NAR offering unique programs to help REALTORS work smart and stay safe

think safety

September is REALTOR Safety Month — an opportunity to raise awareness within the ranks of the real estate profession to work smart and stay safe in their day-to-day practice.

The National Association of REALTORS is offering a new online professional development course “Real Estate Safety Matters: Safe Business = Smart Business,” designed to teach real estate professionals how to limit risk and increase safety for themselves and their clients. The course, launched on Sept. 1, is being offered at a special price of $20 during the month.

Learn how to assess potential risks and develop safety protocols for client meetings, open houses, showings, online interactions, and other business activities. The course covers strategies for data security, including protection of personal and electronic information. As a practical resource, this course offers easy-to-remember strategies for responding to threats and attacks and when facing potentially dangerous situations. For more information on online course or to register, click here.

Also, don’t forget to be a part of NAR’s free, half-day Safety Webinar Summit on Sept. 9 (starting at noon). The event will feature four timely sessions:

Don’t Get in the Pen With the Bull — and Other Safety Tips for Rural Land Professionals, by Terri Johnson, noon to 1 p.m.

REALTOR Safety: Everyday Actions That May Compromise Safety, by Adrian Manzaneres, 1 to 2 p.m.

Discover REALTOR Safety Through Technology and Change Management, by Mike Becker & Adam Havey, 2 to 3 p.m.

Online Thievery: What to do if you Experience a Data Breach, by Melanie Wyne, 3 to 4 p.m.

For more details on the Webinar Summit or to register for this no-cost event, click here.

Tags: safety

7 deadly sins of real estate — Commit any of these & it’s no wonder why clients pass you by

By Leigh Brown, Keynote Speaker, 2015 OAR Annual Convention & Expo

I recently saw a Facebook post from a real estate agent mentioning that a consumer looked at 250 houses with eight different practitioners before finally making a purchase. You should have seen the comments on that post. You’d think that wretched consumer should be burned at the stake! What heresy! How dare a consumer waste professionals’ time like that!

Excuse me. Why is everyone so sure the consumer is the bad guy here?

We all know some clients are more difficult to work with than others, but that doesn’t automatically put them at fault when things don’t work out between you. They might have moved on because you didn’t up your game enough.

There are seven deadly sins in real estate, offenses that could turn off any consumer. (Actually, I can think of many more sins, but we’re keeping it simple for now.) If you commit any of them, then you can blame yourself for the loss of a client. As real estate professionals, we can be amazing advocates for consumers, but there’s always room to improve. Start by absolving yourself of these shameful transgressions.

Sin No. 1: Abandonment

You work your butt off to earn clients’ trust and win their business. They share intimate details with you, and you become their confidante. But after the sale, where do you go? Do you drop them like a hot potato? Cash the check and leave?

Don’t stop calling, texting, and e-mailing your clients after they had the nerve to — gasp! — actually buy a house. Check in every so often. See how the kids are adjusting or if there are any questions popping up that you can answer. Call them when the county tax office does a re-evaluation of their property to see if they have any concerns. Be a resource forever. My clients know that unless they beg off or die, they are going to hear from me forever.

Sin No. 2: Cherry-picking

If you care about serving clients only in higher price points, you’re turning away a ton of potential business at the lower end — and future referrals. You should have learned this during the 2008–12 real estate bust. It was then that agents who insisted on only working the top end found out that when those price points dry up, it’s the cheap seats where folks continue to buy and sell.

Sure, it’s hard work to deal with a short sale or a nasty foreclosure, and trailer houses aren’t the most glamorous side of real estate. But last time I checked, that money spends, too, regardless of market conditions. The folks you helped when no one else would — who you treated with as much respect as any other client — often turn into the best referral bird dogs you can imagine.

Treat all price points well. It’s smart business. And if you’re so busy you can’t see straight, then set up referral partners in your own amazing real estate community, and make sure that every potential client is cared for.

Sin No. 3: Not Asking Enough Questions

Finding out how to best serve your client isn’t just about asking their price range and how many bedrooms and bathrooms they need. If you don’t know why they want to move and what their goals are for buying or selling, then you don’t know what’s really important to them. Ask enough questions to get them to tell you everything, and listen.

Any of you old-timers remember the immortal Howard Brinton? He taught me to always go “three deep” with questions. Clients will usually spill the truth after you’ve asked the third question. If they answer with things that make you feel nervous about fair housing, you should have the resources available to direct them to the research they’re seeking. For example, if you can’t answer questions about school districts per your local laws, offer websites where your clients can do their own information gathering.

