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Merkel faces tricky coalition talks after 'nightmare victory' - RFI

4 hours 10 min ago


Merkel faces tricky coalition talks after 'nightmare victory'
It means that Merkel's policy is not the best in Europe with regard to the refugee crisis. He expresses ... “I think it will be very difficult negotiations,” says Konstantinas Karagiannis, real estate developer working for Deutsche Bahn, who attends ...
COLUMN-German vote may be a snooze, but for Europe a defining moment - McGeeverReuters

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Eight China cities step up housing tightening - Chinadaily USA

Sun, 2017-09-24 20:15

Eight China cities step up housing tightening
Chinadaily USA
The new round of housing tightening started by the eight cities showed that there will be no respite in a rather long term and the authorities will not change their determination in controlling housing prices, said Yang Xianling, research chief of real ...

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Germany's far-right AfD party gains seats in national parliament in major cultural shift - USA TODAY

Sun, 2017-09-24 17:43


Germany's far-right AfD party gains seats in national parliament in major cultural shift
"I think that Merkel broke European laws by allowing over 1 million mostly young and male Muslims into a country that's supposed to have a German culture," said Christian Schulz, 41, a Berlin real estate agent and former supporter of Merkel's ...

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Was vintage sausage stuffer ever used to stuff sausages? - Citrus County Chronicle

Sun, 2017-09-24 17:35

Citrus County Chronicle

Was vintage sausage stuffer ever used to stuff sausages?
Citrus County Chronicle
Dear John: Attached is a photo of my sausage stuffing machine. There is an imprint on the other side, the number 2070. The imprint on the front is “Enterprise Mfg. Co., Phila. USA.” Would it be considered an antique? It belongs to my in-laws. She ...

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Big Data, Big Opportunities: How Predictive Analytics Is Changing the Business of Real Estate

Sun, 2017-09-24 12:08

“This year the human race is producing more data than the previous 5,000 years combined. Data is so powerful that in the future, nation states will fight over it for power.”

This thought-provoking statistic set the stage for a much-anticipated panel discussion at RISMedia’s 2017 Real Estate CEO Exchange in New York on how brokers are leveraging the application of predictive analytics and big data in their businesses to better serve consumers’ real estate needs.

The opening remarks, presented by panel moderator Dave Garland, partner, Second Century Ventures and director of Strategic Investments for the National Association of REALTORS®, led the way for an engaging discussion with several industry leaders on the forefront of using predictive analytics and big data in real estate to change the way their business is being conducted now and into the future.

So what is predictive analytics, and why is it so important to the real estate industry? Simply put, “Predictive analytics is analyzing extracted data, using old data to predict the future,” Garland explained. “The big difference now is we have new data points that we can apply to our industry. We’re moving from the idea of hindsight to insight to foresight.”

The idea of using data in real estate isn’t new—think tax records, comps, valuations, or even local school, business and crime statistics. But with consumers demanding more and more information, and more data being available on consumer behavior than ever before, the use of predictive analytics—being able to accurately show buyers and sellers what their home will be worth in the future, backed up by data science—is the game-changer.

“‘Big data’ sounds like it’s really far out there, but earlier today I had a meeting downtown and on my phone, it said it’s going to take me 28 minutes to get to the next place I was going, and here’s an Uber so you can get there,” said Jeremy Sicklick, co-founder and CEO of HouseCanary. “The fact that it knew where I was, where my next meeting was and what the traffic was, and linked to an Uber to get me there—that is predictive analytics. So what does that look like in real estate over time?”

HouseCanary CEO and Co-Founder Jeremy Sicklick discusses predictive analytics during RISMedia’s 2017 CEO Exchange session “A Better Crystal Ball: How to Leverage Predictive Analytics.”

San Francisco-based HouseCanary is a real estate analytics company using data science to accurately value and forecast over 18,000 U.S. zip codes, 3 million blocks and 100 million properties.

Sicklick said one of the key opportunities predictive analytics provides in real estate is having the ability to know the property value of a home, and knowing where the value is going to go, to help consumers make better home-buying and -selling decisions. HouseCanary’s home value reports also allow users to add or remove properties or property details to instantly adjust a home’s comparable value, for example, or add a bathroom or remodel the kitchen and see how that affects the home’s value.

Arming the agent with that kind of statistic-based data science is key in working with today’s real estate consumers, he said.

