How to get 1-2 Extra Deals a Month From Your CRM

Market Focus, Inc. is a software development company that has been providing innovative CRM and marketing services for the mortgage, real estate, and insurance industries for the past 25 years. Its easy-to-use systems are designed to increase sales with automated marketing strategies that take very little effort.

On the next live Agent Mastermind class, we’ll be joined by Market Focus President, Chris Carter! Chris is going to chat with us about CRM and marketing strategies that’ll increase sales and promote positive growth.

What you’ll learn:

  • Best practices for using CRM systems and lead management
  • How content marketing positions you as a Trusted Advisor
  • How to close more prospects with video email marketing
  • How to track and generate more referrals
  • How to avoid common marketing mistakes
  • Best Practices for email marketing

Agent Mastermind | January 17th | 9 AM PST

Something New That Will Blow Your Mind

On the next Agent Mastermind class, we’ll chat with real estate agent Aaron Wittenstein, who specializes in lead generation and objection handling! Aaron started his business in the suburbs of Chicago where he became one of the top agents in Illinois. In 2013, Aaron and his family decided to move to New York to be closer to family. In his first two years as a brand new agent in New York, Aaron went from 0 to almost 15 million in pending and closed transactions!

Aaron will share –

  • What he did to jump-start his business
  • How to figure out your “big why”
  • Setting yourself up NOW for success in 2017
  • Expireds script & objection handling
  • What to expect in expired mastery
  • And so much more!

Agent Mastermind | January 10th | 9 AM PST

Home Equity Continues to Improve

4495CoreLogic reported US homeowners with mortgages saw their equity increase by $227 Billion in Q3 of 2016, up 3.1% annually.  This growth is associated with the improvement of the average loan-to-value ratio.  The average LTV ratio was 55.4%, down from 56% in mid-2016 and 57.3% in 2015.

Home equity for all homeowners (with and without mortgages) grew by $726 Billion, a year-over-year increase of 10.8%.  Additionally, 384,000 borrowers moved out of negative equity.  To date, 93.7% of all mortgaged properties are homes with positive equity, approximately 48 Million homes.

President and CEO of CoreLogic, Anand Nallathambi attributed the equity increase to price appreciation, listing “paydown of principal is the second key component of equity building.  Many homeowners have refinanced into shorter-term loans, such as a 15-year loan, and by doing so, they have significantly fewer mortgage payments and are able to build equity wealth faster.”

On a national average, homeowner equity increased by $13,000 for mortgaged properties.  The Pacific Northwest including California, Oregon, and Washington saw equity increases of about $25,000 to $30,000 while outliers Alaska, Connecticut, and North Dakota declined slightly.

Equity is the amount of the home actually owned, or the subtraction of the loan balance from the value of the home.   Homeowners build equity as the property value increases and the amount of the debt decreases.

Sources: The Balance, CoreLogic, MBA, Mortgage Daily

Rates Up, Pending Home Sales Down..

Weekly Review

The major stock market indexes posted moderate losses for the week and the psychological milestone of 20,000 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained elusive.  The indexes recorded the majority of their losses on Wednesday with the S&P 500 Index charting its largest drop since last October.  The selling in stocks was likely due to large institutional investors such as pension funds rebalancing their portfolios and locking in equity gains realized since the election.

Meanwhile, bond prices rose and yields fell following a surprisingly strong and robust $34 billion 5-year Treasury note auction that saw a high yield of 2.057% with a strong bid-to-cover ratio 2.72.  Indirect bidders (primarily foreign central banks) snapped up 71.4% of this supply while direct bidders (bond dealers, hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, insurers, banks, and individuals) bought 4.1% of the issue.  Bond prices also improved on news of an unexpected decline in Pending Home Sales.

Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors reported their Pending Home Sales Index fell to a 10-month low during November, falling 2.5% to 107.3.  Analysts had forecast the Index to increase 0.5% for the month.  The Index was also 0.4% lower than in November 2015.  This might be a sign that rising mortgage rates coupled with a shortage of home inventory available for sale could be weighing on the housing market.

phs-november12-28-2016However, home prices continue to remain strong.  According to the latest report from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller, home prices reached a new high, rising 5.6% in October.  The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index was also 5.6% higher in October from the prior year.  The Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index increased 5.1% in October from the same time a year ago.

