Tired of the Grind?

Untitled designDo you ever feel like you are living your life stuck in traffic? You spend hours of your day staring at brake lights, both real and metaphorical. You're working so hard, but for who?You are yearning for a life that puts you in the driver's seat of your future. Curious how real estate could help you.... There are many ways to utilize a Real Estate License that do not necessarily include working with buyers and sellers. Just get your license, hang it in our office, and refer people our way. We do all the work, you collect the referral check! What's a referral check? Come and listen to Rebecca explain at our next Career Tour or email her at rebeccad@kw.com

Military Moms Post

 
Military Moms!!
Military Moms!!
 

Portable Career for Military Spouses

I recently posted a job for our rapidly growing team and I had a couple of conversations with some applicants and it brought to light something I had never thought about. As a military spouse, her resume was quite fragmented. Moving all over has it's benefits but it can leave your resume looking a little sketchy without an explanation.

Real Estate has opportunities that allow you to have a portable career. Once you get your real estate license in one state, you can refer business to other real estate agents around the world. So if you are looking for a career that can follow you no matter where you go, send me a message. I would be happy to share how real estate can provide a great career and multiple income streams.

Click get started today!

Do You Know Your Magic Number?

 
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For years I resisted a particular brand of agent talk. Maybe you avoid it too. It made me uncomfortable. It made me cringe. It was one of the three topics we're raised to believe aren't appropriate to discuss in polite company. Sales. Number of transactions closed. Which amounted in my mind to the same thing--money.

When I got my license, I can honestly say it felt like a calling. I didn’t have any real estate experience other than a bad home-buyer one. For me, real estate was about finding a way to serve. A way to make sure that, at least the clients who worked with me, would never have a bad experience. It was a way to minister in the marketplace, if you will.

I have trusted that the Lord would bring me amazing clients and he always did. But when people would ask me how many homes I had sold those first couple of years,  I would meekly say, "a lot."

One day at an agent conference, I ran into Brett Tanner. I went up to him to thank him for the classes he had taught and to tell him how much they impacted my business. He asked me how business was and I answered, "Great!" But honestly, I didn’t know whether it was great or not.

Because I truly did not know how many homes I had sold that year. Seems crazy to me now, but it's the truth. He could tell I was a bit embarrassed and he was so gracious about it. He told me that numbers were the language of our business.  And he asked me, "Are you willing to let it grow as big as it wants to grow?"

In that moment everything changed. What you measure improves, so I made a commitment to always know my numbers. I went back to my office and looked up my reports and I had sold 35 homes that year. That is actually a pretty great year, right?

That experience was followed-up with an epiphany in a business planning clinic (You should attend this class!) I had heard other agents talk about doubling their business from year to year, and I asked myself why I couldn't do the same. What was stopping me from seeing that kind of growth in my own business?

The answer was my actions and my mindset. So, I changed both.

In 2016 I set an ambitious goal of serving 77 families, and this was before I hired my own team. (I had a part time transaction coordinator) The actual number I closed that year was 60.. but I wasn’t disappointed, because that was so much higher than I'd ever aimed before.

Knowing my numbers meant that I could make decisions with confidence. Because I knew my numbers, I could dream big. So I did. One of my biggest dreams was to live on the water… not just have a peekaboo view--but actually own a waterfront home. Then through a series of crazy events, I bought my little cottage on the sound. A bank owned repo that was in need of some love. It had been on the market for months with no offers and in no time, it was mine.

Knowing my numbers and focusing on them in a healthy way gave me freedom to think and dream bigger. What are the big dreams for you?

How I Got Out of Debt & You Can Too

Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and admit to mistakes you've made, especially in a public format, is really intimidating. As honest as I am on social media (and in life), I don't share everything. I cultivate the image of myself that I want to project. It's essential to my business that I'm careful and circumspect about what I say, but it's also about walking that tricky line that's become an issue with the advent of blogs and Facebook and Twitter. Balancing my own inclination toward privacy with the internet's invitation/temptation to share it all. Everything. All the time. With everyone. I think I've spoken here before about money, which is definitely a loaded topic. And I may even have mentioned debt before. But I don't think I've shared the specifics of my story and how I climbed clawed my way out of it.

So that's what I want to do today.

Several years ago, when I was relatively new to real estate, I was also drowning in debt.   Over 50K in debt, to be exact. And it was diverse--student loans, credit card balances, a car loan, medical bills… you name it, I owed money for, on, or to it. Maybe you have similar debt, or more, or less. Whatever the amount, it can feel crippling. It can suck the life right out of you. Sometimes it's a gradual, creeping realization that we may have borrowed ourselves right into a life we can't afford. Other times it's a bright, flashing, blaring siren of dread the instant we signed our name on the dotted line.

