5 lessons I wish I’d known as a new real estate agent

If you are new to real estate, your head is probably spinning from all the information thrown your way. I bet you figured it wouldn’t be easy, but did you anticipate how baffling it would be? There is a big gap between real estate school and being a real estate agent in the real world.

Let me share with you the five most important lessons I learned in my first year as an agent.

1. Cold calling builds grit

Let’s face it! Cold calling is not fun! In fact, as agents both new and seasoned, it is one of the most underutilized tools we use because we don’t like it.

But, if you approach cold calls more as a relationship-building opportunity and less about getting an appointment, it can change your perspective and the outcome of the call.

Find a reason for the call beyond asking them about real estate.

For example, pass along information about a community event to break the ice. Then, once they have lowered their guard, ask them if you can assist them with any real estate needs.

In the end, every door you knock upon and every phone you ring will propel your confidence and knowledge in the industry.

2. Don’t waste your marketing budget paying for online leads

Are you aware that research shows only 8 percent of all real estate sales nationally are the result of an online lead? What about the fact that conversion rates for online leads average between 1 percent and 3 percent?

Finally, did you know that 80 percent of all real estate transactions arise from our sphere of influence and that our sphere converts at a rate close to 70 percent?

According to Frank Chimento, in his Open Letter to Brokerage Owners Nationwide, these statistics are backed up by the National Association of Realtors, The Wav Group, Swanepoel and others.

Instead, of lining the pockets of the big guys, you’re better off joining local clubs and organizations to build relationships. You are going to get a lot more bang for your buck in a bowling league than you will by handing over those hard-earned dollars for paid leads.

3.  Continue to pump new leads into your pipeline

Once you are working with a few clients, handling everything can be overwhelming.

As a new agent, the first thing to slip off your radar is usually prospecting. No matter where you are in your real estate career, what you do now will pay off six months from now, so never stop pumping new leads into that pipeline.

Otherwise, once your current clients become past clients, you are back to square one.

4.  Don’t drown in the sea of never-ending technology choices

You only need one database that can be readily accessible from anywhere anytime and access to your MLS and office documents. Outside of that its overkill.

The problem is the holy grail of real estate software isn’t available yet, and greedy marketers will sell you the moon and deliver sand.

Before I got into real estate, I had a marketing friend tell me that if you want to sell something online, pitch it to a Realtor because they’ll buy anything.

Now that I am in real estate, I get more pitches than I do prospects. Don’t fall into that money pit. Remember, all you really need is to be able to access contact data whenever you need it.

5. The personal touch is still king

In real estate, the old way is still the best way. Write personal notes whenever you can to reach out to new prospects and former clients.

They are much more likely to remember a handwritten note that starts with “Thank You,” “Congratulations,” or “I was thinking of you” than they will a generic postcard.

This helps solidify your role as their trusted adviser and neighborhood expert, so they remember you when they, or anyone they know, needs a real estate agent.

Of course, there are many other lessons I learned, and I continue to face new challenges and learn new lessons almost daily. Because of that, it is one of the few professions where you can grow exponentially both in the business and as a person.

Missy Yost is a Realtor with Weichert Realtors Coastal Properties in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Follow The Yost Group on Facebook or Twitter

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US Existing-Home Sales Fall to a One-Year Low After Harvey

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes declined to a one-year low in August as affordability continued to hamper demand and Hurricane Harvey caused a slump in Houston-area purchases, a National Association of Realtors report showed Wednesday.

Key Takeaways

While decreased purchase activity in Houston helped push down the sales count nationwide, and may continue to do so in coming months, residential real estate is struggling to improve because of declining affordability, NAR said in the report. 

Realtors, Teachers Jump in Fight for $1.8 Trillion Tax Break …

The National Association of Realtors and the American Federation of Teachers have joined a coalition to preserve a federal tax deduction for the state and local taxes that individuals pay, according to a Thursday release announcing the group.

That coalition, Americans Against Double Taxation, also includes groups of state and local officials and is the latest organization to mobilize in what could be a fierce battle to preserve loopholes, deductions and other benefits if they’re targeted in tax overhaul legislation this year. The Realtors’ group, which is also fighting to keep the mortgage-interest deduction, is one of Washington’s top spenders on lobbying.

“Repealing the deduction for state and local taxes is very bad news,” Evan Liddiard, director of tax policy for NAR, said in a call with reporters.

Strategic plans, handy deterrents best ways for Realtors — often working on their own — to be safe on the job

The real estate business tends to be a solitary profession, enough so that agents can find themselves in potentially vulnerable settings. Associates meet one-on-one with clients, in some cases for the first time, at vacant houses. The get-togethers can be after dark, in secluded parts of town or way out in the country.

