The Post-Inspection Negotiation Two-Step: What You Can Expect

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 8.32.01 AM.png

Inspections are an important part of the home-selling process. The home inspector will locate any potential problems with the property, making sure that all involved know what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed. What happens then, though? Whose responsibility is it to fix the issues that the home inspector discovered?

As with a lot of problems, the answer is a resounding “It depends.”

Gauging Severity

One big determining factor in how problems found in a home inspection are dealt with is how severe the issues are. A major problem with a property can be a deal breaker for many buyers. Depending on where you live, such a problem may even have to be addressed before the property can be sold. State-level restrictions vary, but most are rooted in making sure that sellers can’t avoid fixing potentially dangerous problems or leave them for the buyer to discover on their own. Even if a problem isn’t critical, most states require that any problems found by a home inspection be disclosed to potential buyers. This disclosure is a big deal, as it can significantly affect how much the buyers are willing to pay.

Loan Program Requirements

Beyond repair and disclosure requirements that vary from state to state, different loan programs (such as those offered by the Federal Housing Authority or Department of Housing and Urban Development) may have additional requirements when it comes to problems discovered during a home inspection. Many programs have very specific guidelines regarding the condition of the property that a buyer can purchase using those loans. If a loan program won’t allow a purchase while unsatisfactory conditions exist, the issues must either be repaired or have satisfactory arrangements made to facilitate the repair before the purchase can continue. Keep in mind that not all loan programs will make allowances for future repairs, either; in those cases, the repairs will either have to be made in full or the buyer will have to find a different lender that does not follow the same strict requirements.

Negotiating Repairs

In the event that there aren’t specific regulations at the state level or restrictions in the buyer’s loan program concerning problems with the property, it falls to the buyer and the seller to determine what repairs will be made. This is typically part of the price negotiation, as buyers are willing to pay more for a property that they don’t have to make extensive repairs to. In many cases, sellers may offer to cover the most pressing repairs and address any serious issues while the buyer assumes responsibility for any other issues found in the buyer’s home inspection disclosure. In many cases this will be agreed to in writing, either at the request of one of the parties or as a condition of the mortgage loan that the buyer is using for the purchase. By formalizing the agreement in writing, it ensures that both parties understand their responsibility and protects the seller from potential legal action regarding issues that weren’t addressed (provided that the seller completed all of the repairs that they agreed to.)

Market Strength

The strength of the housing market can have a big effect on who does the bulk of repairs on a property. If similar properties are plentiful and interest rates are low, it creates what’s referred to as a “buyer’s market”; buyers have a lot of options and can easily walk away from the purchase if they don’t get what they want. In this situation, the buyer has a lot of leverage and can usually get the seller to agree to either a lower price or a higher percentage of the repairs. When the opposite occurs and there are few choices and higher interest rates, a “seller’s market” is created. Buyers can’t walk away as easily and be guaranteed a good deal elsewhere, so sellers can often hold their ground more and get buyers to agree to higher prices or a greater percentage of repairs.

Need Some Help?

Regardless of whether you’re buying or selling, having a seasoned pro on your side can make navigating repair negotiations a lot easier.

Pursuing a Historic Designation for Your Home

You knew the moment you walked through the perfectly preserved arch-topped doors that this was one very special house. As your real estate agent guided you from room to room, all you could think was that there had to be a catch to this house. Something had to be really wrong for such a gem to even be available in your price range. The history, the craftsmanship, the neighborhood! It was all too much.

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 7.46.36 AM.png

So you bought that fabulous house. And now you’re thinking about applying for a historic designation, since it is such a lovely, special structure.

Types of Historic Designations

Before you jump in with both feet, it’s a good idea to get a feel for what type of designation would be most appropriate for your home. There are three main designation levels and multiple registers that you could pursue. The historic designation levels are:

  • Federal. Managed by the National Park Service, both the National Historic Landmarks Program (NHL) and the National Register for Historic Places (NR) accept the right homes. These properties are strongly associated with significant events and people from America’s history, as well as buildings that stand as excellent examples of construction or engineering methods. NHL properties must be important on a national level, but NR homes can be of strictly local significance.

  • State. Not every state has a register, but plenty do. The requirements vary widely, but you can expect that the home in question will need to meet much of the same criteria as for the NR. Contact your State Historic Preservation Office for detailed information on its application process.

  • Local. If you already live in a historic district, you may be familiar with the workings of local historic designations. Often, homes already within a district with special zoning that is worded such that their historic integrity is preserved by default are easy to get onto a local registry. Otherwise, you may be able to secure a stand-alone historic designation (or band together with the neighbors to create a historic district). Creating a new district means that a new preservation ordinance will have to be created, too. It will govern how properties are designated as historic properties within the district, as well as establishing a design review board.


Note: Your home can easily qualify for all three designation levels, so research your history carefully in order to build the best case possible for the historic designations you’re seeking.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Historic Home

Buying that potentially historic home may have been one of your best decisions ever, even if you don’t end up getting a historic designation. Older homes have so much about them to love, along with a lot of things you’ll quickly learn are (potentially unlovable) quirks unique to that property. Turning your older home into an officially historic property is an involved process, but for many homeowners it’s worth the effort. Let’s look at the pros and cons of it.


  • Grants, low interest loans and tax credits. Depending on where your home is located, the shape it’s in and whether or not the area is already a designated historic district, you may be able to rack up the dollars to help fund your remodeling projects. Keep in mind that you’ll probably have a lot of rules to follow to keep the home as close to historically accurate as possible, but that will absolutely vary from district to district.

  • Potential bump in value. This is a tricky one. If you’re working with a real estate agent and an appraiser that understand the value of a historic designation, then you may see a bump in your home’s value once you’ve secured it. This is good if you’re looking to sell, possibly better if you’re just looking to refinance and shed some mortgage insurance. It could also increase your taxes, though, so keep that in mind.

  • Protection from federal government work that may threaten it. This is a little trickier, but any property listed on the federal registers is protected from threats from federal building projects. If the federal government wants to build a highway through your front yard, you can waggle your brass plaque at them and they’re generally not able to interfere.


  • Can come with lots of rules and slow red tape. Getting a house designated as “historic” means doing some major paperwork, but you knew that was coming. You might have not expected the years-long wait for the designation to be approved or denied. Even if it is approved, you may have a lot of new rules from your municipality to deal with. So, basically, you’re going to be dealing with red tape and government bureaucracy as long as you own that historic property.

  • Insurance may be higher. You may pay more for insurance due to extra costs associated with rebuilding a historic structure, plus the likelihood that something in your house isn’t up to code. After 50 or 100 years, it’s to be expected, really. Things in the walls you just can’t get to pose risks and your insurance company knows this.

  • You may have to bring systems completely up to code. Generally, building codes allow for older homes to kind of get a pass if they’re not totally up to code. As long as the item in question was up to code when it was installed, then it’s ok for now, but if you put in a new one, it’ll have to meet the current building codes. For example, if you ever want to upgrade the ungrounded electrical panel that was put in during the 70s, it’s not a small thing. You’ll have to have your home’s electrical system evaluated by a professional, permits pulled to update your connection to the power grid to match the new panel and an inspection from the municipal inspectors to ensure the work was performed to code.