Ask. Ask. Ask. Y’all keep fussing about competition from online real estate portals. So ask questions and offer professional advice and expertise that buyers and sellers can’t find on the Internet.

Sin No. 4: Too Much Ego

It meant something in 1978 to be a “million-dollar agent,” I suppose. Back then, I was still just a strapping young thing, so it wouldn’t have made a difference to me. But for heaven’s sake, it means nothing now. In some markets today, a million bucks isn’t even a whole house. My second favorite phrase is “No. 1 agent.” No. 1 at what? And how many No. 1s are out there? Lots and lots, by my estimation.

Clients are coming to us armed with more knowledge and education than ever before, but they still crave professional guidance and advice in understanding the data sets surrounding local real estate. How does your trumpeted-up marketing hailing yourself as the king or queen of real estate provide that for them? Instead of talking about ourselves, let’s focus on the consumer. Figure out what you can offer that helps them reach their goals — not yours — and start setting yourself apart. Need a starting point? Read Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why.

Sin No. 5: Reluctance to Call

I don’t know why it’s said that the two things people fear most are public speaking and death. I’m inclined to think picking up the phone has an even higher fear factor, since people use them almost exclusively to swipe and poke instead of talk. If I check any agent’s phone at any time, I bet I’ll see more incoming than outgoing calls.

How about actually dialing a number or answering the phone when it rings? Even the millennial generation wants to talk on the phone when it’s time. Vocal inflection makes a huge difference in the outcome of a conversation and can’t be replaced by text and e-mail. By the way, when you get a call, you have to answer it quickly. If you need help managing all those calls, set up a Google Voice number for your business (yes, it’s free!) so you can forward calls when you need some down time.

Sin No. 6: Fluff and Puff

You know you’ve giggled at the bad photos in your MLS — the ones with neon-green grass or a sky that is an unreal (a.k.a. Photoshopped) shade of blue. Or property descriptions like “diamond in the rough” (read: falling down), “charming” (overly decorated), or “cozy” (cramped).

We’ve taught the consumer not to trust us by using deceptive marketing. We keep going back to the same tired phrases that don’t realistically describe properties, and we use photos that are so doctored, they might as well be animations. If we want the general public to believe us, we need to use smart marketing words that are vivid but also accurate. Photos should be as flattering as possible, but they should also accurately depict a property. We need to do this for reasons beyond following the Code of Ethics or doing good business. It’s just the right thing to do.

Sin No. 7: Inverted Priorities

Getting a call or a text? Drop everything and answer it. Supposed to have a date night? Reschedule it. Kids playing a ball game? Catch the next one. Church? Get there next week.

Is this what you’ll do for a deal? Too many real estate professionals who are amazing at their jobs and would walk across hot coals for their clients get life completely backwards. They’ll put everything — the most important things, such as family, worship, or themselves — on hold to catch a deal. But you know what happens when real estate becomes your 24/7 be-all and end-all? Burnout.

When you’re burned out, you just can’t do a great job for anyone. Your sharp wit is dulled, your follow-up is lackluster, and frankly, my dear, you just don’t give a damn.

Make yourself and your family your most important clients. Block time on your calendar for you and for them. Create a life environment that is healthy because when you are healthy, your client relationships will blossom and grow into more than you ever imagined.

I’ve got more sins than seven (I’m now up to 11), so to find out what they are, you’ll just have to follow me on YouTube or visit my blog ( because I’m too verbose! It’s an amazing honor to be in this profession, y’all. Let’s be the best we can and get better at our craft!


leigh brownLeigh Brown, ABR, CRS, is a partner at Charlotte, N.C.-based RE/MAX Executive Realty and broker-manager of its Concord office. She is also a longtime speaker on real estate issues. Before she started working in real estate 14 years ago, her sales career included liquor, stocks, and chain saws. Contact her at

Ohio REALTORS have an exclusive opportunity to see Leigh LIVE! during the OAR Annual Convention & Expo, Sept. 20-22, in Columbus. As the keynote speaker during the Opening Session — she’ll offer more candid, humorous insight on the Deadly Sins. In addition, Leigh will conduct one of the continuing education sessions — “High Tech & High Touch = High ROI.” 

Visit for more details and to register for this “don’t miss” event!


