire to learn, you tend to embrace challenges, persist during setbacks and feel that effort leads to mastery.

 

Although ability inspires confidence, it only seems to last while the going is easy. The deciding factor for success is how you handle setbacks and challenges. Success in life is all about how you deal with failure. Failure is information – if something doesn't work, problem solve and try something different.

 

Regardless of which mindset you identify with most, you can make changes and develop. Fine-tune your mindset and help make it as growth oriented as possible with these tips:

 

Be passionate. Pursue your passions relentlessly. There will always be people more naturally talented than you, but you can make up for it with passion. Decide on what you are most passionate about and pursue it with conviction.

 

Don't succumb to helplessness. We will all have moments where we feel helpless, what matters is how we react to this feeling. Some of the most successful people on the planet would have never made it if they had succumbed to the feeling of helplessness. People like Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, and Steven Spielberg wouldn't have found success if they hadn't overcome huge obstacles in the beginning of their careers. They didn't succumb to rejection and were able to maintain hope. It was their growth mindset that allowed them to see their failures as opportunities.

 

Start doing. The only way to overcome fears is to take action. There's never a truly perfect moment to move forward, so why wait? Turn your worry and concern about failure into positive focused energy by going for it.

Go the extra mile. Give it your all, even on the bad days. Strive for growth and improvement and push yourself a little more every day. Make it a point to be challenged on a regular basis, don't let things get too easy. Do better, be better.

 

Feel like you are stuck with a fixed mindset? Challenge yourself to see things differently, you may surprise yourself!

8 Tips for Writing Effective Workplace Emails

August 23, 2017

Writing effective work emails seems like a no-brainer, right? It's something we do every day – we could probably do it with our eyes closed.

 

The problem is, though, that when we're used to doing a task all the time - it can be easy for us to develop bad habits. Communicating effectively is crucial for productivity and it's usually a skill that we never stop improving on. Fine tune your email writing skills with these reminders:

 

1. Have a good subject line. Your subject line should grab attention, be specific, and summarize the main idea of your email. Avoid capitalizing entire words or using exclamation marks – these can come off as aggressive or 'spam-like'.

 

2. Be clear. Collect and organize your thoughts before drafting an email – keep your message clear and brief. Avoid ambiguity -use language that is easy to understand with proper sentence structure, spelling and grammar. Reading and writing unclear, misleading, or ineffective emails wastes time and hinders productivity.

 

3. Keep it structured. Make it easy on your recipients – always use formal salutations, state the purpose of your email, and provide context. Use paragraphs to group related points and separate differing ones. It's much easier to understand an email when the message is logically presented.

 

4. Keep it to the point. The length of your email is important, too. Keep things short and sweet – most people aren't overly interested in reading lengthy and tedious emails. If you want your reader to retain what you send, don't overwhelm them with unnecessary details or irrelevant information.

 

5. Be mindful of your tone. Emails should be fairly formal – be polite, choose your words carefully and use proper punctuation. Your emails are a reflection of your professionalism. Whether it's a client, or a coworker - keep things as professional as possible. Remember that writing has it's downfalls, too. It's not always easy for someone to interpret your tone. Without gestures, body language, and facial expressions– readers may easily misconstrue your words.

 

6. Don't hit 'Reply All'. Consider email etiquette – don't over-email and don't CC people who aren't pertinent to the discussion; you don't want to be bombarding people with irrelevant emails. Be respectful of people's time – if you want people to prioritize reading/responding to your messages, make your emails count.

 

7. Respond as quickly as you can. Acknowledging that you've read an email shows professionalism. Even if you aren't able to respond in full right away, send a quick reply letting the sender know you'll get back to them shortly.

 

8. Use it sparingly. Email is convenient, but it's not necessarily the best means of communication for every situation. Before you draft an email, ask yourself it it's necessary, or if a phone call, text, or face-to-

face discussion would do. A face-to-face conversation, or private phone call, is recommended in instances where you need to share private or sensitive information. Never assume privacy – be mindful of what information you share in your correspondences.

 

Last but not least, write your work emails as if you were sharing them on a public forum. Present yourself in the best light possible – always be respectful, professional, and tactful.

Discovering your Strengths: Questions to ask yourself

August 16,2017
What are you really, really good at? Often, it is much easier for us to point out our weaknesses than it is to identify our strengths. As a REALTOR®, you have a great deal of skills that you utilize on a daily basis, but what sets you apart from the rest? Ask yourself the following questions to better identify the unique strengths and skills that make you amazing at what you do:

 

What skills have helped you thrive? Think about the obstacles you’ve faced throughout your life – how did you get over them? With all the situations that have challenged you in the past, is there a common thread amongst them? It’s the tough moments that help us to identify the source of our strengths.

What makes you feel strong? When you feel overwhelmed, what makes you feel in control? Think about the moments when you feel strong, invigorated, and successful. These moments will give you clues about your strengths. As you identify and focus on what makes you feel strong, you can expect to be happier and become a better problem-solver in many circumstances.

 

What were you like as a child? When we’re kids we do what we love – and we’re not ashamed of it. Thinking about your childhood can give you insights into your passions and talents. What did you spend your time on? What was your favorite subject in school? Many people know from the get-go what their passions are, while for some it can take a while to recognize. Think about what interested you as a child; were you always building with Legos or writing stories, maybe you were constantly dreaming up inventions? Your childhood-interests, (especially if they’re still your interests) can give you clues about where your skills and passions lie. There’s a big part of us that never really changes, be honest about your interests – they hold the key to your skills and passions.

