Musings of a Career Consultant

SoCal Texan in Bmore Leading Rock Stars

From Coast to Coast March 14, 2013

I left Texas 7 1/2 years ago and started what was an amazing life in Southern California. My real estate team enjoyed some great years in the downturn and my leadership grew due to the opportunity I snatched up all around me. Because of those two combined pieces, I was offered and accepted a position as the Team Leader/CEO of the Keller Williams Metro NW Market Center. My new home is in Baltimore, MD.

That’s right… Maryland! It’s a big move and yet I believe this is an amazing opportunity to let my real estate team in SoCal to continue to grow while I build on my leadership. Even if it’s from the other coast.

This is an amazing opportunity for all of my clients. You now have a coast to coast  REALTOR that’s ready to help you find the best agent for you, even if it’s not me.

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You’re My REALTOR®, I Just Didn’t Use You February 26, 2013

This article by Keller Williams Rancho Cucamonga Assistant Team Leader Melissa Krchnak originally appeared on YPN Lounge by REALTOR Magazine Blogs.

You’re really lucky if this hasn’t gone down with a friend before:

Friend: Melissa, can you answer this mildly vague real estate question? *insert excitement*

Melissa: Of course, Friend. I’m happy to help with all of your real estate needs.

Friend: Awesome! So, we’re buying this house and our agent said… *insert face palm*

Have you ever had that go down? And, you know what killed me? The next time I saw them:

Friend: Hey, Friend 2, have you met our REALTOR®, Melissa? *your REALTOR®, Melissa?!?!?!*

That’s right. I’m happy to accept the title as *their* REALTOR® even though I — and I really do blame myself — missed the boat on helping them with their purchase.

You want to know a dirty, little secret? I didn’t think they were financially ready to purchase. That was such a valuable lesson. Not only did I learn I needed to get better at my follow-up/touches/dripping, I learned that I shouldn’t judge or assume anything about my clients (or my friends), including what I believe they can or cannot afford.

If you’ve yet to have a friend use someone else, please heed this lesson and learn from my mistake. I’m glad I was able to help my friend with her purchase. I just wish I would’ve been one of the REALTORS® getting paid at the end of the day.

 

Who Do You Keep Around You? January 17, 2013

I’m on a bit of a Seth Godin kick right now so bear with me. He wrote an article today about the two people you might need in your professional life and I think I’m used as one for most of my office. And, I’m okay with that.

See, when you’re an independent contractor (i.e. REALTOR), sometimes doing it all can drag you out of your highest and best use. Sometimes you need someone like me, what he calls a procrastinatrix, to keep you accountable. And, to get you to do it NOW.

Next goal? Be someone’s agonist!

 

Dumbfound Your Competition: Get a HUGE Jumpstart on 2013 December 3, 2012

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When I read this article this morning, I was taken back a few years. See, I’ve heard this story before from Darren Hardy and it still sits as a good reminder on this first Monday of December.  What do you think about this strategy? I personally love it!

When I was in real estate I would acquire more new listings and generate more new escrows in the month of January (many times within the first two weeks) than 99% of Realtors did ALL YEAR.

How did I do it?

Those are the sneaky details I will give you in this article.

I am often asked for the fastest, most reliable pathway to success. Let me give you a formula that will guide you forevermore and lead you to extraordinary riches.

Ready?

Observe what most everyone else is doing—and do the opposite.

Think about it.

Most everyone else is unsuccessful.

Doing the opposite gives you the opposite result: success.

Simple.

That formula describes what Richard Branson, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and most every other superachiever you can think of used.

If everyone else is zigging—zag.

Now then, what do most people do during the month of December?

Are people more focused and more productive or more distracted and lackadaisical? Are people working hard or hardly working?

You already know the answer.

That’s why you want to do the opposite.

This is when you can get ahead, WAY AHEAD and can take advantage of the mood of the season, rather than the mood of the season taking advantage of you.

I’ll explain.

