Swansea, IL Real Estate News

By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Remember that old Paul Maisson wine ad?  The tagline was "We'll sell no wine before it's time."'  This was, of course, parodied in numerous comedy skits, where the comeback was "It's time, it's time!"  However, anyone who's ever made homemade wine knows that fresh made wine is virtually undrinkable; hence, the wisdom of the famous line... This has application when considering calling expireds from the MLS hot sheet.  It's tempting to call as soon as the time is up.  Expireds are hot prospects who want to sell.  They are low handing fruit.  But, is it time to call as soon as they hit the list? The problem is timing. Take careful note here, most agents are picking the fruit before it's ripe. Repeat after me, "I will pick no fruit before its time." What happens when you join hundreds of yo...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Labor Day marks the end of summer. In many places, this summer was cooler than usual, which makes it harder to believe than usual that it is all over. In the old days, when real estate was "normal," fall marked the beginning of a slower season.  Many buyers gear their housing purchases to the school schedule.  This year, with the first time homebuyer's credit, part of the target market is families buying their first home.  Eagerness to get the credit may supercede the desire to wait for a school break!  This means a couple busy  fall months for agents. For agents who don't particularly target first time buyers, the tax credit time line is not so important. Mautr eadults, singles, investors, relocated buyers buy all year round.   What is crucial is gearing up for a great fourth quarter. ...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Sometimes things strike you funny  but they are so true.  As I was reporting some of the span comments that are plentiful on Active Rain these days,  I noticed this gem among the nonsense the makes up these comments. Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality What do you do with milk? You drink it, you spill it, you keep it too long and let it spoil and throw it out.  No matter how delicious it is, especially when teamed with chocolate cake, you seldom ever think of it after it's gone. It's the cake you remember. Cheese, on other hand, is memorable. Though originally milk, cheese is fermented , processed, and aged through a little art, a little science to become a delicious food product in its own right.    Cheese wins blue ribbons at county fairs and adds a unique flavor to many prized di...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."Henry Ford I ran a variation on this blog in January.  Now it's September. Summer is gone, the kids are back in school, and a whole crop of buyers are realizing that the $8,000 first time buyers credit might be for them.  Fall can be slow for agents in some markets, but not this fall. Can you believe it? Two thirds of the year has passed. Time flies when you're having fun! Now is the month that's a peak in our lives where we can view the year so far and be hopeful that the future will be better.   Things are picking up in many areas. So we have to pick up our paces and make the best of the year. If this year has been mediocre so far, take time to write down why and learn from your answers. Then focus on...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Question:  What happens when you put a couple of mortgage companies, a top real estate agent, a design firm, a major league coach, and 125 dedicated real estate agents in a room for 2 ½ hours?  Answer: You get an amazing Mastermind that leaves its participants with new insights into how top agents succeed! On August 12, 2009, Alpha Mortgage, Cunningham and Company, Wilmington Design Company joined top Coldwell Banker agent Buddy Blake and me to present a Mastermind for top agents.  Designed to give agents a renewed sense of focus, the program discussed topics like converting leads to customers, technology, what agents are doing wrong, and how to become the CEO of their business. Agents who attend the program at Wrightsville Beach, NC came away with valuable insight into how the top age...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
If you remember the TV programs of long ago say, you remember Wild Bill Hickock and his trusty sidekick, Jingles.  Jingles weighed in at 300 pounds. After a half hour of adventures with the "bravest, sternest, fightingest U.S Marshal in the whole West," Jungles would breathlessly catch up with his handsome colleague who had once again saved the day.  The final words of the show were frequently "Hey, Wild Bill, Wait for Me!" The world of real estate has been like the Wild West of late, with drastic price drops following inflationary spikes, people losing homes as quickly as they get them, and housing credits on the table but offset by tightened credit standards and unemployment.  A good agent has had to figure out how to endure and prosper in tumult. One way is to consider an oft-forgott...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
There's a crisis.  You talked. They talked. You negotiated, Your offered counsel. You finally came up with a livable solution.  "Ah, relief," you think. Not too fast! Once you have agreement to the solution, you must immediately take action. Often we don't necessarily have to create a perfect agreement as long as we are taking the steps to move everyone forward. Many of our clients will recognize that it may take time to solve a crisis. What they want to know is that steps are being taken to begin the process. To give them a sense of control you may want to provide your clients with updates on exactly what you are doing and what your next step will be. By focusing on the next step, everyone can begin to think proactively and positively. Let us leave you with one thought that we have lea...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
