Musings of a Career Consultant

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Telemarketing? Take Notice! February 21, 2014

NEW ROBOCALL RULES

REALTORS® who use telemarketing are subject to the Do Not Call rules. The FCC’s new Robocall rules impose some additional requirements for obtaining consent when making a prerecorded
telemarketing call to a residential phone number or making an autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing call or text to a wireless number. The new rules require that telemarketers first obtain written consent to receive such calls or messages, on paper or through electronic means, including website forms, a telephone key press, or a recording of oral consent.

Additionally, a telemarketer will no longer be able to make a robocall to a residential
landline telephone based solely on an “established business relationship”. Business callers must now have prior express written consent before making telemarketing robocalls, even if they have an established business relationship. Telemarketers have never been permitted to make robocalls to wireless phones based solely on an “established business relationship”.

Finally, the new rules require that telemarketers must allow an immediate opt out from receiving
additional telemarketing robocalls, even if prior consent has been given. The opt out provision must be announced at the beginning of the call and must be available throughout the call. This new requirement means that the person receiving the call will not have to hang up and make a separate call in order to stop further telemarketing robocalls.

Originally produced by CAR Realegal. More information can be found here.

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

Filed under: Uncategorized — mkrchnak @ 10:34 am
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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 California Laws for 2013 Affecting REALTORS® October 18, 2012

The ink may not yet be dry on some of the legislative bills that Governor Brown signed into law yesterday, as the 2011-12 legislative session drew to an end. A summary of over 60 new laws that may be of interest to REALTORS® is available to our members in the 2013 Laws section on the legal page of our website. The full text of each legislative bill is available at www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Many of the significant upcoming laws are in the landlord-tenant arena, but other new laws involve foreclosures, HOAs, settlement agreements, smoke alarms, mobilehome parks, and much more. Some of the highlights of the new laws that may affect REALTORS® are as follows:

Landlord Must Disclose Notice of Default to Prospective Tenants: Starting January 1, 2013, every landlord who offers for rent a residential property containing one-to-four units must disclose in writing to any prospective tenant the receipt of a notice of default that has not been rescinded. This disclosure must be made before executing a lease agreement. If a landlord violates this law, the tenant can elect to void the lease and recover one month’s rent or twice the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater, plus all prepaid rent. If the lease is not voided and the foreclosure sale has not occurred, the tenant may deduct one month’s rent from future amounts owed. The written disclosure notice as provided by statute must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. A property manager will not be held liable for failing to provide the written disclosure notice unless the landlord has given the property manager written instructions to deliver the written disclosure to the tenant. This law will expire on January 1, 2018. Senate Bill 1191.

Restrictions Against Cancellation Fees for HOA Documents: Beginning January 1, 2013, an HOA cannot collect a cancellation fee for HOA sales disclosure documents in either of two situations: (1) a request is cancelled in writing by the party who placed the order and work had not yet been performed on the order; or (2) a request is cancelled in writing and the HOA had been compensated for any work performed. Moreover, an HOA must refund all fees collected for HOA documents if a request is cancelled in writing and work had not yet been performed on the order. Additionally under this new law, the HOA cover sheet itemizing the HOA sales disclosures must be in at least 10-point type. Our C.A.R. standard form Homeowner Association Information Request (Form HOA) complies with this requirement. Assembly Bill 1838.

Landlord May Dispose Abandoned Personal Property Less Than $700: Commencing January 1, 2013, the total resale value of personal property left behind by a tenant after termination of a tenancy that the landlord must sell at a public auction (rather than dispose of or retain for his or her own use), has been increased from $300 to $700, if certain procedures are followed. This law, however, also prohibits a landlord from assessing any storage cost if the tenant reclaims personal property within 2 days of vacating the premises. The statutory notices of Right to Reclaim Abandoned Property have been revised to reflect these changes. Furthermore, a landlord’s notices of termination of tenancy and pre-move out inspection must contain specified language that former tenants may reclaim abandoned personal property left on the premises, subject to certain conditions. Assembly Bill 2303.