In the case of agents, they fall into demographic groups generally more susceptible to attack. Currently 63 percent of all Realtors are women, according to the National Association of Realtors. Average age is 53, although as independent contractors, agents can be full- or part-time from their 20s to 70s or higher.

The NAR observes Realtor Safety Month each September. “This is an excellent opportunity for all Realtors to reflect on the importance of staying safe on the job, while embracing a commitment to follow good safety practices throughout the year,” according to an article in Realtor magazine. “Sadly, incidents involving the personal safety of real estate professionals continue to occur every day,” the story says.

Among the steps the association takes to get out the word about safety are free webinars entitled “Do This Now” and “Stay Safe by Building Better Business Relationships.” No-charge Internet workshops also take place in April, and another 20 safety-related classes are archived online.

Yearly, the association produces a “member safety report.” The 2017 document surveys members on “professional or work-related situations that prompted fear, their use of self-defense weapons and safety apps and proactive safety procedures in their brokerage.” According to the NAR, the report’s mission is to gauge the extent of safety risks Realtors might face, help brokerages benchmark their efforts and determine areas of improvement.

According to last year’s report, less than half of NAR members said their office has standard procedures for agent safety, and another 28 percent responded, “I don’t know.”

The NAR says, “If your office hasn’t instituted safety procedures, start now. The time to prepare is before someone becomes a victim.”

Meanwhile, the association offers social media safety tips on a weekly basis through a “shareable visual graphic” on its official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. And a new grant program assists state and local Realtor association in launching safety plans for members and encourage awareness. Go to www.NAR.realtor/Safety.

At least one personal safety company is promoting its wares during real estate safety month.

Pepper spray manufacturer SABRE Security Equipment Corp. highlighted how real estate agents can stay safe, including:

  • Have an exit excuse – If a situation doesn’t feel right, always have a way to get out.
  • Create a check-in plan – Alert family and co-workers when heading to open houses or meeting with clients, and set up a code word for when you need help.
  • Maintain your privacy – Never use your home address or number on business cards or paperwork and keep your social media client-free.
  • Know your way – Practice your route so you’re confident and can’t be taken advantage of on the road.
  • Protect yourself — The smartest thing to do is take your personal safety into your own hands.

The St. Louis-based company touts its self defense products for real estate agents. “From driving in cars with strangers to waiting alone at open houses, Realtors deal with a unique set of personal safety problems while on the job,” the business says.

“In addition to having the right tools, we also try to give our clients the right knowledge to stay safe,” says David Nance, company chief executive. “We believe you should always be proactive,” he notes, adding that the venture offers a number of “highly effective and equally discreet self-defense options they can easily be put to use in any situation.”

Visit www.sabrered.com/real-estate-agent-safety-tips.

Jensen, Patricia Bailey

Pat “Dancing Queen” Jensen, 72, passed away on Thursday, September 21, 2017, at her home in Charlottesville, Va. Holding her hand as she crossed over was her husband and soulmate, Doug. Pat was born on February 11, 1945, to Alise and Sam Bailey. She grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia. She graduated from Rockhill Academy in 1963. After high school, Pat attended The College of William and Mary and graduated in 1967. Pat married Doug Jensen on September 3, 1972. They recently celebrated 45 years of marriage and 55 years together. Pat was an active member in the real estate community on a local, state, and national level. During her stellar career, Pat was the only realtor in the greater Charlottesville area to have won all four annual real estate awards: Rookie of the Year, Ethics in Action, Realtor of the Year, and Salesperson of the Year. She served as President of the Virginia Area Realtors as well as the Director for the National Association of Realtors. Pat was a member of the Charlottesville Albemarle Area Realtors’ Honor Society since the society’s inception. Pat was preceded in death by her parents, Alise and Sam Bailey, and her brother, Mike Bailey. Pat’s love for her family was limitless and unconditional. She is survived by her husband and soul mate of 55 years, Doug Jensen; and her children, Kris Jensen and his wife, Maureen, and their son, Nick; Eric Jensen, his daughter, Madelyn, and her son, Myles; Brian Jensen, and his wife, Jamie, and their daughter, Harper and soon-to-be son, Sara Jensen, and her daughter, Rowan. A memorial service will be held at First Baptist Church, 735 Park St. Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday, September 29, 2017, at 2:30 pm. Burial will follow at Monticello Memory Gardens. A reception will be held back at First Baptist Church following the burial. In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial donations be made in Pat’s name to the Women’s Council of Realtors, the Blue Ridge Chapter or the Martha Jefferson Foundation (cancer care).

Home sales steady, prices up in August

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.