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 7.45.19 AM.png

After all of the paperwork and red tape, finally receiving your historic designation can be a huge relief. Except there’s one thing no one apparently mentioned…. when you sell that property, the new owners don’t have to maintain the house or even keep up its historical appearance unless there are other rules in play, like being located in a tightly-regulated historic district.

Still, if you want a historic designation, you may find the benefits are well worth everything. You might as well go for it as not. Get that historic designation for yourself, not because you want to protect your home from future owners and for generations to come.

Ready to Buy That Historic House? You Need a Few Pros at Hand…

Buying an older house means understanding the many issues that they can have. Start off right by having a home inspector look it over during your inspection period, before your mortgage closes. Follow up with a friendly neighborhood electrician, HVAC pro and a plumber, bare minimum. The old systems aren’t just annoying, they can be dangerous if they’ve not aged well or been updated at all since they were installed.

But where can you find a collection of home pros you can trust? Check out the HomeKeepr community! Every pro in it was recommended by a real estate agent due to their excellent service and high quality workmanship. Cut out the guessing and get right to the pros that can help you maintain and even refresh your older home.

5 Reasons Your House Didn't Sell

Ok, so your house was on the market for six months and it didn’t sell. You’re frustrated and wondering why it didn’t sell.  I've had a successful career selling real estate for 14 years and your situation is one I have encountered hundreds of times.

Good news - your home can sell if you make a few key changes. The following are the five reasons your home didn’t sell. 

1) Your photos were not good.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true with home buyers. 92% of home buyers found website information useful in their home search and most of those went to the web FIRST to look at properties.

I tell my clients that the house needs to look it's absolute very best the day it's had photos take - and that the first impression most home buyers have is the on-line photos. Professional photographs of your home are essential, so make sure the photos highlighting your home with proper lighting and show your home in the most appealing way possible. Bad photos mean fewer showings and fewer showings mean fewer offers.

2) You hired the wrong agent.

Your agent is critically important to selling your home.  You need to hire an agent with a marketing plan and a proven track record of getting results for other sellers. Ask them what they do to to market your home outside of putting it in the MLS, placing a sign in the yard and hoping it would sell.  

An agent should have the experience and track record of getting results. She should have a detailed plan of action to market your home and should know the market and be able to advise you on trends that will affect the sale of your home. Expect an open line of communication between you and your agent with scheduled and frequent updates as to the progress of selling your home.  I sell every house I list in less than 2 weeks - it's my guarantee to my sellers.

3) Your home has no curb appeal.

A Buyer will decide whether they like a house or not the second they see it from the street. From that moment forward, your battle with them is to either look for things to confirm why they don’t like the house or to confirm why they like the house.

If your home didn't sell, consider the curb appeal, and create a more inviting environment by focusing on a few key areas:  make the landscaping as inviting and neat as possible and do whatever you can with the walkway up to the front door. Pressure wash the sidewalk if you need to, and make check the paint near and around the entrance. Lastly....the front door: fresh paint and a new door handle are essential.

4) De-clutter.

Buyers want to visualize themselves in your home, not you. If your home has too much furniture or too many personal photos, the buyers will have trouble seeing themselves in your house.

Get rid of what doesn't serve the sale - put it in storage if you need to - let the buyer see a blank slate to move in to and call a home.

5) It’s all about the price.

The price you asked for your home is the single biggest reason why your home didn’t sell. You can always overcome bad photos, a bad agent, bad curb appeal and a cluttered house with the right asking price. However, no matter how good the photos are, how good the agent is, how good the curb appeal is, or how clutter-free the home is, if it is overpriced, it will not sell.

Let me give you some free advice: price your home properly. Look at comparable sales, the current trend of your market,  your motivation and trust the professional you are hiring.  Look closely at comparable homes sold and hire an expert in the local market that knows the comps and know how to advise you.  

Explore with that agent the current state of your market. Listen to what they say - it's a real estate agent's job to get you the most amount of money they can, in the shortest amount of time - trust me we aren't looking for expired listings or unhappy clients.   

Look at the trends. If prices are increasing, price your home a little higher than the comparable sales. If prices are decreasing, price your home a little below the comparable sales. Personally, I have never encountered a home that was price too low - the market will always carry it to where it need to be.  

Finally, ask yourself about your motivation.  Is a selling your home fast more important than maximizing your sales price or do you want to get as much as you can for your home no matter how long it takes. Only you know your personal motivation.

Make a change

People who want the same results, keep doing the same things.  People who want different results, do things differently. Take professional photo. Call me, an agent that will market your home in a way that maximizes exposure. and get you the best results in the shortest amount of time with the least headaches.  

If you do these things, your home will sell for the highest price possible and in the shortest amount of time.


5 Ways to Get Ready to Sell your Home During the Peak Sales Seasons

Spring and Summer usually the season for a new start, a new beginning. So also, does this affect the housing market, this is when a lot more people buy and sell their homes. Even though traditionally home sales occur throughout the year, but this season is undeniably the peak season in home sales and buying. So if you are a buyer, this is ideally when you have a variety of awesome homes as most sellers put up their homes for sale during this period.

Knowing this as a seller, you would probably think you should not put up your home too, because of the competition, but I can safely tell you that, here are some methods I have for you to make your home stand out amongst others and get the noticeable attention and help you sell at top dollar too. This is not a one day process, it takes time and dedication and here is how you can prepare your home to stand out.

Make it welcoming

Even though you might not be ready to leave your home, there are several ways to make any buyer see themselves already as part of that house, by trying to hide or “get rid of” personal effects which might show that you are still part of the home, such as family pictures, children’s trophies, and other effects which link you to the home. Leaving these items might send a signal to the buyer that they are trying to steal your beloved home from you.

Free up more space

While trying to sell your home, let the buyer imagine what they can do with the available spaces that come with the home. Try to see the house in the eyes of a buyer. Get rid of study that occupies space and is easily movable and let the buyer’s imagination run wild on how they can decorate or arrange the house themselves.

Upgrades and repairs

It is normal for lots of home sellers to repair parts of the house or rooms which are not in the best of shape and the main areas to focus on are the bathrooms and the kitchen, this can be a game changer for many buyers and can even let you sell a lot faster. Making upgrades to your home too is another way to attract attention, such as repainting to a universal color and not just a color you love.

Attract attention

A lot of buyers buy a home based on the emotional connection they have to the house, in other words, love at first sight. Make your home appealing, first from the outside view. Have your lawn clean and looking beautiful, try to hide or cage any pets and clean up the entrance to your home.

Find a quality realtor

The kind of realtor you have can also determine how fast you sell your home. Do your research and try to find out the most convenient realtor that you can find. Find a realtor who can give you all accurate information about your home and draw up a great paperwork for you first before the buyer. Make sure to find out if the title report is clean, as this can greatly affect sales at the last minute. It is always advisable to get a home inspection before putting your home up for sale. A good realtor can help you through all this.



