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Real Estate Agents Find New Ways to Give Back to Their Communities

volunteerBy Zoe Eisenberg

As a real estate agent, you already know you have an important place within the community. However, selling homes isn’t the only way you can help out. Below are a handful ways you can give back—and make invaluable connections—within your community.

Donate your fees. Many agents give back by donating a percentage of their fees to a local charity. Not only are you giving back to the community, but clients like to see that their money is going to great places. You may even want to consider allowing your client to choose the charity that a percentage of your agent or brokerage fee goes to.

Donate your time. Set aside time every week, month, or year to volunteer at a local charity organization. If you want to become more involved, consider heading up the board. Jane B. Locke, an agent in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. has spent the last 27 years on the board of Carolina Children’s Charity, an organization that helps families pay for medical costs arising from children’s birth defects. Moving up the board ranks to president, Locke runs the charity’s annual telethon and attends every fundraiser. This year she helped the charity raise $433,000, and was a recipient of NAR’s 2014 Good Neighbor Award.

Donate a home. Want to do more than donate time or money? How about building a home? Giveback Homes, a California-based company that has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity, brings agents together several times a year to help built a home for a family in need. The organization has built homes all around the United States and in Nicaragua. In late August 2014, the company held an event in Lynwood, Calif., where more than 20 REALTOR® volunteers gathered together to build an entire complex for families to live in. The project was financed by donations made from Giveback Homes members, professionals spanning an array of home-centric industries—from agents to home builders, mortgage brokers and interior designers.

Start your own foundation.
Can’t find a local charity that inspires you? Create your own. Gail Doxie, an agent in Fort Myers, Fla. founded the Miles of Smiles Foundation in 2007, which offers equine-assisted therapy for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Doxie also received the 2014 Good Neighbor Award for her good work.

Whether you donate time, money, or brain-power, giving back can be fulfilling, fun, and a great way to connect with your community.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.


Four Steps to Reclaim Your Space After Life Changes

emptynestLife events like purchasing a new home or a child moving out can leave homeowners facing a bare and empty room — and a decorating challenge.

We understand how overwhelming this process can feel. To begin the transformation, the design experts at Decor&You, a leading interior decorating franchise, encourages homeowners to visualize their empty space as a blank canvas where they have the opportunity to create a masterpiece.

“Finding yourself in a position to completely design a room is a rare occasion and can be exciting,” stated Karen Powell, founder and CEO of Decor&You. “While the idea of decorating a room from scratch appears daunting, maintain a positive attitude and harness the situation as an opportunity to reclaim your space and make it your own. With the right approach, you can make the task of decorating into an enjoyable experience.”

Powell offers these simple guidelines to create a space you love:

  • Assess the room:

The first step in design is to get acquainted with the room. Gather measurements, make notes of large windows, doors and built-in shelves, and familiarize yourself with the geometry and space provided. By learning the shape of the room, you’ll have insight into what furniture and décor pieces will best complement the room’s silhouette.

  • Find something you love

redecorateThe next step is to determine the overall theme. While it’s typical to be overwhelmed by an infinite selection of colors, selecting a theme helps the rest of the room’s décor fall easily into place. One of the most effective strategies to ensure organized and cohesive décor is to start with something that you love. Whether it is a large sofa, a tiny, eccentric statement piece, a color, pattern or piece of art, this focal theme will dictate the remainder of the decorating process.

  • Make it happen

Reflect back on your theme and what you love; then, start with the basics. How can you create a background to support the color(s) in your theme? Where and how can you incorporate these via paint, wall coverings, pillows, bedding, a throw, an area rug, etc.? What is needed for the function of the room?

  • Elaborate

After you have decided on a wall color and furniture pieces, the final detail is to place everything thoughtfully. Ponder the purpose of the room and picture yourself living in the space. Consider what it’s lacking in order to reach its full, functional potential. This is the time to emphasize “you”. Visualize different embellishments. Try turning a hobby, such as a painting easel or book collection, into a display, or create a gallery by placing photos in matching frames.

Source: Decor&You

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.


Home Buyers Seek Honest Answers from their Agent

by Courtney Soinski

first-time-home-buyer-assistanceWhen it comes to choosing a real estate professional, homebuyers understandably place a high priority on an agent’s honesty and trustworthiness.  Today’s consumers expect transparency and want you to shoot them straight when it comes to their home buying or selling experience.

According to the J.D. Power 2014 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study, there is a strong desire for agents who will keep their clients completely comfortable and well informed. This study measures consumer satisfaction among homebuyers and their experience with the agent or salesperson, real estate office, closing process, and a variety of additional services.  Overall, it was concluded that the agent-client relationship was the most important factor in determining a client’s satisfaction.

Taking all of this into consideration, it is evident that consumers are more likely to hire you as a real estate professional if they trust you. When speaking with new clients, give upfront responses and tell it like it is.  Believe it or not, your clients will appreciate your honesty.

As proven in the 2013 National Association of REALTORS Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, authenticity is the key to a strong and reliable personal brand, and a strong personal brand is the gateway to highly successful lead generation that surpasses those who rely soley on their listings for leads.

After going through the whole home buying process, about nine in 10 buyers said they would probably recommend their straightforward, transparent, agent to others. It was also found that 98% of homebuyers surveyed view honesty and integrity a “very important” factor during the home buying process.

If you want to win leads and build your reputation, be honest, genuine and transparent with your clients and in your advertising.  Prospects and clients will feel absolutely comfortable with you as their agent and information source.  And that’s the truth!

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