This is how I felt: I was in a tunnel with no light at the end of it. The number was so huge to me that I literally couldn't imagine a scenario in which it wouldn't exist anymore. I was working so hard and none of what I was earning felt like it belonged to me.

The light appears...

I was with a small group of friends one night and a gal said there was a book about how to pay off debt for pennies on the dollar. That seemed way to good to be true. But I bought the book and read it front to back and then over again. I read it until I got the courage to start calling my creditors to settle the accounts. (Looking back, I learned some crazy amazing negotiating skills through that experience!) The thing I hadn't realized was that companies will settle with you for less than you owe for a couple of reasons. One is that sometimes the original creditor sold the debt to a company that just goes around buying existing debts for much less than what's owed on them. They then set about trying to collect. So, you can negotiate with them for pennies on the dollar because they only paid a fraction of what you owed in the first place.

Secondly, sometimes a company has essentially given-up on collecting anything on the debt. So, if you call and make them an offer of something, they'll take it.

Still, it is not a fun experience to make those calls. It's the opposite of fun, actually. And the good news for you is that you don't have to do it yourself. Our trusted team has a credit repair expert who does the negotiating for you and, together we can help you create a plan that leads not just to freedom from debt but to home ownership too. For some it’s a 6-month plan, for others it’s 18-months.

Just know I’ve been there. I personally short sale my property and contemplated bankruptcy a couple of times... so I'm not asking you to consider something I haven't already myself. There’s no shame. I know the struggle and I’m happy to help encourage you out of it. We should talk! Call us to schedule a confidential consultation.

I did a short video about my fun real estate math equation, where 1+1=4. Whether you're trying to get out of debt or avoid it, more and diverse income streams are a necessity. Check that video out below!

 

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The One Thing You Must Do to Start Your New Year on the Right Foot

 
Word for 2018
Word for 2018
 

The presents have been opened. We're all emerging from that month-long delusion that a diet composed of 80% cookie/candy/pie/carb was a fine idea. Our email inboxes are inundated with messages from merchants waving 75% off discounts on all the lovely things we wanted this holiday season, but didn't find under the tree, wrapped in a pretty red bow. Yes, that's right, Christmas is over. And now we all turn our attention to the New Year, with all of its possibilities and opportunities. Surprises and expectations.

So, just a quick post from me today to encourage you to think about a word or phrase that sums up what your goals are for 2018--a theme for the year, if you will. This might sound simplistic or it might feel like a frivolous activity when there are exams to prepare for, licenses to get, houses to sell, etc. But...

We need a focus for our work. We need to organize all of those moving pieces around a common motivation. We need to corral all of the thoughts and possibilities roaming around in our brains, so that we can turn them into something. We need a theme to which we can return. One that helps us know when to say yes to one opportunity and no to others. We need clarity and purpose. We need categories and priorities.

We need a word for the year.

To help you get started thinking about what yours might be, I'm including my themes for 2017 and 2018.

In 2017 the word for me was WORLDWIDE. I found artwork to hang up at home and at work, that reflected that theme. Wherever I was and whatever I was doing, I could look up and see a visual reminder to think bigger; to think globally. Whenever I was reluctant to expand my horizons--whenever that little voice in my head said, "who do you think you are to dream that big?"--I would remind myself that God has the whole world in his hands and I trust Him to make way for the dreams he's placed in my heart. This year I thought worldwide in my philanthropy as well, supporting international causes that spoke to me. I'm also purchasing rental properties here in America, with the income from each unit designated to supporting a mission family in the important work they do in the world. I can't go into the mission field now, but through my work here at home I can contribute to others who can.

I have been carefully watching out for a pattern or theme for 2018 and it's this: Beyond Measure. As we continue to grow the business in 2018 and expand nationally and internationally(!), I feel a confirmation that it will produce health, wealth and abundance beyond measure. I'm so incredibly thankful for the people God has brought into my life. I can see divine appointments at every step along the way and I'm so excited for what's ahead for us all.

What will your word be for 2018?

5 Realtor Myths

 
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There are a few misconceptions about real estate careers that I'd like to address today. These are by no means the only ones (sadly), but there the one's that come up most often when I talk to people about this career. Okay, here we go...

Misconception #1: It's an easy job.

It's not.