 

What compliments do you receive most often? Is there something that you get complimented on regularly? Pay attention to compliments, especially the ones that you dismiss because it’s for something that you do so naturally. Don’t assume that just because something comes easily to you or seems obvious, that it’s not rare and valuable to others. The skills that come naturally are often the most valuable.

 

It can be hard for us to truly see ourselves. We often focus on our weaknesses and don’t take full advantage of our strengths. To recognize our strengths, we often need others to hold up a mirror. If you can, email a few close colleagues/friends and ask them to write a story about a time where they felt you were ‘at your best’. Through reading their responses, you will hopefully be able to identify a pattern and paint a better portrait of your strengths. Odds are that the stories will all be fairly similar in nature - you may be surprised about you read. Seeing your strengths through others’ eyes can be a game changer.

9 Expert Qualities that a Good REALTOR® Possesses

August 9, 2017

In the competitive and fast-paced world of real estate, it's important for REALTORS® to set themselves apart. It's not just a job that's centered around people; it's a job centered around life changing decisions and big purchases. Not everyone can do it – and the people that do do it, (and do it well) possess some key qualities. Here are 9 expert qualities that make for an amazing REALTOR®:

 

1. They're excellent communicators. Being a good communicator means being available, being responsive, and ensuring that everyone involved understands what is happening. A good REALTOR® updates clients on their situation and shares information that is relevant to them.

 

2. They're proactive. A good REALTOR® thinks ahead. They're calling potential buyers, searching for new leads and anticipating challenges before they become issues.

 

3. They listen. If a client is having trouble getting a word in edgewise – there's a problem. A good REALTOR® asks the right questions and ensures that their client's needs are understood and met.

 

4. They're client-motivated. If a client is happy, they are happy. A good REALTOR® puts their clients first and ensures they feel respected and appreciated. Every client should feel like it's all about them.

 

5. They adapt to their client's needs. Every client has a different time frame, different motivations and different communication preferences. A good REALTOR® recognizes that every client is unique and adapts to their specific needs.

 

6. They've got a sense of urgency. A good REALTOR® recognizes that timing is important. They're on the ball and ready to go when necessary. They ensure that clients know their time is valued.

 

7. They've got the right tools. A good REALTOR® is equipped with knowledge and has all the necessary tools to get the job done. They combine their local knowledge, vast experience, and personal networks to ensure clients get the most value from their partnership.

 

8. They're honest. A good REALTOR® is direct and understands the importance of being clear and straightforward. They realize that honesty and 'telling it like it is' gets them further than painting a pretty picture.

 

9. They're assertive. A good REALTOR® treats people with the utmost respect but is not afraid to speak up. They show confidence in their abilities and take pride in their work.
 

What qualities do you think a REALTOR® should possess? What is the number one thing you would look for in a REALTOR®?

6 Steps to Prioritize for Success

 

August 2, 2017
 

How do we prioritize when everything feels like a priority? Our work is important, and often times it can be hard to decide which tasks deserve our attention more than others. Here are a few steps to help you objectively look at your projects and decide on where to start:

 

Collect a list of all your tasks. Everything should be in one spot. It’s easier for us to wrap our minds around what we have to do when everything is right in front of us.
 

Decide which tasks are urgent. Does something need to be done today, or right now? What are the consequences if the task doesn’t get accomplished?
 

Assess the value of the tasks. What carries the highest value to you? What types of tasks will have priority? Are client projects more important than internal work? Value can be assessed in different ways. Think about how many people are involved and impacted by each of your projects. Who would be negatively affected if you don’t finish the project? What can you stand to do another time?
 

Decide how much effort the tasks will take, and what to take on first. Figure out how much time and energy each task will take. Productivity experts suggest taking on meatier projects first and getting them out of the way. Sometimes, though, we just aren’t in the headspace to take on the big stuff . Knocking a smaller task off our lists can be just the motivation we need to get to the complicated tasks. Decide what works best for you.
 

Be flexible, but don’t lose sight of what’s important. Things will come up throughout the day and our priorities may change. Keep your eye on the prize while checking in every once in a while to see if you need to switch focus. Just don’t get too caught up in checking emails and getting distracted by new tasks if they’re not urgent. The best way to get things accomplished is to exclusively focus on one task until it’s completed. Distractions will always arise but do your best to spend as much focused energy as you can, for as long as you can.
 

Know where to cut things off. You most likely can’t accomplish everything on your list right now. Focus on what you can and must do and ditch the rest. Keep a manageable to-do list in order to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and distracted.

 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we feel like there are countless tasks vying for our immediate attention. Follow these steps to analyze your work and decide what deserves your attention now.

6 Tips for Effective Communication

July 26th, 2017

It's a no-brainer that effective communication is important. Often times things get 'lost in translation' and what we think we're putting out there isn't always how things get picked up.
Ensure you are being a good communicator with these tips:

 

1. Know what you are talking about. When someone is looking to write a book, people will tell them 'Write what you know'. The same goes when we're speaking, especially in front of a group or during important meetings. Before you set out to speak, make sure you are knowledgeable. Show people why your communication is valuable and what they stand to gain from listening to you. Place high value in providing authentic and effective communication.

