couple discussing mortgage with a lender

How To Stay Current on Real Estate Financing Options

As a real estate professional, you know that your clients expect you to help them understand every aspect of buying or selling their home, including financing. And even though your clients will also be working with a lender in the sales process, it’s still always a good idea for you to have a basic understanding of the lending process, how financing works, and what may be some of the better options for your clients to check out.

Remember Your Industry Role

While it’s important to remember not to represent yourself as a financing expert or financial professional (as these roles have their own licensing and education requirements), and certainly not to unduly steer or influence your client’s decision-making process in this area — you certainly can play a reasonable and prudent role in raising awareness of potential options to consider. There is nothing wrong with sharing knowledge and informing clients in a general way.

Get Comfortable with Numbers

Some real estate professionals find this particular aspect of the industry intimidating or off-putting — especially if they’re not a fan of numbers or math, or they simply don’t feel confident that they can obtain a full understanding.

Even though you may need to overcome some mental hurdles, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business is to get educated on this aspect of home ownership. Yes, it is sometimes overwhelming and complicated for most of us, but if you take just 15-30 minutes each day to do a little reading or talking to a lender, the knowledge really starts to add up and the learning accelerates. Start small, but be consistent.

There are many free resources available on the web, many books on the topic available at the bookstore, and many formal and informal sources of education that you can find.

Add Value to the Client Experience

In your local market, your awareness and ability to educate your clients on their many lending options can serve as a tremendous value-add to your positioning as the local real estate expert. As someone who works with both home buyers and lenders all of the time, the information that you gather and the advice you can offer in this area is huge. So what should you do?

Tips for Staying Current

Being a mortgage lender isn’t your occupation. And, with the lending industry changing rapidly, how can you stay up to date? With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at 3 ways you can stay on top of lending practices and the loan types and offers that are available in your area. 

#1. Explore Continuing Education Options

Seek out “lunch-and-learns” or other educational opportunities that are hosted by mortgage lenders — at lending institutions, local universities and libraries, or your local Realtor® association and other trade group offices. These opportunities can be a great way to stay on top of new trends or offers in financing, while also allowing you to get to know others in the industry. Attend sessions for first-time homebuyers and consumers, where you can both gain knowledge and meet potential leads.

#2. Show Your Inbox Some Love 

Sign up for helpful newsletters and informative emails on the topics of lending, financing, and mortgages. Create a folder in your mailbox and automatically filter these newsletters from your inbox to this subfolder. Then, when you have time, read through the newsletters and you’ll likely be surprised at how much you can learn.

Other things you can save to your email folders are the lending contacts that you accumulate in your work with clients, so that you can reconnect with them when it makes sense to do so. You can also save information about financing options for specialty market segments — such as veterans and seniors. These groups in particular may benefit from special offers, but may be unaware they exist or be overwhelmed by the choices or details.

#3. Network, Network, Network 

Network with local lenders and mortgage officers to stay up to date on their most recent programs and offerings. In some cases, lending programs aren’t advertised widely or are local in nature. They may pop up quickly and be offered for a limited time period. A client who is able to save thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on the financing of their home — simply because you made them aware of an option they had no idea existed — is likely to become a long-term client and also give great referrals.

Remember, a lender will be involved in nearly every home sale in your career. If you haven’t already begun to cultivate relationships with local lenders, start now. These relationships can dramatically add to your success as a real estate professional — and your client’s overall satisfaction. 

For more information on the financing process and how you can help serve your clients, sign up for our AgentEDU courses Real Estate Mortgage Basics and Guiding Your Home Buyer Through the Mortgage Process today. 

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AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

a commission negotiation between 2 women

Alternatives to the Traditional Split Fee Commission Model in Real Estate

It’s almost a given that a real estate agent will work at several different brokerages during their career. In fact, the median tenure for agents with their current brokerage is just four years. But, whether you’re a new or seasoned agent looking for a brokerage where you can hang your hat, or you’re simply trying to renegotiate your commission with your current brokerage, there are some important, money-related questions you’ll need to ask your broker. 

Getting Creative with Commissions

The real estate landscape has shifted considerably over the past few years, and so has the myriad of commission structures available to agents. The traditional split model—in which the agents simply splits the transaction side commission with the broker according to a fixed percentage—is still utilized by many brokerages, but we’re seeing new alternatives pop up. 

Let’s look at some of the newer and common structures outside of straight splits: 

#1. The Desk Fee Model 

Agents on a desk fee model often see a high commission split but are charged additional fees based upon whether the agent maintains a desk in the office, uses a community workstation or works from home. Typical fees can include fixed monthly fees for technology, marketing, and admin help; desk rental fees; and (if the brokerage is part of a franchise) a franchise fee. 

#2. The Cap Model 

Under a cap program, each office sets a number that the agent must reach before they get a high split. For example: if an agent’s previous year’s gross is $100,000 they might have an 80-20 split until they reach a pre-determined cap. If the agent’s gross is $50,000 to $100,000, they may start on a 70-30 split until they reach a pre-determined cap. Once an agent hits their cap, they may receive an even higher split for the remainder of the year. 

#3. The Transactional Fee Model 

With a transactional fee model, agents can expect to pay a certain amount for each of their closed deals. If the brokerage is part of a franchise, a franchise fee could also be applied, in a per-transaction way (rather than a percentage). Of course, agents could also have other fees like advertising, insurance, technology, etc. 

#4. The Salaried Employee Model

Some newer brokerages are testing out an employee-based model where agents are not contractors working on a commission at all. Instead, they are salaried employees who may receive a commission or bonus based on sales. 

Which Model is Right for You?

If you are considering changes brokerages, perhaps the most important step is to interview managing brokers to ensure you’re aware of their commission structure. 

Here are a few questions to ask: 

  • What is your most common commission structure? Can this be changed over time? 
  • Do you charge any additional fees? (franchise, technology, advertising, etc.) 
  • Will I be competing with the managing broker for leads and business?  
  • What kind of training is provided to me? How is it paid for?
  • How does the company provide lead generation? (At what cost?) 
  • What kind of marketing does the brokerage do for agents and listings? (What marketing expenses can I anticipate?) 

Of course, finding the model that’s best for you will depend on a number of factors. Often, top producers and top teams find the cap and desk fee models especially attractive, since the fees become a smaller percentage overall as their gross commission income (GCI) increases. If you’re doing a large volume of transactions for a relatively low sales price, the transaction model is not a good choice — and vice versa.

To learn more, sign up for our AgentEDU course The Best Real Estate Company to Work For today. 


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

team conference

4 Reasons Why Real Estate Teams Fail

Starting a real estate team isn’t an easy task for the team leader. Here we run through the four most common reasons real estate teams fail, so you can avoid these mistakes as you build a successful team.

Don’t let these four mistakes derail your real estate team’s success.

#1. Poor Recruiting Planning

Hiring agents without a long-term recruiting plan can lead to quick turnover and ultimately hinder your team’s growth. Your recruitment systems should be based on where you see your business in ten years, and how you will encourage agents to achieve the levels of success that you envision.

#2. Hiring for the Wrong Reasons

Just because you have a good feeling about a someone, does not mean they are the right person for the position you are looking to fill. While you may have a gut feeling about someone, it’s always a smart idea to utilize a personality assessment tool, such as the DISC behavioral assessment, when meeting with potential new team members. By identifying the candidate’s personality profile you can determine whether they have the right personality to succeed in the role. Remember, you aren’t looking to hire someone with the same skills you already bring to the table – you want people on your team with complementary skills and traits.

#3. Insufficient Training

Continued training and support is critical to the success of your team. When a team has insufficient training, team members lose sight of expectations, priorities and goals. This can lead to a decrease in quality of work and drag on the team’s success. Whether you’ve hired a rookie agent or a seasoned professional, ongoing training is necessary in an industry that is constantly changing.

#4. Micromanagement

Team leaders tend to have type-A personalities, which often tend to to micromanage and develop overwhelming workloads, which can lead to an unhappy team. The point of hiring team members is to alleviate the workload on a team leader, but many times leaders have difficulty delegating tasks out of fear that someone else won’t do the job correctly. It’s important to keep in mind that your staff specializes in certain areas, and by giving up control you allow them to do their job so you can devote all your attention to yours.

Running a Team is Hard

Forming an effective team involves many moving parts and often requires more up-front planning than originally expected. So, remember to be kind to yourself as you go. There will be challenges along the way, but you can handle them and you will improve over time. No one “just knows” how to start or run a team. It’s a muscle that gets stronger over time. Even veteran team leaders can find areas for improvement.

The reward growing a team the right way is that it will multiply your results and earnings dramatically. At AgentEDU® we have an entire learning track on Team Building that breaks down its different aspects. Check out this track – as well as the nine others – that we have on our platform. 

AgentEDU® is a platform where real estate agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations they must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

Getting Online Reviews: 3 Tips for Real Estate Agents

As a real estate agent, your online presence and social media reputation play a vital role in your business — perhaps more than you may recognize. Nearly every homebuyer these days will begin their search online and look for online reviews to check out what people are saying about you.

Many business owners only think of Yelp, but reviews are everywhere online. Not surprisingly, 89% of clients search for information about a real estate agent online before making the decision to contact them at all. 

That said, glowing online reviews can not only help to enhance and build your online profile — they are likely the deciding factor in a potential buyer or seller’s decision to contact you or use your services. In fact, the NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers indicates that home sellers value the reputation of an agent (31%) more than any other factor when selecting an agent to sell their home. 

So, whether you’re trying to gain more reviews on your Yelp page, on your Facebook business page, or for your realtor.com or Zillow profile, let’s look at some must-remember tips for success:

#1. Let Clients Know About Your Online Profiles 

There’s a fine line between making your clients uncomfortable by aggressively and openly asking for reviews versus simply letting them know about your online profiles and their ability to leave a review if they’re comfortable. 

To ensure your clients know about their ability to leave a review, consider adding your social profiles to your website and email signature. If you have a Yelp page, for example, you can add a Yelp button to your email signature, which can immediately take them to your profile. If you’re a broker, you may also consider adding social media icons to your brokerage’s storefront. 

#2. Make Engagement a Priority 

Most seasoned real estate agents run drip email campaigns that keep their sphere of influence up-to-date on market conditions, new listings, or even community events. 

As part of your ongoing engagement and lead nurturing, consider adding your new testimonials to the footer of your email. Or, perhaps you ask your client if you can feature their review in your latest e-blast or blog. Ideally, you would ask only after they’ve provided a review on their own terms — without you instigating it. 

This not only helps your testimonials and reviews be seen by a wider audience, but it can also be a nice way of showing your clients you appreciate the time it took for them to review you … which leads us to our next point … 

#3. Show Your Thanks 

Always send a quick note or Thank You card to your client for their review. And, if the review was less than stellar, you should still reach out. This is a great opportunity to acknowledge the feedback and put steps into place to learn and grow from the experience. 

If you find yourself getting too emotional about negative reviews, you might also consider asking a trusted confidant or admin at your brokerage to help formulate responses. 

Grow Your Online Reputation 

The importance of online reviews and your social reputation grows with every click of a potential client’s mouse. To learn more about increasing your online presence, sign up for our AgentEDU® course Yelp for Your Real Estate Business today. 


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

3 Habits Successful Agents Use for Peak Productivity

One of the biggest struggles for real estate professionals can be maintaining peak productivity when the nature of the real estate business can have you pulled in a million directions. Being frazzled or appearing unorganized could, at best, detract from your professional image. At worst, it could cause you to miss valuable opportunities to grow your business. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can plan your day for peak productivity and some real-life examples of how you can implement these strategies in your real estate business. 

#1. Identify the times when you are most focused

Some people feel most productive early in the day, while others feel the most productive over lunch, or even on Friday evenings. Spend some time paying attention to how you naturally work and when you feel the most alert. Then, once you know when you work at your best, block out this time on your calendar each day to work on the tasks that most impact your real estate business. 

You’ll never be able to gauge when and where your clients will need you next, but blocking out your “most focused” hours for lead gen or marketing duties can mean you’re knocking those items off your to-do list quickly. 

Pro Tip: Lead follow-up is one of the most important aspects of the real estate business. Use your most focused hours on personal follow-up. This is a great time to also make sure your CRM is up-to-date with your latest client touch-points. 

#2. Create routines — and stick to them

One of the best habits an agent can adopt to increase their productivity is to establish set routines — and then stick with them. Develop a solid morning and evening routine that you can easily repeat each day, and you will naturally see your productivity increase. 

Morning routine habits, such as catching up on current events or a good workout, can set you up for success for the rest of the day. Likewise, a solid evening routine will help you wind down for the day and get on the right track for the next day. Reflect on the day, thinking of what you did well — and what you’d like to accomplish tomorrow. Lastly, make time to do something that you enjoy each evening, whether it’s connecting with family or friends, or a personal hobby.

Pro Tip: To maximize your productivity, consider creating a to-do list each night for the next morning. Then, prioritize those tasks to keep your day flowing. When you do this the night before, it sets the stage for peak productivity. 

#3. Don’t forget to ask for help  

Seasoned real estate professionals know that — even at peak productivity — you can’t do everything alone. Whether you hire an administrative assistant, a closing coordinator or a buyer’s agent, sometimes operating at peak productivity means seeking help for the things that don’t make it to the top of your personal to-do list. 

Pro Tip: Hire help in the areas where you’re the weakest or don’t have the time to give your full attention (examples: your website, social media, CRM management, lead qualification). This will free up your time to focus on the other (more strategic) areas of your business. 

How do you prioritize your time? 

By understanding when you’re most productive, sticking to your key routines, and outsourcing when possible, you’ll quickly see your productivity increase. To learn more about designing your day for peak productivity and developing your professional image, sign up for our AgentEDU course Developing Your Professional Real Estate Image today.

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AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

 AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For almost two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.