It is a very rewarding career. It's a career that's challenging in some wonderful ways. It's a career in which you have the potential to define and achieve your own success. But it isn't easy. We work hard to earn a license and to stay current on the laws that regulate our industry. We spend time building our reputations and relationships, so that we can have long-lasting careers. I tell the aspiring agents I work with that I use the word "career" and don't use the word "job" deliberately. At my brokerage, agents are essentially building businesses within the company. We set our own goals and make plans for reaching them. As our business grows we can hire our own support staff, transaction coordinators, and listing agents. So, it's definitely not a 9-5 job. But I think that's a good thing!

Misconception #2: It's a cutthroat business and agents will do anything for a sale.

Oh my goodness, does this one bother me! I feel like the agents I work with and have gotten to know over the years are some of the most supportive and encouraging people I've ever met AND incredibly generous with their time and knowledge. Keller Williams really fosters this culture with our new agent coaching program, but there are specific examples that spring to mind. I work with an agent who has the corner on a particularly large market here in the Northwest. When new agents come on staff, he'll let them work his (many) open houses, so that they have the chance to meet prospective clients and gain valuable face-to-face marketing experience.

Secondly, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has a code of ethics and standards of practice to which all of their members commit to honoring. If you'd like to check it out, click here. There are also laws that govern what Realtors can and cannot do and say. At Keller Williams we formalized our own belief system and gave it a name, WI4C2TS. It guides how we treat each other and our clients. It's on my homepage, but here it is again:

belief-system-poster
belief-system-poster

Are there unethical real estate agents? Sure. There are dishonest and unethical people in every profession. But the vast majority of us are honest and ethical and abide by a strict set of rules.

Misconception #3: It's expensive to get started.

It does cost some money for licensing, that's definitely true. But it's a far, far smaller financial investment than say, a 4-year college degree. The cost varies by state, so I can't give you a number that will be accurate. I guess my point would be, don't assume it's financially out of reach. You can easily research the costs in your area. If there's a brokerage you think you might want to work for once you're licensed, they can help you figure out what you need to budget for study materials, licensing exams and other fees.

Misconception #4: If I'm not a natural sales person, I won't be successful.

I would say that you have to be a good communicator and a good teacher, but not necessarily a "sales person," by the traditional definition.  You do need the ability to talk to people; to connect with them; to hear what their needs are and gauge whether your particular skills and expertise are a good fit for them. And then you need the ability to communicate who you are and what you offer in a genuine way. Lots of successful agents don't have a "sales" background. I think I may have said this before on the blog, but I find that teachers, baristas and bartenders are common backgrounds for real estate agents. It's something about the patience, communication skills, service mindset and attention to detail, that makes them successful. I think.

Misconception #5: Real estate careers are a good side gig/part-time job.

I've done a blog post dedicated to just this topic, but I'll give you the shortened version here and then you can go back and read that post by clicking this link.  I think it's impossible to stay up on all of the laws, regulations and details required to represent clients well if you aren't in it full-time. There are just too many moving pieces and the consequences of missing something are too grave to part-time this career. So if you find yourself in a position where you have to straddle the fence of 2 careers at 1 time, you would benefit from joining a team so that you can have the support you need to stay on it and your clients receive the best care possible. Or let's talk about referrals.... This is a great option for people who can't be 100% dedicated to the business. Ask me and we can go over the details together.

Thanks again for reading! I'll be back here with a new post again soon!

You Might be Surprised...

 
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Did you know that you could be a really successful Realtor and never represent a buyer or seller in a transaction? Or that you could build a real estate business for yourself that includes four distinct sources of revenue? Or mix and match those four elements to create something that's the perfect match for your interests, strengths, goals, etc.? People often think of being a real estate agent as only representing clients in the purchase or sale of a property. That's how I started my career, and may be how you start yours too. But it doesn't have to be the only way you put your skills to work.

I'm a big fan of variety and of diversifying sources of income, including building in some passive income where I can. I thought I'd share with you today some of the ways you can do that as a real estate agent. Keep in mind that my experience has been with Keller Williams exclusively, so the opportunities I discuss below are the ones available with this brokerage. I don't know for sure what other brokerages offer. Okay, caveat out of the way, so here we go.

Option 1: Representing Buyers and Sellers. This is pretty straightforward. As a real estate agent, clients will hire you to represent them in the purchase or sale of a property.

Option 2: "Flipping" Properties. This is where you buy a property, invest in renovating it, and then sell it for a profit (hopefully!). There are several shows on HGTV profiling people who do this. As a licensed real estate agent you can represent yourself as buyer and seller and you'll have access to new properties as they come on the market. Keller Williams has a book to help agents learn how to do this successfully. It's called, appropriately enough, "Flip."