 

2. Be an amazing listener. Communication is a two-way street. If you want to know how to speak, you need to learn how to effectively listen. When you listen more than you speak you are able to engage, ask questions and understand what people are thinking. It's all about balance – make people feel like what they say matters.

 

3. Check your understanding. Don't fall into the habit of forming responses while people are talking. Ask questions to clarify things and make sure that people understand what the other person is saying. When you don't take the time to understand what people are saying, you will end up arguing and losing focus. Avoid miscommunications, misunderstandings, and assumptions. There's no harm in asking for clarification.

 

4. Pay attention to nonverbal cues. What people say is often not the most important form of communication. Keep an eye out for tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Nonverbal communication can speak louder than words. Things to look out for are: posture, hand movements, and eye contact. Watch out for your own nonverbal cues - it is easy for us to choose our words carefully, ensure that body language conveys the same message.

 

5. Don't overestimate your understanding. Do you think you can communicate more efficiently with the people you know, versus strangers? Yes, most of us feel that we can, too. Did you know, though, that whether we know someone or not, we communicate and understand at the same level? It's true. Studies show that strangers and people that know each other well communicate and understand in the same way. One study found that people actually failed to communicate properly with the ones they knew well; they overestimated their ability to communicate. With people we know well, we tend to presume things that we don't with strangers. We get lazy. Psychologists have a name for it: closeness-communication bias. To make sure we communicate properly, we need to remind ourselves that what we know is different from what others know. We need to be actively taking the perspective of the other person.

 

6. Speak to groups as individuals. Develop a level of intimacy in your approach that makes every person feel as if you're speaking directly to him or her. Be emotionally genuine and exude the same feelings, energy, and attention you would one-on-one.

Great communication is the cornerstone of great leadership. Creating a connection that is real, emotional, and personal. It requires an understanding of people and an ability to speak directly to their needs. Do you believe that you're a good communicator? How do you think you could improve?

 

5 Ways to become a Better Motivator

July 19th, 2017

Working in real estate often means we take on the role of mentor, leader, partner or teacher. These roles often require us to not only keep ourselves motivated, but to be a positive force and pass on the motivation to others.  Here are five simple things you can change in your behaviour that will help you lead and inspire with ease:

 

1.    Have a Role Model
Sometimes it’s best to draw inspiration from your own mentors. Look to whom or what motivates you and think, what is it specifically that motivates me? Is it their successes? Is it how they go about their plans? The more we engage with role models or people who motivate us, the more likely their behaviour rubs off on us. 

2.    Set Clear Goals
Once you’ve found a role model, the next thing to do is to create achievable goals that always satisfy the “why”. If you can explain why this task is important and communicate that to others, you will easily bring together a cohesive team.

3.    Listen More, Speak Less
It’s a common misunderstanding that to be a good motivator you have to do all the talking and leading. But in order to make sure your team understands the goals and the whys behind the goals you need to listen to how they think. This way, your team feels like they have the opportunity to contribute as a direct result of your motivations!

4.    Recognize Accomplishments
It’s very easy to catch someone doing something wrong – but it’s far more important to catch someone on your team doing something right. Praising them will encourage them and motivate them to do more work. And while you don’t need to baby people and say, “everyone is a winner” – regular checking and mentioning the good with the bad will keep everyone on your team (including yourself) motivated to stay on task.

5.    Demonstrate You Are Reliable
You’ve listened to your team, you’ve praised them, but life can still become incredibly stressful. As the motivator you need to show your team that they can count on you to step up and go above and beyond to get things done. You are the glue to your team – remind them why they’re sticking together.

Figure out what motivates you and pass on the enthusiasm! Each of these steps is meant to be tailored to your own personality – some people like to demonstrate these skills very loudly, others prefer a quieter approach. Find what works for you and in time you will see how easy and empowering it is to be a great motivator!

The Importance of Breaks

July 12th, 2017

We’ve all been too busy or too stressed to take a break. “If I just push through, I’ll be done faster”, you think. But did you know that taking regular short breaks improves your health and productivity? Here are a few reasons why breaks are so important during your workday, and what you can do to make the most of them.

1.    A Break Works like a Refresh Button
If you push yourself too hard you run the risk of running on empty. Taking as little as a 5-10 minute break to flip through a magazine or talk to a friend will help your mind collect and reassemble all the information you were holding in your head before, so that when you return to your task, it will seem clearer. Think of a quick break like creative fuel – make sure you’ve always got gas in your tank!

2.    Physical Activity on a Break Soothes the Body and Soul
Getting up and going for a quick walk - even if it’s to get the mail - will help you both physically and mentally. We, as humans, aren’t meant to be sitting around all day.  Physical movement keeps us from getting restless and helps us burn a few extra calories throughout the day. And with the fresh blood pumping through your body you’ll be less likely to be mentally stagnant throughout as you work on your important tasks.

3.    Make Time for Tea!
The Brits may be up to something when they go on their tea rounds throughout the day. Taking time to brew a cup of tea forces you to slow down and relax. If your brew of choice is an herbal one, you’ll also be reaping the benefits of ingesting a bunch of antioxidants that will help improve your overall health. But if your tea is as strong as you are and needs to be caffeinated, you can rest assured that your diminished pace on your break won’t transfer into your work.