For the week, the FNMA 3.5% coupon bond gained 89.1 basis points to end at $102.42 while the 10-year Treasury yield fell 9.66 basis points to end at 2.446%.  Stocks ended the week lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 171.21 points to end at 19,762.60.  The NASDAQ Composite Index dropped 79.57 points to close at 5,383.12, and the S&P 500 Index lost 24.96 points to close at 2,238.83.

Year to date, and exclusive of any dividends, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has gained 11.83%, the NASDAQ Composite Index has added 6.98%, and the S&P 500 Index has advanced 8.70%.  When including dividends, the DJIA gained 13.4%, the NASDAQ Composite gained 7.5% and the S&P 500 gained 9.5% for the year.

This past week, the national average 30-year mortgage rate decreased to 4.21% from 4.33% while the 15-year mortgage rate decreased to 3.40% from 3.51%.  The 5/1 ARM mortgage rate fell to 3.05% from 3.15%.  FHA 30-year rates decreased to 3.75% from 3.85% and Jumbo 30-year rates decreased to 4.23% from 4.35%.

 Mortgage Rate Forecast with Chart – FNMA 30-Year 3.5% Coupon Bond

rate-forecast-chartBond prices shot higher and broke above two levels of resistance during the week.  The FNMA 30-year 3.5% coupon bond ($102.42, +89.1 basis points) traded within a wider 120 basis point range between a weekly intraday low of $101.30 on Tuesday and a weekly intraday high of $102.50 on Friday before closing the week at $102.42.  Trading volumes will get back toward normal levels during this coming week, and coupled with major economic news headlined by December’s Employment Situation Summary, we could see an increase in market volatility.  The chart is showing the bond is not yet “overbought” while in a favorable upward trend, so we could see a continuation higher toward the next resistance level at the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $102.79.  As a result, we should see slightly lower mortgage rates in the coming week.

Top Agent Shares His Rise to the Top

realestategrowthWant to learn how to take your real estate game to the next level?

On the next live Agent Mastermind class, we’ll be joined by Arizona-based realtor Kelly Cook! Kelly has been crushing the real estate game for years and has made quite the name for himself in his local community.

In this interview style class, we’re going to map out exactly what Kelly did to reach his goals and chat about the 3 core competencies of his business. We’ll also have a live Q&A at the end of class, so make sure to jot down all of your questions while listening along!

Agent Mastermind | January 3rd | 9 AM PST

The Millennial Wheel: Recruiting – and Retaining – Tomorrow’s Agent

By Suzanne DeVita

At just above 30 percent, millennials now make up the largest segment of buyers. Only 2 percent of REALTORS® are under the age of 30. How can the industry reconcile such a discrepancy?

As attendees of RISMedia’s recent Broker Best Practices Webinar learned, the solution is a spoke-hub recruitment and retention strategy, centered on—what else?—all things millennial.

“My study groups have shown that millennials would rather work with people close to their own age,” says Vince Leisey, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Ambassador Real Estate, in the DocuSign-sponsored webinar, “Bringing on the Best: Finding, Hiring and Keeping Your Next Superstars.” “If they’re truly going to be the generation with the greatest buying power…we need to understand how to communicate with them, how to relate to them, and how to attract them to our business.”

One of the key spokes in the wheel? A team-oriented environment.

“Most top-producing agents, especially millennials, want to be surrounded with other top-producing agents they can mastermind with,” says Rick Geha, leader of The Rick Geha Team with Golden State Realty & Leasing, and a former recruiter with Century 21 Real Estate and Keller Williams Realty. “If they can find those other top producers in their own office, they are more likely to stay.”

“They are the generation of collaboration, teams, doing things together—completely unlike the baby boomer generation, which was, ‘It’s me against the world…I don’t need anybody else’s help,’” says Leisey, whose three largest teams have leaders averaging 30 years old.

Leisey calls upon a numerical system, called the ‘1-3-6’ process, to teach new recruits how to set goals and manage their time. The first step, the ‘1,’ requires agents to ask themselves, “What is my one objective?” In the second step, the ‘3,’ agents must ask themselves, “What are the three action steps I need to do every day to achieve that objective?” In the third step, the ‘6,’ agents map out the six activities they need to either stop doing, do less of, or delegate to accomplish their goal.

