Monday, March 25, 2013

Open House Buddy

Hello all,

"Open House Buddy"

From the "Hogs get fat, Pigs get slaughtered" category I wanted to throw a thought out to the group. In some locations we are seeing more traffic at open houses then 270 on a rainy morning, 20,30 and even 40+ groups. It is physically impossible for one agent to speak with and try to capture 40 groups in a three hour period. If you know you are headed into a high traffic area you might want to consider an Open House Buddy. Team up with someone to work the crowd, you can work out the financial part however you see fit. Split the leads, work the deals together... the most important thing is to not let the one good one walk out the door without giving them the proper attention. There are a lot of good agents looking for opportunities, ask your manager.  

Lisa and I will be in Florida this week with the kids on spring break. I will be checking email a couple of times a day but as always Mr. Strosnider is in charge while I am away.

Enjoy the coffee,

    Monday Morning Coffee
"There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself." 
~ Hermann Hesse
You've probably seen it a dozen times - "The Wizard of Oz." It's a delightful tale of fantasy, complete with munchkins, a scarecrow in need of a brain, a yellow brick road, a wicked witch and a mythical wizard with the imagined power to send Dorothy back to Kansas.
Regardless of the fantasy, the beautiful color, the unusual characters, and the whimsical plot, there is a powerful message that comes as one of Dorothy's last lines as she prepares to leave Oz. She says, "If ever again I go looking for my heart's desire, I won't look any further than my own backyard." It's such a simple statement, yet it carries a lesson for all of us.
How often do we look outside our own world of home and family for "our heart's desire?" There are so many distractions that lure us out of our own backyard: careers, shopping, powerful people, sports, clubs, TV, committees, the Internet, and the list goes on. There's so much to do and so little time. Then one day we look and our own backyard no longer seems to exist.
We should take time to smell the roses in our own garden, rather than looking over the fence and down the yellow brick road to see the roses of others. We need to let go of the imagined - the tin man, lion, and scarecrow of our own making - and appreciate the real Auntie Em's in our lives. If we don't, we may wake up one day to realize we're "not in Kansas anymore."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marketing Dollars

Hello all,

"Marketing Dollars"

I have been hearing a lot of chatter in the office lately about marketing dollars and where they are going. Lisa looked like the mechanical pony that someone put a quarter in when she got done with Tom Ferry last week, she kept going and going. This really is wonderful to see and hear, the market had been so spotty that it was difficult to commit to something because we were never sure what was going to happen next. However now it seams that we have confidence back in the market and predictability to what will happen next. I wanted to remind everyone of two things as we start to loosen the purse strings again. First, be careful of where you spend your dollars. There are a lot of people out there competing for your money, take your time making decisions and bounce your ideas off of others. Your manager, Mark or Myself are always available for this so please take advantage. Second, how much should you spend? The standard rule of thumb for growing a real estate business is 8%-10% of your gross earnings should go back into your marketing. This is an aggressive amount for someone who is looking to take their business from one level to the next. However it should be no less then 5% to maintain or grow your business a bit. Please spend your money wisely and let the L&F agents buy the shopping carts...

Enjoy the coffee,

Monday Morning Coffee
"After fifty years of living, it occurs to me that the most significant thing that people do is go to work, whether it is to go to work on their novel or the assembly plant or fixing somebody's teeth."
~ Thomas McGuane 
There’s a suggestion that’s commonly offered to people who have suffered some degree of trauma or tragedy. You’ve probably heard or even said it yourself: “You’ll begin to return to normal once you get back to work.” 
But why is that, exactly? Why would working make us feel better? Researchers in Sweden have been studying what makes us happy, and they’ve discovered an interesting twist. Working to achieve a goal, even more than attaining that aim, is what makes people most satisfied. 
Of course, there is a caveat. Hard work is satisfying, but only if it suits you, by using your particular strengths and skills. Otherwise, it can be downright demoralizing if you’re working at something you don’t enjoy. 
A small business magazine recently interviewed Jim Koch, founder and chairman of Boston Beer Company, which produces the very popular Samuel Adams (brewer and patriot) beers. Koch’s choice of career dismayed his father, and others thought he was crazy for trying to craft and market a great American beer. 
However, his pursuit of what he loved ended up paying big dividends. While his success story might not be typical, he offers this advice: “I always tell people that if you are going to start a business, the chances that it is going to make you rich are actually very small, almost infinitesimal. But if you pursue something that you really love, the odds that you make yourself happy are really pretty good, and that’s the real prize.” 
Hopefully, you love (or at least enjoy) your work, whether it’s writing, managing the household, real estate transactions, or any variety of activity or employment. If not, you might need to reassess, and finally discover and pursue what it is that will make you happy. Don't wait - start now! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Absorption Rates

Hello all,

"Absorption Rates"

I talk about this once a year or so just to make sure everyone remembers how to calculate Absorption Rates, so we know where we are in the market and you can explain them to your clients intelligently. Absorption Rates look at how much inventory of homes we have on the market and the rate at which they are coming off, It gives an indication of whether we are in a sellers or buyers market. A balanced market will have six months of inventory, anything below six months indicates a sellers market and anything above a buyers market. To calculate Absorption Rates in a particular area you need to go back 12 months and get the total closed transactions, you then take that number and divide it by 12 to get the closed transactions per month. You then take that number and divide it into the number of active properties to calculate the number of months of inventory. Here are 3 examples.     
20854 - Closed transactions last 12 months = 518. 518/12 = 43 closed transactions per month. 144 active properties divided by 43 = 3.3 months of inventory.