“But how long should we be taking breaks for?”, you may ask. There is no universally agreed upon interval or period for breaks. However, an increasingly popular method is the Pomodoro Method which allows you to work for 40 minutes followed by a 5 minute break for three rounds, upon which your fourth break is 15 minutes. You can set up a timer by yourself or download the app on your phone to make sure that you’re staying on track. 

Test out which ratio of work to break works best for you and try some of these tips so that you can be clearer of mind and healthier when you return to your busy schedule.

Productivity Techniques to help you do your best work

We all want to be more productive and do great work in a short period of time. We also know it's a lot easier said than done. Here are a few productivity techniques to help you out:


Organize, prioritize and delegate

  • Collect all your tasks on a to-do list. Simply use a piece of paper or download a organizational app on your phone. Apps are great because you can set up notifications and reminders.
  • Decide if every task is actionable and delegate any problems you can; put tasks in a hierarchical order.
  • Organize your list and add priorities and deadlines.
  • Decide which tasks are not currently actionable and put these on a separate list.
  • Review the whole list and decide what to do first.


Start with the hardest work
If you're a procrastinator, or like to set certain tasks aside, start with the big stuff. Get into the habit of doing the hardest, most unpleasant, or most daunting task as soon as you get to the office. Why? This way it is out of the way and since you've already done the hardest part, everything else in your day will seem that much easier.

Find consistency
Find one task that you'd like to get into the habit of doing and do it every single day without interruption for one month. Repetition will helps to create habits; make the task an unmissable part of your day. Associate the task with a particular part of the day and make a special calendar where you mark off every time you've completed the task. Make yourself accountable and before you know it, the task will become an automatic part of your day.

Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique helps you power through distractions and have hyper-focus on the task at hand – you get things done in short bursts while taking frequent breaks. The way it works is you do focused work in 25 minute chunks while taking 5-10 minute breaks in between. The breaks help you to relax and regain focus and the short work periods allow you to stay 100% focused. If you're trying to produce it's a great way to get through your tasks.

Quick Productivity Tips
Want to be more productive? Focus on keeping your work organized and having your mind rested.

  • Get enough sleep – If you aren't getting enough sleep, how can you expect your brain to work well? Having a good sleep works wonders on your ability to produce.
  • Detach yourself from work – We hear about work/life balance all the time...it's an important factor that affects productivity. You should be able to forget about work during the weekends and just relax. This allows you to have fresh eyes on your tasks and improves creativity.
  • Minimize (unwanted) interruptions – it's okay to grab a cup of coffee once you've completed a task, but if you're in the middle of something, make sure there are no people (or phone notifications) disturbing you at work.
  • Avoid multi-tasking – Attempting to work on a few things at once might give you the impression that you are doing less work in more time - but realistically, the cost of switching between tasks is so big that you end up losing time and energy. If you're working on something, just finish it before moving on.

What do you do to get yourself motivated and increase productivity?

Conflict Resolution Techniques for Realtors

Real estate is a people business -we nurture and develop dozens of relationships on a daily basis. Knowing how to handle conflicts is just a part of the job. Here are 5 tips to remember when conflicts arise and tensions run high. Empower yourself and remember these steps:

 

1. Take a Moment

 

It can be tempting to make a split-second decision and act rashly in the middle of a heated argument. Usually our initial thoughts come from a place of defensiveness and our reactions can be disproportionate to the issue. Take a deep breath and calm yourself – think about what could be adding to your heightened emotions. Are you hungry, or tired? Is there something in your personal life that is stressing you out? Address your needs (if you can), then address the problem. Tip: quick stretches can help you relax and make you feel more comfortable.

 

2. Gain some Perspective

 

As difficult as it may be, try to view the conflict from a neutral place. Putting your own opinions aside, detach and objectively see the problem. Are you actually upset at the person? Maybe there is something else going on and they simply struck a nerve? Address the person you are actually having a conflict with. Identify the issue, ignoring petty things and delving straight for the deeper core issues. Choose your battles wisely and take responsibility for your own mistakes. If you've done something wrong, apologize. It won't be seen as a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength and integrity.

 

3. Show Empathy

 

The ability to show empathy is one of the most important conflict resolution (and overall communication) skills to have. When someone knows that you understand how they feel, they don't need to defend themselves and there are less heightened emotions involved. You do not have to agree with them, but you can show you understand their feelings. Using “I” statements instead of “you” statements reduces defensiveness. For example, “I felt uncomfortable with our phone call the other day,” rather than “You made me upset.”

 

4. Pay attention to your Behaviours

 

Be aware of your facial expressions, hand gestures and body language – you are sending a strong message whether you realize it or not - make sure it's the right one. Avoid behaviours that can escalate a situation, such as: criticism, showing contempt, defensiveness and stone-walling.

 

5. Work on Actual Resolution

 

Ask questions and gather information that will give you a clear understanding of the issues at hand. Look for a 'win-win' scenario and remember that a little bit of compromise can go a long way. Focus on what you are able to control. We have no control over the things that other people say or do, we can only control how we react to them. Empower yourself to resolve the conflict and if a resolution can't be achieved, empower yourself to change the boundaries or perhaps disassociate yourself from the person altogether.

 

Conflicts are a part of life, being able to handle situations with a level-head is necessary for success. Keep these tips in mind to further facilitate healthy relationships with clients and coworkers, we all have the power to turn a negative situation into a positive one!