“When is the right time to sell my home?” Sicklick said. “We said, ‘Let’s look at the data and see what’s really happening here.’ We now have enough information to help them make those decisions. Should I improve my home, sell my home or refinance? Being able to quantify and visualize it is where big data is going. Being able to show people and arm people with the ‘why’ it’s occurring and explain it to someone who is trying to make a decision—and putting brokers and agents at the center of those decisions to help [buyers and sellers] see their options—that’s the opportunity.”

Mark Choey, co-founder and CTO of the innovative boutique firm Climb Real Estate in San Francisco, emphasized the importance to brokerages of collecting data on buyers and sellers, noting the many tools available now to help the effort. “I wouldn’t recommend hiring a data scientist,” he said. “There are a lot of tools out there to help you get started.”

One of those that he uses is the Gmail extension Crystal, which uses personality detection technology to predict behavior and help businesses communicate with their clients in a more customized way, based on their personalities. Their tools use the DISC assessment, which uses four primary personality types to determine behavior: dominant, influential, steady, and calculating.

“I used the system before sending an email to someone I didn’t know, and it showed that the person likes their time respected and speaks in short, concise statements and bold language,” he said. “I wrote my email like that and got a very positive response. That’s one example of a great tool you can use to increase sales conversion.”

He also noted, “The No. 1 question people ask is, ‘Should I buy now?’ or ‘Should I sell now?’ so arming agents with data and historical context is important. When we get leads, the No. 1 thing an agent asks is, ‘Who is this lead?’ These types of new tools out there can help figure out who these people are.”

With technology innovation at his company’s core, Choey said Climb also utilizes social media data to better understand clients, and is constantly testing different tech platforms to achieve higher conversions.

“Most everyone here represents a brokerage that has been using lists for a long time,” he said. “Now we have much easier automation, more refined information, combined with good valuations. We can see if offers are coming in above or below where they should be. We can inform [buyers] and say take it and run or hold off for a better offer. At any one time we’re testing out 10-15 different technologies for widgets, apps, CRMs, landing pages, different listing sources. We look at lists from CoreLogic and constantly benchmark it against our own data. Our goal is to constantly improve sales conversions and we work on it all the time.”

From L to R: Key Realty Managing Broker/President John Murray; RE/MAX Gateway Broker/Owner/President Scott MacDonald

John Murray, managing broker and president of Rockford, Ill.-based Key Realty, echoed Choey’s support for brokerages utilizing data tools available, rather than hiring a data scientist.

“One of the core competencies of our brokerage is to help improve conversion to do more sales,” Murray said. “We have leads coming out of our eyeballs, but what do we do with them? Companies providing predictive analytics are emerging and some are better than others. If you don’t have the expertise, you can work with these companies. Some bigger shops are hiring data scientists, but the majority of brokerages should focus on how to use the data and work with these companies to improve their data—then everyone wins.”

He added, “Data is great, but it’s all about how you use that data to find out what’s important to your clients.”

Scott MacDonald, broker/owner and president of RE/MAX Gateway in Chantilly, Va., agreed, explaining the use of data in real estate, like social media data, can be effective, but only if it’s used in the right ways.

“We look at where buyers come from; we look at their profiles and know where to target our marketing,” MacDonald said. “But it’s not only knowing what to look for, but how do we use it effectively?”

MacDonald said it’s all about giving agents the best tools to use, especially given the competitive complexity of the industry today. “You have the discounters, the disruptors and the DIYers,” he said. “The more you can arm your agents with information about what happened in the past and what’s coming in the future, the better able they will be to serve their clients.”

In an industry where valuations have been called into question, Murray also commented that while the accuracy of data is paramount, so is the industry’s ability to interpret it for real estate consumers.

“It’s the utilization and interpretation of the information that we can all do in our businesses to restore some credibility to the industry—we’ve lost some of that,” Murray said. “Data is readily available and we have to be better at interpreting what it means. If we stick to being brokers and focus on customer service and restore our credibility with knowledge, it will help us recapture some of the credibility we’ve lost.”

Choey added, “There is a lot of talk about Zestimates, Redfin and®. What we train our agents to do is take those three and bring them to a listing appointment as the basis for discussion. The challenge is consumers have all the data in the world and know everything you’re doing as an agent. Everything is out in the open. So we really try to advise agents to use the data, and help sellers and buyers analyze the data.”

Big Data Lightning Round Q&A

To close the session, Garland proposed a “lightning round” of big data questions to the panel.

What data is concealed today but will be revealed tomorrow?