So you want to sell your home? Whip it into shape

If you’re looking to sell your home during prime house-shopping season this spring, you’d better get started now. After all, it’s not as easy as slapping an ad on Craigslist; if you want your home to stand out from the competition, that could take months to do right.

Step 1 to selling a home is a New Year’s classic: Whip your place into shape by fixing any problems and upgrading the eyesores. Because like it or not, your home has sustained some wear and tear over the years. Here’s how to assess the damage and find out which renovations will pay off down the road.

1. Tally the age of various items

No matter how great your home looks at first glance, any savvy buyer will point to various parts and pop the question: How old?

How long items last depends on a lot of factors such as the model and how well it’s been maintained, but you can get a general idea of average life span from the National Association of Home Builders. For example:

  • Wood shingle and shake roof: 15 to 30 years
  • Central air-conditioning unit: 15 years
  • Electric water heater: 14 years
  • Gutters: 30 years

2. Do your own walk-through

Go through your home, room by room with you, looking for signs of damage that might drag down its value. We suggest looking for these common problem spots:

  • Wood rot around door frames, window ledges, & garage doors. Condensation & rain can cause these areas to weaken & rot.
  • Water stains on the ceiling or near doors and windows. This can indicate a leaky roof or rain seeping in from outside.
  • Leaks under sinks or around toilets.
  • Bulges under carpet or discoloration on hardwood floors, which can indicate flooding problems or an uneven foundation.

Next, test what’s called the “functionality” in every room. For example, cracks visible in the walls and floor, doors that don’t shut right, broken handles on cabinetry, basically anything that doesn’t work perfectly should be repaired.  And don’t forget to inspect the outside. A lot of sellers skip the outside, but it is so important. That is where buyers will make their first impression,

3. Bring in the pros

Once you’ve done your own walk-through, you may want to have a pro take a second look. These people can spot flaws you overlooked, because either you’re used to them or you didn’t realize they could cause trouble. You can enlist a Realtor or hire a home inspector to do an inspection (or pre-inspection) to pinpoint problems from bad wiring to outdated plumbing. It may cost a bit, but it will buy you the peace of mind of knowing you’re not in for any surprises down the road. In fact, having a home inspection report handy to show buyers can inspire confidence that they (and you by association) aren’t in for any nasty surprises as you move toward a deal.

4. Decide what needs renovating

Once you know what in your house could stand for repairs or upgrades, it’s time to decide where to infuse some cash. Don’t worry, not everything needs to be done before your home’s on the market. And while you’re probably not jumping at the idea of renovating a property you’re going to sell, certain fixes will give you an edge over the competition, which means more/better offers. Remember, real estate is an investment.  Call me today if you’d like some insight.  

6 Economists forecast the 2016 housing market

6 economists forecast the 2016 housing market

Trends, forecasts and more from some of the most prominent economic minds in the industry

For housing, 2015 was a strong year, with home sales high and home prices continuing to rise.  Overall, the economists surveyed were cautiously optimistic about 2016 when it comes to home prices, home sales, interest rates and the impact of loosening lending standards that have recently been introduced by government agencies. 

Since 2016 is a Presidential election year, the economists were cagey when it comes to regulatory changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Here are some highlights:

Alex Villacorta, chief economist, Clear Capital: The two most important housing market trends to watch in 2016 will be the continued growth of rental rates and the moderating trend in home prices. The pattern seen in 2015 was largely characterized by a white-hot rental market, and if this continues, more households will likely choose to rent over buy in 2016.

Peter Muoio, chief economist, Ten-X: Wage growth will be the key new ingredient for the housing recovery. We have been watching signs of accelerating wage growth percolate through different data sources, but 2016 will see clear and convincing evidence of rising wages. This will help with housing affordability and be the final ingredient for higher household formations and housing demand.

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist, Demand for for-sale housing will grow and will continue to be dominated by older millennials, aged 25 to 34. This demographic has the potential to claim a third of home sales in 2016 and represent 2 million home purchases.

Douglas Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae: Lots of discussion of the need for subsidy but the real problem is lack of income growth for low and moderate income households. There will be a discussion of the regulatory cost of land development which is an inhibitor to production of low to moderate income affordable housing. Rents will remain strong as a result.

Matthew Gardner, chief economist, Windermere: I expect that we will see more homes for sale. Homeowner equity started to recover in 2013 and has been steadily improving since that time.  As such, I expect that it will increase their likelihood of selling. At last — more inventory!  But I fear that it will still fall short of the supply needed to match demand.

Mark Zandi, chief economist, Moody’s Analytics: The most important housing market trend in 2016 will be the developing housing shortage. New housing construction has picked up in recent years, but it remains well below that needed to meet demand from newly formed households, second home buyers, and obsolescence of the existing stock of homes. Rental and homeowner vacancy rates, which are already very low, will continue to decline. This will continue to push house prices and rents up quickly.

The Latest Trend in LA Housing: Micro Living

Brentwood Real Estate Agent

The future of Californian housing is a current hot button issue. Since the 1990s, LA County population has sky rocketed from 8.9 million to roughly 10 million residents. One of the options is micro, also called tiny, living. This “tiny house”, or, even a “tiny apartment” style of housing is becoming a more and more attractive option. This type of housing would be more effective and efficient; there would not be a single spare inch to waste! Santa Monica has proved this type of low-cost, low-maintenance, and efficient housing could work.

The idea behind a tiny house is not radically different from what constitutes a “normal” house. The hard part isn’t restricting and re-allocating space, its changing ideologies and how people think about space. Instead of having a rooms and spaces for different activities (eating, dining, sleeping, etc) the tiny house concept revolves around multi-tasking spaces.

A common misconception is that going micro means only dealing with the bare necessities. However, this is just simply not true. The design team at GE Appliances has become increasingly invested in the idea of micro homes & livings. They even have several luxurious mock-ups of what a GE Micro Kitchen would look like. The designs are sleek, efficient, and modern. Micro living does not necessitate only living with the bare necessities. In fact, the smaller dimensions of the home require almost everything to be tailor-made: meaning that you can custom fit every single thing that would benefit you the most. The idea of the intense customizable aspects of the micro home is one of its best qualities. For example, you might not be able to afford the 8-foot slab of marble for your kitchen island, and all the counters, and windowsills…and more! However, you can easily afford the 2-3 feet needed to create a luxurious feel in your micro home.

Additionally, micro living comes with a bevy of benefits besides the enticing ability to customize every single aspect of the home! There is a lot less clutter because there is a lot less space for clutter. You don’t fill up a micro house with “stuff”. Instead, you only display what matters to you, you won’t just go out to buy frivolous items because your space felt “empty” or like it “needed something”. Adding onto the benefits, you will spend a lot less time cleaning 500 feet compared to 1,500 feet. Cleaning two or three small rooms, even a deep cleaning, would only take an hour at most. Living in a tiny home also means you save a lot of money on heating, cooling (which is a huge benefit in LA), property taxes, and home maintenance. This leaves you with a larger chunk of disposable income to spend on eating out, going to events, going on vacations, saving for the future, and generally enriching your life. Micro living also leaves a much smaller carbon footprint. Micro homes are green homes. They use less energy, produce less waste, and, in general, consume fewer resources compared to larger homes. Not only does micro living extend your free time and pad your wallet, but it also helps the environment!