Boost your Confidence for Success

Would you consider yourself to be confident? Having self- confidence is important for any career but it is crucial for those that are asserting themselves as leaders in their field. Confidence is not a static quality – it’s a mindset and sometimes, it takes work. Here are a few tips to become (and remain) confident!

Never give up, never accept failure.

Low confidence levels are often caused by the negative thoughts running through our minds. The negative things you tell yourself often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The next time you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, switch to a positive affirmation and keep repeating this. If you don’t believe in yourself, it is hard to expect anyone else to.

Watch your body language

Think about a person walking with their head high, shoulders back, smiling and making eye contact. Would you perceive this person to be confident?

Posture, smiling, eye contact, and speech are important. Simply pulling your shoulders back gives others the impression that you are a confident person. Smiling makes you feel better and it makes others feel more comfortable around you. Remember to look people in the eyes when you speak to them and speak slowly. When you put in a little added effort and style your hair or give yourself a clean shave – you will feel better about yourself and others will perceive you as successful and self-confident. Body language will tell people a lot about you even before you say a single word.

Make preparations

One of the best ways to ensure you are confident is to know what you are doing. To be confident in the work place or during a presentation, equip yourself with as much knowledge and practice as much as you can. The easiest way to believe in your abilities is to prove them to yourself. Learn, prepare, practice, and repeat.

Take Action

Confidence is the way you feel, but it is also the way you act. Start conversations with strangers at networking events or take on a project that you normally would reject. Inaction breeds doubt, while action breeds courage. Capitalize on your strengths and let your actions show your confidence.

Confident people are often admired and tend to inspire confidence in others. They know that they can overcome obstacles and they tend to see their lives in a positive light - even when all is not going well. Confidence can boost your business, but it can also help you to live positively and be the best version of yourself. What boosts your confidence?

How to Create Listing Presentations that Convert

Creating a listing presentation can become second nature to some agents, who just go through the motions, updating and tweaking a template they created long ago.

 

But that doesn’t mean it converts your prospects into leads, and lack-luster presentation can be damaging.

 

So what should you have in your listing presentation so that it not only wows your prospects, but makes them sign on the dotted line right then and there? We’ve compiled a few of the key elements that need to be a part of your presentation, so that it converts leads into clients, time and time again.

 

Stand Out with your Message

Most realtors hide behind the corporate brand image, afraid to really make a stand on their personality and brand. But you have to, otherwise you become the “vanilla agent” that everyone sees, but no one remembers.

 

Use your own voice throughout the presentation (and no, we’re not talking about how you speak – we’re referring to the printed words on the page that will be left behind with your prospects). You’ll want this to carry through to every facet of your marketing, whether it’s your feature sheets, postcards, Facebook posts or emails.

 

Write as you sound when you speak so that as people are reading your materials, they’re literally hearing your voice in their heads. This is a good thing, but it can take some getting used to. Practice makes perfect though!

 

Photography in the Online World

Having professionally done photographs, and particularly drone photography for larger properties, will make or break a listing online. More than 90% of people will view a home online before they contact a realtor to walk through it, and if you took all your pictures with your phone, it will show. Make the investment and get someone to photograph the home in the best light possible so that what people see when they view it online is exactly how it looks when they see it in person.

 

Your listing presentation should show clients examples of your best listings, and all of the photographs you took so they can see how THEIR home will be presented to potential buyers. If they love the photos, you’re that much closer to getting the listing!

 

Be Engaging!

The copy in your marketing materials, and particularly your listing presentation, you’re going to want to describe the home not by features alone, but by how it can be used by the new buyers. An open concept kitchen becomes an entertainment or homework hub of the home. A master bedroom becomes an oasis of calm at the end of a day. Evoke imagery, and help potential buyers envision themselves living in the home, not just buying it for the walls and roof.

 

But how does that help your listing prospects to choose you as their realtor? Your potential listing clients want to know that you see them as more than just a transaction, and so you must prove that you approach their home in a human-centric way (i.e. buyers aren’t just part of a transaction: they’re people with lives and needs who want to know that the home is perfect for them and their family).

 

In today’s hot real estate market, being more human, and less about transactions, will win you new clients. Take the plunge and throw in a little more personality into your presentation. We could list a hundred things you can put into any listing presentation, but they’ll all fall flat if you mess up on connecting and engaging with your prospects.

 

At the end of the day, you want to be remembered, right? So be memorable! Stand out and don’t be afraid to add your personality to your presentations.

Feel like you're Failing? 4 Tips for Success

In business, and in life, we experience ups and downs. If you talk to any successful business person they will probably admit that their list of failures far exceed their successes. Struggling once in a while is normal, and even necessary to learn and grow, but what do you do when you feel stuck? Sometimes we need that extra push to get past the hurdles; here are 4 tips for success for when you feel like you're failing:

 

1. Take advantage of support

Have a support system in place and use it! It's stressful to go into something alone - don't be afraid to ask for and accept help. Sometimes all we need is a sounding board or someone to 'give it to us straight'. A lot of our burden can be lifted simply by having someone to talk to. Reach out to the people that know your business well – they will be more likely to offer constructive feedback. Be open to advice and criticism.