Murray: Offer data
MacDonald: Instant offers
Choey: Pre-MLS, off-market data—knowing when a seller is going to sell before they sign a listing agreement
Sicklick: Really understanding days on market

What is the most important dataset for a thriving brokerage of the future?

Choey: Our agents’ happiness
MacDonald: Agent engagement. Their level of engagement is critical.
Murray: Buyer-seller propensity
Sicklick: Understanding current and past customer equity. In knowing how much equity they have, you can help them figure out what to do next.

What is the most important buyer data?

MacDonald: It goes back to price.
Murray: Buyers are looking for deals.
Sicklick: Price of property today and price at highest and best use so they understand what they are buying and what the opportunity is
Choey: Buyers want to know what the seller is going to accept.

What will be the most indispensable tool five years from now?

MacDonald: Tools that help agents communicate on a deeper level with clients about property condition. To know the value if they improve the kitchen by $50,000 or finish their basement. Tools that will help the buyer know more at a deeper level.
Murray: Workflow and tasking software that allows agents to scale in a more automated fashion.
Choey: Happiness customer score—what button can I push to make the customer happy
Sicklick: Doing our job

Sicklick offered some closing thoughts to industry leaders about the importance, and the future, of big data, not only in real estate, but in so many aspects of our daily lives.

“I get to see it through the eyes of my kids every day and how they learn. If they have a question they look it up on their iPad. They’re learning in a different way. It’s at their fingertips to search; they teach themselves. We have the first generation of people coming of age who don’t remember AOL or Prodigy. They grew up with everything at their fingertips. The way they research, buy things, get a loan, engage with people, is all really different from even 10-20 years ago. They are just going to expect it.

“How do we bring that data and capability to the next generation? This is how they want to do business. It’s just a different world now. Data is the first part of that that enables people to streamline transactions in ways we haven’t seen yet.”

Stay tuned to RISMedia for continuing coverage of this year’s CEO Exchange sessions:

Beth McGuire is RISMedia’s online managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Cilo Marbella: Luxury Living on the Costa del Sol

Sun, 2017-09-24 12:07

Located in the Malaga region of Spain’s famed southern coast, Cilo Marbella Luxury Real Estate was created by two luxury real estate experts, Jason Higgs and Dr. Miguel Horvath. From beachfront apartments to villas in the hills of the Sierra Blanca, Cilo Marbella services a wide variety of international clientele through offices in Marbella, Spain and London. Here, Higgs, the firm’s director, shares insights about the market, the firm’s strategies and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

When was the firm founded?
Jason Higgs: We have been in business for seven years as Cilo Marbella, although I’ve been working in real estate in Marbella for 19 years. We operate within a 30-minute radius of Marbella.

What makes your company different? How do you position yourselves in the market?
JH: We like to think we know the market well from our almost 20 years of experience. We prefer to work with small-volume/high-value clients for sales and rentals.

Please describe current market conditions.
JH: The market is still fairly quiet at prices above 500,000 euros (approximately $587,000). The worldwide financial crisis hit Spain especially hard. Green shoots are certainly appearing at the lower price levels, and very small levels of growth are starting to show in the middle market, as well. Some properties have been on the market for years. This tends to happen when the owner has not faced up to new market realities.

How have home prices fluctuated in recent years?
JH: Prices have stabilized in the past 2-3 years; confidence is slowly returning.

Tell us about the types of properties in your market and which are most popular.
JH: Marbella remains (together with Cannes, St. Tropez, and the entire French Riviera) the leading luxury Mediterranean resort. Accordingly, we have an array of outstanding properties. These include beachfront mansions for 50 million euros, beachfront apartments for 3 million euros, gated community mansions for 5-15 million euros, etc. Apartments under 500,000 euros are most popular at the moment.

How do you market your listings?
JH: Mostly online through portals. Occasionally, through print as well.

What is the status of new construction in your area?
JH: It is gradually picking up. This is a good barometer that activity is returning to the market.

What types of buyers do you work with?
JH: Our buyers are almost exclusively international. The Russian market used to be strong, but has dipped due to lower oil prices and imposition of sanctions. The Middle East remains of interest, but again, not as strong as before. Scandinavians are a strong segment, but they tend to purchase at the lower end, rather than the higher end.

What are the needs and expectations of homebuyers and sellers in your market, and how do you serve those needs?
JH: Buyers and sellers alike can be unrealistic in their expectations. Realistic sellers are glad to get offers in the same ballpark as the asking price. Buyers sometimes think they can get “something for nothing.” As ever, it is a case of managing expectations.

