Are you living your Priorities?
If I ask you the question, “What are your priorities?”, you probably have a quick answer for me. Most of us will say family and kids, and hopefully this is true because I know from experience and observation that there is usually room for improvement here. If your family is your priority, then what should your life look like to correspond with that level of importance? What are your other priorities? Work, or faith or hobbies or exercise? Or even your house? Some of us spend a lot of time in our houses and I hope it is relaxing for you. If that is a priority for you, great! Own it. You get to choose!
Get your priorities straight!
What I want you to do is to define your priorities, make an honest assessment of what you think your priorities are and ask yourself if the time and attention you are giving to those things are in line with what you say your priorities are. If you say family is the most important thing, are you turning off your phone at 7 or 8 and hanging out with your kids and spouse, or are your evenings still full of work? If building your business is a priority, are you taking classes to learn how to do that better or just waiting for something to happen? If you want to get out of debt, do you have a plan that you are working on with diligence?
If it is important to us, we need to own the fact that we want to make progress in that area and make a plan to spend time and attention on it.
This is about taking an honest look at where we spend our time, attention and money. Then, asking ourselves if we are spending enough of these on our defined priorities. Or honestly recognizing that we might be spending time, attention and money on things that really aren’t that important to us and deciding that it is time to make a change.
Live your best life now
And this change is yours to make. Sure, it requires motivation and accountability to achieve, but almost everything we decide to do requires this. You only have to focus on what is important and I promise you that the beautiful results are worth it.
Real Estate agents have to do many things that require a varied skill set. And some of the things we need to do are not difficult to do, but require time. When we are busy, what are some of the easiest things to turn into a system where we can get some help?
- Use autoresponders on your email when you know you will be unable to respond in a timely manner. And leave a specific daily voicemail message if you know you will not be able to return calls during the day. Manage expectations of those trying to contact you.
- Hire a service you can use when you need them. Look for someone in your area who can install signs, make keys, deliver flyers and let in vendors. If there is no one who can do that, maybe that is a business idea for someone in your office. Do you have a teenager who needs money or needs to fundraise for a trip or sport? Make sure they are reliable.
- Work with the same title company as much as possible. When you only have to call one place to check up on all your closings, that saves time. Also, make sure this company is large enough to be efficient when you or your main processor is out of town. Do they have backup help to make sure your clients get great service? Are they a reliable part of your successful team?
- Set up an email system to send out to your clients – one for buyers and one for sellers – during the contract to close period. Send them a general email with what to expect that week for the transaction. Make sure the time frames are clearly described in it. Start with a template and modify it as necessary.
- Set clear working hours and only violate that boundary for specific reasons – like contract negotiations. Keep your non-work hours for other things. And if you don’t have enough time to do it all, we need to discuss moving into another layer of systems.
Start with those that are easy, simple and free or nearly so. Once you have improved some systems, the next level of systems changes will come easier. And when you need an assistant, the systems for them to use will be in place already. Keep improving your business for your life.
Have you seen this new designation from NAR yet? This designation course will help agents better serve their seller clients. It is a 2 day class with great information to help agents build up their listing businesses and to manage it with attention to the client, the Code of Ethics and state law. Improve your professionalism as an agent by gaining the skills necessary to be an effective listing agent. This course goes through the whole transaction to help you manage it well for your sellers.
You can read more about the designation at the SRS Council Home Page. I look forward to seeing you in one of my SRS classes.
Do you know what you do best? Can you express that clearly to a client? Agents own their own business. And as business owners, they need to express clearly what they offer as part of their business and communicate this clearly to their clients. And in this fast paced, technology driven, culture, they need to do it legally and with clarity and consistency. This class will help agents explore their expression of their business, where and how to communicate this expression, and to do it beautifully and legally.
This is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal about why Wells Fargo isn’t doing reverse mortgage loans anymore. Regulations on the bank limit their ability to get information they need to make decisions, so they ended the program. Other lenders are still lending, but this will be something to watch.
Wall Street Journal Article
We are going to have a great day learning the update EPro material in Franklin TN at the Williamson County Association of Realtors. Have you been wanting to understand social media and how it works with your business? This is the class for you! We will talk about the theory with social networking, branding yourself, and the ethics and law that goes along with it. Also, do you know what your online reputation is? We will discuss it.
Visit the Williamson County Association of Realtors to sign up for the class. Day 2 is separate and completely online. We are meeting on April 18, 2011.
If you specialize in helping Seniors with their needs – moving, healthcare, legal, homecare, stuff management – check out www.moveseniors.com. They have an easy to access website. The National Association of Realtors Senior Real Estate Specialist network has teamed up with them. I don’t see too many agents signed up in Tennessee. Let’s get the word out to the SRES Designees. Sign up and let’s provide some great options for elders in our community.
The new EPro class from NAR has been released. This is the class you have been wanting and needing about social media. The class covers important, strategic information that Real Estate agents might not even know they need! And they do need it. Planning and managing social media is the leap from just having fun and being able to connect with people and using it constructively where you can grow in areas of interest and business. If you want to have a better understanding of your presence on the internet, or lack of, come to this class to take the next step. The NAR EPro Instructors had a great day learning the course in Wichita with some of the course developers, Amy Chorew and Ginger Wilcox. I am really looking forward to teaching this class and helping agents get their online strategy going!
EPro Class Developers at SMMI, Amy Chorew and Ginger Wilcox
Last week I taught this class to a group of agents in Murfreesboro, TN at the Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors. Terrific class with everyone participating. One of the brokers suggested this would be a great class to be required by all new agents. We discuss the income and budgetary sides of the business. How and where do agents get business. And once they have the business, how are they servicing their clients to make sure that clients get the best care with the least amount of stress! Are your agents providing the level of service your clients need and deserve?
I had a wonderful time teaching the Senior Real Estate Designation to a group in Franklin Tennessee last week at the Williamson County Association of Realtors. Whenever I teach that class, I am reminded, and the students are learning, that there is much more to know than we realize. Our current political climate has many things changing and we learned that we need to pay even more attention. The Estate Tax situation is one of the elements of the Tax Codes that has its sunset at the end of 2010. During 2010 the stepped up basis for heirs has been removed, and so has the Estate Tax, but in 2011, the stepped up basis returns and so does the Estate Tax. Back to the pre 2001 limit of $1 million exemption. Please check with your CPA to see how this may affect you. (Post Note: There is some need to clarify this stepped up basis for 2010 – make sure you check with a tax atty if this applies to you)