 

2. Shift your focus

Anytime there is a problem, it is easy to get caught up in the stress of the situation. When something goes wrong we can get paralyzed by the fear of failure and lose sight of what needs to get done. Instead of obsessing about the bad, get into problem-solving mode! Shift from “I haven't been able to get a solid lead all month, this situation is terrible!” to “Here are the steps I can take to better my chances this month”. Focus on solutions and get back in control of the situation.

 

3. Fake it 'till you make it

It may be a cliché, but it does work. Positive thinking can change our behaviours and experiences. You may currently be in a situation where you know things could be better. Your natural reaction might be to complain about the situation and have a sour attitude because you know it's not ideal. It's easy to be negative, especially when the people around you are unhappy in some way. So how can you be positive in a negative situation? Just fake it. It may sound silly, but acting like you're happy will actually make you happier! Fake a smile – it's proven to improve your mood. If you're struggling with having a negative attitude, practice acting happy. It'll be hard at first but as the days go on you'll notice you are trying less and less. Before you know it, you won't be acting at all!

 

4. Be honest

If there is a problem, be honest with yourself; denial won't get you anywhere. If you work with a team, especially if you have a management position, it's important to keep colleagues in the loop. Hiding important information can make a bad situation worse. You don't have to paint the full gory picture, but outright lying can ruin your reputation. Be open and transparent, and who knows, discussing the issue could prompt helpful dialogue.

 

Failure is an important part of success. Remember that things will work out one way or another. Focus on the future and keep setting goals for yourself!

Journey and Destination – Why both are Crucial for Success

There's a famous quote that reads, “It is the journey that matters, not the destination.”

 

Do you think of your career as a journey, or a destination? Is success an end result, or an ongoing process?

 

If you've ever taken a road trip, cruise, or backpacking trip, you probably understand the importance of a journey. Even though there may have been an ultimate destination, many of the fondest memories you had most likely happened along the way. When we think about our careers, we may consider our greatest accomplishments to be the recognitions we receive, lucrative deals we make, or sales goals we reach. But in reality, these accomplishments are just a culmination of the hard work we put in every day (like the miles we drive, the places we visit...).

 

Large accomplishments are actually just a series of small accomplishments. Think about what the ultimate goal in your career would be. For example, if your goal was to be the top-selling real estate agent in your region, how would you accomplish this? This is quite a feat but if you work backwards and look at what it takes – you will realize that it's just a series of attainable goals. If you hope to be number one (the destination), then you will have to get the clients, make the sales, build your brand (the journey). The new leads you acquire, the deals you close, the networking you do - all these daily accomplishments add up and get you to where you want to be. Keep your eye on the prize, but don't forget about the daily processes that will get you there.


The difference between destination and journey boils down to perspective - one focuses on the future, while the other focuses on the here and now. Both are necessary for success. We know that having goals is crucial - the world would not progress if humans didn't have the drive to do better, be better. But we also wouldn't progress if we didn't pay attention to what was happening around us - sometimes we need to make mistakes, change our course or simply take a break.

 

Remember that some days will be more productive than others, some ideas will be brighter than others, and some jobs will be easier than others. There will be days when we feel like we're falling behind or like our failures outnumber our successes – these are the days we need to remind ourselves of the journey. Other times we might get caught up in office politics, or get stressed about a client or a job – these are the days we should remember the destination. Both go hand in hand to create a road map for success.

Feeling Stressed? Try this Relaxation Technique Today

Although stress is a regular part of life, sometimes it can get to a point where we feel overwhelmed.
When stress and anxiety begins to take it's toll, it's time to find a way to get back to a positive and healthy mental state. Learning and mastering relaxation techniques can improve our well being and alleviate physiological and mental strain.
 
Stress affects us physically
 
High-stress situations activate our sympathetic nervous system (think fight or flight response). When we feel angry, anxious or scared, our sympathetic nervous system gets activated. It includes the part of the brain that responds to threats and stress. Our heart rate increases, breathing becomes rapid, blood pressure increases, digestion stops, our muscles tense up and stress hormones are released into our blood stream. That's a lot happening all at once! Our bodies feel unpleasant and we look for ways to feel better during these situations.
 
Coping with stress
 
After some period of time, our parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and brings our physiological changes back down to normal. Relaxation processes are all about changing our physiological state when we are tense, anxious, or angry. Basically, we are shifting attention, and taking control of breathing as a way to jump-start the parasympathetic nervous system.
 
Here's a simple and effective relaxation method developed by Dr. Will Meek. Follow the   sequence all the way through to relax and get into a positive and peaceful mental state:
 
1. Orienting: Pay attention to your immediate surroundings. Visually and mentally recognize where you are right now and what is around you. Think about what you see, what time it is and what is happening. When we are stressed or anxious we are not present – we are consumed by our thoughts and feelings related to something other than our surroundings.
 
2. Grounding: Shifting our attention to our connection with the environment. Relaxation is a physiological process so it's important to direct your attention to your senses. Notice how you are connected to your surroundings. For example, notice how your feet are planted on the floor, or how your back is resting against the chair or how your jacket feels on your body.
 
3. Slowing: Bring your attention to what is happening inside of you. Notice your breathing and your heart rate. The easiest way to control the way our bodies respond in any given moment is to control our breathing. One of the easiest ways to control breathing is called “4-7-8 breathing”. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold it for a count of 7, and then exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat. Work at a pace that feels good to you. The key is to make the exhale stretch out longer than the inhale. As you do this your heart rate will slow.
 