What are the firm’s biggest challenges? What role do geopolitics play in your success?
JH: We seek economic and political stability for the European Union (EU). Anything that undermines this is damaging to the real estate market. For example, Brexit was not good for business. While we are not directly impacted by U.S. politics and economics, if the U.S. follows a more isolationist approach, that will undoubtedly be damaging to the whole European economy.

What are some of your most successful strategies for promoting and expanding your business?
JH: Collaborating with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and attending small, private shows. Being part of the network affords us credibility. We also have a strong rental department that allows us to establish relationships with potential future purchasers.

What are your plans for future growth?
JH: Nothing spectacular given current market conditions. We hope to be in a good position to benefit when the tide turns, which it is gradually starting to do. 

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Entry-Level Housing Recovery Unsteady

Sun, 2017-09-24 12:06

Entry-level homes came in last in the recession, hit hard by sinking values—and now, they are the last to recover, according to the August Zillow® Real Estate Market Reports. Starter homes in 24 of the 35 largest metropolitan areas, or roughly 69 percent, are struggling to regain value, even with the national median value up 6.9 percent year-over-year.

“The housing market as a whole is moving at a steady clip, with high demand and low inventory combining to maintain strong home value appreciation,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “Most new construction has been at the higher end of the market, so demand for the limited supply of entry-level homes is pushing up their values—but these homes also lost more value when the bubble burst. Many of these homeowners are still waiting to see their homes come back to where they were about 10 years ago. Even as headline numbers show an overall recovery, there are still thousands of Americans struggling to bounce back from the housing bust.”

Over 50 percent of homes nationwide, however, have recovered—and then some. In August, the national median value in the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) was $201,900.

There are now 12.6 percent fewer homes for sale compared to one year ago, the Reports show. The national median rent in the Zillow Rent Index (ZRI), meanwhile, has posted an annual gain of 1.9 percent, with the median rent totaling $1,430.

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Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Riding the Wave in South Carolina

Sun, 2017-09-24 12:04

A rising tide lifts all boats, as the saying goes, and for ERA Wilder Realty, this past year has been about cresting an incredible wave of momentum.

According to Eddie Wilder, president and CEO of the Columbia, S.C.-based firm he founded in 1995, he’s always aspired to be better.

“You’re only as good as the people around you,” he remarks. And to that end, he’s assembled both a dynamic leadership team and an energized roster of sales professionals.

When he affiliated with ERA Real Estate in 2001, it was because the brand’s culture fit so well with his.

“We’re always looking for the best tools, and we try to be an early adopter. We’re not afraid to take a risk in order to grow,” says Wilder. “ERA Real Estate’s reputation as an innovator fits with our winning mindset.”

This past year, that winning mindset manifested itself in a number of industry accolades recognizing performance, service excellence and commitment to community. As a top 10 company in the ERA® system and a CARTUS Cup finalist for outstanding relocation service, ERA Wilder Realty not only ranked high in production, but the firm also produced the brand’s national Rookie of the Year, was honored with ERA’s Circle of Light Award for Community Leadership, and was recognized as one of the top three fundraisers for ERA’s signature charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Commitment to community is an integral part of the company’s culture, complementing a set of core values recently formalized across the entire company of 10 offices and 260 agents.

“Our core values are to approach our profession and each other with a positive attitude; to conduct ourselves in a professional manner as honesty and integrity guide our decisions; to respect each other’s time, differences, perspectives, feelings and opinions; and to embody the spirit of teamwork,” says Wilder.

The company’s core values have also supported recruitment efforts.

“It’s more than a code,” says Wilder. “It’s a lifestyle that defines our company.”

While success may be a word that has defined ERA Wilder Realty over the years, Wilder wanted more. To that end, he and his leadership team recently implemented a new approach to running the company based on Gino Wickman’s book “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.” Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System suggests simple ways to realign a company to provide the leadership team with more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment.

The process involved taking a hard look at the team’s strengths and weaknesses and putting the right people in the right roles. That meant getting Wilder out of the management weeds and allowing him to focus on being the company visionary, while delegating operator responsibilities to others. The result has been increased communication and efficiency—a plus for the entire company.

