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Archive for August, 2014

Labor Day & Your Real Estate Production

 Happy Labor Day from Maximum One Realtors Labor Day & Your Real Estate Production – by Dana Sparks



Labor Day is a day of celebration! Labor Day was originally founded as a national tribute to honor the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity & well-being of our country. It is also a day that marks the end of Summer vacation and the excitement of getting “back to work” for most of us! While we enjoy our holiday barbecues, outings on the lake and time relaxing with family and friends, we also gear-up for a prosperous end of the year! The most important things to focus on when you come back to work are the systems that run your business. There are four general areas that need systems and strategies in place to run your successful real estate business.


These areas are:

  • Generating Business
  • Servicing Active Business
  • Following Up AFTER Closing
  • Following Up Long Term


Systems for Generating Business: How are you generating real estate clients? You should have a specific time every morning for GENERATING the business. That is your job! That is the main thing you get paid for… finding people who need your help to buy or sell real estate. Whether you use the internet, the telephone, your car, the US postal service or a combination of all of these, what you do every work day morning should be focused on this activity alone.

Systems for Servicing Active Business: In today’s real estate market, it is extremely easy for this portion of your job to tend to take up the majority of your time. It is imperative to begin this part of your daily activities AFTER you have spent your time generating new business. As challenging as it may be to get a transaction closed, once it is closed, it will behoove you to have another client ready to go (or preferably already in the works) rather than having to start from scratch. Avoid the typical “roller coaster” of production and activity in your real estate business. When focusing and honing your strategies for getting pending transactions closed, remember to include your co-op agents, lenders and closing attorneys when refining your strategies (i.e. consider a message on your voice mail that lets callers know when they can expect a return call, an auto-reply on your email with contact information or current status updates & access information on your listings, etc.)

Systems for Following up AFTER Closing: You can gain a huge percentage increase in your business year after year by developing strategies in this one area of your sales business. Think back to the last major purchase you made (a car, furniture, a computer system, home theater system, etc.) have you heard back from the salesperson that sold that item to you? What kind of an impression would that have made on you in terms of future or referral business? Simply sending a hand-written thank-you note to ALL the parties involved will greatly enhance your business. There are many other ways you can service your clients and co-op agents and other parties AFTER the close of your real estate transaction.

Systems for Following Up LONG TERM: Long Term follow up is another area of your business replete with opportunity for more sales! How systematic are you in following up with your past clients? Co-op Clients after the sale? Vendors to whom you give business? If you have not contacted a past client in a while (a LONG while) pick up the phone NOW! They DO NOT know that you should have been in touch with them on a regular basis! Chances are, if they are still living at the same address (wink wink) they will be delighted to hear from you! What about your co-op agents… perhaps they are out of business and would love to make money from the referral fees you give them from THEIR past clients! Your favorite inspector has made a lot of money from the clients you have sent his way, have you asked him whom HE knows who needs to buy or sell? Do you contact people on their birthdays (the closing attorney gets a copy of the parties’ drivers licenses!) There are so many opportunities to make an impression and offer your services to help people with their real estate needs!

It is vitally important for you to have systems and strategies in place in every aspect of your business for enhanced real estate sales! Not only will you get more business, but you will also alleviate some of the stress you feel from the frenetic way you are handling your career. If you have systems in place, Labor Day is a good time every year to evaluate your checklists, organization, procedures and policies that operate your real estate business!  These systems will contribute to the strength, prosperity and well-being of your real estate sales business!


Tips to Avoid Moving Stress*

 Tips to Reduce Moving Stress

Tips to Reduce Moving Stress*

You’ve found the perfect neighborhood and the ideal new house for your family. But before you can settle in and begin making your new surroundings feel like home, you have to cross one more dreaded hurdle: moving day.

“Finding a new home is a wonderful and exciting experience, but moving can be overwhelming — juggling packing, moving essential belongings and transforming your new house into a home,” said Wendy Froehlich, vice president of marketing at “ believes in providing the best tools and tips for consumers to make their lives easier.  We’re proud to share best practices to make the moving process less stressful and more organized – ensuring a smooth move.”

One mistake many movers make is attempting to transport items that should actually just be replaced. A commonly overlooked example is mattresses, which can prove cumbersome and difficult to keep clean during a move.

