‘My Door Is Always Open—Or Is It?’

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable this month discusses fostering culture and setting standards for leadership.

Robert Bailey
, Broker/Owner, Bailey Properties, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Matt Deuitch
, Designated Broker, DPR Realty, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Christy Budnick, Partner/EVP, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty, Jacksonville, Fla.
Jason Waugh, President/CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate, Portland, Ore.
Bill Hanley, VP, Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty, Westfield, N.J.
Gary Scott, President, Long & Foster Real Estate, Chantilly, Va.

Robert Bailey: “My door is always open.” It’s a phrase most of us, as company executives, have used with our agents from time to time. But in light of the chain of command we have in place, not to mention the impact of the communications game-changer we call social media, how relevant—how meaningful, really—is the time-honored open door policy? How can we as brokers best tend to leadership concerns while instilling confidence in our new and experienced agents that a fresh perspective or a sympathetic ear is available to them when they need it? The answers may be as different as the personalities who sit in the executive chair—so we’ve asked a few busy, insightful execs to share their modus operandi. Matt, what’s your approach?

Matt Deuitch: It starts with our philosophy. As an agent in the early days, I had brokers who made me feel like I was an inconvenience. I never want an agent of mine to feel that way. In my company, the agent is my customer, and anything else is an interruption. Appointments are encouraged, but agents have my mobile number and the numbers of all our brokers, and direct calls or texts are fine and encouraged.

Christy Budnick: Call it philosophy, or call it company culture—it’s essential to create an environment where your agents know someone is always there for them. In our company, someone always is, and our agents know it’s okay to call any of our brokers. We also encourage self-empowerment. If it’s a contract question, for example, we may say, ‘Go back and study that contract, look for solutions, and we’ll see you in half an hour to discuss them.’ That is the best way for them to learn. Our brokers are expected to block out time for coaching—and they do.

Jason Waugh: For us, as well, it’s about creating a culture of true accessibility, and our agents know we mean that. My attitude is, we’re paying 33 leases on 33 offices, so feel free to call anyone in any one of them. Our brokers understand the value of that kind of company culture. They use it as a recruiting incentive, and they live it every day. They also understand that some issues—legal disputes, for example, or thorny personnel challenges—may be what I call ‘Jason issues,’ and they don’t hesitate to loop me in.

Gary Scott: I think that’s typical in a family-owned business. Our goal is to make a big company feel small. No matter what the org chart says, our agents know we’re there and we care. The mantra for every new manager we bring on is, ‘Listen, learn and love.’

Bill Hanley: I’ll agree with that. I think of myself first and foremost as a coach, not as a manager. It’s okay with me when an agent leaves me an email, a voicemail, and a text. That just increases the chances that I’ll be accessible to them sooner.

RB: Social media today has made real-time communication the norm. People who grew up texting—the digital native born, you might say—expect instant answers. But must the digital immigrants—those of us who came to it later—always meet that expectation?

BH: I know when an agent contacts me directly, it’s important—and my goal is to be there. I have a feature on my phone that converts voicemail messages to text, so I can see them and respond right away if I need to, even if I’m in a meeting.

MD: In our office, brokers’ schedules are published on an electronic company calendar, so agents can see at a glance if their managing broker is teaching a class, on vacation, or occupied.

JW: We use a district group messaging system. When an agent leaves a message for a manager, and that manager is not able to respond within five minutes, the message goes out to all managers, so the agent will receive a prompt answer from whichever manager first picks it up.

CB: Having a chain of command is vital, as long as every agent knows that someone is available when you need them, and there will be no hurt feelings no matter who you call.

RB: We can all build some interesting scenarios around the proverbial ‘Unanswered Call.’ I heard recently that, based on lead conversion rates from a number of companies as gathered by Move.com, there are 10 times more leads coming into real estate offices each year than the number of transactions actually completed. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it, who should have been at the other end of those queries—and what if they’d responded right away?

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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Hundreds of Neighborhoods Join the Million-Dollar Club

Home prices are continuing to bulldoze records—mounting so much, in fact, that hundreds of neighborhoods have recently joined the million-dollar club, where at least 10 percent of homes are worth $1 million or more, according to an analysis by Zillow. Approximately 345 million-dollar neighborhoods have cropped up in the last three years, with the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco metro areas forming the most million-dollar neighborhoods since 2014.

“As home values reach new peaks, $1 million homes are increasingly common, even in neighborhoods once considered middle class,” says Dr. Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow. “The U.S. median home value is just over $200,000, but in San Francisco, Los Angeles and other expensive cities, homes are worth much more.”

New York has added 53 new million-dollar neighborhoods in the past three years, the analysis found; San Francisco has added 36 and Los Angeles has added 29. The Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boston, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and San Jose metro areas have also added million-dollar neighborhoods in substantial numbers.

Several metro areas, however, have added no million-dollar neighborhoods at all since 2014, speaking to their relative affordability even as prices rise: Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte; Houston; Indianapolis; Orlando; Pittsburgh; Phoenix; and Tampa.

Still, the growth of million-dollar neighborhoods could spell trouble for the middle-class and for those who would have difficulty weathering property tax hikes, Gudell says.

“As home values hit seven figures in many neighborhoods, it’s going to have real impacts on affordability for middle-class homeowners whose incomes haven’t kept up, and this imbalance especially has implications for people on fixed incomes whose property taxes are rising along with their home value.”

