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How to Build a Winning Office Culture

By Zoe Eisenberg

Everyone wants to work in a fun environment. In addition to tight-knit teams with a small turnover rate, upbeat offices tend to be more productive with happier employees and more positive interactions overall. Here are five ways you can stimulate a winning office culture.

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Add some work perks.

While you may not be able to bring the whole company to Aruba or hire a celebrity to play a private show after hours, small employee perks can really heighten office attitude. Try offering complimentary gym memberships or giving out gift certificates for a spa or massage day. Even free snacks in the break room can go a long way – no one can gripe with their mouth full of donuts!

Throw non-work related office events.

Getting the group together outside the office for some R&R can go a long way. Depending on your budget, try throwing a company happy hour at a local restaurant, or giving the team tickets to a baseball game.

Promote team-building activities.

Put together a volleyball or softball team in the summer. Suggest a company Tough Mudder or race team. Office not athletically inclined? A book club, wine tasting, or monthly board game tournament can also help foster company bonding and grow connections that extend after hours.

Create an innovative office design.

While you may not be able to provide walking desks or nap pods like the Google office, you can still design your office to cultivate creativity and a forward-thinking attitude. Banish those cubicles and instead set up creative, collaborative spaces like conference-style work tables and open office floor plans. Add a ping pong table in the break room for some competitive and team-building work breaks, which have been shown to boost performance and improve overall employee attitude.

Practice gratitude.

Don’t forget to show your team how much you appreciate them. This doesn’t mean you need to shower them in dollar bills—while bonuses and dinners can be great, simply checking in regularly with each employee can be extremely helpful, not to mention budget friendly. Meet with each member twice a year to ask about their level of happiness in their position. Are they satisfied with their workflow? Stressed? Over or underwhelmed? Show your team you care about their work experience and you can bet they will care more about the overall success of the company.

Stay on top of industry happenings by visiting RISMedia’s blog, Housecall.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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Listing Presentations: Leaving a Lasting Impression

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You know that old saying, “You only have one chance to make a first impression”? It could not be truer in the real estate market. With competition in the marketplace being fierce, it’s critical that you make a lasting first impression on prospects.

During a listing presentation, you convey your local market expertise, but you must ensure prospective clients value your opinion above all others. Leaving behind an incredible, comprehensive report can be the difference between getting the listing and losing it to a competitor.

To create an impressive report, here are a few key elements that should be included:

Current and Accurate Information

Clients are not concerned with what the market did a year or two ago, unless it is in comparison to today. They want to know what the market looks like currently, and even where it appears to be headed. The same can be says for school and flood zones; people want to see the boundaries of today, not twelve months ago. And most importantly, this data needs to be accurate. All too often agents unknowingly create reports with incorrect information.

Photos

Everyone likes pictures. Whether of a lush backyard or a remodeled kitchen, people like to see how their property compares in pictures, not just in the number of bedrooms, square footage or lot size.

Easy-to-understand Data

We all know that data can be overwhelming. Percentage of the average list price vs. sales price? This can be too much for some clients to comprehend; yet it paints a picture that is important for them to understand. As with pictures giving a clear representation of the property, charts and graphs can do that with data. Sometimes it just takes a line graph showing an increase for clients to grasp otherwise challenging data.

Your Marketing Plan for Their Home

The number one thing sellers want from an agent is to market their home.* Anyone and everyone will put the home in the MLS and on free listing sites, but showing how you will advertise the home above and beyond that should be part of your listing presentation. A local real estate magazine, a mobile site, a yard sign with a text code, brochures, and mailings – Include these things in your listing presentation and you will win more sellers.

*2014 National Association of REALTORS® 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Seller

Your Own Personal Branding

Ultimately, an effective report is branded to both the agent and the broker. Clients should never have to guess who provided them with such a remarkable report. From an agent photo, to contact information, to a broker logo, proper branding can make the difference between a phone call and the recycle bin.