20874 - Closed transactions last 12 months = 658. 658/12 = 55 closed transactions per month. 72 active properties divided by 55 = 1.3 months of inventory.

20906 - Closed transactions last 12 months = 806. 806/12 = 67 closed transactions per month. 134 active properties divided by 67 = 2 months of inventory.

Not telling you anything that you do not know when I say we are deep into a sellers market. This can be a very useful tool if you have some buyers who just don't get it. Supply and demand = The home appreciation train is leaving the station so they better get on it.

Hope to see you all at the sales meeting today.

Enjoy the coffee,

Monday Morning Coffee
"Money often costs too much." 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
"That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest."
~ Henry David Thoreau
A cartoon recently ran on the editorial page: A very large sport-utility vehicle was releasing a large belch while someone's hand desperately reached out from inside the fuel door, a gas pump lying on the ground beneath. This humorous observation on rising gas prices immediately brought to mind the question, "Are we the consumers, or the consumed?" 
As the rising cost of fuel forces prices for everything else to rise in tandem, we are likewise forced to consider just how much we're willing to consume and at what cost. As you plan for your future and retirement, forget about all the hoopla surrounding the privatization of Social Security and consider another strategy: Don't spend your money (or at least not as much of it as you have been)! 
Think what you might get for $1,000: a new sleeper couch, 2 Super Bowl tickets, a riding lawnmower, a three-day weekend getaway? Regardless of how useful or entertaining any of these options might be, imagine how much $1,000 could really cost you. 
Let's say you're thirty years from retirement and are lucky enough to be managing a mutual fund with a steady return of 10%. (That's really not unreasonable if you are highly pro-active and educated in your investments.) If you spend that $1,000, instead of contributing it to your investment fund, you'll have reduced your future savings by at least $17,400! 
Do you want that $1,000 now or do you want that $17,400 in the future? Play around with the figures all you want, but the truth will remain constant: wealthy people get that way and stay that way by pinching pennies. Keep your goals well in sight, and avoid the temptation to be consumed by consumerism!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Perception = Attitude

Hello all,

"Perception = Attitude"

In the mid 1800's a London based shoe company was looking to expand into new markets. The company sent their two best salesman to Africa by boat. They spent their time on the voyage planning out how to move forward once they arrived, which direction they each would move, how to identify space for factories, labor... When the reached their destination they each set out in different directions. Several weeks later the shoe company received a telegram from the first salesman  which read:

"I fear as if we have made a terrible mistake, we should pull back immediately, no one here wears shoes!"

The next day they received a telegram from the second salesman: 

"This could be the greatest opportunity we have ever come across, please send help immediately, no one here wears shoes!"

Old story and I borrowed it from someone else. How we perceive things drives are attitude towards it. We went through some difficult times in real estate the past 5-6 years. Inevitably it wore on our perception of the market which wore on our attitude. It is time for everyone to take a collective deep breath and "Let it Go". The awful market is behind us and everyday we are moving into better times, our clients are not looking for naysayers they are looking for leaders with the proper mindset.

People follow the path of strongest conviction. 

Enjoy the coffee,

Monday Morning Coffee
"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."
~ Arthur Schopenhauer
"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."
~ John Lubbock 

Have you ever wondered why some people never seem to be satisfied? Or why others always have a smile on their face? In both cases, it often has absolutely nothing to do with external factors, but rather how people internalize what they perceive. 
A perfect case in point is the story about a gentleman who just moved to a small town where he had recently accepted a job. Pulling into a gas station, he casually asked the attendant, “I’ve never lived in this part of the country - what are the people like here?” 
The attendant in return asked, “What are the people like where you came from?” To which the man replied, “Not very friendly. They can be quite rude.” The dismayed attendant commented, “I’m afraid that you’ll find the folks around here to be the same.” 
While this little conversation was going on, another car pulled up and the driver called out, “I’m moving to this area soon for a new job. Is it nice here?” The attendant turned to the driver and again asked, “Is it nice where you come from?” 
“Well, yeah, it’s great there. The people are nice, and I hated to leave,” the gentleman explained. To which the attendant answered, “Well, you’ll find the same to be true here!” 
What the attendant knew - that the first driver didn’t - is that we all see things as we expect to see them. Act positively and expect positive reactions. Act negatively, and . . . well, you get the picture. 
If you’re feeling disappointed or unsatisfied, it may not be the result of external forces. It may be time to take a look at your own role in the dynamics of your life. Even if your vision is fine, you might need to correct your lenses!