4. Coaching: Once you have the breathing pace down, keep doing it while you move to the coaching step. The key to this step is giving yourself positive, reassuring, and calm messages. Think positive thoughts like “Everything will be alright”. “I can get through this”. Everyone will have a different message that works for them. You can either be imagining someone you care about saying this to you , or it can just be your inner voice. Keep repeating this along with the breathing until you feel like you can get back to what you are doing.
5. Emerging: The key to this step is calmingly returning back to the present moment. Focus on going back to what you need to do with the same peace of mind you have when you wake up from a satisfying sleep. Gently reemerse yourself back into the flow of your day. Your body and mind should stay in a more relaxed and positive state.
Once you get the sequence down, change it up to fit your needs. Practice every day, the more you do it, the more effective it will be. 

 

Wake up Happier!

Let's be honest -mornings aren't the most pleasant part of most people's day. We're usually waking up groggy, just a little bit too early for our liking. Mornings tend to get a bad rap because many of us don't get enough sleep; we wake up stressed, rushing through our morning routines - always late for something.

Mornings don't have to be bad – the a.m. can become the best, most positive, part of your day. Start your day happy and relaxed with these tips:

1. Let the light in. Open your blinds or curtains half way before you go to bed. When morning comes, your room will fill with natural light and the rising sun will send signals to your brain to slow production of melatonin and start producing adrenaline, signaling that it is time to wake up. This way, when your alarm goes off, you'll already be half awake. 

2. Rise with the sun. If possible, go to bed early enough that you are able to wake up with the sun rise. Get your recommended seven hours of sleep. If you are able to maintain this routine, it is likely that your biological clock with be reliable – you'll be awake with the sun without problems.

3. Give yourself extra time. Set your alarm a little bit earlier. This way you are not rushing out of bed. Begin your day slowly waking up. Stretch, listen to the news, mentally think about what you are going to wear, what you are going to do, and what you'll eat for breakfast. Mentally preparing yourself for your day can do wonders, and remember – don't press the snooze (no matter how tempting it may be!)

4. Stretch. Start stretching even before you get out bed or open your eyes. Start with your fingers, move to your wrists, then your arms. Stretch your toes, feet, ankles, and legs. Sit up, stretch your neck and back – the enhanced flow of blood will provide an extra flow of oxygen to all your tissues.

5. Enjoy the shower. The shower can be a very relaxing part of your morning - if you're not rushing. Take a moment to enjoy the water beating on your back, or have a warm bath if you can. It can be a both simultaneously relaxing and energizing experience. Schedule a little extra bathroom time into your morning routine.

6. Get inspired. Read a motivational quote, recite a poem, or watch a feel-good video. Get yourself in a positive mindframe by exposing yourself to positive words or images first thing in the morning. Have goals you want to keep in mind? Stick a few post-it notes with affirmations on your wall in a place you'll see during your morning routine.

7. Take your vitamins! This is self explanatory. Take your vitamins and make sure you are eating right and drinking plenty of water. When we're healthy we sleep better, have more energy and are generally happier people!

 
8. Make less decisions in the morning. For a truly relaxing morning, make your decisions the night before or save the decision making until after lunch. Decide what clothes to wear, what to eat, what route to take to work the night before. Routinize as much of your morning as possible to save time and headaches.

9. If you drink coffee, make it good. Get a coffee maker with a timer that you can sync with your alarm. Knowing you have a fresh pot of piping-hot coffee waiting for you will motivate you to get out of bed. Drink good coffee. Whole beans are the best for the freshest taste. Many coffee experts recommend using double the amount of coffee that the instructions suggest.

Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your immunity. Starting your day happy and relaxed can help increase your chances of a healthy, productive day!

6 Productivity Tips to Try Today

Productivity is about more than doing work and keeping busy. Often, we can be occupied without really making progress towards our goals. It's important to be conscious of what our time and energy is being spent on and being mindful of what needs to get accomplished. Here are 6 tips that will help you prioritize and manage your time for maximum productivity:

 

1. Write it down. Studies show that you are 42 per cent more likely to accomplish a task if you write it down. Don't leave it to your brain to remember and sort through all the things you want done – write them down to help you focus.

 

2. Rethink your to-do list. As mentioned above, writing things down is super important, but there's more to it than just making a list. It's important to have a broad view of all the things that need to be accomplished (plus action items to get you started), but our ability to work on certain tasks will change from day to day. There will be times of the day that are suitable for us to work on our 'number one' action items, but the rest of the time will probably filled up with less important tasks. Be realistic and flexible with your list and don't be hard on yourself if there's something you can't 'check off'.

 

3. Laziness can serve as a filter. It's good to be picky about what you spend your energy on. Be willing to wait for inspiration – something should be really worth your time before you work on it. Remember, there is a difference between being busy and actually working on important tasks.

 

4. Make use of whatever time you have. Being efficient means being creative and using whatever windows of time you have available. Be flexible and willing to switch tasks based on what the situation calls for. There are few times and places we really have the appropriate energy level, tools, and uninterrupted time frames to work on our most important work.

 

5. Focus on one large project at a time. Say you had three ongoing projects, if you switched your energy back and forth between them every day, chances are that you would make progress but not be completely finished any one of them. Focus on one project each week and give yourself a timeline and schedule to finish that. Productivity will increase if you follow the concept of keeping your energy and focus on one thing at a time - shifting focus takes more time and energy than you may think.