All told, the analysis tallied 1,280 million-dollar neighborhoods. Four percent of the roughly 30,000 zip codes weighed had at least 10 percent of homes worth $1 million or more.

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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The Best Cities for Retirees to Call Home

Ask any retiree what mattered most in their search for a new home, and most will tell you location. A recent study by WalletHub ranked the top locations for soon-to-be retirees, weighing cost of living, health care, quality of life and recreation—and in a not-so-unexpected twist, the top three locations in the ranking were all within the Sunshine State:

  1. Orlando, Fla.
  2. Tampa, Fla.
  3. Miami, Fla.
  4. Scottsdale, Ariz.
  5. Atlanta, Ga.

Several other cities outside of the top five were named ideal for retirees, as well. Laredo, Texas was ranked No. 1 based on cost of in-home care and cost of living, while Plano, Texas, and Grand Prairie, Texas, were ranked No.1 and No. 3, respectively, in most employed retirees. (Many people of retirement age are simply forced to keep working due to a lack of savings, according to WalletHub.) Some sprawling metropolitan areas are suited for retirees seeking an active lifestyle; Washington, D.C., for instance, is tied for first for the most museums and senior centers per capita.

When it comes solely to weather, however, California cannot be beat: Glendale, Riverside and Bakersfield ranked in the top three for “mild weather,” followed by Scottsdale, Ariz., and Henderson, Nev.

Source: WalletHub

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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John Becker / Bald Head
Bald Head Realty

33 Pine Lane
Franklin, NC 28734

Phone: (828) 506-3719 Mobile
           (828) 369-0000 Office
           (828) 369-0009 Fax

Contact John

Macon County NC Real Estate with Specialty in Franklin & Otto
"Offering Solutions to My Clients"
Your gateway to Paradise in the Smokey Mountains of Franklin, NC.
John Becker / Bald Head, provides a superior level of informed, professional real estate service to Buyers and Sellers.


January 4th, 2013 Our first real estate dealing with John Becker (aka Baldhead) was when selling our primary residence in Franklin, NC as he was the agent representing the buyers. Not only did he present a successful contract but the offer exceeded our asking price! Since we were so impressed with his process expertise, responsiveness, and negotiation skills, in 2012 we listed and sold our second home with him. John doesn't just wait around for the "right" buyer to walk in the office he aggressively pursues perspective buyers through professional contacts, extensive Internet exposure, and local advertising. The video John produced of our home was HGTV worthy and initiated immediate interest. Just a few weeks after listing John presented us with an acceptable offer and handled all the details of the process through closing. We were very impressed with his support and communication and would highly recommend his services. If you are truly serious about buying or selling a home in this area you need a full time professional agent with local knowledge, and John Becker is by far the best choice. Graydon & Susan Smith
Sep 10, 2011 John Becker was fantastic as our realtor. He helped us look at houses for over 2 years before we finally found the house we wanted and helped us navigate the short sale and foreclosure process perfectly. At all times he was professional, honest, and responsive. Thank you John and we look forward to having you as our realtor in the future. Thanks Chip & Mary Ann Godwin Chip & Mary Ann Godwin
Wendell & Karen ‎ - Sep 4, 2011 One Saturday on a whim I told my wife I was going to talk to John “Bald Head The Realtor” about some property I come across. After a short conversation with John he had formulated a plan. I was amazed that in less than a week we were on the fast track to owning the property. During the course of the negotiations John helped us overcome many potential obstacles to owning our first property in beautiful Franklin, NC. He always responded quickly to our questions. I soon became aware that this was a man I could trust - a rare find. My wife and I will always be grateful to John for helping us realize our dream of owning our own piece of this majestic land. Wendell and Karen, Franklin, NC Wendell & Karen
Kathryn P ‎ - Sep 28, 2011 Thanks so much John for being you as you are SUPER! My Dad and I were blessed that you were the listing agent on the home we first looked at as that led us to you. And you made our whole experience one that was so darn easy and pleasant. Working with you through the whole experience of looking at both homes was a total delight. Not only do you listen, you make the rather grueling process of home shopping to be fun. Thanks so much for your good humor and grace under pressure. Your smile alone made the paper signing go faster. You surround yourself with great people, too. From your assistant to your real estate attorney...all top notch and the nicest of folks to work with in the home buying process. I know I will certainly be recommending you to others and if I ever have to do this again.....you will be the first person I call. Kathryn Kathryn Pickens
Aug 22, 2011 "We have to admit that all of this "Bald Head" business seemed a bit much at first, but it took very little time with him to come to the realization that John "Bald Head" Becker is a very serious and effective real estate broker who in our experience and opinion is simply the best. Not only did "Bald Head" give us focused attention, maintained very active and prompt communications with us but also went way beyond our expectations in anticipating and filling practical needs. We would use him again in a heartbeat and only lament that we cannot also employ him to sell our house in Raleigh. We highly recommend "Bald Head The Realtor" to you and without reservation." Bill & Pam Peterson
Hey John, What a job you did! Listed in June and sold in August, in this economy ! Thanks for all the follow up work getting it closed in such a short time. Thanks again, James and Barbara Frank Aug. 13th 2011 Jim & Barbara Frank
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