“Our belief is that we need to re-recruit the agents that we have first,” Leisey says, “and that if we do a great job of taking $6 million dollar-producers and making them $7 million dollar-producers…everybody in the marketplace takes notice of that. It becomes real easy to recruit.”

The most valuable takeaway from the webinar? Successfully executing these strategies begins and ends with culture, agree Geha and Leisey.

“If you have incredible culture…you’ll have no problem recruiting new agents, because they’re going to be influenced by you, your disposition and your confidence level,” Geha says.

“Culture is No. 1 in an organization,” says Leisey. “Let’s work with purpose, but let’s also give [agents] an environment where they can take a break, have some fun and relax.”

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s Online Associate Editor:

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

What’s Up In SoCo This Weekend!?

Here are some cool events to check out this weekend:

Friday, Feb. 5
Pliny the Younger: Get your beer fix on this Friday when the Russian River Brewing Co. celebrates their limited release of Pliny the Younger, starting this Friday. Line too long on Friday? No worries. Pliny the Younger will be around until Feb. 18. Find out more at

Saturday, Feb. 6
Annual Crab & Wine Fest: One of the favorite crab feeds in Sonoma County, as well as one of the biggest, this highly anticipated event starts at 5 p.m. at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, and includes a silent and live auction. The event benefits the youth of Sonoma County by funding scholarships, education programs and youth activities. Tickets are $75. find out more at

For a full list of upcoming crab feeds, visit

Mardi Gras in Petaluma: Petaluma Music Festival presents live show by Dixie Giants, plus dinner, at Lagunitas Brewery. 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday. $10-$25; 12 & under free.

Millennial, Millennial, Schlemennial…Why Should We Care About Marketing to Millennials?

Have you noticed that it is getting harder and harder to get the attention of anyone online?  The younger the user that more difficult it seems to draw focus.  The latest and largest generation, known as Millennials, require a shift in our efforts to attract customers.

Research has found that Millennials are bombarded with more than 5,000 marketing messages a day. They have learned how to tune out anything that doesn’t immediately resonate with them.  We have to work harder to inspire action.

In some ways, content marketing is the only marketing left. Traditional push marketing no longer works with this generation. You cannot solve your problems through buying advertising space, particularly digitally.  The good news is that content marketing, done right, can be the path to ad-loathing Millennials’ hearts.

Content marketing in its current form allows brands more room for subtlety; to get noticed by helping and inspiring people before selling to them; to build trust and earn ultimate referral to friends and family that eventually gets you customers. At the core of the principles behind content marketing lies the conviction that if potential buyers are presented with interesting and relevant information, they will ultimately become customers.

Content marketing is a process of creating and distributing non-commercial information that is valuable to customers. It promotes information and ideas, not products or services directly. Content marketing isn’t advertorial and should never be self-serving.

Millennials are highly sensitive to people and businesses that are not seeking a win-win situation, so if the brands’ messages don’t resonate with a young person’s life, they are seen as ineffective self-promoters and are immediately ignored.

Marketing WITH Millennials (not TO them)

Millennials, the largest and most connected generation in western history, are those born between 1980-2000. New technologies have shaped this generation socially, politically and culturally, so that their identities cannot be separated from the advent of the digital age.

Millenial 02

The non-hierarchical, interactive and knowledge-led nature of the internet, which allows debates to spark and conversations to evolve organically, has enabled this generation to take control of their consumption like no generation before them.

Gen Y doesn’t need brands to overtly promote products as they have in the past, because everything we want to know about any subject is at our fingertips. Buying decisions are less influenced by repeated exposure to the same message. Instead, they are built on conversations and information – in other words, they are built on content.

Brands should of course, bear in mind that not all Millennials are the same, and they will not all respond to the same content or messages. If you are a marketer looking to engage young people, target consumers by life stage, not age. A 34 year old Millennial is likely more career and family oriented than a 16 year old in school, for example.