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Freddie Mac Prices $464 Million Multifamily K-Deal, K-MP1, Backed by Properties Controlled by Morgan Properties

MCLEAN, VA–(Marketwired – Sep 22, 2017) – Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) recently priced a new offering of Structured Pass-Through Certificates (K Certificates), backed by fixed-rate multifamily mortgages with seven-year terms. The approximately $464 million in K Certificates (K-MP1 Certificates) are backed by fourteen properties indirectly controlled by Morgan Properties or their affiliates. K-MP1 is expected to settle on or about September 28, 2017.

The transaction collateral is part of Freddie Mac’s single-asset, single borrower (SASB) execution. The SASB execution transfers first loss credit risk on either one or multiple properties owned or controlled by a single sponsorship group.

K-MP1 Pricing

Amount (mm)

Average Life



S + 34
S + 49


  • Co-Lead Managers and Bookrunners: Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner Smith Incorporated and PNC Capital Markets LLC
  • Co-Managers: Barclays Capital Inc., Cantor Fitzgerald Co., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Drexel Hamilton, LLC

Related Links

The K-MP1 Certificates will not be rated, and will include two senior principal and interest classes and one interest only class. The K-MP1 Certificates are backed by corresponding classes issued by the FREMF 2017-KMP1 Mortgage Trust (KMP1 Trust) and guaranteed by Freddie Mac. The KMP1 Trust will also issue certificates consisting of the Class B, C and R Certificates, which will be subordinate to the classes backing the K-MP1 Certificates. The KMP1 Trust Class B, C and R Certificates will not be guaranteed by Freddie Mac.

Freddie Mac Multifamily is a leading issuer of agency-guaranteed structured multifamily securities. K-Deals are part of the company’s business strategy to transfer a portion of the risk of losses away from taxpayers and to private investors who purchase the unguaranteed subordinate bonds. K Certificates typically feature a wide range of investor options with stable cash flows and structured credit enhancement.

This announcement is not an offer to sell any Freddie Mac securities. Offers for any given security are made only through applicable offering circulars and related supplements, which incorporate Freddie Mac’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 16, 2017; all other reports Freddie Mac filed with the SEC pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) since December 31, 2016, excluding any information “furnished” to the SEC on Form 8-K; and all documents that Freddie Mac files with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c) or 14 of the Exchange Act, excluding any information furnished to the SEC on Form 8-K.

Freddie Mac’s press releases sometimes contain forward-looking statements. A description of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in these and other forward-looking statements can be found in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, and its reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K, filed with the SEC and available on the Investor Relations page of the company’s Web site at www.FreddieMac.com/investors and the SEC’s Web site at www.sec.gov.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Here’s why some homeowners still can’t sell – CNBC.com

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A realtor showing a house in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Home prices and housing demand are both soaring, and real estate agents are desperate to find more homes to list. Sounds like a dream for any homeowner who wants to sell. Unfortunately, close to 3 million can’t — not unless they want to pay money to do it.

Nearly a decade into the housing recovery, 5.4 percent of all mortgage properties are in a negative-equity position, that is, the owners owe more on the mortgage than the home is currently worth, according to CoreLogic. That is a vast improvement from just a year ago, when 7.1 percent of mortgaged properties were in a negative-equity position.

Since the epic crash in home prices, which bottomed in 2009, homeowners have seen somewhat steady gains in equity, but solid gains since 2013. In the past year, homeowners gained $766 billion collectively in equity, which just magnifies the severity of the crisis.

In the last quarter of 2009, more than one-quarter of all homes with a mortgage were in a negative-equity position, or upside down on their loans. Nationally, homeowners in aggregate still have to make up $284 billion to break even.

Boomers not moving

“Homeowner equity reached $8 trillion in the second quarter of 2017, which is more than double the level just five years ago,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “The rapid rise in homeowner equity not only reduces mortgage risk but also supports consumer spending and economic growth.”

Rising equity also helps those who are in a “near-negative equity” position, meaning they have some equity in their homes but not enough to cover the cost of buying new homes, or even the cost of moving to rental homes. Close to 710,000 properties have less than 5 percent equity.

Negative equity is one of the main reasons why there are so few homes for sale. Housing inventory dropped again in August, down over 6 percent compared with a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Given the strength of the job market, favorable demographics and rock-bottom mortgage interest rates that make buying a home very affordable, the existing home sales market should be roaring instead of whimpering,” Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, wrote in reaction to the weak August home sales report from the Realtors. “All those factors that should be acting as tailwinds may all be present, but they’re being overwhelmed by the simple fact that there are just very few homes actually available to buy.”

Gudell notes that half of the available supply of homes for sale is in the highest third of the market, which is not where demand is strongest.

The negative-equity situation, like everything else in real estate, differs depending on the local market. Markets with the highest share of negative equity on mortgage properties are Miami (14.7 percent), Las Vegas (12.2 percent), Chicago (10.8 percent) and the Washington, D.C., metro area (7.2 percent).

