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Good Habits - How to Get Them

In 48 hours, I’m going to get on a bicycle and set out on an epic journey—200 kilometers—as part of the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. 

If you’re young and fit, 200 kilometers may not seem like a huge challenge.  But it sure is for me!

It was an even bigger challenge when I first joined Team Believe five years ago.  I had several personal reasons to join the Fight to Conquer Cancer but challenging myself to get into shape was one of them.

If I was going to have any hope of completing The Ride, I knew I would have no choice but to make some radical changes to my lifestyle.

Confession time:  As a busy REALTOR®, I had completely let myself go, physically.  I was a big fat blob of mush.  Imagine Fat Bastard (from the Austin Powers movies) riding a bike, and you’re not far off. 

I’ll never forget my first practice ride in the spring of 2015.  After five kilometers, I was not only completely winded, but my...

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Learning How to Learn | Part Two

self management Aug 08, 2019

Procrastinating is robbing your future.

Last week, we talked about the “learning pyramid” and how we don’t retain much information by simply listening or reading about new ideas or concepts. 

The way to thoroughly learn a concept is to take action on what you’ve learned.  You’ve got to start DOING!

Beyond that, if you want to challenge yourself, try teaching the concept to someone else. For example, try explaining the concept of the “learning pyramid” to a friend or your spouse.

Chances are you’ll mess up at first.  But don’t worry!  Making mistakes is part of the process.  Just go back and study the material further.  Try to focus and concentrate on retaining the information.  This isn’t easy in our distraction-filled world, but that’s life, folks.  Learning is a struggle. 

When you can clearly teach a concept to someone else, you now KNOW the information.  Through...

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Learning How to Learn | Part One

self management Aug 01, 2019

Have you ever gone to a lecture, been inspired, vowed to implement some of the strategies, never got around to it, forgot everything you learned, and changed absolutely nothing?

We all have.

Our crazy distraction-filled world doesn’t help.  I think it’s alarming how the ability to concentrate is becoming a rare skill.

We’ve become ridiculously lazy.  Why bother learning anything when we can instantly Google the answer?

But here’s the thing.  Google can give you instant answers to simple questions, but it cannot give you the deep knowledge that is required to build SKILL.

You’ll never differentiate yourself as a talented, deeply knowledgeable, highly skilled REALTOR®, until you start DOING, as opposed to LISTENING or READING.

The “learning pyramid,” developed by the National Training Laboratory, suggests that students only retain about 10% of what they learn from textbooks, but they retain about 90% of what they learn...

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Walk Through the Door

self management Jul 25, 2019

Our family has always had dogs, mostly rescues.  We got our first-ever puppy – Bentley, the Sheepadoodle — four years ago this month!

If you’ve never had a puppy before, it’s like having a brand new baby with needle-sharp teeth, who enjoys biting you.  They should be called Sharkadoodles.

Bentley has turned into a wonderful dog, and we love him.  He’s a good boy, and more-or-less well-behaved, but this wasn’t always the case.

As a puppy, we took him to puppy training school, but he was such a high-energy, fun-loving little guy, all he wanted to do was play with the other puppies!

Puppy-training is really people-training, so we learned as much as we could, and gradually he got better and better.  But training a puppy is a slow, methodical process, requiring patience and consistency.

We did have one experience where Bentley learned something in literally an instant.

Sometime after the puppy-training group class, we hired a...

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The Big Picture on Pricing

When I’m building a CMA, I have a very specific and unique process.  Let’s call it the “Criteria Manipulation - CMA” (CM-CMA).

I do NOT pick and choose the comparables that I “want them to see”.

Instead, I select the search criteria that gives me the results I want.  I start out with a large list, and systematically tweak the criteria until I come up with the right group of comparables that are going to tell the story I want my clients to hear.

When I say, “the story I want them to hear”, let me be clear:  I’ve ALWAYS got my clients’ best interests at heart (I want them to achieve the highest possible price).  However, I design the CMA to get the right message across.  For example, I don’t want any confusing “outliers” in my search results.

