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Updated: Friday, August 22, 2014

Real Estate Recruiting: Its NOT Just a Numbers Game, Its a PEOPLE Project

Since the dawn of recruiting, weve all been told, "its a numbers game," and "its a contact sport". While a portion of that is true -- you do have to contact a number of people CONTINUOUSLY to recruit new agents and build your company, its not JUST about numbers -- or contact. Its about PEOPLE. And >

So there are a three truths you should know

1. Its not about the money. Almost every time an agent leaves a current broker it doesnt have anything to do with money. Its usually lack of trust, or a breakdown in the >

2. Salespeople dont like to be SOLD. If every contact you make with the folks in your pipeline is about pitching them to move to your office, save yourself time and money now. It wont work. What does work is CONSISTENT interaction. Non-threatening, non-salesy interaction with something of value. Something that makes them WANT to hear from you.

3. Its not about the first contact or the last. Its about showing up time and time again in a supportive and positive way. Agents who are looking to make a move dont go with the first broker that tried to recruit them or even the last -- they go with the one who is rock-steady and always there.

Our brokers are loving the way we help them stay consistently in touch and build those >

Picture this: Lets just say, for easy maths sake, you are a broker with 50 agents in your office. Multiply the math for your current numbers. You send your message every Monday to your current agents. You invite them to tweak it and make it their own, and send to their sphere and farm. If each of your agents have 200 in their sphere or farm, youre then reaching 10,000 people each week and helping your agents do the same. Add to that a recruiting hit list of 50 agents, and you invite them to also tweak and make it their own and share with THEIR sphere or farm. Thats 20,000 each week you are touching. Thats going a long way towards making a serious impact on your market, your communities, and the agents who service it.

Will they all do it? Of course not. But will it stick with the ones who are eager to take the lead? Absolutely. Will it make a difference to those agents who are ready to make a move and wondering who to turn to in terms of a new company, culture, and broker >

Need help or want to learn more about our Monday Morning Wake Up Calls? Contact us today or learn more about our Member Benefits Happy Recruiting.

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Can Delinquent Condo Owners Be Exposed?

If you live in a condominium and you are delinquent on your monthly assessment, can your association disclose your name? If you live in a Montgomery County, Maryland condominium, the answer is yes.

Thats the decision of the Montgomery Commission on Common Ownership Communities CCOC, which was affirmed recently by the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Maryland.

Carl Brown is an owner at Americanna Finnmark Condominium Association in Silver Spring, Maryland. A couple of years ago, he raised several concerns with the associations management company, including a request for a complete delinquency report, which would list the names and unit numbers of the owners who are delinquent. Browns legal argument in support of his request was based on the By-laws of his Association, which specifically state that "the Board of Directors may post a list of members who are delinquent..."

When the association refused to honor any of Browns requests, he filed a complaint with the CCOC. This is a governmental agency with authority to adjudicate disputes between homeowners and their associations. It is a unique operation, in that there are very few -- if any -- such bodies anywhere else around the country. Dispute resolution is binding on all parties, and the process often is less painful -- and less expensive for owners -- than having to go to court.

The CCOC referred the matter to a Montgomery Country Hearing Examiner, who concluded that Mr. Brown could obtain a delinquency report but with names of the delinquent owners redacted -- i.e crossed off. Furthermore, the Examiner denied Browns request that the Association publically post a list of delinquent owners. Her reasoning was based on the language of the Bylaws, namely that the Board "may" post. This, according to the Examiner, "left the matter to the discretion of the Board... and thus comes within the scope of the business judgment rule."

That rule -- which applies in many States -- basically means that "courts will not second-guess the actions of directors unless it appears that they are the result of fraud, dishonesty or incompetence." citing from a 1992 Maryland court case entitled Black v Fox Hills North Community Condominium.

The CCOC reviewed the Examiners report and rejected her recommendation regarding the disclosure of the names of delinquent owners. According to the CCOC, and based on Section 11-116 of the Maryland Condominium Act, "a unit owner is entitled to examine the books and records of the Association, including the Associations delinquency reports, without redaction of the names. Redaction of names also conflicts with the Complainants right under the Associations governing documents to sue the Association and any of its members to enforce those documents."

However, the CCOC agreed with the Examiner that the Association is under no duty to publically post the names of its delinquent members.