Tenant Entitled to a 90-Day Notice to Terminate After Foreclosure: Effective January 1, 2013, a month-to-month tenant in possession of a rental housing unit at the time the property is foreclosed must be given a 90-day written notice to terminate under California law. For a fixed-term residential lease, the tenant can generally remain until the end of the lease term, and all rights and obligations under the lease shall survive foreclosure, including the tenant’s obligation to pay rent. However, the landlord can give a 90-day written notice to terminate a fixed-term lease after foreclosure under any of the following four circumstances: (1) the purchaser or successor-in-interest will occupy the property as a primary residence; (2) the tenant is the borrower or the borrower’s child, spouse, or parent; (3) the lease was not the result of an arms’ length transaction; or (4) the lease requires rent that is substantially below fair market rent (except if under rent control or government subsidy). The purchaser or successor-in-interest bears the burden of proving that one of the four exceptions has been met. This law does not apply if a borrower stays in the property as a tenant, subtenant, or occupant, or if the property is subject to just cause rent control. This law will expire on December 31, 2019. This new California law is similar, but not identical, to the 90-day termination notice requirement under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (12 U.S.C. § 5201, et seq.) (as extended by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), which is set to expire on December 31, 2014. Assembly Bill 2610.

Smoke Alarm Requirements for Home Improvers and Landlords: Starting not next year but January 1, 2014, for all dwelling units intended for human occupancy for which a building permit is issued for alterations, repairs, or additions for more than $1,000, the issuer of the building permit will not sign off on the completion of work unless the owner demonstrates that all smoke alarms (previously “smoke detectors”) required for the dwelling unit are devices approved by the State Fire Marshal. Also starting January 1, 2014, to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal, a smoke alarm must display the date of manufacture, allow a place for the date of installation to be written, incorporate a hush feature, incorporate an end-of-life warning, and, for battery-operated devices, contain a non-removable 10-year battery. These rules may be superseded by a local rule or ordinance that is more stringent than state law. For properties rented or leased, an owner is generally responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms in an apartment complex or other building starting January 1, 2013 and in a single-family residence starting January 1, 2014, and also responsible for installing additional smoke alarms as needed to comply with building standards starting January 1, 2016. Senate Bill 1394.

Lender Must Provide Summary for Foreclosure Notices: A lender must provide a borrower with a specified summary of information attached to a copy of a notice of default and notice of sale for any property containing one-to-four residential units. The summary must be in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Korean. The beginning of the notice of default and notice of sale must also state in these 6 languages that the summary is attached. The attached summary does not need to be recorded or published. The Department of Corporation (DOC) must provide a standard translation of the statement free-of-charge on its website atwww.corp.ca.gov. This requirement takes effect on April 1, 2013 or 90 days after the DOC issues the summary translations, whichever is later. Under existing foreclosure procedures, notices of default and notices of sale must be mailed to borrowers by registered or certified mail as specified. Assembly Bill 1599.

Anti-Discrimination Protections For Religious Grooming and Breastfeeding: Commencing January 1, 2013, the protection against religious discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) has been expressly expanded to require an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for an individual’s religious grooming or dress practice. Religious grooming or dress is to be broadly construed, and includes head, facial, and body hair, head or face coverings, religious clothing, jewelry, artifacts, or other items that are part of the observance of a religious creed. Segregating an individual is not a reasonable accommodation of someone’s religious grooming or dress practice. No accommodation for religious grooming or dress is required if it violates another law that protects civil rights. Additionally, the FEHA protection against sex discrimination has been expanded by way of a declaration, not a change in existing law, that requires an employer or other covered entity to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding or medical conditions related to breastfeeding. Senate Bill 1964 and Assembly Bill 2386.

Courtesy of Realegal® which is published by the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a trade association representing more than 160,000 REALTORS® statewide. Edited by: Stella Ling, stellal@car.org

 

Don’t Call it a Comeback: Job Growth Weakest in a Year; Unemployment Rate Up June 1, 2012

I read a lot every morning (thank you, twitter) about housing, economics and legislation surrounding housing. It feeds my little soul. Sound weird to you? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. But we each have that thing that challenges us every morning to make the world better than we left it and my belief of education of consumers, elected officials and REALTORS on housing related issues fuels me.