It’s a process that was shared as a best practice during the ERA Young Leaders Network summer retreat, which ERA Wilder Realty hosted in early August. During this three-day event, more than 40 ERA colleagues who are currently in a leadership role—or being groomed for one—immerse themselves in a host company’s business, learning about best practices they can implement in their own business.

“As an example of ERA Real Estate’s core values of collaboration and knowledge-sharing, this event truly embodies the brand’s commitment to being best-in-class and creating connections that can make that happen,” says Wilder.

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Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Get in Early on Emerging Neighborhoods

Sun, 2017-09-24 12:03

Buying in a hot housing market while prices are reasonable is a sure ticket to wealth. Analysts at GOBankingRates recently spotlighted 20 up-and-comers. The top 10 are:

1. Jungle Terrace – St. Petersburg, Fla.
Median List Price (as of July 2017): $239,900
Price Change Year-Over-Year: +44.5 percent

2. Beacon Hill – Seattle, Wash.
Median List Price: $569,995
Price Change Y-O-Y: +31.2 percent

3. Point Breeze – Philadelphia, Pa.
Median List Price: $295,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +40.5 percent

4. Heather Gardens – Denver, Colo.
Median List Price: $278,750
Price Change Y-O-Y: +27.3 percent

5. Pinehurst – Seattle, Wash.
Median List Price: $350,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +24.8 percent

6. Hazelwood – Portland, Ore.
Median List Price: $324,450
Price Change Y-O-Y: +22.4 percent

7. Twin Lakes – Las Vegas, Nev.
Median List Price: $182,450
Price Change Y-O-Y: +41 percent

8. Fairgrounds – Indianapolis, Ind.
Median List Price: $179,900
Price Change Y-O-Y: +29 percent

9. Bayside West – Tampa, Fla.
Median List Price: $229,900
Price Change Y-O-Y: +32 percent

10. Highland Hills – San Antonio, Texas
Median List Price: $135,000
Price Change Y-O-Y: +35.3 percent

Source: GOBankingRates

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Cromwell pulls out of $1.7b Singapore float - The Sydney Morning Herald

Sun, 2017-09-24 09:15

The Sydney Morning Herald

Cromwell pulls out of $1.7b Singapore float
The Sydney Morning Herald
The float was flagged at the group's full-year results in August, with Mr Weightman saying the European real estate investment trust, to be listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, was part of its strategy to diversify its capital sources and increase ...

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Juncker's road map for European disaster - The Japan Times

Sun, 2017-09-24 02:06

The Japan Times

Juncker's road map for European disaster
The Japan Times
But so much artificially cheap credit would also bloat state pensions, government wages and social transfers. And this, in turn, would lead to overheating real estate markets and domestic wage increases, thus undermining international competitiveness.

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Real estate transfers for Sept. 24, 2017 - Roanoke Times

Sat, 2017-09-23 22:57

Real estate transfers for Sept. 24, 2017
Roanoke Times
Presbytery of the Peaks of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Inc. to First Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Roanoke Inc., 2125 Jefferson St. Roanoke VA 24014, $348,076 09/06/2017. James Volosin Properties LLC to Susan Brady LLC, 3404 Brandon Ave.

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SPDR FTSE EPRA Europe ex UK Real Estate UCITS ETF (EURE.L) Ichimoku Reveals Negative Momentum - Melville Review

Sat, 2017-09-23 12:21

SPDR FTSE EPRA Europe ex UK Real Estate UCITS ETF (EURE.L) Ichimoku Reveals Negative Momentum
Melville Review
Shares of SPDR FTSE EPRA Europe ex UK Real Estate UCITS ETF (EURE.L) opened the last session at 27.98, touching a high of 27.98 and a low of 27.98 , yielding a change of 0.02. The latest reading places the stock below the Ichimoku cloud which ...

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Real estate transactions: Sept. 25, 2017 - Bradenton Herald

Sat, 2017-09-23 10:33

Bradenton Herald

Real estate transactions: Sept. 25, 2017
Bradenton Herald
$282,500 A Mmb Real Estate LLC to Chen Jie; Lot 131 Silverlake; Sept. 6. $282,000 Barion Antonette, Bernhard ... $230,000 Hsbc Bank Usa, Sequoia Mortgage Trust 2003 1 to Linda Lance LLC; Lot 143 Parkwood Lakes; Sept. 7. $230,000 Ungarelli Anthony ...