There is a misleading stereotype that Millennials are just a bunch of hipsters who take selfies and share content like crazy. In reality, the average person will not analyse content or brands that much at all. People are not all sitting by their smartphones desperately waiting to pick up messages coming from brands, they are sitting there to pick up messages coming from friends, family or people they look up to. People’s lives don’t revolve around brand content because they have better things to do.

There is a strong argument that social media is over-rated for brands, because ultimately on social media people follow people not brands. If you look at the top 100 most followed Canadian accounts on Twitter, you’ll see the first 24 are people (personalities, celebrities, musicians). The most popular Canadian Justin Bieber alone has 27 times more Twitter fans than the top 10 Canadian brands combined.

The legendary copywriter Dave Trott rightly said that in order to persuade somebody to do something, you need to get their attention first. You need to have an impact upon them. They need to see, stop and think before they can be persuaded to take action.

Getting it right

What is the best way to have an impact on Millennials? The Youth Trends Report 2015, which focuses on the latest social, cultural and digital trends amongst 16-24 year olds in the UK, found that short, concise, visual and collaborative content is where the focus should be when it comes to online campaigns.

Don’t take up too much of busy consumers’ time, they’d rather spend it with friends and family – instead offer them short, insightful campaigns and services that enhance their hectic lifestyles.

Millenials interact with brands if and when they want to.  Get the conversations right and your brand will reap the rewards.

Four Tips for Dealing with Unrealistic Seller Pricing

By Mark Mathis, General Manager of Agent and Broker Sales at

As a real estate expert, you offer a great deal of value to your clients. While you spend hours researching the top trends in their area, learning about the recent selling prices and creating the perfect marketing campaign, often your clients don’t realize the amount of effort that goes into carefully crafting their personalized business plan. This can be frustrating for you as a seasoned professional. However, it can be even more frustrating when a client questions the selling prices you’ve determined for their home.
Here are four strategies to help assuage the situation when dealing with this kind of an issue:

1. Establish Trust and Confidence

One of the most important things to inspire in your clients is trust. You’re probably helping them through one of the biggest transitions in their lives. While home selling can become an everyday occurrence in the life of an agent, many clients are fumbling through the process, relying on you for your expertise and guidance. During your first meeting with a new client, if you can find ways to connect with them on a personal level, they’ll be more likely to trust and depend on you throughout the selling process. Think of this process like building a friendship—start by finding the small commonalities. Are you familiar with their town? Do you share a favorite food or coffee joint? Were they recommendations from a mutual friend? Did you go through a similar moving experience in the past and have stories you can share? Don’t hesitate to talk about your qualifications, as well; they can help you stand apart from other agents they’ve worked with or are considering. Finding topics you have in common can help create the foundation for a solid relationship, which will help you as you approach the topic of the listing price.

2. See It from Their Side

Remember that your client is going through a major change in their lifestyle. They’re often unsure of the process and can have a hard time separating their personal attachment to their home from the business transaction that will take place. With the number of tools available to calculate home prices, it’s common that clients will try to fight you on the issue, especially if they found a much higher value on another listing site. Explain your side of the situation to your clients. Make it clear to them that you have their best intentions in mind, and that your main goal is to sell their house, getting them the best value possible. Remind them that overshooting the asking price can often mean they lose more value in the long run, since their home will be on the market for longer and they’ll likely need to reduce the asking price.

3. Find Out What They’re Expecting

Before you suggest your listing price, ask your clients what they believe their home is worth. Don’t hesitate to ask them why and how they arrived at this figure. Remind them to consider any work they’ve done, along with any maintenance that would need to be done by the buyers. This can help them accurately predict the value of their home, while also allowing you to point out some reasons that your suggested price may not be as much as they thought.

By getting the sellers to think about their home value, you’ll also be able to anticipate how to let them know it’s less than they thought, if needed. Once you have an idea of what you’re working with, you’ll be able to craft a response that won’t shock your clients and that can be supported with research. Keep in mind that, even when you’re well prepared with neighborhood information and pricing facts, it can be difficult for clients to hear they won’t receive as much as they had hoped. If you’ve established a good relationship with your clients and are sensitive to their side, you can begin to lead them through how you arrived at this figure.

