I know, I know. We’ve only just begun 4th quarter, but believe it or not, it really is time to assess what’s been working for 2009, what could have been improved, and what changes you are committed to making in 2010. Why this early? Two big reasons:
- It’s about Momentum! Examining your business keeps you working and participating in your business. Taking your foot of the gas for eggnog, gift giving, and too much gobble-gobble makes for a painfully slow first quarter.
- Making a plan and putting it into motion can take time. Not a great idea to work on that Business Plan for 2010 during the last weeks of 2009 – which, let’s be honest, if you wait that long, you likely won’t be doing a business plan at all – right?
Part 1 will be about assessing 2009. What’s working? What didn’t? We’ll visit ideas for creating a Business Plan for 2010 in Part 2. This post can’t possibly be extensive enough to cover everything, but it should get you pointed in the right direction.
Questions to Ask – Income Generating Systems
- Where did your business come from? What lead source?
- Are you on track to accomplish your goals? If not, what went wrong?
- What is the cost of running the each lead generation system and what was the return on investment?
- How did the results vary from the plan you created for 2009?
- How did economic factors play a role in your results?
- Review how many appointments (listing and buyer appointments) you went on and note the ratio of appointments to closings. (Note: if you aren’t tracking that, time to start)
- Assess average sale price, average commission rate
Back Office Systems
Do you have the back office structure in place that allows you to execute your systems? Do you have the ability to track income, expenses, and production? What office systems worked really well this year? Which ones didn’t?
Everyone has a team on some level. Buyer’s agents, administrative help, transaction coordinator, and even lenders, title officers, escrow officers, coaches, etc. What worked during the course of the year? Is it time to hire someone, or even more importantly, is it time to be honest about a change that may be overdue?
Additional questions to consider:
- What tools or skills did you find that you were lacking in 2009?
- What areas of your environment are working? What areas need improvement?
- Are you working with a company that is a good match for your brand and image?
Many of these questions I use when creating business plan for myself, but additionally, I used these when coaching and training agents. Tom Ferry with yourcoach.com usually has wonderful end of year events geared toward helping one design a solid business plan that are worth looking into. Many large brokerages have trainings or office meetings geared around this topic. Engage in them.
Believe it or not, 2010 is beginning and it’s today’s activities that will be first quarter closings.
For you pros, what tips do you have for heading into the fourth quarter and designed a 2010 Plan?
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, SelfStorage.com 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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, Realtor.com, 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 Realtor.com’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
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