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Don’t Fall Into the Trap – Good Planning is Where It’s At



For some of you – the planners in the group- 2010’s business plan is well underway.  For the rest of you, don’t sweat it…just yet.  But, it is time to start.  Whatever camp you are in, today we’ll take a look at some of the ‘musts’ to consider in building a strong plan and some common pitfalls to avoid.

Be Inspired

Building a plan can often be a lot of number crunching and analysis, which for most of us is relatively uninspiring.  It’s important to find ways to make sure you are looking at the coming year (and more) with inspiration.  For me this year I found Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It inspiring.  Whatever it is for you, come into the planning with strength and dreams in hand.

The Plan

A couple weeks ago we talked about some of the things you want to assess about your 2009 experience.  This is the time to put that information to work.  If you’ve done a good job of keeping records for 2009, you should have a clear sense about where your business is coming from.

This is time for a ‘Be Honest’.  For example, if you are spending a lot of your time online, but you are getting the majority of your business from your sphere of influence, there should be two things you should consider: 1 – Improve your online strategy and 2 – Spend more time on your sphere of influence strategy.  Honest analysis is critical here.

So what should you be including in your annual plan?

  • Systems you intend to execute or add
  • Ways to improve existing systems
  • Shedules – Timelines to achieve goals, commitments for appointments, daily schedule or weekly time blocking
  • Goals for expenditures
  • Production and income goals
  • Tools you need
  • Skills you need
  • People you need
  • What changes do you have to make for this plan to succeed

Common Pitfalls

Don’t Start the New Year Chasing Your Goal:  If you completed 12 transactions this year, and next year your goal is 48, congratulations on your ambition, but make sure you’re setting yourself up for success.  Aim high, but with a plan.  Keep in mind, 2010 is nearly here.  What you put into escrow between November 14 and the end of the year is likely to be your January closings.  With a goal of 48, if you don’t have 3 or 4 closings planned for January, you start the year chasing your goal.

It’s Not Just About 2010:  Your plan next year should be part of the bigger picture for your business and personal life.  Where are you going and what would you like to achieve over the next 5 or 10 years?  Your annual plan should be about the steps along the way in achieving the bigger dreams.

Be Diverse and Nimble:  Are you taking into account some of the changing economic conditions?  What changes might impact your plan?  Even the dissolution of a personal relationship, a marriage for example, can have a big impact on a business that is heavy with sphere of influence.  A strong lead generating website that suddenly finds itself missing the same history of traction can cripple an overly dependent business.  Are you working only luxury homes in a market that is seeing only entry level sales?

Being too Diverse:  Are you starting 4 new systems?  Consider instead, improving on the ones that are working and introduce 1 new laser focused system.  Starting more than that inhibits your ability to track effectiveness and ROI analysis.

The Business Plan Dust Collector:  This is probably the biggest and most common crime in the business planning process.  Too many of us take the time to write a plan and we don’t look at it past January 15th.  Live with it, modify it throughout the year (it’s okay – it is YOUR plan).  Find someone to share it with, review it with, and hold you accountable to the activities you’ve outlined in it.

Happy Planning!

Linsey Planeta is the Broker Owner of Belterra Fine Homes in Orange County, California. Linsey rants regularly on her blog, OC Real Estate Voice. She also provides sellers with tips on how to get their home sold on Why Didn't My Home Sell? She has been an active Real Estate Coach and Instructor and loves working with agents so that they may look at their business with fresh eyes, renewed purpose, and defined systems. Linsey can be found in her office or you can also find her on Twitter@Linsey.

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  1. Daniel Bates

    November 4, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Diversity continues to be the name of the game for me. Marketing will still revolve around my blog bringing me clients that are ready to act and not tire kickers that waste time. I’m sure that sales will remain low, but foresee rental management will rise and become a larger part of my income and time. Falling back on tech support, blog training, and webdesign will keep my head above water as the market improves.

  2. Ken Brand

    November 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Smart, Practical, Simple. Great “Get Crack’n” advice. 2010 should be a better environment, if we aren’t ready, the swell will wash by waving. I especially like the “Diverse and Nimble” mindset.

    Cheers Linsey.

  3. Matt Thomson

    November 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Thanks Linsey. I teach some business planning courses in the offices around here and this is some great stuff to add. I hope you won’t mind if I start the course with this post.

  4. Linsey Planeta

    November 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Honored Matt! Thank you!

    Ken and Daniel – It’s amazing how often we see agents enjoy dramatic success with a single system. And it’s all good until that system no longer produces those same results. Diversity can be the thing that can sustain an agent in any market.

  5. Portland Condo Auctions

    November 5, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Improve your technology workflow. Hands down that can be the biggest time saver. Integrate some systems and automate what can be automated. Then you can spend your time on the things that matter and the things that make you money.


  6. Eric Stegemann

    November 7, 2009 at 1:58 am

    So many agents set themselves up for failure by creating big plans. It’s all about setting yourself up for success but still pushing yourself that makes planning worthwhile.

    At our St Louis brand we require each agent to create a plan and discuss it with their broker in November each year. It allows them to asses and ready themselves for the new year along with keeping their head in the game during the holiday season when it’s so easy to forget work.

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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