Publication of delinquent association names is a hot topic in community associations. If a unit owner is delinquent, proponents of disclosure argue they will be shamed into bringing themselves current. Opponents say this is an intrusive invasion of privacy and the board has other remedies -- such as filing liens, lawsuits and foreclosures -- so as to resolve and cure any delinquency.

What should a Board of Directors do when faced with a request for the names of delinquent owners? In Maryland especially Montgomery County -- the law is clear. The Board must >

However, there are some conditions which a Board should impose on itself as well as on the owner receiving the list. First, make absolutely sure that the list is accurate. If, for example, the list says that Mark is delinquent as of the date the owner gets the list, but Mark paid up before the list is printed, it is an error and Mark could sue the association for libel. Accordingly, the list that the condo submits should be dated at least one month before it is provided to anyone. This way, you can correctly state "as of July 1, Mark was delinquent in the amount of XXX."

Next, the owner who requested the list of delinquent owners should be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, whereby he/she agrees that the list will not be circulated outside of the condominium association. This is consistent with the law of this case, namely that the delinquency list does not have to be posted for all to see.

Finally, the Board should advise all owners who are delinquent that it is about to provide a list to a requesting owner, and give them a few days to bring themselves current so they can be removed from the list.

Will the same law apply in other states? That depends enti>

Delinquent owners clearly will object to any disclosure. But the Board can resolve all such concerns by doing what it should do in the first place; if an owner is delinquent, once your legal documents permit you to take legal action, file a lien against the unit, file a small claims district court case against the owner or in the last resort, file for foreclosure. It is always interesting to see how fast many delinquent owners suddenly pay up when faced with such legal actions.

Boards should not permit any owner to be delinquent. They should adopt what I call " a zero tolerance with a heart" -- we will pursue you if you are delinquent unless you have a real, documented, hardship. A strong case could be made that the directors are breaching their fiduciary duties to all owners by allowing such delinquencies to mount. Of course, there are and always will be extenuating circumstances. If a unit owner has a legitimate reason for the delinquency, he/she can meet in private with the board called "executive session" and explain the problem. The board can work out a reasonable payment plan, but any such agreement must be reduced to writing and signed by the owner and a board member.

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How To Know If Youre That Neighbor... And What To Do About It

Everyone has that one neighbor. The one whos the last to know about the neighborhood garage sale. Whos left out of the weekly game of Bunco. But what if that neighboris you?

If youre being ignored, left out, avoided, or whispered about, you just might be. Doors slammed in your face may be another good indication. The good news is, there are steps you can take to remedy your reputation. You may not be able to undo whatever it is you did to become the neighborhood ninny, but maybe you can cultivate enough goodwill for a fresh start. Here are a few things to try.

Host an open house

Inviting people into your home may be all it takes to turn the corner. Hand-delivered invitations will provide an olive branch and welcoming touch for neighbors, and give you an opportunity to reach out personally. Letting people get to know you - or rediscover you - with a peek into your world may be all you need to undo a bad rep.

Organize a block party

An activity that invites participation and offers fun among the whole block is hard to resistespecially if you offer to provide a main course. Think burgers on the grill or bring in barbecue if you dont want to be stuck cooking when you could be mingling.

Kids lemonade stand

Yes, its cheap to use your kids...which is exactly why it may work. Even crusty old irritated neighbors have a hard time denying a kid a quarter for a refreshing drink. If youre there to supervise and offer a friendly smile and small talk, you have an "in" to start mending fences.

Actually mend fences

Do you have a neighbor who could use a hand with a fence that needs patching or a lawn that needs mowing? Go for it Do it yourself or help organize a neighborhood fix-it weekend. Helping out an older neighbor or a single parent is a great gesture.

Bake cookies for your neighbors and hand-deliver them in tins

Theyll only hate you until the first bite. Not a baker? Get some great recipes here.

Go seasonal

Use the time of the year to incite a little spirit among neighbors. Summer? Set up a giant inflatable waterside in the cul-de-sac and invite all the kids over for some fun. Back to school? Send out notes to all the neighbors with kids offering a top ten list of back to school tips, packaged cleverly with a pencil and eraser. On the precipice of winter? Dole out ice scrapers to everyone on the street. A little effort goes a long way.