Often referred to as “elegantly disheveled”, ahead of the curve and a curator of eclectic, innovative images, Los Feliz would be the perfect place to begin the “micro house” revolution California is waiting for.

The Shoffice—A UK Trend Taking The LA Market By Storm

The “shoffice” is a real estate trend that became so popular in the UK, that it is becoming one of the most sought-after home additions in ADD AREA. The shoffice is a cross between a shed and an office, and is perfect for any homeowner who feels like they need just a little bit more space.

Not Really A Shed

Don’t let the “shed” half of shoffice throw you off. Your shoffice does not have to look like a shed, and can be customized any way you like. While you can certainly have a rectangular or square shoffice built, many shoffices in the ADD AREA area are quite modern in architecture and design. While most choose to forgo running water in their shoffice, electricity and strategically place lighting and windows are a must.

Who Doesn’t Require A Home Office?

With the ability to work remotely, or even work from home full-time—a home office is now a necessity for most homeowners. Even if you have the room in your home to turn a den, basement, or spare bedroom into an office—it doesn’t always work. Either the space is shared and therefore not the distraction-free work space you require, or you simply prefer to have a clearly designated and separate place to do business. This makes a shoffice an excellent choice.

Make Your Shoffice Work For You

As your family continues to grow, and as you inevitably accumulate more things—you may begin to feel as though you are outgrowing your home. Just because you are outgrowing your home, does not mean you want to move. You may be in the perfect neighborhood or school district—and you may sincerely have found your dream home. This is yet another reason why a shoffice may be the right move.

A shoffice will provide you with that little space required to improve the functionality of your home. You can have it designed specifically to meet your needs, and as the kids begin to move away to college—your shoffice can transition into any other additional space you have always dreamed of having. This could be a yoga and meditation studio, guest bedroom, or simply continue to use it as your home office.

In the UK many shoffices were designed to be portable micro-living spaces, but to increase

your property value—many ADD AREA homeowners have their shoffice built to be a permanent part of their property.

Move Over "Man Cave" & Make Room for the "She Shed"

When house hunting there has often been a room reserved as a masculine den, game room, or man cave. While there certainly isn’t anything wrong with this, there is a new trend that is growing in popularity in  Los Feliz, the Hollywood Hills, Venice, Malibu, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades — she sheds!

What Is A She Shed?

What makes a she shed different from simply converting a spare bedroom into a private space for her, is that she sheds are traditionally completely separate from the home. While the she shed does not have to be large (hence the name shed), it is designed to be a quaint safe haven she can escape to when in need of some well-deserved “me time.”

Make It What Ever You Want

Many she sheds are designed with decorative windows, skylights, and doors that open outwards allowing the fresh air in. Day beds, chaise lounges, or comfy seating are a must—and maybe even a table for two if she wants to invite a friend over for afternoon tea. There might even be enough room left over for yoga or mediation.

She Sheds—Small But Mighty

Most of these backyard beauties have electricity and maybe even heating or cooling, but most do not have a bathroom or running water. This helps to keep construction costs low. Even if there is no running water, adding a she shed will certainly beautify your backyard—and increase your property value. Even though there is not a bathroom, the she shed can double as a guest room when out-of-state friends and family come to visit.

Get Creative

While traditional sheds in Los Feliz, the Hollywood Hills, Venice, Malibu, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades are typically rectangular or square—there is much more flexibility when it comes to the architecture and design of a she shed. Get creative with more than just the doors and windows, but consider creating a cool and contemporary refuge, or even a cottage-inspired she shed. You could also add a mini patio, or beautiful entrance way. Talk with your builder about the possibility of placing your she shed in an underutilized or uneven area of your backyard—where the hill may allow the shed to be larger inside than it appears to be on the outside.

She sheds are an excellent home extension. Depending on the design elements you select, and how many amenities you prefer—she sheds can be a fairly inexpensive, fast, and easy to build.


Shameless Money Saving Tips For Staging Your Home

Studies show that staging your home can increase sales by anywhere from 1% to 5%. While that might not sound like much, 1% of a $300,000 home is $3,000 meaning the 5% totals $15,000. Not to mention the money you can save by selling your home sooner rather than later—which is often another advantage to proper home staging. If you have a home on the market in the Studio City, Hollywood Hills, Brentwood or Los Feliz area, the shameless money saving tips below will help you to save while staging your home.

Invest In Storage

Storage plays a vital role in home staging. Depending on your needs, you can rent a traditional storage space, or turn to one of the modern pod or box storage options. Here are some of the items to place in storage:

  • Collectibles
  • Memorabilia
  • Keepsakes
  • Family Photos
  • Seasonal Clothing
  • Holiday Décor
  • Sports Equipment
  • Excess Linens
  • Clutter
  • Non-Essentials

While these maybe be what makes your house a home, the goal is to sell someone else their dream home. Also consider reducing all closet contents by half. This will make it look as though storage is plentiful. Last but not least, if your garage is cluttered, or even if it is organized but full—move all non-essential items into storage.

Fresh Flowers

Adding a touch of nature can go a long way. Head over to one of our local Studio City, Hollywood Hills, Brentwood or Los Feliz farmers markets for an elegant bouquet of flowers to add to your entryway—or strategically place fresh cut flowers throughout your home.

Deep Cleaning

Even if you are extremely thorough with your daily and weekly cleaning, buyers are going to be looking at your home with extreme attention to detail. This makes now an excellent time to hire a professional cleaning crew to do a floor-to-ceiling deep cleaning. Don’t forget the flooring.

Minor Repairs

Now is also the excellent time to walk through your home to find and complete minor repairs designed to beautify your home. This includes:

Touching up paint

Repairing any scuffs or scratches in flooring

Replacing any broken blinds

Improve Lighting

Buyers prefer the homes they view to be bright and vibrant. This makes now a good time to invest in higher wattage lightbulbs, and to ensure that all burnt out bulbs are replaced.

Go Neutral

While neutral home accessories or wallcovering may not be your preference, neutral is the best way to go when staging your home. Neutral colors will help buyers to envision what their furniture and accessories will look like, without being overwhelmed by your furniture and accessories. Consider wall coloring, throw pillows, candles, bathroom linens and decorative soaps.

Remove At Least One Item Of Furniture From Each Room

If you are living in your home while it is on the market, then you need to ensure that your home is still fully functional. That being said, most homeowners will be required to remove at least one item of furniture from every room while staging. In fact, you may need to remove more than one item in some of your rooms. The goal is to create open and free-flowing spaces to help prospective buyers to easily determine what the purpose of the room is, without being too distracted by how you use each room.

Put Things In Their Place

Many of us are in the habit of keeping items such as our coffee maker, toaster, or rarely used office printer out in plain sight. However, when staging your home—you want to create clean and clear spaces. Go beyond appliances and electronics, and make sure you put away things such as bathrobes that are typically left hanging on the bathroom door, coats on any visible hooks, and even your shoes that you prefer to leave at the front door. If you have kids at home, invest in a neutral colored toy box that will adequate store their favorite toys.

