Dan Rochon – Greetings Virginia

Dan Rochon – Greetings Virginia

Dan and Traci Rochon with Keller Williams Realty is a full-service real estate sales company that helps clients in the Washington metro region buy and sell properties in all price ranges. The vast Keller Williams network allows our agents the opportunity to successfully complete hundreds of buying and selling transactions for our clients. As with any Keller Williams Realty office, our associates work their own way with their own clients, but we all come together to share our knowledge and resources.

Whether you are a “seasoned” home buyer or home seller or this is your first real estate transaction, all of our agents at Dan and Traci & Consultants with Keller Williams Realty are here to help you through this big step. Buying or selling a home can be very complicated and stressful, that’s why our agents are knowledgeable and have comprehensive training to help you with your real estate purchase and make it stress free as possible. We advocate for our real estate clients in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. The Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC area has full of history and great properties to buy.

Contact Dan and Traci Rochon today to find out how our team can help you!

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Agent Teams: A Winning Model (or Not)

PresentationReal estate agent teams started over a decade ago, and they are stronger than ever. When done right, they can be a win-win-win for all parties. Clients are provided with immediate information, accessibility and service. Brokers see high-quality business growth. Agents are able to work in their areas of expertise, feel empowered by being part of a group and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

“Teams are a way for agents to leverage each other’s skill sets and to assist each other to have a healthy work-life balance,” says Scott MacDonald, president of RE/MAX Gateway in Chantilly, Va.

MacDonald should know. Among his 200 agents in five offices, only 53 work as individuals. That leaves the majority of his brokers paired off in all kinds of teams—everything from husband and wife duos to mega teams of more than 10 people. Whatever the structure, teams are typically headed by a team leader, usually the agent with the most seniority in terms of sales and clients.

For top agents, recruiting and growing a team is part of an impactful growth plan for successful agents, says Tracy Hutton, president of Century 21 Scheetz, which has six offices and 330 agents in Indiana.

One benefit is that the team structure supports every member.

“We found that teams are a really fantastic way for younger agents to learn and a good way for successful agents with a lot of business to get some help,” says Thaddeus Wong, co-founder of @properties, the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage firm in Illinois and one of the 25 largest brokerage firms in the U.S. by sales volume.

Many teams also offer a safe space for people to develop new skills. For example, younger and newer agents often feel comfortable working on generating leads as part of a team, knowing that the lion’s share of the business development falls upon the team leader.

The rise of agent teams directly reflects a changing real estate landscape, one in which instant communication is not just the norm, but the expectation.

“Brokers today have to work much harder than they did 10 years ago, so a broker doing the same amount of volume needs a lot more help,” explains Wong. In the ’90s, for example, no one was expected to answer every question or to respond immediately to any and every query, but in today’s technological age, brokers are expected to provide instantaneous feedback and to be on call 24/7.

This is where teams can come to the rescue. Having more than one person on board means tasks can be broken down according to people’s skill sets. Some agents can work on everything from marketing to scheduling, while others, often the leaders, are out interacting with the clients. One of RE/MAX Gateway’s teams in Chantilly, for example, has one person devoted solely to handling all the leads generated online.

Supporting the Team
Another challenge is a frequent disconnect between what the team leaders are looking for and how the brokerage supports its teams, says Hutton. “Team leaders need to hire right, train and develop their people. They need to build a sustainable business model.” Hutton explains that this is where the brokerage plays an important role—helping team leaders develop their business plan and providing support as they hire, train and develop team members.

In fact, a concern shared by many brokers is that successful teams may leave the brokerage, taking with them a great deal of production. “We support teams to operate their business within our policies. We don’t put stumbling blocks in the way of their growth. If the team leaves us, we have dropped the ball somewhere,” says Rei Mesa, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, which has 1,600 agents in Florida.

According to Mesa, his company asks every team to have a formal written agreement between team members to clarify expectations (i.e., who will do what?). Along with that agreement, Mesa asks teams to have a dissolution agreement in case things don’t work out (i.e., what happens to listings, pending deals, etc.?).

“When things go badly, the broker often gets caught in the middle and has to make decisions,” says Mesa. “Having formal agreements helps us provide guidance.”

Teaming (or Not) for Success
Agent teams aren’t foolproof.

“If it is not done properly, it can be a big problem,” says MacDonald. The challenges can ripple out to frustrated clients and disgruntled agents.

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Specific Performance Demands In Real Estate Transactions

Specific Performance Demands In Real Estate Transactions

Once a seller and buyer agree on a price for a property, a real estate contract is signed. The contract contains provisions each must comply with, provisions that are legally binding. If problems arise during escrow, particularly if things turn nasty, one party may look to legal remedies to force the other party to do something.

