Are You “Working Your Ticket”?

Are You “Working Your Ticket”?

The Boy Scouts have a training program called Wood Badge. It is an advanced course for adult scout leaders, based on leadership principles taught by some of the best-known business coaches in the world.

I completed Wood Badge in 2005. It was an excellent experience.

The course consists of 6 days (and nights) of live training at a scout camp, then you have to “work your ticket” before you earn the coveted Wood Badge Beads.

The “ticket” is 5 goals you set for yourself. You have to accomplish them over the next 18 months to complete the training.

The “ticket” is 5 goals you set for yourself. You have to accomplish them over the next 18 months to complete the training.

The term “working your ticket” comes for the founder of the World Scouting Movement – Sir Robert Baden-Powell. He was a British Army officer in the late 1800’s. That being said, when British soldiers finished their term of duty in a far-away county, they had to work their ticket to get home.

Create Your Ticket to Success

The beginning of the New Year is the perfect time for setting goals.

Here are my thoughts on the goals you should set and tips on how to accomplish them, so you can “work your ticket” to a successful real estate business.

Setting SMART Goals

There’s more to setting goals than putting your dreams on paper. Goals must be S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific – Describe the goal in detail so that you know exactly what needs to be done and how it will impact your business.
  • Measurable – Describe how you will measure success.
  • Attainable – Ask yourself if the goal can be accomplished.
  • Relevant – Describe how this goal relates to your business.
  • Timely – When does the goal need to be completed, because “A Goal Without a Deadline is Only a Dream!”

Five Goals for 2019

I suggest you set goals for both your business and your personal life. Here are 5 examples:

  1. Business Goal Complete 2 transactions each month for a total monthly gross commission of $10,000.
  2. Marketing Goal Send out a monthly market update to your sphere by email and in print.
  3. Financial Goal Save $2,000 each month for a down payment to buy a rental property at the end of the year.
  4. Family Goal Take your spouse and kids on an out-of-town trip every other month.
  5. Personal Goal Exercise 4 times a week and lose 10 pounds by July 2019.

3 Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals

Now that your goals are on paper you have to ensure they will be accomplished. Use these 3 tips to stay on track:

  1. Action Items for 1st Week You need to get started and take action right away. Write down exactly what you will do in the coming week to get you closer to your goals. At the end of the week commit to the action items for the following week.
  2. Vision Board It’s not enough to write down your goals. You actually need to visualize the results. Create a Vision Board with pictures showing what it would be like when your goals are accomplished and hang it on the wall in your office.
  3. Accountability Someone should check your progress and help you stay on track. Holding yourself accountable does not work too well. Pick an accountability partner, maybe another agent, your broker, your coach or your spouse.

Finally, I hope this short summary will get you motivated to start setting goals and make 2019 your most successful year ever.

Have a fantastic week and start “working your ticket”!

If you’d like to discuss your 2019 goals and how to grow your real estate business this year please give Kurt Novak a call at (614) 395-7375.

7 Critical Questions You Absolutely Must Ask Before You Join a Brokerage

7 Critical Questions You Absolutely Must Ask Before You Join a Brokerage

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and the Buckeyes beat the team up north again, you are probably ready for the Christmas Holidays.

This is a time when many agents step back from their business, take a vacation and enjoy the profits they earned in 2018.

If you are reading this email you are probably NOT one of them.

That’s great, because December is the perfect month for business planning to make 2019 your best year ever.

It’s also a good time to take inventory of the highs and lows of this year. You may reflect on the value of your brokerage, the money you paid them, and what you got in return.

Shiny Objects & Tempting Offers

I bet you received a few tempting offers from other brokers to join their office. What got your attention? Low fees, 100% commissions, profit splits, stock options, new technology?

Brokerages will tangle all kinds of shiny objects in front of you to get your attention. But at the end of the day it’s all about you. It’s about the profit you earn to support the lifestyle you desire.

7 Critical Questions You Must Ask

To help you determine if a new brokerage will improve your life and your business, I put together a list of 7 questions you need to ask before you make a move.

Click the button below to download the PDF with the 7 Critical Questions you Must Ask. There’s no opt-in required.

Download PDF

​Do you want to find out how my brokerage – RE/MAX 24/7 – will answer these questions?

Call/Text us at (614) 395-7375 or shoot us an email at

3 Insights from the Broker Retreat in Chicago

3 Insights from the Broker Retreat in Chicago

Last week RE/MAX held a retreat for broker/owners in Chicago.

I love attending meetings in Chicago. Two of our sons live in the windy city running their own start-ups (not related to real estate). It’s always great to visit them and write off the trip for business.

During the event I picked up some insights that will help you improve your business and give you a little competitive intelligence on RE/MAX.

Insight 1: Disruption Creates Fear

RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos talked about the disruption of the real estate industry.

We are constantly bombarded with new technologies, new brokerage models funded by Wall Street, iBuyers who purchase and sell properties without the help of agents.

This generates fear.