Now that we know the key elements for an effective report, let’s look at the best way to create one that is inclusive of all the elements. Agents have many options for creating reports: the MLS, a CMA program, Leads Activity Results (LAR), and many more. The key is finding a source that contains each of the elements above. The MLS is a great source for current and accurate listing information, comps and photos. A specialized CMA program gives agents the ability to easily adjust the comps, list price and information like seller’s proceeds. The Leads Activities and Results Dashboard, when advertising with The Real Estate Book, allows REALTORS® to view, track, measure and update the status of generated leads.

Regardless of the platform you choose to create your report, by including providing current, accurate and easy-to-understand data along with pictures and your branding, you more likely to secure your next listing.

Want to learn more about marketing your brand? Go to Store.RealEstateBook.com to contact your local Real Estate Book representative.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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Healthy Demand Expected for First-Time and Move-Up Buyers

Fifteen years into the new millennium, we are finally seeing real potential that the market can support full buyer momentum, according to the recently released Home Data Index™ (HDI) Market Report from Clear Capital, with data through January 2015.

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According to the data, 2015 has the promise of a transitional year where full buyer momentum in the low and mid tiers reinforces a strong housing recovery. Sustained national price growth in the low-tier segment, once driven by investor activity, is good news for first-time homebuyers. Also encouraging, the number of potential move-up buyers, once locked into underwater mortgages, has been steadily decreasing. The recent rise in home prices continues to bring more homeowners out of negative equity. With more equity to play with, mid-tier homeowners could move-up, creating more opportunity and driving healthy demand in the low and mid tiers of the market.

“We continue to observe the growing price performance gap between the top and bottom segments of the market,” says Dr. Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “The rate of appreciation for top tier homes is stalling, which is a more direct reflection of waning fair market demand. While this is a concerning development, there is a silver lining. The moderating upper tier may give traditional buyers a moment to catch their breath, and entice move-up buyers to enter this segment of the market. The ripple effect of opening up inventory all the way down the price spectrum could provide opportunity and motivation across all segments, including first-time buyers, to enter the marketplace. The hope is that strength in the low and mid tiers help restore confidence in a stable housing market, and traditional homebuyers re-engage. The next phase of the housing recovery is dependent on healthy demand from this segment.”

The top tier gives way, extending more opportunity to traditional buyers. While we are expecting price growth to moderate across all tiers in 2015, the top tier’s quarterly growth rate fell to 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, where it had been holding steady at around 1 percent through the first three quarters of 2014. Year-over-year, this tier experienced the lowest price growth rate of 3.6 percent among the three national tiers.

At its current pace, continued moderation in the top tier could push quarterly price growth into negative territory in 2015. January data also reveals the low tier holding on to double digit gains year-over-year at 10.2 percent and healthy quarter-over-quarter gains of 1.5 percent. This divide between a healthy low tier and stalling top tier could kick-off a domino effect. Stalling prices in the top-tier of the market could create the perception of a good deal. This instills confidence in mid-tier homeowners, motivating them to move-up to the top tier.

In turn, this opens up more opportunity for low tier homeowners to move-up to the mid-tier. Creating new opportunity in the low tier could entice potential first-time homebuyers to enter the market. This domino effect could be the catalyst for balanced demand across all sectors of the market.

Regionally, the Midwest continues to lead the pack. Year-over-year the Midwest held on to double digit gains in the low tier segment at 13.6 percent, while the top tier fell to 3.3 percent. We also observe this gap between growth in the low and top tiers on a quarterly basis, with the low tier growing at 1.7 percent and relatively flat growth in the top tier at 0.5 percent. The Midwest led the nation in the all tier segment, with quarter-over-quarter growth at 0.9 percent, narrowly edging the West at 0.7 percent. The Midwest is the only region currently seeing price appreciation in the low and mid tiers, growing concurrently above 1 percent. A moderating top tier could incentivize mid-tier homeowners in 2015 to move-up, setting up the Midwest to be the first region to realize full buyer momentum across all segments.

For more information, visit www.clearcapital.com.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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