Three December strategies to CRUSH IT in January

ONE. In real estate, the market dies in December. It’s the holidays, no one wants to have their house on the market, with people tromping through it and they are too busy buying Christmas gifts to think about buying a house.

They don’t even have the time or interest to even meet with a Realtor in December. This kind of scenario might be true for you in your business too. So what do you do?

Here’s the secret…

Spend the entire month booking your appointment calendar for January. They don’t want to meet with you now, but they are even more apt to book an appointment with you for January, which is ALL-THE-WAY in next year—appointment-booking resistance is low.

By the time 8 a.m. Jan. 2 would come around I was booked solid, wall-to-wall, flat out, the entire month. Those who just started to rub the sleep out of their eyes and just began to make appointments the first week in January were so far behind they didn’t know what had hit them by January 15.

No one could ever figure out how I did so much business in January of each year. It had nothing to do with what I did that January; the game had been decided by what I did in December of the previous year.

For you – that’s RIGHT NOW.

So, strategy one is while maybe no one wants what you are selling during the holiday lag time, use this month to book yourself silly in January.

TWO. The year is ending. There are lots of businesses that run their fiscal year on the annual calendar and even lots of individuals who for tax reasons need to make some speedy decisions and spend some money quickly.

Completely reprioritize your prospecting list to those types of clients that have these year-end closing challenges and opportunities.

If you are a generalized business, focus your product or service offerings to meet those needs. Adjust your marketing messaging to communicate to those needs.

Strategy two is reprioritize WHO you focus on, WHAT you focus on marketing to them and connect a timely and purposeful MESSAGE to those needs.

You could significantly jump your revenue in the final two-minute drill of the year.

THREE. Stack your cash. I think it was Stephen Covey who defined relationships as emotional bank accounts. During any exchange, or transaction, you are either depositing money or you are withdrawing it. What we know for sure is, just like a real bank account, you cannot withdraw any money if there is NO money in the account.

The month of December is a great time to make large deposits into lots of relationship accounts. The goal is to walk into the new year flush with cash.

The way to do this is to give, give, give in December.

Strategy number three is to spend the month of December building your important relationships and making lots of emotional deposits.

OK, I hope one of these ideas lit a spark in you and that I have made a sizable deposit into our relationship account.

Now go out and get your big jump on the competition… they will be dumbfounded by your success and momentum by January 31, 2013.

Share this article with your team and deposit your thoughts, ideas and inspirations in the comments below.

Courtesy of Darren Hardy which is published at darrenhardy.success.com.

 

New Short Sale Guidelines for GSEs Will Make Process Easier August 28, 2012

Esther Cho wrote this great article for DSNews.com and I wanted to share its content:

Starting November 1, 2012, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will implement new short sale guidelines to make the approval process easier for eligible borrowers.

“These new guidelines demonstrate FHFA’s and Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s commitment to enhancing and streamlining processes to avoid foreclosure and stabilize communities,” said FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco in a statement. “The new standard short sale program will also provide relief to those underwater borrowers who need to relocate more than 50 miles for a job.”

The changes are part of the FHFA’s Servicing Alignment Initiative and will require a streamlined approach with documents, leading to a reduction in documentation requirements. For example, borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent and have a credit score lower than 620 will no longer be required to provide documentation for their hardship.

The GSEs will also waive their right to pursue deficiency judgments. Borrowers with sufficient income or assets can make cash contributions or sign promissory notes instead.

One major barrier that is also being addressed is the issue with second lien holders. To prevent second lien holders from stalling the short sale process, the GSEs will offer up to $6,000.

The new guidelines will also enable servicers to approve a short sale for borrowers who are not in default but face certain hardships including the death of a borrower or co-borrower, divorce or legal separation, illness or disability or a distant employment transfer.

In addition, all servicers will have the authority to approve and complete short sales that follow the requirements without first going to the GSEs for approval.

Provisions were also created for military personnel with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. Servicemembers who are required to relocate will automatically be eligible for short sales even if they are current. They also won’t be obligated to contribute funds to pay for the remaining deficiency.