The key to overcoming these perceived threats is FOCUS. You need to get clarity and follow the vision you established for your business by creating systems. With systems you can deliver exceptional customer experiences with every single transaction.

A great customer experience trumps price anytime.

If you win listings because you discount commissions, you may not have any value to offer, but price.

Lesson Learned: Don’t get distracted by so-called disruptors. Focus on your goals and follow your systems to achieve them.

Insight 2: Advertising Goes Hi-Tech

I was really impressed by the presentation of RE/MAX’s Marketing Director.

RE/MAX has paid for TV advertising for years (sample below).

With fewer people watching network TV and more cutting the cord (cable) to stream Netflix and Prime, are TV ads still relevant?

They are, as new advertising channels have emerged.

When you stream, advertisers can target commercials to your individual account instead of showing a spot to everyone on the network.

Research found that viewers switch to Facebook during commercial breaks. So, advertisers run targeted ads on Facebook when you take a break from the TV screen.

Even billboards enable hi-tech, multi-channel advertising.

Advertisers track your cellphone while you are driving by a billboard. When you get home and open Facebook an ad appears, reminding you of the billboard you saw earlier.

Lesson Learned: It’s almost impossible for individual agents to pull off this type of advertising. Good to know that the company you work for takes care of it.

Insight 3: Be in Control of Technology

Earlier this year RE/MAX acquired a tech company called BOOJ (be original or jealous). They’ve been creating agent websites and CRM’s for more than 10 years.

Booj will develop a proprietary, state-of-the-art real estate marketing system for RE/MAX agents. It will roll out next year.

RE/MAX had good technology all along, but it was owned by someone else.

Here’s why this is a big deal: the new RE/MAX technology will be as sophisticated as top marketing platforms like Boomtown or Commissions Inc.

Some of you pay more than $1,500 for these systems per month. Wouldn’t it be nice to have these capabilities provided by your broker for NO extra fee?

Lesson Learned: Controlling the best technology is critical for a modern brokerage. BUT, it comes down to the agent to use it and improve the client experience.

I will share a more in-depth report with our agents during our Tuesday mastermind, as I always do after industry events. If you want to join us for a future mastermind, reply to this article.

For more expert tips and strategies head over to: 

The 4 Tier Commission Strategy Explained

The 4 Tier Commission Strategy Explained

When I am driving in the car I like to listen to podcasts. I highly recommend it. You already spend time cruising along, why not learn new stuff and get motivated by a great speaker.

A few days ago, I came across Mike Cerrone’s Real Estate Agent Success Calls. Mike interviews top producing Realtors to find out how they became successful.

Here’s a link to his interview with Toni Zarghami from Sarasota, Florida. She shared two strategies you will find useful.

Here they are …

The 4 – 7% Commission Strategy

Before Toni goes on a listing appointment she sends out a pre-listing package and asks the seller to review it before the meeting.

​She tells the seller that they can find everything about her and her team in this package, so during the actual listing consultation she can totally focus on the seller’s needs.

​One part of the pre-listing package is her Commission Menu. It lists 4 different commission levels for her services.

Having your rates on a printed piece of paper makes it more official. That’s pure psychology. The seller is less likely to ask for a discount.

Here are the 4 levels of service:

  • 7% Commission The listing agent will stage the house in addition to all marketing services and contract negotiations. The listing agent gets paid 4%, the co-op agent 3%.
  • 6% Commission The standard 3/3 split with a co-op agent, but without staging.
  • 5% Commission If the listing agent or one of the team members procures the buyer the commission rate is reduced to 5%.
  • 4% Commission If the homeowner (seller) refers the buyer, e.g. a family member or friend, she only charges 4%.

I know some agents use a similar approach right here in Columbus.

Focusing on different levels of service and giving the homeowner an incentive to help find a buyer are great ways to distract from the dreaded commission discount question.

Four Customer Appreciation Events

A great way to build strong relationships with your clients and get more referrals are customer appreciation events.

While party type events are entertaining they may not be as effective as the ones Toni conducts:

  • A Pie Giveaway before Thanksgiving.
  • A Pizza Giveaway at a nearby Pizza joint.
  • A Movie Afternoon with a small reception before the movie.
  • A Car Wash with interior detailing to get the clients out of the car and talk.

These events are very effective because the customer gets something for free. There’s a high perceived value, while the real cost of organizing the event is less than $800.

Let me know if these tips are helpful and if you plan to implement them in your business.

What I Tell Our Agents About the Real Estate Reset

What I Tell Our Agents About the Real Estate Reset

Two weeks ago, I suggested that the housing market is turning. Last week every well-known real estate coach was talking about it in their podcasts, videos and blogs.

The good news is that real estate is local. While home values in some subdivisions will drop, others will rise or remain the same.

If you are a listing agent, you know what I am talking about. While homes and condos under $200,000 are still in high demand, luxury condos over $400,000 are sitting on the MLS for months.