“Many people find that moving is the ideal time to replace a mattress, especially if it has reached or surpassed the eight-year mark,” said Steve Stagner, chief executive officer of Mattress Firm, Inc. “Our hassle-free delivery for your new mattress and pick up for your old one means you have one less thing to worry about as you begin life in your new home.”

To help movers avoid unnecessary stress and reduce property damage, the experts at Mattress Firm and have partnered to provide these tips:

Plan ahead:

The key to executing a move that is both efficient and stress-free is to plan your move weeks before the actual day. A moving file and calendar are great ways to keep all of your moving information, such as your lease or mortgage contract, utility hook up, power documents and other important information in one place.

Get organized:

Organize boxes for their corresponding room in your new home, sealing them with colored duct tape to color code.

Don’t crack under pressure:

Keep your plates in one piece by stacking plastic foam plates in between each one, and protect glasses by putting them inside pairs of clean socks.

Vacuum seal out-of-season clothing:

Don’t waste time fumbling through out-of-season clothing. Not only will it take up less space and be a breeze to pack, but it can go directly into storage in the new place.

Think of the little things:

Keep sandwich bags handy to hold any small items you have to take apart, such as the screws for a mounted flat-screen television or your bed frame, and tape them to the backside. Label the bags accordingly to make unpacking and reassembling furniture a breeze.

Sweet dreams:

Check the mattress tag; if a mattress is more than eight years old, it has accumulated dust, dust mites and sweat that can make it practically double in weight. Avoid the hassle of moving it and arrange to get a new one delivered to your new home. If the mattress is still in its prime, use a mattress protector to transport it safely to the new home.

Green thumb:

Transport plants delicately by using a Christmas tree bag to keep all of the appendages safe and prevent snapping.

Survival kit:

Make life easier when arriving at the new home by packing an easily accessible overnight bag with clothes and necessary toiletries. Don’t forget to include first day essentials, such as a box cutter, paper towels, trash bags and power strips.


For additional tips to make your moving day run smoothly, visit  or .

*Originally Posted:

New Changes to FICO Credit Scoring will Make it Easier to Qualify for Homeownership



WASHINGTON (August 8, 2014) – The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Steve Brown:


“Realtors® welcome today’s announcement from Fair Isaac Corp., or FICO, that it will no longer penalize borrowers for certain debt-collection activities when calculating credit scores.


“This move will ultimately make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans, who have been shut out of the housing market or forced to pay higher mortgage interest rates because of flawed credit scores. Since the housing crash, overly restrictive lending has been the greatest obstacle to homeownership. 


“NAR will continue to support efforts to broaden access to credit for qualified homebuyers.”

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.


FICO to Downplay Medical Debt in Credit Score- REUTERS – August 2014

A move by personal credit score provider FICO to leave out or discount medical debt from its scores will boost the credit record of many borrowers, while helping lenders to better assess risk.

The company, formerly known as Fair Isaac Corp., said last week that overdue medical payments that have already been settled will be ignored while calculating credit risk.  It will also discount overdue medical payments yet to be made under the new scoring model, helping improve the median FICO score for consumers who mainly have unpaid medical debts by 25 points, the company said in a statement.


The new scoring system will do a better job of identifying risky borrowers and help subprime lenders mitigate the risk of doing business with such borrowers, said John Ulzheimer, a credit expert and a former FICO employee.  Consumers end up with medical debt for different reasons than they incur other debt, such as home loans or credit card debt.


For instance, confusion about the amount covered by insurance companies related to medications or procedures sometimes means individuals do not realize they owe money.  After a debt collector calls, they might pay the debt immediately but still take a hit to their credit score, according to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).


The FICO score changes will address that by weighing medical debt less heavily than unpaid credit card debt and other collection information, according to the statement.  However, the impact on lenders from the changes remains uncertain.  “I am not exactly sure what impact this is going to have on subprime lenders, because for the score to be meaningful to the customers, the lenders have to actually start using that score,” Ulzheimer said.