So, this morning, I saw this headline come through from DS News (Job Growth Weakest in a Year; Unemployment Rate Up) and immediately the lyrics from LL Cool J‘s Mama Said Knock You Out popped into my head: Don’t Call it a Comeback.

We added 69,000 jobs in May… far below our goal of 150,000 and our unemployment is at 8.2%. In California, those numbers aren’t much prettier – as of March, we’ve gotten our unemployment down to 11.2% from it’s 2010 high of 12.4% and our jobs aren’t being added as quickly and plentifully as we’d like. What I also harp on is underemployment. There are so many Californians that are working fewer hours with less benefits than a couple of years ago.

I know jobs exist in our Country and you might be feeling it differently where you live. In Austin, where I was two weeks ago, the paper the day I flew out was toting a 6.5% unemployment rate. I thought to myself “show offs”… I was envious of my home state’s good fortune in this economy.

2012 is the year to make your voice heard and I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on (I’m fiscally conservative and socially open-minded), you need to vote in YOUR best interest, in our Country’s best interest.

 

Back from the Capitol June 16, 2010

The 5th Annual HAF Golf Tournament was Tuesday and even though I missed it, I’m still a Housing Affordability Fund contributor. I heard that everyone had a good time and we raised a good amount of money!

Legislative Day was on Wednesday and at Region 16’s Legislative Luncheon we got a surprise visit from the Governor himself! Very exciting to see that entourage pull up! Then at the Capital Reception everyone had the opportunity to network with our Assemblymembers and Senators as well as REALTORS involved in RAF (with at least $197 contribution). What a great night!

Also, the YPN had a mixer at the Mix (seriously, not joking) and it was such a fun event. We had speakers from RAF and Tim Smith from Inman News. It was so nice to relax and mingle after a long day!

We (the Board of Directors) voted to approve the merging  of calREDD® with the Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (MRMLS). Since I’m already a MRMLS user, I love the idea, and since it was voted and approved, the majority of our Directors agree!

Also, we adopted a special purpose political assessment of $49 per member for 2011. This special assessment is for the California Real Estate Political Action Committee or, if the C.A.R. member chooses, to direct the funds to the C.A.R. general fund for non-candidate political purposes. Since I’m a $197 RAF contributor, this isn’t a huge change but for those REALTORS that haven’t been contributing, they now will. It’s exciting because this money will help us lobby for consumer rights (which is especially nice when we’re up against some strong opposition).

Also, we elected our 2011 President-Elect, LeFrancis Arnold. He’s ready to start work next year but I’m excited to see what he’ll do as President in 2012!

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about anything.

 

Here, There and Everywhere June 3, 2010

So, this year I’ve Closed Escrow on properties from Hacienda Heights to Rialto, Covina to Fullerton. All in all, it makes for a lot of driving! Luckily, I have a Business Partner, Rigo, that takes care of most of our out-of-office work so I can focus on taking care of all of the in-office work. It’s a pretty great system but I do feel bad, er, grateful for all of the driving he does. He’s such a good sport!

From what I understand, years ago (maybe even decades), REALTORS stayed in a little niche market of a few cities. Now, with the help of technology (and some very knowledgeable colleagues), I’m able to expand my areas of expertise quite easily. We’re helping clients as far as Santa Ana, San Clemente and Lake Elsinore! It’s exciting to think that we can be of good service (emphasis on ‘good’) to our clients as they stretch the boundaries of where they want to live.

When I first got into the business, I didn’t see anyone really pushing those imaginary lines of where you did or didn’t do business but now it’s quite common to find REALTORS, like me, that are working all over SoCal. The best advice I can give you is to make sure you’re working with someone who’s VERY knowledgeable with the area you’re interested in. It’s easier to become knowledgeable about new areas but it’s still not easy so make sure you’re working with someone who is willing to bend over backwards for you. They are, after all, helping you with the largest purchase of your life! Rigo and I constantly keep that in mind when things get hairy/emotional/trying. Buying or Selling a home is a very exciting experience but it can also be a tough road so make sure you’re taking that journey with someone who has your best interest at heart.