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Online casino usa android - Real estate for rent casino nsw - Ultra luxe casino rewards - Northdallasgazette

Sat, 2017-09-23 06:51

Online casino usa android - Real estate for rent casino nsw - Ultra luxe casino rewards
Bet365 casino for iphone from and report intend of to to citizens the way title has addressed the be when of team which and departments, agency also their management best report is recommendations, beginning be change. play Services. these for the ...

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Dublin faces glut of offices if construction continues at current levels - Irish Times

Sat, 2017-09-23 00:15

Irish Times

Dublin faces glut of offices if construction continues at current levels
Irish Times
Speaking at the Aberdeen Standard Investments European press forum, Anne Breen, head of real estate research, said she had be concerned about Dublin “dislocating from fundamentals” if the current level of commercial property construction is sustained.

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Vintage McCoy treasures - The Herald-Times (subscription)

Fri, 2017-09-22 23:45

The Herald-Times (subscription)

Vintage McCoy treasures
The Herald-Times (subscription)
Another specialty consists of wartime items made between 1940 and 1944, always marked USA for patriotism. Or one might collect only cream pitchers, only banks, only dog dishes or only animal miniatures. The company was so prolific that huge personal ...

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Meeting Agents Where They Are, Getting Them Where They Want to Go

Fri, 2017-09-22 23:08

With the powerful training and technology resources of Keller Williams Realty at their backs, Nancy Marcotte and JD Pierce can turn their full attention toward what matters most: the success of their agents. Understanding that success means something different to everyone, the operating partners of Louisiana-based Keller Williams Realty The Gulf South Group are there to run alongside each agent, providing whatever it takes to guide them toward their respective goals. In this interview, find out how this servant leadership approach has led to the company’s growth and profitability…and why there’s no end in sight.

Maria Patterson: Please briefly describe your career path in real estate and how you came to lead Keller Williams Realty Premier Partners.
Nancy Marcotte:
I got my real estate license in 2001, right before 9/11. I started with Keller Williams in Mandeville, La., and six months later my husband got transferred to Lafayette. I interviewed with some of the other real estate companies there, but they just weren’t Keller Williams. So, I started Keller Williams Realty Acadiana in Lafayette, La., in 2003. About five years into it, I hired JD Pierce as my team leader. We then moved into the Lake Charles, La., market very successfully, and from there, JD and I were offered many opportunities to take over failing or stagnant Keller Williams Market Centers. We caught a few folks’ eyes. Initially, I was operating partner of all the offices, and JD was my partner and general manager. We then decided to split them up; Premier Partners in Denham Springs is one of the Market Centers I kept as operating principal.

MP: JD, how about you?
JD Pierce:
I had spent 23 years in the restaurant business as a restaurant executive and owner, and needed a second career. I am now in my 12th year in real estate.
NM: I had a different team leader when I started the business and he and I interviewed JD, who at the time mentioned management. I called him to see if he was interested in management, and that proved to be a really great choice.

MP: How many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
PM Partnership, which JD and I started, has six Market Centers and two Business Centers, currently. With all of them combined, we have a total agent count of 831 as of mid-July, but the number grows monthly. For example, in January 2017 we started out with 740.

MP: What is the difference between a Market Center and a Business Center?
A Market Center is a fully-staffed location, and a Business Center is more of a support satellite office. Business Centers help us get into geographic areas where we may not be able to open a full office.

MP: Your growth is very impressive. What would you attribute that to?
Our growth is really supported by our culture and commitment to our agents. We have a saying around here: “Yes is the answer; now what’s the question?” We take care of our people first—for us, our primary customer is our agent, and we focus heavily on supporting their dreams, hopes, goals and financial prosperity. We’ve also added so many great people to our team over the years, which has done a real service to our growth.
NM: We’ve always been forward-looking and follow the Keller Williams models of growth and productivity. If an agent isn’t productive, they will not be in the business for long, and we give them every opportunity to become productive. We feel we attract those that are likeminded.

MP: How would you describe your firm’s positioning in the marketplace?
We’re very strong in all our markets. In Denham Springs, we’re currently No. 1 in Livingston Parish, and have our sights set on becoming No. 1 in the Greater Baton Rouge Board of REALTORS®. We’re No. 1 in Houma/Thibodaux, La., and neck and neck for the No. 1 spot in Lafayette. What sets us apart is our training, our culture, our ethics and integrity, and our technology.