Specific performance is a legal demand that a party perform some act. Although the theory can be applied to many situations, it is often seen in real estate transactions. This is because courts have determined that property is unique, and specific performance is often more valuable than monetary damages.

In the case of real estate, specific performance demands often involve the conveyance of title. Having met the conditions of the contract, the buyer demands the seller convey title to them. Why would sellers not do this automatically? Situations can include seller remorse, basic flakiness or the realization the seller accepted far too low an offer compared to what the market would produce.

Specific performance demands are a two sided situation. Courts often are reluctant to grant them because human nature is such that the defendant will often poison a situation by damaging the property or screwing up title. This does not mean the seller is off the hook.

While courts are hesitant to grant specific performance demands, they are not hesitant to enforce real estate contracts. Depending upon the laws in your state, the court may grant something called a lis pendens. The lis pendens represents the equivalent of the monetary damages suffered by the buyer. More importantly, it is recorded against the deed of the seller’s property. This effectively forces the seller to pay the buyer if the seller ever hopes to sell the property. When a title insurance company reviews title for any subsequent sale, it will notify the new purchaser of the lis pendens and refuse to issue title insurance. With no title insurance, the seller is going to have an extremely hard time moving the property. In fact, it will be nearly impossible as it is difficult to imagine any buyer that would want to get involved in the dispute.

While there can be sniping in real estate transactions, most go fairly smoothly. When they fall apart, specific performance and lis pendens can become dominant issues.



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CEO Exchange Exclusive: Zillow CRO and Trulia COO Discuss Trulia Acquisition

The future of Zillow and the acquisition of Trulia was a hot topic at RISMedia’s 2014 CEO Exchange last week, and attendees had a special opportunity to hear from executives from both companies during back-to-back events.

First, during a Networking Luncheon, sponsored by Trulia, Paul Levine, COO of Trulia, assured conference attendees that real estate consumers are still the primary focus for the companies.

“Our focus is creating great solutions for consumers and helping them through a very complex process,” said Levine. “We’ll be helping consumers be more and more informed.”

As recapped by Levine, Trulia was approached by Zillow in early June and by the end of July, the potential merger was officially announced. In August, the companies presented acquisition plans to the government and are now awaiting federal regulatory approval.

Immediately following the luncheon, RISMedia President & CEO John Featherston had a chance to talk shop with Greg Schwartz, chief revenue officer of Zillow, during a special presentation titled: “After the Acquisition: What’s Next for Zillow and Organized Real Estate?”

In each of their presentations, Levine and Schwartz both stressed the importance of technology inside the brokerage and the goal to help make agents more efficient in their deals. In addition, data quality remains of the utmost importance and according to Schwartz, engaging in an open dialogue is crucial to ensure that the companies maintain “up-to-date, beautiful data” across all of their highly trafficked platforms.

Zillow also plans on continuing to build partnerships built on values.

“We want to build the most efficient platform in the history of real estate. It will be a wonderful, vibrant partnership for years to come,” said Schwartz. “We have some expertise in marketing on digital devices. We need to make that expertise work for you as well,” he told attendees.

Having taken place on the same day as Apple’s big iPhone 6 and Apple Watch announcement, Schwartz used the tech giant as an example, citing how each and every Apple product attempts to answer a question: the Mac (How do I create content?), the iPad (How do I consume content?), and the iPhone (How do I communicate with people?).

“If the watch fails, it’s because it doesn’t answer a question,” said Schwartz. “Every single product [of ours] has to answer the master question. That’s fundamental to our innovative machine.”

And what might that master question be? “’What’s your home worth?’ It’s one of the biggest math challenges in the history of math challenges. We have work to do,” Schwartz said, addressing brokers.

“I think we can serve your brands wonderfully and we’ll work really hard to do it.”

Stay tuned to RISMedia for more coverage of this year’s CEO Exchange.

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Home-Builder Confidence Hits Highest Mark since 2005

confident_home_builderBuilders’ sentiment jumped four points to 59, the highest level since November 2005, according to the September NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Many of the builders commented on the renewed interest by potential home buyers and higher traffic in their models and through their phone calls. Supporting those comments, all three components rose led by the traffic measure increasing to 47 from 42 in August, and the highest since October 2005. Indexes measuring current and future sales also rose five and two points respectively to levels last seen in 2013. Finally, all four regional three-month moving averages increased: Northeast up three points to 41, Midwest up five points to 59, South up four points to 56 and West up two points to 58.