August existing home sales down 1.7%

Diana Olick


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Trump mortgage review draws Realtors’ notice – News

Possible changes to the cap for mortgage interest deductions have local Realtors worried for their clients’ dreams of pursuing home ownership.

The Trump administration has floated consideration of reducing interest costs up to the current $1 million of mortgage debt as part of a tax reform package under scrutiny. Yet the tax break has proven popular with homeowners and real estate offices alike, who fear any tinkering with the program will endanger prospects for what many regard as part of the American dream. The administration had pledged in April to protect the home ownership deduction.

Adam Stein, president of the St. Joseph Regional Association of Realtors board, is aware of the attention on mortgage interest deductions. He is also a broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Stein Summers Real Estate. He said real estate is the largest asset that many Americans own and that a reduction of the cap would hurt the majority of families.

“It would hurt the value of homes, and ultimately, it would lessen the incentive to achieve the American dream of home ownership,” he said

Administration officials have said lowering the cap on the deductions would help offset tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

Stein said the association contributes funds to the National Association of Realtors political action committee to assist with lobbying efforts on behalf of membership and homeowners.

“Locally, no, we haven’t reached out to them yet,” he said, adding the association would respond in kind if asked to make preparations opposing the plan. A related committee of the association would then be mobilized, depending on the circumstances.

“I think we are a little bit surprised,” he said. “It’s bad for the economy.”

Trump overwhelmingly won a straw poll conducted by the national Realtors organization at its annual meeting in 2016.

Mortgage rates continue to reside at historic lows, according to Stein, who still anticipates a gradual uptick over time.

“It’s still a great time to buy a property,” Stein said.

The St. Joseph area’s real estate market remains busy, he added.

“We are looking for listings” to sell, he added of one lingering factor at play. “Typically, if the home is priced right, and the condition is acceptable, it is selling.”

What is the Portage County Association of Realtors?

For the past several years Portage County Association of Realtors (PCAR) has been providing educational material to the public through press releases and now through electronic media as well. It occurs to me that many of you might not understand what this organization is, or what it does. I thought it would be helpful for me to take this opportunity to explain.

Portage County Association of Realtors was established in 1921, almost 100 years ago, in order to provide both Realtor support and education and to also be a resource for the community for information and advocacy, including political advocacy. Its members are also members of the Ohio Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Many of you might not realize that not all real estate sales agents are Realtors. Realtors are held to a higher standard of conduct and ethics, as well as more educational requirements.

Our organization is charged with providing professional resolution of grievances between Realtor members as well as serving the public in grievance disputes. If a member of the public has an issue with their Realtor in a real estate transaction, PCAR can help.

Our organization is charged with providing educational classes for its members including Real Estate Law, Ethics and Civil Rights. PCAR has recently partnered with the CE shop for online classes for continuing education as well as Real Estate Licensure classes. If you are interested in exploring the requirements for becoming a licensed real estate agent in the State of Ohio, or interested in registering for classes, please check out the PCAR website at www.portagerealtors.com.

PCAR is charged with community involvement and political advocacy. We have a heart for service and involvement. You might have seen some of the press releases for some of the events or causes that we support with our time as well as some of our funds. We have been conducting an annual coat drive for Portage County residents for about 30 years, providing more than 1000 coats to the County Clothing center for those in need every year. We have planned, sponsored and staffed the Vintage Venture Senior Citizen’s Prom as a service to honor our Senior Citizens, along with Boy Scouts, support from Kent Roosevelt, The Garratones, and Guidos Catering. We support Kent Social Services with an annual “Christmas for Kids” fundraiser and toy/gift drive. Tens of thousands of dollars have been donated to helping our local community have a better holiday season. We have recently begun to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Portage County and have helped with homeowner classes, recycle extravaganzas and home dedications. We look forward to growing this relationship.

We are charged with being the local voice of real estate by helping the public be informed of market conditions and issues impacting the real estate industry. Our weekly articles are an attempt to help you be as informed as possible.

Behind the scenes, we are involved politically in contributing to political campaigns for candidates that are supportive of concerns impacting home ownership. Through the Ohio Association and National Association of Realtors, we are involved in lobbying for issues that impact homeownership. If you benefit from a mortgage interest tax deduction, please thank a Realtor. Our lobbying efforts were in full force in order to educate lawmakers of the importance of this perk of owning a home. Just recently, the National Flood insurance bill was passed through congress. Again, if you are a homeowner that requires flood insurance on your home, please thank a Realtor. There are many other examples of our political advocacy. At PCAR, we believed that this responsibility to our public was so important that we added a new position on our executive committee of the Board of Directors in order to be the political eyes and ears of our association and to be able to be educated in issues that we might be facing on the horizon.

We are truly “Helping Our Neighbors Protecting the American Dream”

Thanks for reading and for being informed.

Carol Foote, is president of Portage County Association of Realtors.