Option 3: Investment Properties. This is where you purchase a property and then rent it out to a third party. Again, Keller Williams has educational materials to help agents do this successfully, maximize their earning potential, and avoid some of the mistakes people commonly make when starting out as landlords. It's called, "Hold."

Option 4: Referrals. I know agents whose entire business is built on Keller Williams' Referral Program. Keller Williams has agents licensed to sell homes anywhere in the world. If someone approaches you wanting to purchase or sell a home outside of the area in which you work, you can refer them to a Keller Williams agent in that region. If that client hires that Keller Williams agent and they purchase or sell a property, you could receive 25% of the commission on that sale. Just for referring that client. Pretty great, right? I've done it several times and it's a win-win-win experience. I know I'm referring someone to an agent who is going to provide them with excellent service; a great KW agent gets to serve someone that may not have otherwise found them; and I get a nice financial thank-you.

Option 5: Profit Sharing. Okay, this one is a unique option within the world of real estate. When you close a transaction, you pay a percentage of your commission to Keller Williams, until you've paid the company dollar CAP in commission in a calendar year. After that commitment is met, then you keep 100% of the commissions you make. Here's where the profit-sharing comes in. The person who "referred" you to Keller Williams gets a thank you for sending you to KW. So, if you go into business with Keller Williams and then you recommend it to a friend or acquaintance and they join as an agent too anywhere in the world), you could get a portion of the commission. You're fully vested after 3 years and the benefit can outlive you and be passed along to your heirs.

Option 6: Salaried Positions. For whatever reason, maybe you want a more predictable 9-5, salaried job. Keller Williams hires licensed real estate agents to provide administrative and transaction support to our Realtors. So, you could use your knowledge and skills in this way as opposed to representing buyers and sellers.  Or maybe you're a great leader and want to take on additional responsibilities on top of your work as an agent. KW has formal curriculum for people who want to pursue a leadership role, and there is additional income associated with those opportunities.

Was any of this news to you? Did one or more of these options make you think about a real estate career in a different way? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below or contact me here if you want to talk more about real estate or Keller Williams.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you here again soon!

6 Things Every New Agent Must Do

 
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This is a quick post with my thoughts on how to establish yourself as a new agent. The term "brand" is thrown around so much now, that it's become a buzzword and something that can be tempting to ignore. But you really do need to be able to communicate who you are and what sets you apart from other agents from the beginning. It's important. So, here are a few of my tips. Hope they help you! Know your strengths. This is a slightly simpler version of knowing your value proposition. I had no idea how to do this when I was starting out. Keller Williams' IGNITE Program does this in the first class session, so if you join us you'll go through our process for answering the questions that will clarify this for you. It's a pretty basic series of questions, really. What are you known for? What are your strengths? How would someone describe you in 3 words? Ask a former employer, co-worker and an employee (if you ever supervised people) how they would describe you in just a few words. This can be a great starting point.

Develop your network. When I started I didn’t know anyone in this area. My family were all up in Canada and my only circle of acquaintances were a handful of co-workers from the airline I'd worked for and the people at my church.  So, I asked myself how I could expand my circle to hundreds of people. I started small with my own neighborhood and held a food drive there to meet my neighbors. Then I thought about all of the places I did business as a customer--my hair dresser, my local coffee shop, mechanic, etc.--and I networked with the people who owned those establishments or worked there. My advice is talk to everyone you know and if you don't know that many people, find ways to meet some. I also offered to work other agents' open houses. I did tons of those as a way to meet people who were looking to buy a home.

Get a coach. I've had a coach since I started at Keller Williams and meet with one weekly. A good coach will help you remember the basics and focus on your goals, which is especially important when you're starting out and everything feels new and overwhelming. Have them coach you on building a brand, on networking and communication skills. These things are important components of reaching your financial goals.

Develop an Authentic and Positive Online Presence. In many ways, being a real estate agent (or any business where you're front and center) is like running for political office. You must be clear and consistent in your messaging and you must be careful with your online image. You are building your tribe of prospective clients with the things you post on your blog, website, Facebook page and Twitter account. Don’t post anything you wrote after a stressful or frustrating day. Don't vent publicly about a bad experience with a client or colleague. Everything you write/tweet/post can influence a prospective client, so be thoughtful about the impression your online communications make. I teach a class for new agents and I tell them that I'm happy to read anything they're thinking about posting and give them my thoughts.

Know Your Story. This is in the same family as knowing your value proposition and is also covered in the IGNITE class I mentioned earlier. But I think of this as the more personal version of your elevator pitch. Know why you're an agent; what it means to you personally to do this work; and the kind of experience you want your clients to have. Know it and be able to articulate it in 30 seconds or less.