Citigroup Inc’.s consumer finance unit, OneMain Financial, and Fortress Investment Group LLC subsidiary Springleaf Holdings Inc. declined to comment on the impact of the new scoring system.  The FICO change comes after the CFPB said in a report this year that credit scores overly penalize people with medical debt compared to other types of debt. “Given the critical role that credit scores play in consumers’ lives, we welcome steps by industry to adjust how it weighs medical debt in order to be as precise as possible in predicting the creditworthiness of a consumer,” a CFPB spokesman said last Friday.


The new score will be available to lenders through the U.S. credit reporting agencies starting this fall, FICO said. 

The Story of Big Rocks

Big Rocks at MX1 Realtors  The Story of the Big Rocks* 


One day, an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said “Okay, time for a quiz” and pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouth Mason jar and set it on the table in front of him. He also produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class yelled, “Yes.”


The time management expert replied, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. He dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. He then asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was onto him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied.

He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar and it went into all of the spaces left between the rocks and gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is the jar full?” “No!” the class shouted. Once again he said “Good.”

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”

The truth this illustration teaches us is: “If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all.”

With apologies to the unknown author, we ask the question “What are the Big Rocks in your business?” By focusing on the business objectives-the Big Rocks-we can then layer on the appropriate strategies and tactics to accomplish your goals.

*Courtesy of 

Back to School: Lesson Plans for Real Estate

Back To School: Lesson Plans for Real Estate – by Dana Sparks
  Back to School- Leson Plans for RE at Maximum One Realty  

It’s that time of year…. Back to School!  All the kids and all the retailers are geared up for this special event.  Kids pick out a new bookbag, new lunch box, school clothes, notebooks, pens, highlighters, etc.  School teachers decorate their classrooms, create their lesson plans, hope they get good kids in their classes, school bus drivers run practice routes, school principals anticipate great teachers, great students, great parents and great test scores!

Who will be in my class this year?  What will I score on my SATs?  Will I be nominated for Teacher of the Year?  I wonder where my locker will be?  What colleges will accept me?  Will I graduate as Valedictorian?  What will I do after school?  What do I wear the first day of school?  This time of year is charged with anticipation, hope and promise!  As a real estate agent, harness these same emotions and level of planning to finish out your year strongly!

Plan the rest of your year

  • Get a calendar and go through it and marks off all your days off for the rest of the year (vacations, holidays, school breaks, etc.)
  • Decide how many transactions you are going to do between now and the end of the year
  • Determine the number of contacts you need each week to get a Listing or Buyer
  • Determine how many listings and buyers you need to get a closing
  • All of the above are covered in Business Planning Courses

Refresh your lead sources

  • Take stock of your lead sources: Mail, Email, Internet, Text, Phone
  • Determine which lead sources are effective & utilize those more & stop using the methods that are not generating any business for you
  • Check your online presence – personal lead-generating agent website, make sure your photo & contact information is correct on the Maximum One websites, make sure your twitter & facebook & instagram profiles are correct
  • Try a new lead generation technique – VisualTour marketing, VoicePad Mobile Agent Website

Renew your contact with your database

  • Clean up your database – delete incorrect contacts, make sure you have correct phone numbers and email addresses
  • Send your past clients a hand-written note
  • Ask your acquaintances if they would like a market analysis
  • Ask your database to “Like” your Facebook Business Page

Anticipate the hope and promise of your chosen career

  • Write down all the reasons you chose real estate as a professions vs. any other field
  • Remember how excited you were when you first got your license, signed your first listing, had your first closing
  • Focus on all the people who need your assistance
  • Challenge yourself to learn a new aspect of your career
  • Remember the flexibility over your schedule, choice of clients, niche market, area of town in which to work, amount of income you wish to make
  • What would your life look like if you weren’t practicing real estate?

Attend new classes to increase your knowledge

  • Maximum One offers 21+ hours of CE credit EVERY month (in August we offer 48 hours of CE classes!)
  • Check out the classes offered by the various Boards of Realtors
  • There are tons of webinars, workshops and seminars available as well.
  • Read real estate blogs written by your peers (check out Active Rain)
  • Attend the Sales Meetings for a wealth of information from your Affiliated Lenders, Closing Attorneys and peers!

As we see advertisements and articles for “Back to School” think of yourself as going “back to School” and re-invest yourself in your chosen field of endeavor!

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