Saturday, December 16, 2017

Lisa Gray

Lisa Gray
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Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.

 The Secret to Balance

The most common misconception about real estate agents is that what you do is a piece of cake. You set your own work schedule, have plenty of free time and still rake in gobs of money.

In fact, this misconception is what leads many right to the doorstep of the real estate industry.

Sadly, the truth is that there is no “flexible schedule,” especially for the new real estate agent. It’s even rare for many established agents. And, according to a Market Leader study, established agents make up a group known as “the least happy” in the industry.

Sure, as time goes on the schedule may ease – typically to a 10- to 12-hour workday, 7 days a week.

But, it’s the agent who needs to learn flexibility, not the schedule.

Once you get this, and understand how to prioritize, delegate and, most importantly, let go of the small stuff, life in real estate land will be so much better.

As we move into the holidays, clients trail off and your schedule will lighten up. Many agents take advantage of the lull to plan next year’s business. It’s also a good time to plan on — and commit to — balancing the two competing halves of your life.

“Delegation” isn’t a dirty word

According to a rather dated statistic from NAR, 14 percent of agents use an assistant. The reason for this low number is that many agents tend to tie the timing of the hiring to a certain, albeit elusive, income target. “I’ll hire an assistant when I’m making $75,000 a year,” or something similar.

Or, perhaps by transaction count: “Once you hit 40-50 transactions per year, your production will be capped at that level unless you hire an assistant or someone else to help you manage your business,” claims Bernice Ross at Inman.com.

She does have a point, though – your production will be capped.

The truth is, there’s no chicken or egg thing going on here — most agents’ incomes increase when they hire an assistant.

This makes sense when you understand that your assistant relieves you of the mundane tasks that currently take you away from money-making endeavors. Answering the phones, checking email and making copies of transaction paperwork don’t make you money and they suck time.

The same holds true for writing your own blog posts (hire a writer), telephone prospecting and follow-up calls (hire a licensed assistant), posting to social media (hire a social media manager) and marketing (hire a marketing assistant).

It’s trite, but oh-so-true: It takes money to make money. Free yourself from the mundane and you’ll free up time that will help you be more productive and maybe even take a day off.

Consider taking on a partner

Ok, so you’re not ready to fork over the bucks it takes to hire help. Have you thought about partnering with another agent? If not, consider this:

“You can take vacations – real vacations – ones where you do NO work. It means that you can take days off. It means that if you’re sick you don’t have to answer the phone. It means, in short, a higher quality of life,” says Kelle Sparta, real estate trainer and coach, on her blog at ActiveRain.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about taking on a partner or forming a team.

Pick up a copy of “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” by Gary Keller for some tips. You’ll also find information on structuring teams and partnerships at Realtor.org.

Your tools and systems should be working for you, not the other way around

Sure, choosing the right tools and systems for your business is a chore in itself, but because technology can help set you free, it’s time well spent.

Automating the more important aspects of your business, such as following up with leads and keeping in touch with past and present clients, will play a big role in helping you find that balance between your work life and your private life.

Two of the most popular and effective ways to automate contact with your clients and potential clients are,

    1. Automated Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards – This done-for-you service integrates with your local MLS then generates postcards for your listings when they are active and sold.
    2. Market Dominator –  A 12 x 15 poster size, 2-sided marketing piece that is delivered to your designated exclusive carrier route on a monthly basis, establishing you as the go-to professional resource able to achieve the results they’re after.

As we move into the slower pace of the season, take the time to populate your CRM, set up that automated campaign to get those marketing materials flowing to the right people and ensure that your website is doing the heavy lead-capture lifting.

Schedule “me” time

“You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy,” Laura Stack, author and productivity expert in Denver tells WebMD.

And, what better way to “make a little time” than by scheduling it?

Keep a log of your daily activities over the next week or two, paying close attention to those days on which nothing much is going on. Come on – we know you have one of those. By moving the activities of that day to another, or even spreading them out among six days, you can conceivably, actually, blessedly take a day off every week.

Make a commitment to remain unplugged on that day. That means taking no business calls (oh, yes, it will be painful) and no internet. In fact, get out of the house and leave the phone at home.

Guess what? The real estate world will continue to turn without your help for 24 hours.

If a full 24 hours to yourself is unthinkable right now, consider grabbing a smaller block of “me” time. Start with a half hour – get out and walk, workout, watch TV, do the laundry – anything but real estate.

Then, over the course of the next few weeks, expand that block of time by 15 minutes or half an hour.

One Detroit agent we spoke with weaned herself off the 12-hour day by leaving work 30 minutes earlier for a week. The next week she left an hour early and gradually built it up to where she eventually took an entire day off each week.

“Instead of just letting life happen, people who achieve work-life balance make deliberate choices about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time,” claims Harvey Deutschendorf at fastcompany.com.

Commit to achieving a successful balance between your work life and your personal life and put yourself in the “happy agent” camp.

Related: 4 Steps To Goal Setting Success

Need our assistance? We would love to help you! Call our support team a 866.405.3638. 