4. Show You’ve Done Your Research

When you prepare for your meeting with your client, bring in the support to show why you’re the expert. In a recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Garry Wise gave the advice, “Never tell a seller ‘this is what your home is worth.’  Instead say something like ‘The Market is willing to accept (this price) for your home given all of this data.’” You can then supply your clients with their customized CMA report that shows how you’ve factored the value of their home.

The key is to show the seller that you have all the data and not just an internet guess at what their home is worth. A great way to organize, adjust and present all this data is by using the CMAzing tool. It starts by importing the raw data from your MLS, but also gives you the ability manually adjust the price to comparable properties, just like an appraiser would.

While this process can be difficult, these tips can help you work through even the most difficult situation. As you begin the year, make sure you’re positioning yourself in front of buyers and sellers who are searching in your local area. Follow these three, easy steps to connect with quality leads near you and close more deals this year.

For more information, visit

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

Where There Are Problems, There Is Opportunity

Selling real estate to the next generation requires constantly reevaluating oneself and embracing the consumer’s point of view.  Of course, that’s true with every customer, not just a whole generation of customers.

Different realtors and brands have distinct histories, sizes and markets, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to selling. However, panelists on “Next Gen Marketing Plan – Creating a Strategy for 2016” at Inman Connect New York 2016 on Jan. 28 were united in noting the importance of looking to other industries and embracing, rather than fighting, changes in consumer behavior.

For example, the millennial’s well-documented thirst for transparency can be an opportunity for a brand to sell itself.

“Unlike generations prior, they are significantly more skeptical because of the amount of information available to them,” Ms. Oge said. “That’s a reality and not necessarily a bad thing.

“Anytime we can be taken to task to be more transparent, more consistent, to be more straight-lined and linear with respect to our points of differentiation and our value proposition, I welcome it,” she said. “I think these next generations are kind of the garden rails that will keep us more honest, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

Listening to the consumer and understanding them psychographically will give marketers the information they need to devise a detailed plan. While the prospect may seem daunting at first, the work will save time and increase sales in the long run.

“When you think about doing a plan it couldn’t be more annoying to find that time, but don’t think about it as stopping what you are doing, think about it as making next year a lot easier,” Ms. Marchetti said. “You should take a really hard look in the mirror and be very very honest about what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, and the latter is more important.”  Also, it is advisable to ask your closest relationships what they see as your strengths and weaknesses.

Studies have shown repeatedly that millennials will use technology to assist in buying homes, but they still depend on agents. That means the agents need to make themselves ideal for these new consumers.

There are countless choices for people looking to find a home, and that means if the first one does not provide the necessary resources, is too opaque or does not provide sufficient information, it is on to the next one. Agents can do themselves a favor by making email and phone number readily available, be it for text messages or good old-fashioned calls.

Additionally, the question of marketing to the next generation extends far beyond the real estate sector. Looking at what other sectors are doing to reach the generation could provide answers for the real estate world.

“The good and bad news of all of this is [that] every industry will change, every industry will get disrupted,” Ms. Marchetti said. “When I first got out of school in 1998 we were sounding the death knells of big box retail.

“Those who didn’t adapt did start to die, but the way of doing business changed,” she said. “We always look outside because I’m never going to worry about what other [real estate] brands are doing; it’s a waste of time.

“If you focus on your agents, if you have metrics, if you are open to learning, then there are industries that have gone before us to the breach and survived, so let’s learn from their mistakes, not make them, stay focused and remember who your client is. If you remember who your client is and take their perspective, you will not fail.

And indeed, rather than thinking of changes as “disruptions,” it helps to think of them as opportunities. Precedents across all industries show those who try to dispel disruptions often sink. Instead, a focus on technology presents opportunities in contact and marketing.

Stay focused
One opportunity that other industries have embraced in reaching millennials that the real estate industry has not is gamification.

These game-like challenges could include liking items on Facebook or sharing purchases on Instagram to be recognized by the brand. Thirty-one percent of retailers used gamification in 2015, a growth from 6 percent the year before.

“I don’t come from this industry, I come from gaming,” Ms. Cornia said. “If you are not figuring how to use the principles of gaming in your mobile apps or digital experience you are missing one of the fundamental aspects of millennials,” she said.

Finding new ways to reach consumers in accordance with their habits will help brokers fight against a potentially slowing market.


Original article: