Prevent Danger and Keep Yourself Safe!

Agent safety can be tough when your job requires you to perform independently. To avoid issues, agents should be proactive and take safety into their own hands. The first step to doing so is to understand that safety is your responsibility to yourself.

Recognize the Traits that Make You Vulnerable

Agents always want to look well put together and professional, however, there are a few safety issues that should be discussed. For example, do not wear expensive jewelry and if possible, leave your purse in the trunk of your vehicle. These small details can make all the difference when an attacker is deciding if you would make a good victim.

Respond, Don’t Ignore

Typically, agents are taught to be polite and accommodating, so they will often ignore signs that something is wrong.  Experts on agent safety emphasize the importance to listen to your instincts.  Many agents who have been assaulted, like the agent previously mentioned, ignored the client’s unusual behavior before the attack.

Reduce Your Chances of Becoming A Victim

Ask clients for identification. Establish a special form for clients that includes contact information and a copy of the ID or driver’s license. Meet clients in the office first. This will prevent clients from trying to harm you later, because they know someone else can identify them. When showing a client, a house, avoid walking ahead of them or getting into confined places, like basements, with them.

Take Responsibility—Learn Self Defense

Agents are exposed to danger on a regular basis when they’re doing their job, and even more so for those who are not professionally trained to defend themselves. We know it’s rarely possible to have another trusted person accompany you while driving clients to showings or with you during every open house. That is why we created an online course for you to learn about personal safety and self-defense. We will help you plan ahead and make yourself a less appealing target. You will learn about safety responsibility, safety threats and safety measures to name a few. Remember the key is to let others know where you are, when you will be back and have an excuse to leave if ever you don’t feel comfortable with your circumstances.

These are just a few of the many valuable skills you will learn when taking Certified Training Institute’s Personal Safety and Self Defense 4 Hour CE Course. Real Estate Professionals: learn valuable safety skills and meet your continuing education requirements at the same time. Be prepared for the unexpected, visit Real Estate Training Institute, choose your State and take this class today!

 


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Helping Home Buyers in a Seller’s Market

A seller’s market meant that current inventory is less than the number of buyers in the real estate market. For buyers, that means more than one person may be interested in a single listing. Unfortunately, this means your buyers may end up heart broken. Someone may out bid them and if they have already fallen in love with the home it will be even harder. It’s important to prepare your clients for reality versus expectations as they begin their hunt for the home of their dreams- or as close to their dreams as possible.

In a sellers’ market a buyer must change their home buying strategy to have success when many homes will have multiple offers. Time is of the essence. Multiple offers happen with more regularity in a sellers' market than a buyer's market. That's because by its very nature a seller's market is defined in part by low inventory and lots of home buyers. A beautiful home that is priced well can attract more than one offer. Remember, your client might not be the only buyer.

Preparing the Home Buying Offer in a Seller's Market

  • Price. Price is not always the most important factor. But do not offer less than list price. Realize you may need to offer more than the amount the seller is asking.
  • Earnest Money Deposit. A larger earnest money deposit might look very attractive to a seller. Your client is going to pay it anyway at closing.
  • Don't Request Favors. This is not the time to ask the seller to give you the refrigerator or washer and dryer, or part with fixtures, or paint the front door.
  • Delay Buyer PossessionIf it is customary for the seller to move at closing, give the seller a few extra days to move. Another buyer probably won't think of this maneuver, and the seller will look more kindly upon an offer that lets them move at leisure.
  • Submit Preapproval and Proof of Funds Documentation. If your preapproval letter is from an out-of-area broker or lender, get a local preapproval instead. Mortgage pre-approval goes further than prequalification because you submit all the required paperwork up front. The bank then verifies the amount you can afford to pay for your next home. It takes the guesswork out of your home search and shows sellers you can back your offer up with real money.

Be Upfront About All Expenses

In the world of real estate, referrals and repeat business drive an agent’s success over time. Make an effort to present a clear picture of all the expenses a home buyer has after purchasing a home. Go over how much property taxes and mortgage insurance are and how they’re added into the overall payment. Explain the average utilities on that home and the cost of maintenance. Having this information presented clearly allows buyers to choose a house they can truly afford, even when all the little extras are added in.

Don’t Let Impatience Wreck Their Budget

Patience can be hard to come by when you feel pressure to beat buyers to the punch. But try not to get so carried away you forget the financial goals you’re working toward. Remember, it is recommended keeping your clients mortgage payment to no more than 25% of their monthly take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Stress the Value of Improvements

While a turnkey home is attractive to homebuyers because they can move in and not worry about doing a single thing, it isn’t always realistic for buyers on a budget. If their budget doesn’t align with their wants and needs, stress the value of buying lower and making some improvements on their own. Buyers can expect a 70 percent return on investment from improvements to the exterior of the home, such as new siding. This not only gives them something to take pride in but can also help them financially down the road.

Jump on That Seller's Market Showing

Don't let your buyer wait until the weekend to view a home in a seller's market. By the weekend, that home could be sold. Try to be one of the first showings. Sellers usually don't enjoy having buyers come through their homes at all hours of the day, so most would like to see their home sold quickly. If you write a good offer, a fast offer and a clean offer, your client’s chances of acceptance are far better than those of a buyer who is unprepared.

It’s hard to leave emotions out of the home-buying process. After all, your clients purchase a place where they’ll live out their days, raise families and have gatherings of friends and those they love. It’s an emotional decision in many ways. However, if your buyers approach purchasing a home from the emotional side of things, they won’t be as likely to make smart business decisions. Do your best to guide them toward smart choices that will protect them financially, but at the end of the day, remember that you also must deliver a house they’ll love. When you balance those two competing needs, you’ll win both as a real estate agent and as a person.

 


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High Tech Housing Discrimination

The landmark 1968 Fair Housing law that sought to ban housing discrimination has uncovered a modern threat: the rapid adoption of new technologies for selling and renting homes. Despite decades of progress, there is still much work to be done. As the NFHA noted in its 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report, new ways of advertising homes and apartments using AI and advertising that uses demographic microtargeting to zero in on a certain audience, threaten to continue discrimination of the past by modern means.

The home ownership rate for black Americans stood at 42.3 percent last year, just marginally better than 1970, when it was 41.6! Clearly there is a problem in the system. A report by the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) last month found that housing discrimination cases were on the rise across the nation. Algorithms aren’t just impartial, unbiased systems that fairly sort through data. Rather, they tend to manifest the biases of their creators, and of that society at large.

For instance, when looking at tenant applications, an automated system may reject applicants based on unintended connections between data sets; living in a low-income neighborhood may be correlated with an inability to pay rent, for instance. And since modern algorithms compile and sort among myriad data sets, it can be hard for designers and programmers to understand exactly which data point may have caused the system to reject an applicant. Research from a team of Berkeley researchers released last month found that lenders using algorithms to generate decisions on loan pricing have discriminated against borrowers of color, resulting in a collective overcharge of $765 million each year for home and refinance loans. The analysis of roughly 7 million 30-year mortgages also found that both in-person and online lenders rejected a total of 1.3 million creditworthy applicants of color between 2008 and 2015.

Employing new methods like machine learning and artificial intelligence can make processes such as sorting through tenant applications faster, more efficient, and cheaper. The problem is that when you try to build an automated system that solves social problems, you end up creating something that looks at the data of the past and learns the sins of the past.

Targeting some, excluding others

One of the more high-profile examples of technology creating new types of housing discrimination arose from online advertising. Facebook has been cited numerous times by the ACLU and other advocacy groups for its microtargeting feature, which lets advertisers send ads to specific groups via a drop-down menu of categories, including age, race, marital status, and disability status. Real Estate professionals could purchase and publish ads on Facebook that discriminated against different racial groups and other categories protected by the Fair Housing Act. Facebook has since apologized and restricted targeting capabilities for housing ads. Earlier this month, as part of a settlement with the ACLU and other groups who had filed a lawsuit, Facebook said that housing, employment, and credit card ads can no longer be targeted based on age, gender, ZIP code, or multicultural affinity. The social network will also maintain a searchable ad library so civil rights groups and journalists could keep tabs on future housing advertisements.

Other tech giants, including Google and Twitter, have been investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for similar issues. The nature of these social network ads can also lead to unintentional targeting. For example, many of these systems allow for lookalike audience targeting, a feature that can for example, help a clothing company target consumers similar to those who already like or follow a brand. Carry that over to the housing world, and it could help a high-end apartment developer target potential renters who are similar to existing tenants—in effect concentrating on the same kinds of renters who already live in the building, and potentially excluding others.

Making Changes

Many advocates believe the answer to this unconscious bias is to change the way these new systems are designed in the first place. One step toward changing how these algorithms work could be by changing who designs them. Advocates within fair housing and technology need to educate programmers and others about how bias manifests itself in these systems, while also designing technology that includes discriminatory flares or bias signals: built-in checks that can evaluate how systems are performing and whether or not they may be creating biased outcomes.

Larger legal remedies may also be afoot. The House Financial Services committee has been looking into the issue and held a hearing in July, and some advocates have raised the idea of revamping the Communications Decency Act, which governs the behavior of tech firms and social networks, to create more specific rules around this type of bias and discrimination.

A big part of the solution should be keeping humans within the system. Housing can be so foundational to achievement, household wealth, and equality that some things shouldn’t be left to machines. The idea that math is better than humans may be true in some instances but not all. There’s a difference between mathematical fairness and social fairness. We should design for justice instead.

 


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Getting and Keeping Real Estate Clients in 2020

Learning how to get and keep clients in real estate is a never-ending battle. With technology moving at lightening speed, getting and keeping your clients is tough! Understanding how to find qualified clients is more than just getting the phone to ring, it’s knowing how to keep it ringing consistently that will help your business grow.

 Follow Up is Everything

Most salespeople only reach out once or twice and then give up. Knowing your market, understanding your clients dreams and goals, and connecting them is hands down the most important characteristic in a salesperson. Following up, showing them that they are important, and a top priority will take time. Often it is a six-month, year or two-year long process of keeping in touch and providing them value. If you have amazing luck and someone calls you to set up their listing immediately, the rest of us are jealous! Typically it is a drawn out dance between the agent and the buyer/seller. Keeping track of where you are at with each client and every possible client can be exhausting. If you struggle to keep track adding a service to do that for you can save you hours of time. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is build to help you keep track of new and existing clients. Having a CRM that takes care of remembering who, what and when to send calls or emails so you don’t have to remember is a life saver that will pay for itself.

 Relationship Referrals

To get the highest closing ratio, relationship referrals are crucial. If you build strong relationships with current clients, they can expand your network like nothing else can. By using the referrals and relationships where trust has already been established, your business will gain momentum.

 Build a Personal Brand

Your personal brand is the overall impression that your audience gets from your social media posts, marketing, lead generation, and pretty much everything else you put out into the world as a real estate agent. Doing a personal brand audit and deciding on some branding basics will absolutely help you get clients. Come up with a logo, slogan, website, and general aesthetic that you can keep consistent across all your real estate marketing and social media channels. If you’re somewhat tech savvy or at least willing to learn,  a course on real estate social media marketing is a great way to up your skills. Plenty of agents are getting a decent ROI with Facebook and Instagram ads but another great way to get clients is to try to integrate your hobbies into your personal branding. The idea here is to appeal to your audience’s fun side by highlighting hobbies or interests you might have in common. For example, if you’re a baker, you might want to consider making a cute Instagram post with you baking at your new listing, or maybe go out and rate the local bakeries and post the videos on YouTube. Then you won’t just be another real estate agent. Clients who are also amazing in the kitchen will be far more likely to choose you over someone with similar skills who isn’t a baker. Of course, that other agent may have a culinary degree and volunteer at the soup kitchen, but their audience will never know. So, don’t be a secret agent when it comes to your hobbies and interests!

Educate with Insider Knowledge

Educate potential and existing clients. For potential clients, create a blog full of helpful hints and tricks to aide in their real estate search. For existing clients, point out a feature in an apartment or something about a building that a client wouldn’t know by looking at the listing online. People appreciate learning something from their real estate broker. Teaching someone something they didn’t previously know helps to build trust and a feeling for them that you are adding real value to the buying or selling experience.

Fake It Until You Make It

Luck can change your real estate career. We’ve all heard stories about agents who stumble their way into seven-figure listings their first week on the job. For the most part, those stories are true. But luck isn’t everything. Even if a local millionaire takes a liking to you, you still have to prove to them that the risk of hiring you is worth their time. If you are just starting out, you likely don’t have many accomplishments to point to so your personality is going to have to work overtime to seal the deal. Work on yourself and develop the confidence and knowledge that every good agent needs. Read everything you can about real estate and business and face your fears BEFORE you get lucky enough to book that listing presentation.

 

 


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What the USMCA Trade Agreement Means to Real Estate

Real Estate professionals across the U.S. are excited to finally see progress with the House approval of the USMCA. The USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement) will replace the current trade policy NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). The House of Representatives passed the revised trade agreement after last month when for the first time, the Canadian, Mexican and U.S Realtor Associations expressed joint, public support for specific policy. The associations represent more than 1.5 million Realtors throughout North America.

Canada and Mexico are our two largest trading partners, millions of American jobs rely on goods and services that go back and forth between the three countries. President Trump said that this will be the most important trade deal ever made by the U.S.A. This deal will re-enforce cross-border investment opportunities for each of the respective real estate industries. It may not get mentioned often, but the trade that happens between these three countries has a large impact on the commercial real estate sector. The construction industry in Texas alone generates more than 400,000 jobs and $62.2 billion to the state's economy.

Expanding jobs means a growing need for more space—particularly, more industrial spaces. Industrial space in Mexico and Canada is growing exponentially. To put it simply, the USMCA eliminates unfair trade practices and is very good for our country’s workforce, which will lead to more consumer spending, including purchase of real estate with new home buyers. The updated USMCA will boost trade on everything from cars to dairy products. Tariff agreements make Mexico an ideal place for manufacturers and auto parts makers to set up shop. It will also offer worker protections and labor fairness and lead to bigger paychecks. These tariffs, combined with other factors like the labor and materials cost and close location, make Mexico a less expensive option than anywhere else in the world.

The U.S. housing market is struggling with an inventory shortage that has depressed sales in nearly all 50 states. The so-called “months supply” number that measures how long it would take to sell off the existing stock of homes fell to 3.7 in November, according to the National Association of Realtors. Most economists consider a six-month supply to be a balanced market. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will help to ease the nation’s housing shortage by stabilizing the prices of materials used in construction, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

 


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Home on the Range: How to Sell a Texas Ranch

Texas has its fair share of massive luxury ranches, each highlighting the state's diverse terrain. The scenic parcels go hand in hand with Texas' country identity. But for some property owners looking to unload their massive properties, the multimillion-dollar parcels can be difficult to pair with qualified buyers. Some sellers have taken to selling their ranches by auctioning them off rather than listing them at a set price. Typically, folks think auctions are for hard economic times but in reality, the best time to sell at auction is when times are good - there's more competition. When you are living in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, selling by auction can change the game for both seller and buyer.

Important Basics for Getting Auction Ready:

Ranches come in all sizes and uses including hunting, hay, cattle, fishing and recreation, high fenced exotics, vineyards, and true working ranches. You need to really get the ‘feel’ of the property, and your sellers are your best resource. After discussing the aspects of the ranch with your sellers, discuss the options to list traditionally or sell at auction. Certainly, we all know that the “basics” are important in selling a ranch and they are more far reaching than when selling a home but no matter how they decide to sell, there is an immense amount of homework for everyone to take on. The data needed to accurately list the ranch can be overwhelming but here is a good place to start:

  • Land surveys
  • Legal descriptions
  • Tax information
  • Property assessments (agricultural, timber, wildlife, etc.)
  • Production
  • Water rights
  • Wind rights
  • BLM leases or other agricultural leases
  • Conservation easement documents (if applicable)
  • Well logs
  • Zoning information
  • Local utilities
  • Inventory list of exclusions and inclusions from the seller.

Once you have this info together for your property, it is a good idea to gather similar information on competitive properties and projects, including sold and closed properties within a determined area.  This could include several states! Collecting regional and local information and articles is also a good idea.

Get Specific: Illustrate Defining Characteristics

You will also want to gather all building descriptions and specs, floor plans, building diagrams, blueprints, etc. Know your boundaries. How much is wooded, how much in crop production, hay production, native grasses?  How many water features? What’s the size and depth of ponds and lakes? Figure the carrying capacity of your pastures, and know the current pasture plans in place. When it comes to hunting and fishing amenities, try to get photos of the wildlife that can be found on the property. Good photography, both still and aerial from a drone, is essential on large properties.

Compare and Contrast the Property for Marketing:

Assembling all of the critical information that makes you as knowledgeable as the seller about your ranch listing is paramount so that you know which marketing strategies will get the best response.  Foremost is determining if your ranch listing is a local, regional or global property in its appeal. Ranches are a niche segment of the real estate business which is why the auction method of marketing allows agents to offer large tracts in smaller pieces or any combination which allows more participation from small, medium and large property buyers. Dividing large lots can make the purchase more approachable for some buyers who can't afford 400-acre plots or can't pay for the expensive maintenance. Smaller tracts, especially at a price a buyer bids, can be less intimidating and more marketable. The buying pool for a 4,300-acre ranch is much shallower compared to the pool of 500- to 1,500-acre buyers. The auction makes it possible to increase the number of buyers and sell it all on the same day.

Auctions are more familiar to ranch buyers who have attended similar sales, many of them have attended cattle auctions and equipment auctions since they were kids. They understand markets, competition and the fair value that an auction creates, and they trust the process. The multi-parcel process is unique to the auction method, but sellers really like the opportunity to get more buyers involved and competing for ownership.

 


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Get Ready for a New Year and New Career!

How exciting! You’ve decided to take the leap and you are ready to start your new career in 2020. There are a million questions you must have. There are a few things you need to know to get started on the licensing process and start your journey to becoming a stellar real estate salesperson. The time it takes to go from nothing to fully licensed will depend largely on the state you’re trying to get licensed in. Although that may seem daunting imagine working for yourself in a flexible career where you can set your own schedule with annual earning potential of $100,000 or more. There are so many reasons to choose real estate as your career.

1. Know your Application Requirements

There are some legal requirements that all applicants must fulfill. These requirements will change slightly depending on the state you’re in, so make sure to double-check with your state’s licensing commission to make sure you know every requirement.

Generally, the legal requirements for real estate licensure are as follows:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be legally allowed to work in the United States
  • No pending criminal indictments against you
  • No criminal convictions for violent or home invasion-related offenses

The last two criteria, related to an applicant’s criminal background, are determined in most states on a case-by-case basis. A conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify an applicant but trying to hide something in the application process almost certainly will.

2. Take a Pre-licensure Course

Nearly every state requires at least 30 hours of pre-licensure study before an applicant is eligible to sit for the state real estate licensing exam. There are two major reasons for this. First, real estate is a relatively complex business and in order to get started in the business, there’s a minimum knowledge base you’ll need to properly operate. As a real estate agent, you’ll be tasked with caring for the needs of your clients, a task that would be reckless to take on if you didn’t know the best ways to help them.

3. Pass Your State’s Real Estate Exam

Once you’ve completed your real estate pre-licensing course, you’re free to take the actual exam whenever you’d like, but we suggest you spend some time taking some practice exams. As many as you can find. Really. As MANY as you can find. Once you’ve completed your state’s pre-licensure requirements and prepped with some practice tests, it’s time to take your licensing exam. So what’s on the Real Estate License Exam?

Each state administers multiple versions of the test, and each state is different, it’s impossible to say exactly what you’ll see, but there are a few topics that real estate agents consistently see on the test.

  • Fair housing law: This topic is one that you’ll spend a good chunk of time on in your pre-licensing class, so pay attention. Knowing these facts is important if you want to adhere to state and federal guidelines on discrimination and equal housing opportunities, so the test will hammer them.
  • Basic contracts: Contracts are a critical component to using a real estate license, so the basic rules for contracts and negotiations appear regularly.
  • Real estate math: You won’t be asked to do anything more than arithmetic, but you’ll definitely be asked to do a lot of it. Understanding interest rates, percentages, and prorations will be put to the test in a number of questions.

4. Choose Your Brokerage

Once you’ve completed your pre-licensure requirements and passed your state exam, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to work. Even though you’ve demonstrated to the state that you have the knowledge required to practice real estate, you still need a brokerage to sponsor you. In order to buy and sell real estate, every real estate agent requires a broker to sponsor them. A broker is a real estate agent who has demonstrated that they not only have advanced knowledge of the industry, but that they also have a track record of success.

5. Register with the State You’re Practicing In

Once you’ve made a decision on a brokerage, the next step is to formalize your licensure with the state you’ll be operating in. It will involve submitting your personal and brokerage information and, in many states, completing forms for a basic background check. Real estate is a field that requires constant learning in order to maintain success. Find a mentor or a set of mentors who you can ask questions of, bounce ideas off of, and get advice from.

