For Real Estate Sales Professionals

November 10, 2003 E-zine

November 10, 2003




































Read by More Than 30,000 Agents

Always be determined to become the
best real estate agent in your territory!

In this Issue:

1. How Automated is Your Real Estate Business?

2. When It's Time to Sue for Your Real Estate Commission

1. How Automated is Your Real Estate Business?

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the NAR Conference in San Francisco. What an amazing conference! There were tens of thousands of real estate people from all over the world there. There were also many, many educational sessions going on as well as tons of exhibitors' booths showing all the latest hardware, software, and service technologies available in our industry. I really had my work cut out for me to see everything that I wanted to see.

I also had the pleasure of spending some time with my good friend Judy McCutchin. Judy is an amazing real estate agent and she is one of the world leaders at continually bringing automation into her own real estate business. Her Web site,, has been voted by Realtor Magazine as the most sophisticated realtor Web site in the USA.

If you're someone who's not a big fan of cold calling, Judy became determined early in her career to become highly-successful in real estate sales while doing no traditional prospecting whatsoever. And she has succeeded unbelievably at doing this! In a recent audio interview that we did together, Judy talks about all the systems she has in place that continually have her be one of the top-earning real estate agents in the entire world.

Prospects can always search for homes on the local MLS through her Web site. They're also able to download any forms they may need for their upcoming transactions through her Web site. This enables the prospects to review and become familiar with these forms before they ever need to use them. 

In addition to this, Judy has tens of prospecting campaigns constantly being delivered to her clients and prospects automatically by E-mail autoresponders. She has autoresponder campaigns for past clients, for people looking to buy homes, for people looking to sell homes, and for a great number of other categories that she's determined are specific niches she wants to target for future business, also.

Judy is also a pioneer at utilizing "Virtual Assistants" in her business--- people who do support work for her in different locations throughout the USA, and throughout the entire world. This enables her to work with people who are focused specialists for what she needs done and allows her to pay for these skilled people on a per hour basis instead of having to hire a number of full-time employees instead. This in itself has enabled her to go from a paid staff of eight full-time assistants down to a paid staff of one full-time assistant. And at the same time, her overall cost savings from doing this is has been more than $100,000.00 a year.

If you're not familiar with real estate virtual assistants, they're quickly becoming a growing force within our real estate industry. These are people who own their own businesses and specialize in providing support services for real estate agents. Many of these people are great at what they do, and, because they specialize in working with real estate agents, they're normally much more proficient at getting your job done when compared with the average full-time real estate support person. Also, they don't need to be trained by you before they become highly proficient at what they do. They've already been doing these exact same activities for other real estate agents for quite sometime now.

Judy has regular live meetings with her virtual assistants over the Internet where everyone is able to see and interact each other during the meetings themselves. She also has an extremely powerful mailing campaign going out at all times, and her continued mailing, autoresponder campaigns, Web presence, networking, and quality of service she delivers continually bring her a constant stream of new business as well as great referrals from her past clients. She's even designed a system for referring real estate leads out to other agents that brings in an additional $75,000.00 a year in income.

While attending the NAR Conference, I had the great pleasure of attending two educational sessions led by another good friend, Michael Russer. Michael is the person responsible for spreading the word about real estate agents utilizing virtual assistants in their own real estate businesses. During one of Michael's sessions, I heard agents talking about how they're now making more money than ever before while working less hours, and all because they're now utilizing virtual assistants. One woman said she's now working 35 hours a week instead of 70, she's making more money than she ever did before, and she now feels like she finally has the lifestyle she's always wanted to have with her family.

In the second educational session with Michael, I got to meet a number of virtual assistants personally and find out more about how they can greatly assist my coaching clients in their real estate businesses. So in a nutshell, here are some of the different arenas these virtual assistants can handle for you in your own real estate business:

Bookkeeping, Secretarial Services, Telephone Answering Services, Writing, Editing, and Proofreading, Graphic Design and Presentation, Flyers, Postcards, and Mailing Campaigns to Your Clients and Prospects, Design of PowerPoint Presentations,  Database Management and Data Processing, Word Processing, Desktop Publishing, Research, Obtaining Comps and Providing Comparative Market Analyses of Properties, Mail and E-mail Services, Marketing Support, Transcription, Web Site Design, Marketing and Related Internet Services, Purchasing and Supply Procurement, Locating and Hiring New Employees, Transaction Management and Follow-up, and Preparing Listing Presentations

For me personally, I met a virtual assistant at the conference who I'll now hire to keep my database current with the thousands of real estate agents I continually stay in contact with.

Well, I've covered a lot of ground in this article. But in reading what I've just written, is it time for you to maybe take a step-up and automate your business to the next level? If you're a residential agent, some of what I've mentioned here may already be familiar to you. But if you're a commercial agent, I know of no commercial agents outside of my coaching clients who are beginning to apply this kind of automation in their own real estate businesses. And quite frankly, it may be time for you to take a look at implementing this new technology in your real estate business, too.