Get in the holiday spirit

Pump up your holiday dcor. Being known as the house with all the festive decorations at Halloween and Christmas can help you go from neighbor non grata to neighbor need to go check out that house again.

For extra flair, show some warm holiday spirit by passing out holiday cookie kits to your neighbors. Need some more ideas for neighbor gifts during the holidays? Check out Pinterest.

When all else fails, move

Sometimes, neighborhood chemistry just isnt there. If you or your kids are being isolated, or worse, insulted, you might just want to go elsewhere. Being happy in your home may not be so happy if you cant enjoy your surroundings and be part of the fabric of the neighborhood.

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Homebuyers Advice: Are You Really Ready to Buy a Home?

Youve done the math. With the down payment youve saved, you can safely buy a home for less money than you could ever have as a renter.

Yet, you seem unable to make a commitment. Are you sure youre really ready to buy a home?

If you find yourself saying any of the following to family, friends, or your real estate agent, youre not ready.

"Ill know when I see the right place."

"I want to see what I can find on my own."

"Ill only buy if I can get a fantastic deal."

"Im waiting for interest rates to go down."

With houses for sale all over the place, you can easily find the right place, especially with your real estate agent screening houses for you. Prices are still lower than they were at the peak. Interest rates are still low. So what are you waiting for -- prices to rise more than they already have, for interest rates to go up? You get the idea.

Owning a home is a big responsibility, and the market has been volatile for years. If youre scared, thats understandable. So, maybe you need to examine your tolerance for risk.

Like the stock market or any other money investment, there is no sure thing, but there is plenty of evidence that returns are built over time. Youll eventually get your money back, or you might even make money on your home, if you:

1. Are realistic. A home should meet your needs for shelter and your familys activities. Dont expect your home to make you rich.

2. Buy within your means. Its no fun dreading your monthly mortgage payment.

3. Occupy your home long enough. It takes approximately four years just to get your closing costs back in equity.

4. Keep your home repaired and updated. If you have to sell quickly, youll get a better price if your home doesnt need work.

Currently, market conditions are in your favor. High inventories in most areas, lower prices than others have paid in the past and low mortgage interest rates combine to lower your risk.

In addition, you have all kinds of incentives, like the ability to buy with a federally subsidized or guaranteed loan, as well as income tax and capital gains benefits. And there are unexpected dividends - homeowners are automatically assumed to be more responsible than renters, which is why you get a discount on auto insurance if you own a home.

If youre really ready to buy a home, you take action to make a good deal happen. You get preapproved by a lender so youre ready to make an offer on a home within your means. You give your wish list to your real estate agent, attend open houses, search on the Internet, and tell friends and family what kind of home youre looking for. Everyone and everything is working in your favor to get you to your goal.

You find the home you want, and you put your money down and you close.

Thats ready.

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Agents: Too Many Apps? Get It Down To One With The Pinnum Deals App

Many major brands have been busy creating and publishing their own apps, and some consider it as important today as having a website since mobile has become the dominant force in marketing.

But, how does a small business include mobile as part of their marketing program?

And perhaps the bigger question is how many apps will the average consumer keep on their phone?

Personally, I have no intention of purchasing a 50GB phone to accommodate hundreds of apps. I maintain a select group of apps that I use regularly.

In the retail world there are hundreds of major brand apps such as Walmart, Sears, Target, Toys "R" Us, Kohls, and Best Buy to name just a few. Do I keep them all on my phone? Theres simply no way. Its far too much clutter.

I recently became aware of an app called pinnum. The pinnum app allows the consumer to have a single app that connects with multiple retailers like their favorite restaurant, clothing store, car wash, drycleaners or service company. With the pinnum app, each business receives a unique pinnum number, and when entered, the consumer sees their latest special offer. The app also displays dollar signs on the pinnum map, which displays the special offers that are near the users current location. Now thats really cool.

As an example, I frequent a local pizzeria. One day while eating there, the cashier pointed out a pinnum sign and offered me a 10 discount right on the spot if I downloaded the pinnum app and entered their pinnum number. The app size is so small it downloaded quickly. I created a simple login with my email address and password. After the initial set-up screen, the app displays a "deals page." All I had to do was enter their pinnum number and a special offer appeared instantly. The cashier explained that they would send me special pinnum offers from time to time. Since then, I have taken advantage of a "Buy one large pizza and get one free" offer during their slow hours. They even have a merchant account setup on the pinnum app so I was able to "Buy Now" and pick up my pizza on my way home from work.