Today I am going to explain the signs of the real estate reset that’s happening in Columbus. I will also share reasons why I may be totally wrong and the hot sellers’ market will continue. Finally, I have 4 tips on what you need to learn to be ready if the market resets.

Indications of a Slumping Housing Market

If you notice any of these signs in your business, they may indicate the beginning of a downturn.

  • More homes are being listed and the inventory is growing.
  • Sellers are frequently reducing the list price of their homes.
  • Buyers are afraid of overpaying and don’t offer above list price.
  • Lenders are noticing a drop-in loan applications.
  • Affordability is sinking.
  • The foreclosure rate is increasing.

Not all of these indicators are visible in Columbus right now. Pay attention and observe! We believe that a reset is happening.

Why the Market May NOT Drop After All

No one can predict the future. I may be totally wrong and the hot sellers’ market may continue for another year despite of this summer’s temporary slow-down.

Here’s the “counter argument”:

  • The GDP (gross domestic product) is growing at a rate of 4.1% which is substantially higher than the 2 – 3% growth we’ve seen for a long time.
  • Columbus is growing. More people are moving to Columbus than to any other city in Ohio. They need housing, so there’s a strong buyer demand.
  • Consumer Confidence is very high. There’s no reason to believe people will stop buying houses.
  • The foreclosure rate is at historic lows. It is unlikely that we’ll see a crash of the mortgage market like we did in 2007.

This gives us a lot to be confident ​about. If the housing market resets it probably won’t lead to a significant drop in home values.

How to Prepare for the New Real Estate Market

If you believe that the housing market will reset, you should focus on learning the skills that will help you thrive in the new market.

  • Marketing to Expired When the housing market slows down we will see an increasing number of expired listings. These home owners still want to sell – with the right agent.
  • Converting FSBOs When we transition to a buyer’s market it will be harder for home owners to FSBO. They usually get frustrated after a few weeks – the perfect opportunity for you to step in and list their home.
  • Short Sales If home values drop some homeowners will be upside down. They can’t sell without bringing a substantial amount of money to closing. The perfect opportunity for you to help out and negotiate a short sale with the lender.
  • Save Money During a recession cash is king. Your income may drop, and lenders will be unwilling to loan you money. That’s why you need to save now, so you have cash to operate when times get tough.

Every down turn creates new opportunities for agents who are prepared. I want you to be ready, so you can thrive when the market changes.

The Market is Changing – What You Need to Do

The Market is Changing – What You Need to Do

The market is on the move and it may or may not be pretty. You may not believe what I am going to tell you, but the housing market is turning. It will be much harder to sell homes and fewer buyers will compete for your listings.

Real estate is cyclical. Every 7 to 10 years there’s a downturn. The next one seems to be just around the corner.

Even national news outlets like Bloomberg are sounding the alarm: “The US Housing Market Looks Headed for its Worst Slowdown in Years.

This will be a new experience for you if you got licensed after the Great Recession. I urge you to get prepared.

35478369 – worried real estate agent and house for sale

Signs of a Turning Market

Did you notice that many listings don’t sell in a few days anymore? This is especially true for expensive homes over $350,000.

“Aggressively” pricing your listing does not work. That’s why you see more price reductions as overpriced listings don’t attract offers.

The inventory drop has come to a halt. We are still at historic lows, but buyer demand has decreased, as well.

The number of closings is already 2.7% lower for the first half of 2018 than last year.

Some of the hottest markets in the country have become buyers’ markets. Although real estate is local, there’s a good chance Columbus will follow soon.

Here’s how to get ready …

How to Prepare for the Turning Market

The best way to thrive in a down market is to get more listings. It won’t be easy, so you have to be on top of your game.

Here are 3 skills you should practice:

  1. Reducing List Price Conversation

When the sellers’ market turns into a buyers’ market, listings won’t sell quickly or for full price.

Initially, Sellers will not agree to list for less. They will compare home values to the hot sellers’ market earlier this year in hopes of getting top dollar for their home. You will need to convince your sellers that the honeymoon is over, and they will have to accept less.

Get ready to have an honest conversation with your sellers. Learn how to handle this discussion professionally.

  1. Marketing to Expired Listings

With shrinking buyer demand and unrealistic prices more listings will expire. This is a great opportunity for pro-active agents.

Learn the best ways to market to expired’s, and how to convince the sellers that you will do a better job than the previous agent. Your business will flourish.

  1. No Discounting of Commissions

​Learn how to win listings without discounting your commissions.

During the hot sellers’ market many agents agreed to discounts, because listings sold quickly, and agents did not spend much time or money to promote the listings.

That’s not the case in a buyers’ market.

You will have to invest in marketing and aggressively promote your listings. You can’t be profitable if you don’t charge your full 3%.

A downturn in the market opens great opportunities for those who are prepared.

Who will help you get ready before the market turns?

If you are curious about growing your real estate business, we would love to sit down with you and discuss how we can help!

Give Kurt a call at (614) 395-7375 and he will show you step by step, what you need to do, in order to successfully grow your business!