I continue tweaking the search criteria towards the end goal of showing the picture I want to show.

I’ve developed the CM-CMA methodology...

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The "Pocket Listing" Myth

The MLS System is BY FAR the most important tool we have in Real Estate.  Can you even imagine imagine how we would function today without it?

The old codgers around the office have some stories, I tell ya!  I guess when you got a new listing, you’d be on the phone all day with all your REALTOR® buddies:

"Hey Vern, I got a beauty coming on in Old Town.  She’s got everything!  Orange wall-to-wall, pink plumbin’ fixtures, electric oven, the works!  Puttin’ ’er on for $24,900!  Hop in the Studebaker and come have a look-see!"

Not to make fun of the old codgers in the office, but holy cow!  What a grind!

Folks, we’ve got it made compared to the old days.  Don’t forget it.

Here’s my question:

With an incredibly powerful tool like the MLS at our disposal, why would anyone ever try to sell a property and NOT use it?

This is like trying to sell your car by standing on a street corner with a...

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Are You Coachable?

self management Jul 04, 2019

I’m spending most of my time right now developing the Knowledge First Real Estate Master’s Program; an online course, designed for high-integrity agents looking for an alternative to the standard, “Learn your scripts and make your calls” stuff that is commonly taught by most Real Estate trainers.

I’m not saying you can’t build a good career around what other Real Estate trainers are teaching.  You definitely can!

Just don’t be fooled into thinking that chasing leads and reciting scripts is the ONLY way to build a successful Real Estate career.  It isn’t.

I NEVER did those things, and my yearly commissions ranged between $590,000-$865,000, from my second year on, all as an individual agent.

I learned mostly by trial and error throughout my career, but here’s something I never expected:

I’ve learned more about what it takes to become a great REALTOR® in the past few months through the process of building this...

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Be Positive. And Negative.

EVERY property has a Balance Sheet.  If you add up the assets and liabilities correctly, chances are you’ve found the sweet spot on the price — not too low and not too high.

But how do you convince the seller?  After all; almost every seller thinks their property is worth more than it is.  That’s because they tend to compare the best features of their property against the worst features of the competing properties.  Also, they have a curious ability to twist a negative into a positive!

“Check out our tiny backyard!  It only takes five minutes to mow the lawn, while the poor neighbour is slaving away for an hour!”

This is totally normal.  After all; they bought the property because they liked it better than anything else that was available at the time, for their own reasons.

If you go in and start slamming all the negatives to get them to “see the light” and “price it right,” you’re going to...

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The Flurry of Activity

pricing Jun 20, 2019

Whenever you list a property, there’s almost always a “flurry of activity” at the very beginning of the listing period.

These are the “current buyers”; the group who were already actively looking BEFORE your new listing hit the market.  Chances are, these buyers have already viewed most or all of your direct competitors.  So, what are they doing now?

They’re waiting for new listings!

The flurry comes on strong at the beginning of your listing and dies out just as quickly.  The current buyers don’t want to miss out on seeing your hot new listing.  These buyers are ready, willing, and able to buy, as soon as they see the right property.

Aside from “current buyers” there are two other main buyer groups – “new buyers” who are just beginning their search, and “bargain hunters,” who typically wait until your property has been on the market for a while before they start lobbing...

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The Spring Squeeze

pricing Jun 13, 2019

In one of my previous lives, I was in the motorcycle parts business, which is very seasonal.  There’s not a lot of activity through the winter months, and then the spring hits hard, and it’s pandemonium for a couple of months. 

I’ve found that it’s not much different in Real Estate.  While it’s true that properties sell all year round, a skilled agent learns to have increased awareness of the seasonality of the business, especially for certain market segments.

For example, young families are most likely to be out looking for their new home in the spring, so they can take possession in July or August before school starts in the fall.

If you take a look at the monthly sales volume for this type of home specifically, there is up to FOUR times as much volume in the busiest months (May and June) as compared to the slowest months (December and January). 

Note: I’m looking at my local (Calgary) market for this data, but it’s not...

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