The commercial agents who have listened to my audio interview with Judy McCutchin have been so impressed with her implementation of technology, that they've become determined to now apply this information in their own businesses, too. They recognize that because their competitors are not even aware of these advances in real estate technology, this is a huge opportunity for them to move forward, implement this technology in their own businesses, and leave their competition behind.

If you'd like more information on how you can hire your own real estate virtual assistants, you can visit the following two Web sites: 

These are by far the two best places on the Internet to find quality virtual assistants who specialize in working with real estate agents.

Whether you're a residential agent or a commercial agent, all of this technology is available for you to implement in your business right now. If you're someone who's committed to being the dominant agent in your territory, you can either learn how to implement approaches like the ones I've just described to you, or you can wait until your competition does it before you do.

2. When It's Time to Sue for Your Real Estate Commission

No agent ever enjoys the thought of having to chase a commission through the legal system. I've had to do it several times myself, and if you've never had to do this, trust me, it's definitely no fun. You start out by doing all the work that you agreed to do as an agent, then you're anticipating getting paid, and...wham! You find out that the owner will not be paying you after all.

This is a problem that seems to be more prevalent on the commercial side of the business than it is on the residential side. One of the reasons for this is the sheer volume of leases that are done on the commercial side of the business, whereas in residential real estate most all of the transactions are sales. In sales transactions, both on the commercial and residential sides of the business, the broker normally gets paid at the closing out of all the funds deposited by the buyer, and this is typically spelled-out in the purchase contract itself. Normally in these situations, the only way that the broker would not get paid when a transaction closes is if there is either bad faith by the seller, or collusion between the buyer and seller to save the amount of the real estate commission.

With leases, on the other hand, when the lease is signed the owners often receive the advance rent and security deposit from the tenant directly, and then it's up to the owner to pay the leasing commission directly to the broker afterwards. So there's normally no escrow or official closing with attorneys present when lease transactions are finally consummated. And unfortunately, owners can just decide that they'd rather have you take them to court than pay you.

Some leases also have options for tenants to extend their leases after the initial term expires. Typically in these situations both the lease and the original listing agreement will call for the owner to pay a commission to the broker when the option is exercised. But three-to-five years or more down the road after the original lease was signed, owners can sometimes then feel that the broker should no longer be entitled to receive this option commission anymore.

So unfortunately for me, I had to file a number of lawsuits against owners in order to get paid during my 20-year career in real estate brokerage. And based upon my experiences, I have a few recommendations for you if you ever find yourself in this situation yourself:

1) Find an attorney to represent you who will work on a contingency basis. This means they only get paid if they end-up winning your case for you. Typically the percentage the attorney will charge you for this will be somewhere between 30 to 40% of the judgment amount you are awarded by the court.

Why pay attorneys fees if your attorney doesn't win your case for you? You're going to be going through enough aggravation as it is preparing the case and testifying in court. So you only want to file a lawsuit if you have an attorney who believes strongly enough in your case to agree to  a contingency arrangement with you. If the attorney doesn't believe that you have a good enough case to warrant this kind of arrangement, maybe your case really isn't as legally sound as you'd like it to be. 

To find an attorney who will take your case on a contingency basis, you may need to first interview a number of attorneys. But trust me, this will be a very good investment of your time. The larger law firms these days normally only like to represent people on an hourly fee basis. So you may need to either find an attorney with a smaller law firm, or an attorney who is a sole practitioner. It's been my experience that these people are normally more likely to take a case on a contingency basis than the larger firms are.

2) If you can reach a settlement without going to court, go for it. 

The settlement may be substantially less than what you were hoping to be awarded in court, but you could also easily lose in court, too. No matter how great of a case you think you have, if you presented the same case to 10 different judges, you would end-up with 10 different opinions.

As much as we would like our legal system to be black and white, it is in reality normally very, very gray. That's why we continually hear about cases that were decided one way in the lower court, were reversed with a different decision in the appellate court, and then were reversed once again back to the original decision by the Supreme Court. 

Another reason I highly suggest that you settle your case is there's always the chance that the judge could ask you to pay the opposition's attorneys fees if you lose. This happened to me one time despite the fact that both me and my attorney thought we had a great case. My buyer had a signed agreement with my seller to purchase a property that was not listed on the open market. Later on during the transaction, the seller received a higher offer from another buyer, and then paid my buyer $10,000.00 to cancel our transaction and walk away. Despite my having a signed, irrevocable commission agreement to get paid by the seller, the judge ruled that the seller had no obligation to pay me any commission.

So make a settlement whenever possible in situations like these and get on with your life. Being involved in litigation over commission drains you of great, vital energy you could be applying towards making more money in your real estate business right now. 

So in summary, always do your best to get any and all lawsuits regarding commission behind you as soon as possible!!!

Click here to visit my Web site. There you'll find many articles and previous editions of my E-zine to assist you in taking your real estate career to the next level.

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Advanced Real Estate Sales Coaching
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