It is the little things that go a long way when it comes to staging homes in the Studio City, Hollywood Hills, Brentwood or Los Feliz market. Let me help you by suggesting the best place to begin.

2015's Most Expensive Homes Sales in LA - Part One

Money Money, Money!  There lots of it here in LA, and plenty of great homes to buy.  Here are the most expensive homes sales so far this year, and for reference, Here's last year's list.  

List price:  $75,000,000

Sales price:  $59,355,550

Address:  384 Delfern Drive, Holmby Hills

15,520 Square feet - 10 bedrooms, 13 baths

Cost per foot:  $3824

Seller:  Francois Pinault

In 1973 architect Wallace Neff designed the home for Henry Singleton, the founder of the electronics firm that is today known as Teledyne Technologies. The Singleton Estate was the last home he designed. 

A grand Colonial estate of classic proportions and timeless elegance, this historic Holmby Hills property is one of the largest private estates in Holmby Hills,  situated on 3 parcels totaling over seven acres. Gated and private park-like grounds boasting rolling lawns, tennis court, pool, massive motor court and an attached four car garage. 

List price:  $65,000,000

Sales price:  $46,250,000

Address: 616 Nimes Road

23,988 square feet - 11 bedrooms, 17 baths

Cost per foot:  $1928

Once owned by Kenny Rodgers, (It was a humbler estate then, 9,359 square feet), when Rogers, a Leo and apparent astrology buff, put two lions at the front gate and bestowed the logical nickname "Liongate" upon the property. 

Now, masterfully rebuilt and expanded to a veritable palace at 24,000 square feet in the spirit of the original Architect, legendary Paul Williams.  Lower east gate prime Bel-Air on a rare street to street lot.  Some features include a 3000 square foot master suite, climate controlled wine room, tennis court, sauna, elevator, professional gym, guest house and ballroom party room, 12 seat theater, custom fountains, saltwater pool, on an over two acres. 


List price:  $35,000,000

Sales price:  $32,000,000

Address:  9161 Oriole Way, Hollywood Hills

32,234 square feet - 6 bedrooms, 9 baths

Cost per foot:  $3300

Seller:  Dr Dre

Dre purchased the home on December 21, 2011, for $15.4 million, and according to the listing, “without question, the best View estate in the city.” Enthroned atop a promontory and sprawling at the end of a gated cul-de-sac, this home has a jetliner 300-degree vista with lights sparkling from downtown to the Pacific Ocean. Completely rebuilt in 2001, the sprawling home features a library/media room, den, guest house, expansive, grassy yard and infinity-edge pool, and wine cellar, all in total serenity and privacy.

List price:  $35,000,000

Sales price:  $31,000,000

Address: 901 Oxford Way, Beverly Hills

12,664 square feet - 9 bedrooms, 13 baths

Cost per foot:  $2448

Buyer: SAC Capital Advisors founder Steve Cohen

 “Spec” home by Los Angeles developer Gala Asher. It lies on the site of the old Glenn Ford estate, the spread contains two guest homes and garage space for eight cars, with parking for up to 30 vehicles total. Outdoors, there is a saltwater pool with a waterfall, color-shifting lights, and underwater music...the home also houses a movie theater and a wine room.

List price:  $29,950,000

Sales price:  $25,000000

Address:  1442 Tanager Way, Hollywood Hills

9350 Square feet - 5 bedrooms, 7 baths

Cost per foot:  $2674

Buyer:  Calvin Klein

On one of the most exclusive streets in West Hollywood, in the hills above the Sunset Strip, the ultra-modern 1442 Tanager Way residence, designed by Architect Paul McClean, with interior design by Mary Ta of Minotti of Los Angeles, in the style of modernist John Lautner.

California trophy home unitizes a single story over-basement-design to create a home that provides ultimate privacy from the street while maximizing the sweeping panoramic views across LA stretching out to the California coastline. Dramatic 13 ft. ceilings and automated floor-to-ceiling disappearing glass walls open onto the grassy courtyard overlooking a 65 ft. infinity edge pool with breathtaking views.

List price:  $25,000,000

Sales price:  $23,700,000

Address:  910 N Foothill Road, Beverly Hills

8718 square feet - 9 bedrooms, 12 baths

Cost per foot:  $2719

Seller:  Nick Vanoff

Legendary Mediterranean-style home on 1.23 acres of Italian gardens, grand-scale living, and an illustrious past. Formally the home of one of Hollywood's most celebrated couples, and designed in 1932 by a noted California architect. A rare combination of both grand and intimate public rooms with perfect scale and flow. Ample french doors open all of the living, dining and family rooms, including the kitchen, onto covered loggias, highlighting the breathtaking work of the prominent landscape designer. upstairs all bedrooms have balconies overlooking the backyard and Cipriani-style pool.

List price:  $24,995,000

Sales price:  $21,439,950

Address:  534 Barnaby Road, Bel Air

18,316 square feet - 8 bedrooms, 11 baths

Cost per foot:  $1171

Seller:  Christine Holifield, President & CEO Elite Aviation

Grand newer Mediterranean estate sprawls across 1.6 acres overlooking the Bel Air Country Club golf course. Features include double gates, a long driveway, seclusion, French doors to terraces & lovely pond. Family room features walls of French windows that open to outdoor living room & terraces with golf course views. Chef's kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, work island w/prep sink, vaulted brick ceiling. 3,000 square foot master suite, office, his and hers baths.

List price:  $23,950,000

Sales price:  $22,000,000

Address:  15070 Corona Del Mar, Pacific Palisades

9500 square feet - 4 bedrooms, 8 baths

Cost per foot:  $2316

One of the most beautiful estates in Pacific Palisades with panoramic views from Palos Verdes to Malibu. Remodeled and transformed, with fresh, innovative style, entertainment rooms opening to gardens and the mesmerizing Pacific ocean, a seamless flow to indoor/ outdoor living. The master is a soothing, romantic retreat with both a private office and a library/sitting room.  Additional features include a theatre and gym.

List price:  $23,750,000

Sales price:  $19,900,000

Address:  29208 Cliffside Drive

7674 Square feet - 6 bedrooms, 9 baths

Cost per foot:  $2593

 After almost two years on the market, this property has finally sold.  European style villa located on over an acre on Point Dume bluff with beautiful panoramic views of the Santa Monica Bay and beyond. Imported French Beaumanier Limestone, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchen with Viking Gas double range, sub-zero refrigerator/freezer. Master suite with private ocean view balcony. Luxurious pool with jet fountains and large spa.  lush landscaping with Palms, Olives, fruit trees and fountains. 

To Fix, or Not to Fix - Prepping Your Home for Sale

A quick fix or a money pit?