Finally, remember that this business is all about servicing our clients, not ourselves. When you accept your Realtor designation from the National Association of Realtors, you agree to always place your client’s fiduciary best interests over all others, including your own. If you are ever faced with a tough decision in a transaction, stop and ask yourself if your choices are in the best interest of your clients.

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A Home for the Holidays

Nothing says holidays like having your family gathered in your home while you celebrate what’s important. Around this time each year, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to list their houses. Similarly, others who already have their homes on the market remove their listings until the spring. Many sellers believe spring is the best time to put their home on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. What they don’t know is if every homeowner believes the same thing, everyone will list and buy at the same time and therefore encounter far more competition. According to NAR, the sweet spot for selling is November through January. Here are the top reasons why listing your clients house now (or keeping it on the market) may be the best choice they can make.

5 great reasons to tell your clients not to wait:

  1. Buyers at this time of year are serious. Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now. At this time of year, purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. Your client and their family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere lookers. The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.
  2. The stage is set. Homes show better when decorated for the holidays. There is something about lights, bulbs and ornaments that make you want to cozy up and stay awhile.
  3. Prices are at a sweet spot. Over the past few months we’ve seen the supply of homes for sale decreasing year-over-year. Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to Corelogic. If your clients are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind up costing them more in both down payment and mortgage payment if they wait.
  4. The desire to own a home doesn’t stop during the holidays. Buyers who were unable to find their dream homes during the busy spring and summer months are still searching, and your client's home may be the answer. According to NAR, the median days on the market for a listing was only 33 days last month!
  5. Competition is low. The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge and reach new heights in 2020, which will lessen the demand for their house next year. Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings! In 2018, listings increased from December to May. Don’t wait for these listings and the competition that comes with them to come to the market before your clients decide to list their house.

Freddie MacFannie Mae, and the Mortgage Bankers Association all believe homes sales will increase steadily over the next year. Real estate is impacted by the economy (and the consumer’s belief in the strength of the economy). The fact that most economic experts are calling for the recovery to continue through 2020 means the housing market will also remain strong for the foreseeable future. If you have a homeowner who has considered selling their house recently, let them know that now may be the best time to put it on the market.

 


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Tips and Tricks to Pass your Real Estate Exam

If you are like me, deciding to get your real estate license is a big deal. You’ve spent time looking for the best exam prep course for the best price and now you’re signed up to take your exam. You’ve circled the date on your calendar and the pre-test jitters are setting in. You have questions like “how much should I study? and "what should I study?” Every state's exam may be slightly different but the test taking skills you will need are universal. Here are some of the best exam taking tips to help you pass your exam.

Obviously the most important factor in passing the real estate exam is knowing the material. However, don't lose sight of the goal: passing the test! Learning is great but you can't use what you've learned if you don't pass.

  1. Start by only answering the easy questions. Read the entire exam and only answer the questions you absolutely know the answer to. This will give you a sense of progress and your subconscious will begin thinking about the questions you skipped. When you’ve got a timed test, there’s always the concern that you’ll get hung up in a section and not be able to finish the test. Don’t be one of those people--unanswered questions are marked wrong. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the last three questions on the test were easy ones— guaranteed points for you--but you wound up just having to fill in a random answer on them because you didn’t have time to actually read and think about them? By skipping through the questions you don’t know the answers to and focusing first on the questions you do know the answers to, you’re assuring yourself that you get time to answer the questions you are most likely to get right.
  2.  If you don't know it, wait. Skip questions if you don't know the answer--don't waste time on questions you don't know. For example, if math is difficult for you, skip the math problems until after you finish the rest of the exam. Occasionally, the answer to an earlier question will be revealed in a later question. It is not uncommon on the real estate license exam to have questions that relate to one another, like using the same purchase or sale scenario. These hidden answers are another reason why reading all the way through the exam once at the beginning is a great idea.
  3. Don't second guess yourself. As a general rule, once you've answered a test question, don't change your answer even if you're unsure of the answer you selected. It has been statistically proven that you are much more likely to change an answer from correct to incorrect. An easy way to get tripped up on the real estate licensing exam is to misinterpret an answer choice, thanks to complicated wording. Deceptive language is fair game on tests like this, so double-negatives, unrelated conclusions, or red herrings (especially in the math portion of the test) are common. Do your best to puzzle it out, but ultimately move on without answering if you estimate having to spend more than a minute thinking about the correct answer.
  4. There is no penalty for guessing. Once you have gone through the exam at least twice, time may be running short and now would be a good time to start guessing. The worst that can happen when you guess on a question is that you don’t get any point. The best thing that can happen though, is that you have a one in four shot at getting a point. Unanswered questions are marked wrong, and it is far better to take a chance on a wrong answer than eliminate any possibility of getting the correct answer. That being said, you can increase your odds by trying to make an educated guess--there is likely at least one answer that is obviously wrong, so don't guess blindly: read the question and answers first and choose the most likely answer.
  5. Don't compete with other applicants. You're given plenty of time to complete the exam and you should use as much of it as you need. Don't worry if other examinees finish before you do, most likely they are taking a completely different exam. All types of exams are given in one room. You may be sitting next to a plumber taking his exam or a beautician completing hers. If by chance, there is more than one real estate hopeful, remember that many students who finish quickly… fail.