 

6. Make schedules and routines. Make schedules for the different aspects of your life. There should be a work calendar, a personal calendar, and a calendar for any creative or business projects you have on the go. When you schedule your day, you are less likely to float around doing random jobs here and there and more likely to actually get things done. Getting into a routine allows you to improve your efficiency and make the best use of your time.

 

When are you most productive? What do you do to ensure you stay on task?

5 Ways to Become a better People Person

In order to gain influence and achieve success, we need people to like us, trust us, and believe in our abilities. Developing amazing people skills is key, but unfortunately, it isn't something that we've been taught in schools. People skills are something we work on and develop every day of our lives. Here are five tips to help bring the 'people person' out in you today:
 
1. Take the time to actually get to know people.
 
Ask the right questions, you know, the ones that people are excited to answer. Small talk is all good and fine but it often results in automatic responses that don't really help you learn about somebody. Getting people to quickly open up is easy when you ask deeper questions and express interest in their answers. Be attentive and present.
 
2. Find something that makes you stand out.
 
When networking at events with hundreds of people, how can you stand out? What good is knowing how to talk to someone when you can't even get them to notice you? One CEO owns over thirty pairs of orange shoes. Why? Because they make him stand out. They're a great conversation starter and have become part of his persona. You don't necessarily need to go out and buy a crazy accessory or outfit, but finding something that sets you apart can be helpful in making you seem both interesting and approachable. If you aren't a natural social super star, you know it can be difficult to spark up a conversation with someone out of nowhere - having something that works as a talking piece can give others an excuse to approach you.
 
3. Tell it, don't sell it.
 
Persuading people is easier when you have an engaging introduction and a compelling story. Captivate your audience with a story and they will be more likely to care about your mission. Be authentic, straightforward and show enthusiasm.
 
4. Raise others up.
 
Promote your colleagues. Share the accomplishments of other people. When you raise others up, people will be much more receptive to share what you have to offer. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” Arnold H. Glasow
 
5. Make your good mood contagious.
 
We tend to take on the attitude of the people we talk to. If you're in a bad mood, it's contagious. If you're full of enthusiasm – it's contagious, too. When people feel enthusiastic and optimistic during a conversation with you, they associate those positive feelings with you. They'll remember that you made them feel good. Being associated with positive feelings will help you to stay top of mind and build better relationships. Be conscious of your mood when communicating and interacting with others.
 
We always strive to leave a good impression on the people we meet. Going above and beyond expectations is what makes us memorable.
 
Always be the best version of yourself. Hold the door open, send a handwritten note, remember important details and most importantly, show people that their time is valuable.
 
Have a few minutes on your hands? Try out
this quiz to see how your people skills fair and let us know how you did!

5 Apps for Tech-Savvy Realtors®

In a competitive industry like real estate, it is important to get an edge wherever you can. Taking advantage of tech tools and software not only helps to make your life easier, but it also benefits your business and your brand.
 
Here are 5 helpful apps for tech-savvy Realtor to try:
 

1. Get locals to know who you are. 

Snapchat Geofilters – Snapchat is a great social media tool for Realtors®, but more specifically, their on-demand geofilters are a fantastic way to get local engagement. Geofilters are an overlay for images that are based on a geographical location and selected time frame. If your target neighbourhood is hosting a popular event, set up a geofilter for that date and location that all local users can access. Get creative with your design. Fun, visually-appealing filters are more likely to get used. Find creative ways to incorporate your own branding or information for an upcoming local event. For as little as $20, you have the potential to get thousands of people to share your filters.
 
2. Create and edit attractive content.

Adobe Spark – Part of excelling in real estate marketing is producing shareable high quality content. If you don't have the budget to shell out on complicated photo and video editing software, Adobe Spark is a great alternative. This free app can be downloaded in the App Store or you can use it right in your desktop browser. Create and edit banners, ads, videos, graphics and newsletters for free.
 
3. Track your time and be more efficient. 

Hours – Hours is a time tracking app that allows you to discover and track how your time is being spent. Discover how long it takes you to complete tasks and monitor what you spend too much or too little time on. You can run reports that explain in detail where you tend to allocate most of your time and how to modify your schedule to be more efficient.
 
4. Give buyers valuable information about their new home.

Centriq Home – This app allows you to take a photo of an appliance label and within 24 hours the system will identify the make and model, display the serial number and pull all relevant manuals and how-to videos for the particular unit. It allows you to store receipts and documents, a list of service providers, notes and home inventory. Why it's good for Realtors®: Allows you to upload your own branding and gift the app to buyers at closing. The buyers will have all the pertinent information about their new home and they'll be seeing your branding and information every time they use the app. Cost: $349 USD annually.
 
5. Share information with clients, right away.

Gboard – Gboard is an iPhone app that allows you to do a Google search right in any app. Instead of leaving iMessage to do a search, selecting and copying information, going back and pasting it, you can now do it all right in the keyboard. This may not be revolutionary, but it is a handy tool to use when emailing or texting clients - allowing you to seamlessly send restaurant info, news articles, reviews, etc,. The search results appear as cards with key information like phone numbers, ratings, and hours and you can respond instantly.
 
With thousands of apps and tech tools out there, the possibilities to grow and maximize your business are endless - the key is to find the tools that work best for you.