So you are thinking of selling your home? One of the most common dilemmas a seller will face involves the question of “fixing up” certain things that are wrong with their home, in order to make it more appealing to a buyer. While markets vary across the country, some variables remain constant from coast to coast. Here are just a few:

Look through the buyer’s eyes…

Walk outside of your home and take a deep breath. Then walk up to the front door and ring the doorbell. While you are waiting on your porch for 30-60 seconds, look around. This is what a buyer will be doing while their Realtor is opening the keybox. Notice anything? Paint chips, loose railings, cracks in a window pane? As you enter the home, walk from room to room doing exactly the same thing. Make a list of everything you notice. Too many small items can add up to a big problem. If the home looks like you haven’t been taking care of it for years, the buyer will think that other things are also uncared for…like the furnace, plumbing and other big-ticket items. This is the first impression that the buyer will have as they approach your property. Make it a good one.

Are you keeping up with the Jones?

What does your neighborhood look like? Be honest with yourself. Are the neighboring lawns trimmed and landscaped, with all the bells and whistles that money can buy? Is yours? When you look at other homes for sale in your area, do most of them have updated kitchens and bathrooms, with all the latest faucet and handle accessories? Does your home have those features? Comparing your home to the others for sale in your area, in an honest fashion, can give you a very clear sense of where you stand when it comes to pricing and time on the market. Do your research now, so you can save time and money later. Your Realtor will have most of this information ready for you, so be sure to ask them for it.

Know your timetable…

Are you being transferred? Are you in a hurry to get the kids in school before the year starts? Is there something causing you to be in a time crunch? This could mean that you need a fast sale. This is the time to measure the costs of the repairs, the time it will take to complete those repairs, and the asking price within the local market. If your home is in better condition than the rest, and you have a little flexibility on price, those minor repairs may be just a nuisance. However, if the market is tough and tight and you have a price that you must get for your home, the minor repairs you are looking at could be the differentiating factor for a buyer on the fence. This is a complicated formula at times, and these things should be discussed between you and your Realtor fully before deciding on pricing and repairs. Just remember to be honest with your timetable right from the start.

If you must fix it, can you save some $$$ ?

While you are doing your soul searching about what needs to be done, you may realize that your

honest evaluation is telling you that you simply haven’t brought certain areas of your home up to date. This happens every day, so don’t despair. However, this also doesn’t mean you have to crack open the piggy bank and throw it out the window. Does your lawn lack the landscaping prowess that the neighbors have on display? What can you do inexpensively? How about a good thatching and raking to bring out the natural color of the grass? You could edge your garden areas with a flat spade and a lot of effort, and line them with stones from around the yard, or buy some inexpensive mulch to fill in the unattractive ground areas in between your plants. Any area of your home can be spruced up without being replaced, and save a lot of money. Be creative, look around the neighborhood for ideas, and ask your Realtor for some recommendations.

Forget all of that and sell AS-IS…

Unfortunately, many sellers choose this option without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. The overwhelming feeling is that you have lived with the house in this condition and you have been just fine. It isn’t a new house, so the buyer will just have to deal with it. You feel like you can lower the price of the house by a couple of hundred dollars and they should be happy to get a deal like that.

Wrong. Sorry. That’s not how it works.

Go back to number one and put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. To them, this IS a new home. To them, this is their opportunity to own this home for themselves, and live there every day, with their children and their dog, and host their family on Thanksgiving. They want their dream…not your reality. A buyer will always consider a repair to MORE costly than it really is, because they are the ones who will have to repair it. Their time, their labor, and their money will all enter into the discounted offer that they deliver to you. Most of all, they will feel like they are settling for less than what they were dreaming of, and they will want financial compensation for that compromise. Small repairs that can be taken care of in an inexpensive fashion can prevent all of this from happening.

Do some honest evaluating of your home and your area. Look for creative, inexpensive repair solutions whenever possible. Most of all, talk with your Realtor about all of the above. Your Realtor has done this a few times. Listen to their advice and your chances for a smooth transaction are very good.

10 Simple Improvements to Help Your Home Sell Faster

The devil is really in the details when buyers look at a home. Lots of everyday wear and tear that you don’t even notice can ding your home in the eyes of potential buyers.

Here’s my list of 10 simple improvements to help your home sell faster:

1. Spruce up your baseboards: Pets, kids, and stumbling husbands in the dark can make a mess of your baseboards. Repainting baseboards after repairing scratches with putty can make the border of any room look new.

2. Fill in nail holes: Part of interior repainting should be careful attention to those errant nail holes from pictures, shelves, and other wall-mounted baubles. Putty, smooth, sand and paint! 

3. For smokers: Filter replacement is a must if someone’s been puffing in your home. Also wash down those walls, prime them to seal in any cooked-in nicotine, and repaint.  Be sure to check entryways and lawns for cigarette butts, too!

4. Check the roof: Do you have missing singles? Broken tiles? Is mold and moss sprouting up there? Do some cleaning and spot replacing. 

5. Reinforce your gutters: Clean them out, dry them out, then caulk them to prevent leaks. This will keep water off the siding, reducing staining and damage.  

6 .Replace bad vinyl floors: Not only are they tacky when they’re cracked or cut, but they can suggest water damage to buyers. 

7. Repair dripping faucets: Buyers will turn faucets on and off. What will they find? If your sinks and baths dribble, fix them before buyers imagine their future headache. 

8. Tune up screens: Did you have a dog that liked to lean against the front door? Look for the sagging, hanging, bent, and bubbling screens, especially around doors. New screens look clean. Old screens suggest neglect. 

9. Patch cabinet scratches: Tibet Almond Stick, Old English Scratch Cover, or even some artful re-staining can make cabinets seem new. Remember to polish them up when you’re done!

10.  Reseal wobbly toilets: If the bowl moves when you sit on it, the bolts are rusted, or the bathroom floor is damp and discolored around the commode, replace the toilet or at the very least reseal it. 


5 Thoughts - When you Decide to Become a Seller


5 Moments of Clarity

A funny thing happens once you decide to sell your home…

Everyone you know is suddenly an expert. 

The internet has flooded so much information into the marketplace that everyone who has ever owned real estate, bought, sold, flipped, rented, or lived in a house believes that they know what you should be doing, and how you should be doing it.

As you sift through the haze of misinformation and opinion, here are a few things to keep in mind…

THOUGHT #1.  Realize that Real Estate is LOCALLY Driven…

There are no shortage of websites out there that will have you enter in your data about your home, search around the available information on line, and throw a price at you as if it was gospel.  This may be a decent guideline, but it is not written in stone.  Your LOCAL real estate professional can tour your home with you, point out actual strengths and weaknesses, and give you a realistic range in which to price your home, based on your actual competition.  The sales prices in California are different than those in Indiana, no matter what you may hear on the nightly news.

THOUGHT #2.  Realize that small repairs now mean big savings later…

A cracked window pane, a broken railing, even something as simple as overgrown grass can all cause a major problem later on.  A buyer doesn’t want to walk into a listing and look at all of the work that they will have to do.  They want a turnkey transaction.  If it’s a first time homebuyer, they will view each repair as much more damaging than it really is.  Avoid all of this by having your real estate professional walk through your home with you, and together you can make a list of any flaws or imperfections that you might want to consider fixing before a buyer panics.