When our clients have a crisis, we seek a solution. We want you to notice that we did not use the word answer. An answer often implies that the person with the problem ended up getting exactly what they wanted. We know from experience that this is rarely true. A professional crisis manager looks for ways to create solutions where both parties may have to give some ground to create an agreement they can live with. How do you find a solution? One way is to simply ask the parties involved. Use this script, "What do you think the solution is? If that's not possible, is there anything else that would make you feel better about the situation?" Another way to find a solution is to ask for input from others in your office. Often, we are surrounded by a brain trust of agents who may have experie...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
What can we do to become better at crisis management? Let's look at som simple strategies: 1. Step Toward the Crisis: When faced with a problem, many agents take the ostrich approach to problem solving. They bury their heads in the sand and hope the crisis will pass. This is the worst possible way to deal with any problem. Any crisis left to its own devices will no doubt fester and become much worse with each hour that passes. Most attorneys will tell you, "Justice deferred is justice denied."We should face the crisis head on by first listening to the client to identify the problem. From this point, we can begin to understand exactly what the issues are so that we can start to work on a possible resolution. 2. Define and Clarify the Crisis: Occasionally, issues get alljumbled up into on...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Not every piece of economic news is rosy these days but one thing is true: The housing market is starting to show real signs of life.  Sales of existing homes increased 7.2% from June to July, which amounted to an annualized 5.24 million units. Economists had expected a 5.1 million unit increase during this period so the reality is beating the statistics!  For the first time since 11/05 sales were higher than they were in the same month a year ago, when sales were 4.99 million units.  This means that despite job losses, continuing foreclosures, and still weak housing prices, the housing market is hot.  What is fueling the fire is lower interest rates and falling prices. The $8,000 tax credit is aiding the effort too. At the moment, agents have some good selling tools at their disposal -...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Have you ever had a crisis in your career? Maybe we should ask how many have you had today? Let's face it, a great real estate agent is first and foremost a problem solver, and because of this, a top producer's desk will often become a crisis management center. This center is where all problems arrive and are expected to be solved within a short period of time. In this current market, our clients present many crises to us that need our help.  They lose jobs just as the sale is ready to close.  The appraisal on their property comes in too low. The bank turns down their short sale and the buyer is ready to walk.  Sometimes, even if we have the wisdom of Solomon, we cannot turn the situation around in a way that salvages our sale or helps our buyer like we'd like to. How can we become bett...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
These days, many people are cutting overhead to save money and trying to do it all.  Sounds good on paper but this could be a short-sighted approach. Let's start with a story. I had a client, an agent who had just moved to a new market, who wanted to make a fresh start with the profession. I worked with her to renew her approach to real estate, one that allowed her to see real estate as a business. A vital part of this plan was to get her to realize she couldn't do it all. So before she started, we agreed that she would hire two employees: a buyer's agent and an administrative assistant. It proved to be a powerful move. In one year, she was the number one agent in her market. If you opened a restaurant you wouldn't plan to be the cook, the waiter, the host, and the manager. You shouldn'...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
For the third year in a row, I have been selected to speak at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2009 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, on Friday, November 13 in San Diego from 2:30-4 p.m. I am honored and truly excited to be asked to be a returning a speaker at this year's NAR conference. This is a great time to be in real estate with interest rates at an all-time low, young, first-time buyers entering the market with the government's buyer credit incentive, and all indications that the market is turning around. Let me help you make 2010 one of your best years ever with some timely advice on "Becoming the CEO of Your Real Estate Company." If ever there's been an exciting year in real estate, it has been 2009.  Signs that the housing market is recovering amidst a steady stream of for...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Yesterday we discussed the importance of keeping good staff. Retaining satisfied staff is more cost-effective than hiring and re-orienting new staff. Salary is often downplayed in surveys of why people change jobs.  If a job is challenging, co-workers are congenial, and management is supportive, few people would change job for just a dollar or two raise - but few people strive to take a salary cut when they move to a new place.   With agents who may want a better commission or ownership, this dynamic might be a bit different if a lot more money is involved. I'm betting that money and the opportunity to make more figures into most job changes - but in conjunction with something else.  What is the working environment like?  Is the place organized, so everyone is clear about their role or ...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