 

Trouble in Zaradise! May 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mkrchnak @ 8:17 am
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Just last week, on the 4th, Zillow was named in a lawsuit in the Texas court system per the Orange County Register. It’s a patent infringement lawsuit brought on by Santa Ana’s own First American CoreLogic Inc. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a Real Estate Professional that is a fan of the sometimes wildly low or high (and sometimes spot-on) “Zestimates” which can be troublesome when trying to provide your professional opinion. The patent lawsuit hinges on the infringement of a “automated valuation model” or AVM. I’m not sure most Consumers are aware that when you’re doubting a professional, it’s versus a computer. While there are some areas or cities that can have their value found with simple statistics: bedrooms, bathrooms, SF, lot SF; there are some that get a little more complicated. Say, a street like Sierra Madre in Glendora. While being just South of Sierra Madre in Glendora is still fairly high into the Foothills, there is a certain status that comes with living North of the street. And, if you live North of Sierra Madre, as your REALTOR, it’s my duty to help you sell your home for the true value of it’s worth. That is just one example but I’m more than able to give different examples. In any event, Zillow’s been issued a Cease and Desist but has stated that they have “no plans to change any aspect of our business as a result of this complaint.” We’ll see how long that hold out lasts…

Also, I came across an article over the weekend that I had to address. I’ve had clients email me similar articles and I address each and every concern by bullet-points, which I’m happy to do, to dispel any myths or inaccuracies. The 4 Biggest Lies in Real Estate was on Yahoo’s front-page and is in their Finance section now. I’ll just address each of the 4 points here:

  1. Phony Photos and Videos: While there is imaging software available, I’ve only used such software to brighten a picture that didn’t catch enough light. (And, I didn’t actually do it, I had someone who corrects pictures more efficiently take care of it for me because I don’t actually own the software.) While there might be Agents color correcting photos, the most they usually do is enhance the colors not edit them completely. I always advise my clients to drive by a home they’re interested in. I know the article suggests other websites but there’s something to be said with familiarizing yourself with the neighborhood. In regards to the video, I’ve yet to see this but, again, I would just schedule an appointment to see the interior if you’ve already driven by the exterior and you approve of the area. Just think of the pictures and videos as an idea, not the full effect.
  2. Valuations Lacking Value: And, here are our friends at Zillow (and more). I like the idea of getting an appraisal done but if you’re working with a REALTOR from the area, you’re probably in safe hands. If you’re moving to or from an area, you can always talk to your REALTOR and they can usually find someone (or already know someone) to or from where you’re moving. The idea is to look over the Comparable Sales Data that each REALTOR provides but also look at their marketing strategy for your home. Most people forget that last part.
  3. Mortgage Rates You Can’t Get: This is another pet-peeve of mine. I work with professionals in every aspect of the business (including lending) and it’s highly upsetting to see these ads for these super low rates that only a few can actually qualify for and even then there is probably a hidden agenda. The best you can do is to talk to your REALTOR and have them give you contact information for a few lenders they’ve worked with in the past that they trust to take care of you. You then can build trust with that lender directly.
  4. Unreal Property Descriptions: While our verbiage can get a bit… flowery, we mean well. We’re trying to paint our Sellers’ home in the best possible light. You’d want us to do the same for you and your gold appliances… they’re retro, right? I’ve also been pretty blunt in describing homes where the Seller had taken off their rose-colored glasses and saw their home for what it was and received some “thank you” calls from REALTORS. They appreciate the honesty, just like ya’ll do. And, while we’re not trying to trick ya’ll, unless our Seller is looking at the pros and cons the way we are, are hands are tied at how blunt or flowery we’re going to be.
  5. Bonus: Euphemism Alert: Okay, that’s just funny! I’ve read and walked through almost all of these and while I don’t believe I would advertise them like this, I can giggle thinking about showings where a client and I were both supremely surprised to find what they were describing. Ah, the joys of the world of Real Estate!