THOUGHT #3.  Realize that People like FREE STUFF…

You don’t have to start out offering bonuses or incentives to other Realtors or to prospective buyers.  But it is a good idea to consider what you might offer someone later, if you need it during a negotiation.  Perhaps the carpet is a bit worn and you aren’t ready to replace it just yet.  You could offer a small carpet allowance to a prospective buyer so they could change the carpet to something they want easily.  Whatever the case, thinking about this scenario ahead of time prepares you, in case you need it.

THOUGHT #4. Realize that Curb Appeal, Staging and Appearance matter!

Curb appeal is one of the most overlooked aspects of selling your home.  Prospective buyers get lists of homes from their Realtor, and they drive around and look at them.  If your home is surrounded by overgrown grass, unkempt hedges and landscaping that is in tatters, the buyer will make assumptions about what the inside of the home must look like.  If they actually make it in the door, the same problem can happen if the home is not staged correctly.  If a home is messy, with dishes in the sink and a stuffy feel, with family pictures all over the walls and heavy metal posters in junior’s room, the buyers will not be able to VISUALIZE themselves living there.  Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and look over your home with your Realtor.  If you stage it…they will come.

THOUGHT #5.  Realize that the Competition, and the Appraiser, Set the Price. 

Unfortunately, the price of a home is not actually based on the amount you paid for it, plus 5% growth, plus the improvements you’ve made.  I wish that were the case.  The competing homes in the local market, specifically the homes that have sold in the last year in your area, are what the appraiser considers when determining the value for the bank.  The prospective buyer must have an appraiser place the value of the property at or above the agreed upon purchase price.  If the appraiser cannot place the value high enough, the deal cannot close.  Review your area’s comparable listings and sales with your Realtor to gain a true perspective of how to price your home, so it can sell.


The Art of Problem Solving

The Art of Problem Solving

People sometimes wonder what real estate agents actually do. We spend a lot of time solving problems and finding answers. We are paid for our experience.

Some of the problems that arise during a real estate transaction are fairly easy to solve and others are not so easy. Home sales always involve people and people do the strangest things.

Just when I think I've seen it all someone does something unexpected and it's time for me and my team to figure out how to respond.

Some days are spent on the phone working with lenders or inspectors or with my clients trying to unravel some sort of a mess so that a home sale can close.

I have learned something from each home sale because no two are the same. One of my clients said to me last night, "I've never sold a home before!" I told him not to worry, as I've sold hundreds of him, I've got this.

Foreign Cash in LA Real Estate


Southland Homes Getting Foreign Money

The most money ever is coming into the housing market in the U.S. and the Southland is one of the most popular destinations.

Overseas buyers and recent immigrants made up 92 billion dollars of the total home purchase in the United States in the year leading up to this March, this stat coming from a study led by the National Association of Realtors that was released on Tuesday. That’s up an incredible 35% over the year before, and it’s the most ever.

Almost a fourth of these overseas buyers were Chinese. And the place they prefer over all others is Southern California. Out of all of the cities in the U.S., Los Angeles was the number one location searched for by Chinese people on the website, while San Francisco was second and Irvine was third.

There are multiple reasons why this amount of cash from foreign locations like China is flooding into South California real estate. Many families are looking to move to the area to support their children that are going to Californian colleges, and others want to get their children in quality high schools in the top districts.

That’s the main reason behind rising prices in this region which has always been popular with Chinese home buyers. Home values have already risen above pre-recession prices in most of the San Gabriel Valley, for example. And in Irvine homes are going quick to eager young Asian families. These international home buyers are looking for regions where more of their fellow countrymen already reside. Maybe it’s the family connections or just familiarity with the names, but new buyers usually tend to follow the prior ones.

Good schools in the area seem to be a deciding factor as well. Many buyers with children that are immigrating to the U.S. have a top priority being a top-ranked school district. And the high-priced Chinese market can make Chinese home buyers see median home prices pushing $900,000 in some areas as a deal. Still, selling a small condo in China can easily pay for a big single family home in the States.

How Real Estate Websites (like Zillow, Trulia, and Affect What a Realtor Actually Does

In today’s world the internet has replaced some important societal roles. Websites like Hotwire and Priceline have replaced travel agents; websites like Amazon and Netflix have replaced video stores; and websites like TurboTax have replaced personal tax accountants.

The question is, will real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia, and ever replace real estate agents?

What Do Real Estate Agents Do?

To answer this question it is important to understand what real estate agents do to assist their clients as they navigate the housing market.

The first and most important role of the real estate agent is to understand their client’s needs, wants, and limitations. By actively listening to their clients and taking proactive steps to get to know their clients, the agent is able to lead their clients to ideal properties.

The second role of the real estate agent is to inform and teach their clients. The agent is able to provide information on the housing market and teach their clients what they need to know to make informed buying decisions.

Third, the real estate agents are experts in their local areas. They are able to assist their clients in finding the right neighborhoods because they know the area very well. They can use their knowledge of the client’s lifestyle to pair them up with the best neighborhoods.

Finally, real estate agents act as transactional guides to assist their clients through deals. They are expert negotiators and walk both buyers and sellers through the process of negotiating the best deal possible so everyone wins.

What Do Real Estate Websites Do?

On the surface, it appears that real estate websites are able to replace agents, however, these websites are very limited in what they can do.

First, they cannot understand their client’s needs, wants, and limitations. Yes, they can filter information, and provide a list of potential properties for users, however, the user will miss out on some properties that could be perfect for them because the website doesn’t really know them.

Second, real estate websites are great at informing and teaching. They provide information on available listings and provide education on the buying process. This frees up real estate agents to focus more on helping clients find the perfect properties, rather than educating them through the process.

Third, real estate websites can provide a good snapshot of the local areas by providing demographic and other data driven information, but they are not as good at pinpointing the perfect neighborhood for

users to live in. Unlike a real estate agent, a website cannot truly know the character of the neighborhood.

Finally, real estate websites cannot act as a transactional guide to assist users through making deals. They cannot negotiate. This is a function that only a person can perform.

How Realtors and Real Estate Websites Can Work Together

Real Estate agents and websites can work very nicely together. The websites can provide information and education for the users and help users narrow down the choices. While the agent is able to truly understand the client and help choose the best properties based on their local expertise. Finally, an agent can guide clients through the process of brokering the best deals for all parties involved.

When it comes down to it, the CEO of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff has it right:

There will always be a real estate agent in the transaction because, for most consumers, it’s just too important and too expensive and too infrequent and complex to screw up, so they need an agent.

Luxury Spec Home Buying On The Rise Across The Nation and in Los Angeles

The recession not only affected the economy, but brought speculative building and buying to a standstill. While the real estate market has re-stabilized in most areas of the nation, real estate investors and developers have been leery to begin speculative building on luxury real estate—with the concerns that buyers would be difficult to find.

The primary concerns, are that the is a plethora of preexisting luxury real estate on the market—that while at a high price point, is more affordable than new luxury real estate. However, developers around the nation are beginning to develop innovative new luxury real estate—and to their surprise and delight, finding buyers for their multimillion dollar speculative building projects.