MP: Tell me a little bit more about your training.
The production of our agents is really important. We want them to be profitable and make a good living, and we don’t want them to find another career because they’re not doing well. That’s why all our Market Centers offer training. This is not continuing education training, but training about how to run their business—how to go out and get business and how to do things so they can grow their business, and, therefore, grow themselves and their team.
JDP: Every Market Center has training that’s all about advancing prosperity for agents. We’re committed to that.

MP: I understand you’re both very involved in coaching…
We both believe greatly in coaching and training. We work to have productivity coaches in each Market Center, and we have our associates teach classes that they’re strong in already or would like to get stronger in. JD actually coaches and helps teams for up to six months. I’m working on becoming a Keller Williams University Instructor and have taught CE for the state in the past. We both attend training regionally and nationally. We also have our own mastery coach through KW MAPS, as do all our team leaders, and many of our Market Center Administrators.
JDP: I’m available to coach anyone from point A to point B. I assist agents in jumpstarting a business model, reorganizing what they’re doing now or changing direction altogether to find a new path. Keller Williams is the No. 1 company for training, and we’re lucky to have that support. Nancy and I go out and get the best training we can, then bring that back to the Market Centers. If there’s new training in another state, we go get that information and bring it back to our agents. We are consistently in the classroom in our Market Centers.

MP: Can agents also access on- demand training?
Yes, through KW Connect, which is, in essence, YouTube for Keller Williams agents. They can use this platform for training and education if they’re not in the Market Center. It’s training that’s available 24/7 on whatever topic you can imagine. There are hundreds of videos on numerous topics shared by top producers all over the country. One of our core beliefs is that together, we all achieve more.

MP: What’s your company culture like?
We do things as a family. Even though our Market Centers are large, we do our best to help everyone feel like they belong. We do huddle-ups and talk about our concerns and look out for each other.
JDP: Our commitment to stay connected to every agent routinely is part of our system. We stay connected to their goals, their dreams and making sure their business is on the path to get them there.

MP: How do you help your agents become more productive?
We leverage technology and are part of a franchise that really supports that. We have really high-level technology that’s always advancing, and we’re constantly putting forth new initiatives through the technology piece.
NM: Our agents have access to everything they could want via their intranet site provided by Keller Williams.

MP: That’s great that you have all this cutting-edge technology, but how do you ensure agents take advantage of it?
Again, that’s training. And we make sure to meet them where they are. One of the things we say internally is that we’ll go as slow or as fast as you need us to. We’ll run right alongside you. Every agent is an independent contractor and is always looking for a better mousetrap. Some of the best ideas come from agents who are out there exploring and doing a little pioneering.

MP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
Keller Williams does that for us. They’re introducing several new technology upgrades at Mega Camp in Austin this month (at press time). They provide websites, transaction management, reports, listing presentations, buyer’s presentations, email, Profit Dash, and so many other things currently. Keller Williams Realty International will be announcing Kelli, cloud-based documents, and other technological advances this month.

MP: What most attracts agents to Keller Williams Realty, and why do they stay?
I think initially they’re attracted by either the training for the newer folks, or the commission splits. They stay for many different reasons: the culture of the company, the technology, and the opportunities.
JDP: Our value proposition is unique to each agent. For one, it may be our high profitability; for another, it might be our culture or compensation model, and for others, still, it may be our education and training.
NM: We look at people as individuals—we don’t have one set of prescriptions for everybody; we figure out what they need.
JDP: What we do really well is meet agents where they are and help them get where they want to go.

MP: Please describe your leadership philosophy.
We believe in the WI4C2TS of Keller Williams. That is: Win-win—or no deal; Integrity—do the right thing; Customers—always come first; Communication—seek first to understand; Creativity—ideas before results; Commitment—in all things; Trust—begins with honesty; Teamwork—together everyone achieves more; and Success—results through people. JD and I are both involved in our Market Centers, and we do our best to be quick to respond. With Keller Williams Realty behind us, there’s nothing we cannot achieve.
JDP: We have a servant leadership style. Both Nancy and I are in the office daily, and in the classroom training weekly. We’re everywhere, and have our hands in the day-to-day. We have also hired great leadership teams to support us.

MP: What’s your strategy for effectively marketing the firm and best serving the needs of prospects and clients?
We’re an agent-centric company, and, therefore, we let the agents best decide how to market and sell their properties, and how to best promote themselves. We provide them with a lot of online tools, and they have the opportunity to get 100 percent of their commission dollars, so they will have the funds to promote themselves and their clients.
JDP: We commit very little resources to market our brand. In turn, we spend that time and money to help the agent market themselves as the brand. Because we’re a profit-sharing company, we’ve chosen not to spend that money on brand marketing, but instead, assist agents with their individual marketing.