But pinnum is more than a deals app. In looking closer, I found that the pinnum app is also a "Geo Social" app. It allowed me to create a private family group. I had my family download the app and added them to my group. So now Im able to see where they are at a moments notice, which gives me real peace of mind.

From what Ive learned, pinnum spent about 2 years putting the app together and they have just started reaching out to businesses. Im definitely looking forward to more of my favorite businesses getting on the pinnum app.

Celeste Giaimo Is a Columnist for Womens Voices Magazine.

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How To Make The Most Of Your Small Backyard

Deck Photo courtesy of Artisan Custom Carpentry

Small backyards can sometimes seem limiting in terms of what you can add to them. Dont be deterred though, as there is a plethora of ways to decorate it. Small backyards have many landscaping options to make them beautiful and open. Here are some ideas to help.

1. Install a deck.

Adding a deck is a quick, efficient and natural way to add on to a small backyard. It will also cost less than the national average if you have a small backyard. A deck is also good for adding two levels, which can be great if you want to have one for dining and another for plants. Its also a way to separate the yard from another type of space without taking up a lot of room. Pro tip: deck boards should be laid diagonally, not straight to optimize yard square footage.

2. Hang potted plants and boxed gardens.

If you want to save more ground space in the yard and still enjoy many flowers and shrubs, you can optimize the walls, roofs and windows of your home. By installing wooden shelves or hooks, you can hang flower boxes or potted plants. This will leave plenty of room in your garden for trees, a dining space, water features or other installations that might have been more difficult to fit in otherwise.

Hanging plants Photo courtesy of Stuber Land Design, Inc.

3. Use smaller furniture.

If you arent planning to hold huge parties in the backyard, then you should buy smaller furniture. Instead of couches, buy loveseats and chairs and rather than a long rectangular table, you might consider a circular table. By having smaller furniture on your deck, patio or in the backyard, there will be more space available for movement and other decor. You might also consider having an awning over the furniture, whether its a simple fabric awning or an extension of your roof, so you can enjoy the furniture during inclement weather.

Small furniture Photo courtesy of Saunders Designs

4. Keep it simple and clean.

While youre limited in square footage, this does not mean you should try and fit in every single flower, shrub and tree you can. Otherwise there will be overgrowth, and maintenance will be difficult. Instead, you should keep the landscape design simple. Focus on the essentials of the backyard: grass, some shrubs and flowers artfully placed throughout. You can organize it better by installing flower beds and potted plants for easier management.

Clean yard Photo courtesy of Able Landscaping

5. Go bold on the color scheme.

Although you have to be simple with what investments you make in the landscape, you can still be bold with the colors. Reds, blues, purples, oranges, yellows--the color scheme is endless. You want your small backyard to jump out to visitors and to you when walking out the back door. By having a rainbow of colors, the small backyard will look and feel like a heavenly garden even if its not the biggest one in the neighborhood.

Colors Photo courtesy of Design Green Landscapes

6. Erect fencing thats visual rather than private.

If you want to make your small backyard feel bigger without the square footage, then install a fence thats not private. Choose a design thats visual like lattice, picket or chain link with sunlight showing through to accent the yard. You might also consider materials like wood or vinyl to add to the natural appearance of the small yard. Local fencing contractors will be able to recommend the best materials and height for your needs.

Fencing Photo courtesy of Nova Landscape, Inc.
Andrea Davis is the editor for Home Advisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.

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Updated: Friday, August 22, 2014

How To Know If Youre That Neighbor... And What To Do About It

Everyone has that one neighbor. The one whos the last to know about the neighborhood garage ...
> Full Story

Homebuyers Advice: Are You Really Ready to Buy a Home?

Youve done the math. With the down payment youve saved, you can safely buy a home for less m...
> Full Story

Agents: Too Many Apps? Get It Down To One With The Pinnum Deals App

Many major brands have been busy creating and publishing their own apps, and some consider i...
> Full Story

Copyright © 2014 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved

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