Lead with revenue. Inspect what you’re expecting out of the things you pay for. Meaning, I'm not going to invest in advertising or marketing without knowing how it will translate to more money in my pocket. In the first year especially, you need money in the bank and there are loads of free and nearly free ways to network and market. My first year I spent almost nothing and today I don't spend any more than $50 on any one marketing activity. My first year as an agent I paid $20 to join a breakfast networking group. That was really useful, actually. I'm still in touch with some of the professionals I met there and we refer clients to one another. When you do start investing in marketing, think about partnering with someone else (loan officer, insurance agent) and split the cost, if it's more than a $50 investment.

As always, feel free to leave your questions or comments in the Comments section below!

How To Know Where You Belong

 
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I’ve been with Keller Williams for my entire real estate career and I cannot imagine working anywhere else! For a number of reasons—the interdependent business model, the continuing education/support/coaching opportunities, and technology resources (the list goes on!)—I truly believe it is the best brokerage, bar none. That’s why I started this website and why I serve in leadership roles for the company. But…

There are other solid brokerages out there that might be a better fit depending upon your personality, goals, working style or preferred business model.

No matter where you ultimately decide to put your talents to work, make sure you’ve asked the questions (and received the answers) you need to make an informed decision. To help you a bit with that, I’ll share the 5 questions I’d encourage you to ask real estate brokerages before you decide which one is right for you.

 
Question Marks
Question Marks
 

What business model does their company employ? Is it an independent model in which you are completely on your own as an agent—essentially owning your own business with all the risks and rewards that can entail?

Is it a dependent model, in which you are an employee subject to their rules, regulations and job descriptions?

Or is it an interdependent model (Keller Williams fits into this model)? As you may have guessed, an interdependent model combines many of the best parts about independent and dependent modes. In this model you get all of the perks that come with a big name brokerage: name/brand recognition, access to technology, educational, coaching, staff and other resources. At the same time, you get to build your own business under the brokerage’s umbrella. You get to set your own goals and build a business that is the size and scope you want.

What are their commission splits and office fees? Do you ever sell enough that you get to keep 100% of your commission? This is a very big deal. You need to know how much of what you bring in is going to go back to the brokerage and for what. And whatever that percentage is, you must decide whether you think it’s a fair tradeoff for the support and resources you’re getting from that company and how it compares to the other brokerages for whom you could work.

At Keller Williams you do get to keep 100% of your commission, once you’ve reached your annual responsibility to the company. As of this writing, once I’ve paid $19,000 to Keller Williams I get to keep 100% of any other commissions I make.

What kind of training is provided and, if so, what does that training cost? You’ll want to know what kinds of educational opportunities exist for you at whatever brokerage you select. And I mean formal, established programs. If you want to move into a leadership role, is there a curriculum you can follow to learn what you need to know to do that? If you want to start investing in properties and being a landlord as part of your business plan, does that brokerage have a program to help you be successful in that venture? Is there a mentoring or coaching program established at that brokerage, in which you could be matched with a more experienced agent who has a career similar to the one you want to pursue for yourself?

Ask to see a list of the educational and coaching programs that brokerage offers and make sure that the things that are of interest to you are available.

What kind of technical support is provided and what does that cost? By tech support, I don’t mean someone who can fix your computer if it breaks, although that is worth knowing too! When I talk about technology in this context, I mean does the brokerage provide you with the following:

  • A Website
  • Contact Management Database
  • A Personal Mobile App
  • Listing Syndication (and how many sites?)
  • Technology Training
  • Marketing Materials

What kind of support/support staff is provided? Does the brokerage have administrative support to offer you? How about transaction coordinators to handle the paperwork and manage the due dates associated with the purchase or sale of a home? If so, how many hours per week will you have access to that support and for how much money? Will they provide you with a computer, a printer, copier or other practical support you need to do your job?

 
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My Plan.jpeg
 

These questions are by no means a comprehensive list of things to ask, but I think they are the five most important ones and a good place to start in drafting your list of questions.

I do office tours regularly for prospective agents (some already licensed and some who are not). If you haven’t taken one already, but would like to come in, ask me some questions and learn more about Keller Williams and careers in real estate, click on the Get Started page and send me a message.

A Sneak Peek...

 
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No matter where you live, we can meet and you can tour the Puyallup, Washington, market center! Through the magic that is iPhone cameras and YouTube, I'm bringing the tour to you. So grab a snack, get comfortable, and spend a few minutes hearing some of my story and the highlights of a career with Keller Williams. Click here to watch!