Real Estate Blog

July 16th, 2016 2:19 PM

Summer is right around the corner, and most of you probably have your summer vacations planned or are in the planning stage. What will happen to your business while you are gone? Does your business go on vacation when you do? If so, you are losing valuable leads and momentum. Your business should be able to run without you. What if you or a family member is sick, do you still work? With today’s technology and the numerous types of assistance available you should not have to be a ‘hands on’ operator. Your business should keep running in your absence.

The key is to find a system that will maintain consistency. If your business is dependent on when you are working it will never grow. Using assistants, whether virtual or in person is necessary to grow your business and maintain a personal life. Vacations and time off from work are necessary to clear your mind and recharge your body. However, your time off will not be relaxing if you have to play ‘catch-up’ when you return or work twice as hard to find clients because your business stopped.

Here are some processes that can be implemented to run your business smoothly.

  • Hire an Assistant or Transaction Coordinator. They can help with daily routines, answer calls, manage paperwork, set appointments, show listings, etc. Not only will this help in your daily process, but it will also allow you to take time off seamlessly.

o   It is an investment in your business.

o   If you don’t have enough work to keep them busy, share your assistant with another agent in your office until you have enough work to support them.

o   Hire a Virtual Assistant to work on an as needed basis.

  • Use technology to automate systems. What can be automated to make the business run smoother?

o   Keep files in a secured cloud environment so you and your assistants both have access.

o   Use a shared schedule for business appointments.

  • Set boundaries – Don’t take a client’s call at 10 PM. Let it go to voicemail and return the call promptly in the morning. You will set the boundaries between your personal time and work. If you allow your client’s to dictate your time, you will never have any of your own.

  • Clients – Make your client’s aware of your time off in advance and give them your assistant's contact information.

By implementing processes, your business will run without you. This will allow you to take time off but will also give you time to work ON your business instead of IN it. This is necessary to grow the business and be successful. If you are still working independently and doing all the work yourself, look at the agents who are the top producers in your company or market area. How do they become a top producer? They have a team that helps them get there.

Posted in:Real Estate and tagged: business
Posted by Betsy Hughes, SRA, AI-RRS on July 16th, 2016 2:19 PMLeave a Comment

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July 16th, 2016 2:10 PM

“Lean on me”, when I hear these words, I think of the number 1 hit from 1972, written and sung by Bill Withers. The famous chorus goes “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on, for it won’t be long, till I’m gonna need, somebody to lean on.” I’m sure right now you can hear that melody in your head! The song talks about relationships and how, at times, you need to lean on other people in your life. The same holds true in business. We may be experts in our field of work, but there are times when we need to refer to other experts in their field of work. The Hampton Roads REALTORS Association is a perfect example of this. They allow affiliate membership as a support system for the REALTOR members.


I am proud to be an affiliate in this organization that supports our real estate industry. Over the years many great relationships have been formed. These connections are a great resource and are always available when needed. Think of all the professionals that are necessary to conduct a real estate transaction. Experienced REALTORS typically have a large database of professionals. This database took years to build and has been purged many times. Sometimes there is a need for a professional that’s not in their database. Newer REALTORS don’t always have a source for experts. The best source is HRRA’s website ( when you are in need of a professional in the industry. You can search for an affiliate member by their specialization, company, personal name, or even city.


As an affiliate, we want to do business with REALTORS. We know the you see the importance of being a member of HRRA and choose to abide by the ethics and standards of NAR. Doing business with an ethical professional is far more rewarding than just doing business. Affiliate members give back to REALTORS through sponsoring events, meetings and classes which keep the cost down for those attending. 


The next time you are in need of an auction service, home stager, handyman, appraiser, or office space; go to, find-an-affiliate-member. We are a “Circle of Experts” that are ready to support you.

Posted in:Real Estate and tagged: mentor
Posted by Betsy Hughes, SRA, AI-RRS on July 16th, 2016 2:10 PMLeave a Comment

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February 17th, 2016 10:59 AM

Licensed professional appraisers need to be unbiased when developing an opinion of value. As professional and unbiased as we try to be, sometimes, this can be difficult. The condition of the property, along with the safety, security, and soundness, are some of the aspects that must be reviewed to determine the value of the property.  Although the interior contents are personal property, when the contents take over the home, it is difficult to determine the true condition. We have seen this on TV and in the media. The TV show Hoarders is not just aired for ratings; it is a true epidemic that people live in every day. I have been to many homes where the homeowner has met me at the door, hesitant to let me in. Once inside, I find that there is only a pathway through each room. With all this stuff, the home neither gets cleaned, nor does it receive any kind of maintenance. Over time, this condition will deteriorate the home. Not only is a cluttered home detrimental for the structure, but it is an unhealthy environment to live in.

Fannie Mae guidelines state that “Appraisal reports must reflect adverse conditions that were apparent during the inspection or discovered while performing research, such as, but not limited to, needed repairs, deterioration, or the presence of hazardous wastes, toxic substances, or adverse environmental conditions. Detrimental conditions of the improvements must be reported in the appraisal even if the conditions are typical for competing properties.” A highly cluttered home is a detrimental condition. Interior photos are required for all lender appraisals. If the condition is not properly noted in the report, it will show in the photos, so it is best to be upfront and report the true condition of the property.

An estimated 3 to 5 percent of Americans suffer from hoarding, which in May 2013 was listed for the first time as a distinct disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. There is professional help available for people living in such situations. I know many fabulous organizers in our local market that would love to help these homeowners. The hardest part is for the homeowner to take the steps to move forward and have the desire to live in a healthier environment.

With all that said, we must take a moment to remember that we are mere real estate professionals who were hired to perform a specific job. We really do not know this homeowner, who has allowed us to intrude into their personal space. We do not know the circumstances that have led to this situation. It is not our place to judge or ridicule anyone. Sometimes, we need to take these situations and look at ourselves. How do we compare? Do we have clutter in our own home?

Posted in:Real Estate and tagged: Appraisals
Posted by Betsy Hughes, SRA, AI-RRS on February 17th, 2016 10:59 AMLeave a Comment

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