MP: What’s on deck for the future of the firm?
We’re always looking for opportunities. If there’s an opportunity for us to open another Market Center and support agents in that marketplace, we’ll look into it. In the meantime, we’re going to continue to support the folks currently with us, and maybe add more.
NM: We will continue to grow and provide opportunities. Who knows—there may be another Market Center in our future!

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Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Felicia Hengle: Setting Agents Up for Success

Fri, 2017-09-22 23:06

There was a time when Felicia Hengle was working in the restaurant and entertainment industry, leaving her mark as director of Operations for the Hilarities Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, when a chance meeting with a commercial real estate agent changed her life forever.

Hengle was convinced to give real estate a try, and in no time at all, she was on her way to becoming a member of the Mega Million Dollar Club for sales—seven times over. In 2016, she became president of Ohio Operations for Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies (CBHR).

“I’ve been in this business 20 years and it never gets old,” she says. “We are ‘dream makers.’ It is a gratifying business on many levels. Helping people achieve the dream of homeownership is one side, but the other is helping agents by tying them to a business plan designed to get them to live their dreams.”

Hengle’s firm believes in organic growth by adding agents who are a “cultural fit”—those who are collaborative, professional, prideful and have a servant heart.

“We believe growth is at the heart of everything we do, including recruiting and retention, and helping agents grow their businesses,” Hengle says. “Whether as a solo agent, or when it’s time to hire an administrator or you’re ready to launch a team, we have the platform to help you succeed.”

The firm is focused on increasing agent count and mergers and acquisitions, primarily within its marketplace.

“We are under new ownership with the Schmidt Family of Companies and that is a great success story to share,” Hengle says. “We brought on 100 new agents in 2016 and already have brought in 73 year-to-date as of July. Agents want to be part of a winning team and we are offering that platform with all of the state-of-the-art innovation that the Coldwell Banker brand has to offer.”

The outlook in 2017 has been strong. The Northeast Ohio region of Coldwell Banker is up 23 percent and is outpacing the MLS.

“We are seeing multiple offers, below-average market time, escalation clauses and a continued shortage in inventory,” Hengle says. “Aggressive agents need to be at the top of their game to win in this market.”

The biggest opportunity for success right now, she believes, is in establishing builder programs and target-marketing to high-demand neighborhood sellers.

“In addition, I would say it is a time more than ever to get back to the basics: calling your sphere, working the FSBOs and expireds, and establishing yourself as the local economist of choice, truly educating the consumers on the market and how to position themselves in this market,” Hengle says. “We educate consumers on why they need an experienced agent to guide them through this process, whether they are a buyer looking to get the best value or a seller looking to optimize their ROI on their home sale.”

One way the firm stands out is by being paperless, a huge advantage when time is definitely of the essence.

“Using digital signature technology can make the difference between sealing the deal and losing the deal,” Hengle says. “In addition, we are positioning our agents in a way to showcase the Coldwell Banker proprietary technology every place we can—ZAP, CBx, CBExchange, Facebook target marketing and digital presentations—to make certain that we have the competitive advantage.”

Vitals: Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies
Years in Business
: 90
Size: 66 offices, 1,300 agents
Regions Served: Michigan, Ohio, Florida
2016 Sales Volume: $2.8 billion
2016 Transactions: 15,000

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Economic Forecast Perks Up

Fri, 2017-09-22 23:05

Analysts are amending their economic forecast due to higher GDP expectations, even as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma weigh on growth, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group’s recently released Economic and Housing Outlook for September 2017. The Outlook projects the economy will perk up 2.2 percent over the course of the year, up from the 2.0 percent initially reported.

“For the first time in 2017, we have increased our full-year growth outlook,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The upgrade reflects economic activity gaining momentum at the end of the second quarter, though we see a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the forecast. The list of uncertainties now extends beyond the geopolitical and legislative, as the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will require time to untangle.

“Historically, natural disasters that hit heavily populated areas led to substantial near-term declines in economic activity but meaningful rebounds in subsequent quarters due to rebuilding efforts,” Duncan says. “Thus, economic growth in the second half of 2017 could still average a slightly stronger pace than the first half. Unfortunately, we continue to expect home sales to be flat during the second half of the year compared to the first half due to strong home price appreciation and lean inventories.”

Source: Fannie Mae

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