“Short sales have become an increasingly important tool in preventing foreclosures and stabilizing communities,” said Leslie Peeler, SVP, National Servicing Organization, Fannie Mae. “We want to help as many homeowners avoid foreclosure as possible. It is vital that servicers, junior lien holders and mortgage insurers step up to the plate with us.”

Tracy Mooney, SVP of Single-Family Servicing and REO at Freddie Mac, said, “These changes will make it clear that Freddie Mac servicers have the authority to approve short sales for more borrowers facing the most frequently seen hardships. These changes will further empower the industry to minimize foreclosures and help Freddie Mac in its mission to minimize credit losses and fortify a national housing recovery.”

Fannie Mae will send the announcement for the new changes to servicers Wednesday. Freddie Mac sent their announcement Tuesday.

In April, the GSEs also announced they were setting requirements to have a decision on a short sale offer made within 30-60 days.

What do you think? Are you believing in the hype?

 

We Believe… August 16, 2012

At the core of Keller Williams Realty is a conviction that who you are in business with matters. We believe that the company we keep can contribute to our lives in untold ways.

Today I found out we were awarded the 2012 J.D. Power and Associates‘ Awards in Home Seller and Home Buyer Ratings. Our rankings are pretty amazing and worth bragging about.

I love who I’m in Business with, do you?!

 

10 Expenses You Can Deduct When Renting Out A Room August 7, 2012

Stephen Fishman wrote this great article for Inman News and wanted to share. I’ve rented a room from people and I don’t think they’ve ever taken advantage of these write-offs. I’m giving you money *and* making you money… that’s what I would call a Win-Win 🙂

Lots of people are trying to earn a few extra bucks by renting out a room in their home. This can not only be a good source of income, but result in tax deductions.

If you rent out a room in your home, the tax rules apply to you in the same way as they do for landlords who rent out entire properties. This means you get to deduct the expenses arising from your rental activity.

There is one big difference, however: You must divide certain expenses between the part of the property you rent out and the part you live in, just as though you actually had two separate pieces of property.

You can fully deduct (or, where applicable, depreciate) any expenses just for the room you rent; for example, repairing a window in the room, installing carpet or drapes, painting the room, or providing your tenant with furniture (such as a bed).

In addition, if you pay extra homeowners insurance premiums because you’re renting out a room, the full cost is a deductible operating expense.

If you install a second phone line just for your tenant’s use, the full cost is deductible as a rental expense. However, you cannot deduct any part of the cost of the first phone line even if your tenant has unlimited use of it.

Expenses for your entire home must be divided between the part you rent and the part you live in. This includes your payments for:

  • mortgage interest.
  • repairs for your entire home; for example, repairing the roof or furnace, or painting the entire home.
  • improvements for your entire home; for example, replacing the roof.
  • homeowners insurance.
  • utilities such as electricity, gas and heating oil.
  • housecleaning or gardening services for your whole home.
  • trash removal.
  • snow removal costs.
  • security system costs.
  • condominium association fees.

You can also deduct depreciation on the part of your home you rent.

You can use any reasonable method for dividing these expenses. It may be reasonable to divide the cost of some items (for example, water) based on the number of people using them. However, the two most common methods for dividing an expense are either based on the number of rooms in your home or based on the square footage of your home.

Example 1: Jane rents a room in her house to a college student. The room is 10 by 20 feet, or 200 square feet. Her entire house has 1,200 square feet of floor space. Thus, one-sixth, or 16.67 percent, of her home is rented out. She can deduct as a rental expense one-sixth of any expense that must be divided between rental use and personal use.

Example 2: Instead of using the square footage of her house, Jane figures that her home has five rooms of about equal size, and she is renting out one of them. She determines that one-fifth, or 20 percent, of her home is being rented. She deducts 20 percent of her expenses that must be divided between rental and personal use.

As the examples show, you can often get a larger deduction by using the room method instead of the square footage of your home.

Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including “Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants,” “Deduct It,” “Working as an Independent Contractor,” and “Working with Independent Contractors.” He welcomes your questions for this weekly column.