Recently spec building has led to multimillion dollar sales in Los Angeles, as well as Aspen, and the East Hamptons. A 16,000 square-foot mansion on a 1.3 acre lot in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles estate was placed on the market at $48 million dollars—and the Italian developer Alessandro Cajrati Crivelli is confident it will sell with great speed. It is the infusion of buyers from around the world who are moving to the states, or looking for luxury real estate in the US that has developers building with confidence.

12 Sales Management Tips I Use To Keep My Team Motivated

Motivation is the key to any success in your life, but particularly when we are speaking in terms of real estate sales.  While we all respond to different motivators, there are some key items to keep in mind as a sales manager to maximize success.

Start with a clear vision of what success looks like so that everyone will be working toward a common goal.   You want to map out your path to success and keep everyone up to date your progress.  These updates can be incorporated into weekly sales meetings and staff one on ones.  Keeping everyone’s eye on the prize gives us all a great sense of purpose and a feeling of being “in” on things.

Below are the 12 motivational tips I use to maximize our real estate sales:

Tip #1—Be Present

Today’s technology has trained us to have an immediate response to every text, email, and call that comes in, but during your weekly one on one and sales meetings you have to really be present.  Make sure that your staff knows that you are there for them by actively listening, taking notes, giving input, and asking appropriate questions.

Tip #2—Be Direct

As sales professionals we can always tell when someone is dodging a question or giving us the run around.  Be direct and coach in a straightforward and respectful manner.

Tip #3—Be Honest

Professional growth cannot occur without honesty.  Identify the area for opportunity, address what needs to be improved, and how to ensure the correct outcome in the future.  This is never an easy conversation, but stay focused on the goal, professional growth, and desired results.

Tip #4—Communicate With Respect

We’re adults here, so let’s treat each other as such.  If you yell and degrade your team, they won’t stay with you long—or if they do, they will not work to their full potential for you.  Would you give your all to someone who yells at you?

Tip #5—Give Credit Where It’s Due

If someone on your real estate sales team has a shinning idea, give credit where it’s due.  If you take someone’s idea as your own you will lose your most valuable assets as an employer—trust and respect.  If you take someone’s idea from them, will they give you more?

Tip #6—Everything Trickles Down

We can’t expect our staff to hold a standard that we don’t ourselves uphold.  If you don’t live the companies values on a day to day basis, no one else will either.  If you’re positive, your team will be.  If you’re negative, your team will be.  What you do sets the tone of your team.

Tip #7—Get All The Details

When a problem pops up, ask questions to make sure you have all the facts.  It’s too easy to jump to conclusions, when maybe you are only missing one small piece of the puzzle.  If there is a true problem, you still need all the facts to get to get things back on course.

Tip #8—Don’t Just Say It, Do It

We’ve heard it time and time again but, actions speak louder than words!  As a manager, if you set a goal or make a commitment to your team you’ve got to follow through.  In fact, encourage your team to hold you accountable.  We can’t ask our team to execute their goals when we can’t execute ours.

Tip #9—Be Responsive

Your team has to come first and communication is key!  If you are out with clients all day and have a mountain of emails and voicemails from your team when you return, you’ve got to respond in a reasonable timeframe.  You want your team to know they have a support system.  Remember—their success is your success.

Tip #10—Keep Constructive Criticism Behind Closed Doors

Again, we’re all adults so publicly correcting someone does more harm that you might think.  Not only do you lose respect from the recipient, but it decreases the overall office moral.  Keep constructive criticism in private to keep the lines of trust and communication open.

Tip #11—Celebrate The Wins

Sometimes we get so caught up in the “where we can improve” that we don’t pay adequate attention to where we excel.  Celebrate those wins, big and small—this you can do publicly!  Consider making a list of wins that happen during the week and presenting them during weekly staff meetings and in one on ones.  Make sure everyone gets positive recognition regularly.

Tip #12—Feed From Your Mission Statement

All goals, development plans, marketing campaigns—everything should be directly related to a particular part of your Mission Statement, Vision, Values; whichever applies to your real estate sales team.  If we show that we are always giving strong representation of our company’s belief system we build a cohesive team and develop an impressive office culture.

Keep your team strong and your real estate sales will grow!

7 Things Productive Entrepeneurs Will Never Give Up

When you decide to become an entrepreneur, unless you’re going be a non-profit, there is the expectation you want to make money and have some form of success. What do you do to make that happen? What don’t you do?  There are seven simple secrets that can keep you on track for success.

First why are you doing this? Sticking it to the man/boss/parents, proving to your mentor or someone special that you could do it. You get off to a passionate start but then you get sidetracked and other things start to get in the way. You’ve Lost Focus. Get back to the reason you started doing this in the first place and hang on to it like a drowning person to a life preserver.

Second; ever been stuck in traffic and that barely comfortable amount of time you gave yourself to get to the theater/church/date’s place or job evaporated? Were they happy about watching you rush in and talk about the traffic/bus/lost cabbie? Don’t Be Late. They’ve made time for you and how you honor that investment can change whether they trust you with their business or not.

Third; have you had the blood level in your energy drink tested lately? Are you more prone to have a can of EnergyPOW or something halfway to your lips most of the day? “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a common phrase among hard charging types. You should change the motto to “I don’t need any fresh ideas” or “I’ll inhibit my driving and working ability with fatigue.” Doesn’t sound as impressive does it? Don’t Give Up Your Rest. Sleep allows you to recover and recharge your mental and physical reserves to be at your best.

Fourth; you had the best lemonade stand in the neighborhood.  You graduated knowing you were going to make your family proud by becoming the person that revolutionized the world. Instead you settled for a paycheck and security. Like George Clooney’s corporate terminator tells one employee, “How much did they first pay you to give up your dreams?” Remember the Dream. What special memory about your business can you think of? The first day you opened? The first product you sold? Lock in on that and don’t let it go.

Fifth; maybe a reason you struck out on your own was the mind numbing meetings. They went on forever with no end in sight. A customer who appreciates speed and directness is rolling their eyes at your elaborate power point presentation. Respect the Time. Theirs OR yours. Make your appointment with the deal maker, not the gate keeper or lowest person on the totem pole. When the client says they have X amount of time for a meeting, give them x amount of time and give them the option to answer questions or conclude if they need to. They’ll respect you for it.

Sixth; so you do have the app that tracks your time and accounts for every mile you travel and every contact you make in person or online. Do you have social media apps, games, stuff that can sound very enticing when you’re bored? Distinguish Distractions. What do you need to work on and put away the stuff that’s keeping you from your projects.

Finally seventh; there are lots of books and articles about work/life balance. Some things are obvious. When your partner comments it would be nice to see you at dinner. When your kids ask about making an appointment to play with you. Your sibling says they miss having coffee together like you used to. Don’t Fail Your Family. They love you the way you are want to be a part of your life. If there’s a big project that’s going to keep you from them for a while, explain it. Don’t let it become a never-ending string of projects.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, it can be rewarding and you can keep your dreams, focus, family and freedom if you remember these seven basic ideas.