Time is Non-Refundable…Use it With Intention

It’s amazing how easily we can get distracted and before you know it hours have been lost and your day is behind you.

Time seems to have the ability to expand and contract based on how we fill it.

If only two items need to be accomplished in a day, those two items somehow end up taking most of day. Yet when a day is packed with 5 or 6 important tasks to complete somehow it takes the same amount of time.

Einstein believed that time wasn’t linear.

In fact he’s quoted saying, “The separation between past, present and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.”

Maybe that’s not a bad idea to live by. It certainly makes it easier to focus your attention on the present moment.

However you decide to focus, make sure you focus with intention.

Prioritize the tasks that you need to complete each day. Then keep your list handy and in front of you to help you stay focused. If you find yourself getting distracted ask if your distraction trumps the importance of the items on your list.

With intention guiding you, accomplishing your daily goals becomes easier and more rewarding…

…and there’s nothing like the feeling you get from crossing items off your list at the end of the day.

Need help?  Call our team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best marketing tools in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively.

WE HAVE A WINNER!

Congratulations to Jim Smeaton from Charles Rutenberg Realty our $10,000 Contest Winner!
View his winning video Here!
And…

We have One More Surprise…

Everyone who entered our 10k Realtor Contest will receive a $100 ProspectsPLUS! Gift Card!

Thank you everyone for your support and wonderful contributions!

Watch our Contest Winner Announcement Video that ran Live on Facebook to see all the action and our other semi-finalists Here!

Make sure to Sign-Up for our Newsletter to get the latest updates on contests and promotions for your chance to win !!!

 

 

Real or Fake News?

It’s all over the news – the government is harming homeowners and real estate by wanting to do away with the mortgage interest deduction (MID). From major real estate portals to the National Association of Realtors’ website, hand wringing rules the day.

Is it fake news, the truth or are the reports somewhere in between?

A little history

Before 1986, all interest on all loans (even credit card bills), regardless of purpose, was tax deductible. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 (TRA86) did away with all of those deductions, with the exception of mortgage interest.

Interestingly, the TRA86 was touted very much the same way today’s tax reform efforts are – as a way to simplify the tax code and do away with tax loopholes.

To itemize or not to itemize

To take advantage of the MID, a taxpayer must itemize deductions. For itemizing to make sense, his or her deductions must exceed the standard deduction. These deductions include the MID as well as charitable contributions, medical expenses, property taxes, state and local income taxes and others.

Now, if you itemize deductions you know that it isn’t as cut and dried as it seems. The charitable contribution deduction, for instance, carries a cap. And, filers can deduct only the amount of medical expenses that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income (7.5 percent if the filer or spouse is 65 or older).

This restriction allows only 19 percent of taxpayers who itemize to claim the medical expense deduction, according to Matthew Frankel at motleyfool.com.

It is very difficult for the average middle class American to come up with enough in itemized deductions to beat the standard deduction. In fact, only about 30 percent of taxpayers itemize deductions.

The reality

Here are the stats:

  • About two-thirds of American households own their home.
  • Only one-fourth of homeowners claim the MID.
  • The average tax savings for households with income between $40,000 and $75,000 is just $152 a year. That’s $12.66 a month,” according to Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation.
  • Households with earnings of more than $100,000 derive nearly 90 percent of the MID’s benefits.
  • “In 2015, the federal government spent $71 billion on the MID,” according to Derek Thompson with The Atlantic. He also calls the MID a “moral indictment of the tax code,” and the $71 billion dollars it costs this country “a public-housing policy for the rich.”
But … it incentivizes home ownership, right?

“Economists don’t agree on much, but they do agree on this: the interest deduction doesn’t do a thing for homeownership rates,” suggests Roger Lowenstein at the New York Times.

Remember Jonathan Gruber, the Obamacare architect? He co-authored a National Bureau of Economic Research study earlier this year that found “The mortgage deduction has a precisely estimated zero effect on homeownership.”

“One reason for this is the way the MID is structured. As mentioned earlier, a taxpayer must itemize deductions to take advantage of the MID. It is primarily the wealthy who have enough deductions that make sense to itemize.”

“The value of the deduction increases with the individual’s income tax rate so that higher income taxpayers receive more benefit than lower- and middle-income taxpayers,” according to Tim Manni at HSH.com.

Manni goes on to say that the MID encourages Americans who can afford to, to buy larger, more expensive homes, “rather than to encourage significant homeownership at low- and middle-income levels.”

Even without economists’ word for it, knowing the statistics on who actually uses the MID, common sense tells us that homeownership rates and home prices aren’t going to plummet if homeowners can’t deduct mortgage interest on their taxes.

What the MID actually does

“The MID benefits far fewer Americans than politicians and the media are letting on and, in fact, it drives up tax rates for the rest of us,” insists the National Review’s Robert VerBruggen.

Others argue that the MID subsidizes wealthy households and the money saved by doing away with it will help fund tax reform that benefits the middle class.

Whichever side you fall on over this issue, it’s important to understand the facts. Only then can you intelligently answer your clients’ questions.

Need our assistance? We would love to help you! Call our support team a 866.405.3638.