Just because it's an employer's market doesn't mean you should be shopping.  Retaining top talent within an organization is essential. There are costs above and beyond financial costs when key individuals leave a company. Therefore, companies invested in success must include in their success formula a plan to continually "re-recruit" existing employees, whether you're talking about agents, administrative help, or any of the personnel that make a real estate business run smoothly. While salary is often a factor when an employee decides to begin a new position - salary (or commission structure) generally is NOT the reason that employees leave a job. A re-recruitment strategy includes looking at these reasons - and then, taking action on the findings. This advice  Create the kind of compan...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
As we pointed out recently, the first time homebuyers credit is winding down and it's our job to make sure that clients who are ready to buy beat the clock.  As it happens, there are several things in play that could throw off the timing.  New regulations regarding mortgage disclosures and appraisals are adding time and cost to the sales process. The new alphabet soup regulations - HERA, HVCC, and HOEPA - have all been put in place to prevent some of the abuses that led to the mortgage meltdown and trapped many buyers in loans they did not understand.  The intent was good, though many agents feel that the appraisal regulations in particular are burdensome to the consumers the regulations were set up to help and to the real estate agents who would like to help them.  There is a great lik...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
On December 1st, 2009, some potential homebuyers are going to wake up real happy.  Others will feel a sense of loss. As agents, we should be on the happy side of the bed, knowing that we either made a sale or earned a future client. The $8,000 first time homebuyers' credit is set to expire November 30, 2009.  Buyers who took advantage of it can anticipate $8,000 from Uncle Sam.  Those who passed it by will know they missed a great chance to reduce the cost of their housing. As Realtors®, we ought to be promoting this credit with all we've got.  This could be very helpful to many clients.  For those clients who need a push to buy, this credit could do the trick. Any second thoughts should pass by December 1 as they are preparing to move into their new home.  If they could have bought and...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
But, what is a leader, really? Here are five characteristics you need to develop before you can be a true leader: 1. A visionary. While managers handle the day-to-day chores of a business, leaders have 20/20 vision and a bird's-eye view on industry indicators and market trends to see where their businesses are going in the next six months to one year. 2. A planner. Leaders are able to take what they see from that bird's-eye view and translate it into a business plan that reflects market conditions and gets results. By December of this year, they have all of next year on paper and are ready to attack. 3. A collaborator. Leaders know they need help, and they cannot do everything alone. And really good leaders are able to identify, recruit and collaborate with people and other organization...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
The new NAR study is 84 pages long.  Some of the highlights are tantalizing, in part because of how they are worded in the press. 50% of Realtors are affiliated with an independent, non-franchised brokerage. This also means 50% work for the big guys.  Buyers have a choice of what kind of firm they want to patronize. Realtors are affiliated with firms having a median of 23 brokers and agents.  This figure hides the small brokerages in the mix, who might comprise the 50% of agen s who work for independents. The average number of years of experience is 10. It will be interesting to see a breakdown of the range of agents.  How many have 5 years or less which means their careers have been dominated by a boom and then a bust?  When they are old, gray agents, they will able to tell great stori...
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By Bob Corcoran
(Corcoran Consulting & Coaching)
It's hard to believe but summer is winding down.  You might still have a family vacation planned, and depending where you are, you may have a lot of heat ahead of you.  But if you ask any school aged child (or any parent of one) summer is ready to transition into Fall before you know it. With the start of school eminent, it is timely to look at recent NAR statistics on Realtor® education.  35% of Realtors hold a minimum of one professional designation, up 3% from last year. 20% have a GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute), 13% have a ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), 10% have a CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), and 5% have a SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist). 16% of Realtors hold a specialized training certification. 25% of Realtors belong to one or more affiliated institutes...
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