Real estate licensing exams are pass/fail, there is no extra credit for a perfect score. If you’re like me, the allure of a perfect score on a test is hard to ignore, but in the case of the real estate licensing exam, we must. Remember, your goal is to answer the number of questions correctly that will get you a passing score. Use all your best energy to get to the passing threshold—anything beyond that doesn’t matter.

Bonus Tip: do as many practice real estate exam questions as you can. The test is multiple choice and you will perform MUCH better if you've been doing practice tests that mimic the exam. Use a trusted service like ours to prepare for the actual real estate exam.

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A Thriving Brokerage at Your Finger Tips

Brokers are driven. Of the fastest-growing real estate firms, 82 percent have a clear and focused vision for the company. Like any business in the real estate industry, brokerages must grow ahead of the communities they serve in order to flourish and profit. Growth is change and with change there is always risk. If you have your own brokerage, you’ve accepted the risk already. If risk makes you nervous, think about the larger risk of stagnation. There are plenty of business models out there so choosing one can be difficult. A good foundation for exponential growth in the real estate market is only a few steps away.

  1. Clients Come First: We need to behave like advisers, not salespeople. It’s our job to represent our clients, not coerce them into spending money. They’ve come to you because they’ve likely decided it’s time to make a move. Help them reach a decision. Of course, you should ask your clients lots of questions, but first try being quiet, listening and letting them talk about what they want and are willing to pay. Don’t rush them, but always call or email back quickly with useful information.
  2. Incentivize Your People and Delegate Responsibility: You and your fellow brokers are putting in long hours—52.7 hours per week on average, according to JP Morgan Chase Institute. One-third of your time is spent out of the office, meeting with clients, working from home, commuting, and traveling to other market areas. There is room to be more efficient. Leaders need lieutenants. If you grow, you’ll need someone to help you oversee your expanded business. Pick an agent in your office with the respect of his or her colleagues. Make them a senior associate, grant them responsibility and compensate them accordingly. A great incentive plan would be to hang a wall-sized map in your office. In blue, highlight municipalities where you commonly sell homes. In green, highlight where you want to expand. In red, circle neighborhoods where your agents rarely venture. If someone sold a house in a red zone, buy lunch for the office. Nothing fancy, but your agents will work hard to be the one everyone thanks for lunch.
  3. Research & Plan Your Marketing: Periodically analyze your brokerage’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Can you leverage your strengths to take advantage of opportunities? Are your weaknesses leaving you vulnerable to threats? Research and determine the most successful ways to improve sales and brand reputation. Measure against benchmarks when recruiting agents, spending on advertising, or testing new ad platforms, focusing on new geographic areas, investing in new technologies or other tactics. According to NAR’s 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95 percent of all recent buyers used the internet at some point during the home search process. With this, you know your potential clients are looking at property online from their phones, so make sure your website meets those needs as you continue to grow your firm. Learn from your mistakes. If your marketing plan isn’t bearing fruit or your new ad campaign doesn’t improve your brand recognition, move on. Identify why it didn’t work and factor the answer into the next solution. Don’t be complacent. Be a problem solver, every day. Plan your day and work your plan.

 


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