The September rise wipes out the early year slump caused by unusually bad weather and some apparent renewed consumer reluctance. The inventory of new home for sale has increased to over 200,000. While well short of the typical 1990s and early 2000s inventory levels over of 300,000, the steady increase has provided a better selection for consumers. Builders continue to compete for a limited supply of lots and workers but buyers are beginning to see the advantage of low mortgage rates and competitive pricing.


View this original blog post on the NAHB blog, Eye on housing.

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CEO Exchange Exclusive: Master Real Estate Marketers Reveal Their Winning Campaign Tactics

With more options than ever for today’s homebuyers and sellers, appealing to a diverse clientele with a one-size-fits-all marketing plan just won’t cut it. On day two of RISMedia’s CEO Exchange, the industry’s master marketers revealed the campaigns they used to separate themselves from the pack.

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RISMedia CEO and President John Featherston engages the panel and audience during the Marketing Tactics session.

During Stand-out Strategies: Marketing Tactics That Deliver on Differentiation, brokers nationwide discovered how to raise the bar when marketing. Moderated by Ken Baris of Jordan Baris REALTORS®, Inc., panelists demonstrated their most successful marketing endeavors to a full house at New York City’s renowned Yale Club.

Baris opened with an evolution of print advertising, presenting attendees with examples of mailers his New Jersey firm used to attract a variety of audiences. Rather than simply hoping a campaign will influence consumers, Baris advised brokers to market with a ‘ready, aim, fire’ approach designed to target specific groups.

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Ken Baris of Jordan Baris REALTORS® moderated this year’s Marketing Tactics panel

Following suit, Thad Wong, co-founder of @properties, the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage in Illinois, also relies heavily on print marketing. Dubbing some strategies ‘old school marketing,’ @properties advertises by honing in on individual neighborhoods, appealing to consumer emotions with familial imagery, and partnering with local establishments to foster a sense of community.

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Thad Wong, co-founder of @properties, the largest independently owned residential real estate brokerage in Illinois, references ‘Old School’ and ‘New School’ marketing.

Wong placed equal importance on ‘new school marketing,’ including technology such as PointDrive, a method of communication that distinguishes brokers from others in the area, and Kahoot, a referral-generating consumer app set to launch this fall.

Keeping within the theme of tailored marketing, Jennifer Marchetti shared the challenges she faces as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate. “Our task is to balance marketing that grows with marketing that sustains,” she said, reconciling national campaigns with the hyper-local markets so vital to the industry.

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Jennifer Marchetti shared the challenges she faces as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate.

To tackle the problem, Marchetti outlined a three-step plan encompassing the brand’s core infrastructure, marketing campaigns and consumer content. Fundamentally important is the infrastructure, which supports successful tier marketing of the brand’s lifestyle off-shoots. In addition, all marketing must have a dual purpose—the “Be Better” industry campaign, for example, tells a first-person story that can be leveraged across multiple channels.

In a timely illustration, Charlie Young, President and CEO of ERA Real Estate, discussed a recent campaign to overhaul the ERA brand. The company was experiencing a lagging perception among brokers and agents, struggling to remain relevant in an ever-evolving industry. It became apparent that a rebrand was necessary—a rebrand that would honor ERA’s roots and effectively engage stakeholders.

“We did not change the identity of the brand—we fixed the engine behind it,” Young said. To rebrand successfully, the ERA team introduced a new logo, yard signage and advertisements.

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Alon Chaver, Vice President of Industry Services at Trulia discusses how broker and online listing portal collaboration benefits both clients and agents.

Sharing an alternative solution, Alon Chaver, Vice President of Industry Services at Trulia, pointed to the agent profile as an untapped marketing tool. Highlighting a case study with RE/MAX, Chaver demonstrated that collaboration between brokers and online listing portals benefits both client and agent. Trulia, for instance, gives priority to completed agent profiles, securing 20 times more views than incomplete counterparts.

Additionally, the heart of Trulia’s advantage for agents is its ability to process data in near real-time—a feature, Chaver noted, that helps brands reinforce their online presence. Careful and deliberate digital brand management creates more opportunities for ‘touch points,’ or interactions with users. Ideally, those interactions would result in leads and an overall increase in sales volume.

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A packed room gathers to hear the industry’s marketing masters reveal their winning tactics during RISMedia’s 2014 CEO Exchange in New York last week.

Given current economic conditions, this distinct ‘show, don’t tell’ panel gave brokers invaluable perspective on viable marketing tactics that will resonate with prospects and clients. Listening in on narratives from four of real estate’s finest, attendees at this invitation-only event gained exclusive insight directly from the innovative minds behind stand-out marketing strategies.

Suzanne De Vita is the Online Associate Editor for RISMedia.

Stay tuned tuned to RISMedia for continuing coverage of this year’s CEO Exchange.

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