— Originally published in the Ohio REALTOR magazine (Summer/Fall 2015)

Tags: Association news, training

Ohio Market Watch: Frequency of all-cash home purchases easing

By Greg Stitz, OAR Director of Research

For the past two years participants in the Ohio Association of REALTORS’ August Housing Confidence survey were asked to indicate what change, compared to a year ago, they have observed in the number of their buyers purchasing homes without a mortgage. When the question was asked in August of 2014 over half (53 percent) observed an increase in all-cash buyers, 18 percent more than the 35 percent indicating so in August of 2015. This August, 51 percent of respondents observed no change in all-cash purchases compared to 34 percent in 2014. prevalent


Survey results are based on responses to a monthly survey, designed to capture the effects of the existing economic conditions and trends on the real estate industry, sent to a pool of 1,500 OAR participants. Click here to participate in future OAR Housing Confidence Surveys.


Tags: Ohio Market Watch, research

Legally speaking: False statements about “Coming Soon” can result in discipline

By Peg Ritenour, OAR Vice President of Legal Services/Administration

The OAR Legal Assistance Hotline receives an array of real estate-related legal questions — including license law issues, disclosure, contract law, ethics and commission problems, among others. In an effort to help you work within the law, our “Legally Speaking” series spotlights some of the timely questions that are being asked by REALTORS. This explores potential pitfalls caused by “Coming Soon” signage…

Q: I represent  buyers who called me about a house with a “Coming Soon” sign that they are extremely interested in seeing. When I contacted the listing agent I was told it would not be ready to be shown for a couple of weeks. I impressed upon the listing agent that my buyers were well qualified and that they wanted to see the property as soon as it was ready to be shown. About a week later I happened to be driving by the house and saw a “Sale Pending” sign in the yard. I have since found out that the listing agent sold it to a buyer he represents. My buyer is furious, feeling that the listing agent lied about the property not being available to be shown and I’m not too happy either because I lost out on a potential sale. Is there anything I can do?

A: This scenario represents the most common complaint about “Coming Soon” signs. Listing agents who represent to other REALTORS or buyers that the property is not available to be shown but show it to their own buyers could face both ethical and legal challenges. First, it may be alleged that the agent violated Standard of Practice 3-8 of the NAR Code of Ethics, which provides that “REALTORS shall not misrepresent the availability of access to show…a listed property.” Such a complaint would be handled through the Professional Standards process at the Local Board/Association of REALTORS.

A similar allegation could also be filed with the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing. If it is proven that the listing agent lied about the availability of the property to be shown, the agent could possibly be disciplined by the Ohio Real Estate Commission for making a knowing misrepresentation or for misconduct.

For a more detailed discussion about coming soon signs and pocket listings click here.

Tags: legal, Legally Speaking

Coaching Corner: Handling disappointment

By “Coach” Marilou Butcher Roth

There will probably always be times when something happens that creates a feeling of disappointment within us. When I think about the feeling of disappointment, it is a milder version of sadness. There are countless reasons that we experience disappointment, the question is how do we handle it?

For an appropriate example, let’s use a listing appointment. You meet with the prospective sellers and feel your connection with them was exceptional. You walk away with an air of “I got this” billowing around you. And then, the unimaginable happens — they list with someone else! Not only did they list with someone else, they did not even let you know! Urggh!!!! Let’s look at “handling” this from a couple of different ways.

First, from an emotional standpoint. Of course you feel disappointed! And perhaps your disappointment gets buried under your immediate reaction of anger. Anger is a feeling that often times covers up deeper emotions such as sadness or fear. Your job when you experience some anger, is to check to see if there is another feeling underneath the anger. It is so important that we stay aware of what we are feeling.

From a practical standpoint, I want to look much before the event occurs. In the example of a listing consultation, you need to take time to completely prepare. Your preparation task list needs to give you the end result of feeling completely and authentically confident. You feel great about yourself as well as the materials and information you present. From this position, regardless of how a prospective seller behaves, you will remain solid in your integrity, knowing that you have done your best job possible.

So, hopefully you can see from this how disappointment does not need to ruin your day if you take steps to support yourself.


Marilou Butcher Roth is the owner of The MBR Group, a coaching and training company working primarily with REALTORS who have a desire to work and live from a more inspired place. She is also the Broker/Owner of Group REALTORS in Cincinnati.

Marilou is a member of the OAR Board of Directors and past chairman of the organization’s Communications Committee. Feel free to contact Marilou to see if coaching is right for you:


Tags: Coaching Corner, training

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