The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Steering Violation?

Denise Lones

Q:  Oh no! Now that I am hearing you talk about Fair Housing, I think I might have steered a buyer! They indicated they wanted to be in a school district with high test scores! I showed them neighborhoods that were in the attendance area of the highest-scoring schools. Am I in violation?

A:  I would need to hear more about your situation to know if you are in violation or not, but what you can do in the future is provide information and let your buyer make a choice. For example, if you are asked, “Can you please show us neighborhoods in the attendance area of best elementary schools?” you can respond with a statement like, “I would be happy to show you homes in any neighborhood. What I suggest you do is check out the school district website for our area which has information on all the different schools in the district and the attendance areas. Once you narrow down your attendance area choices, I would be happy to narrow our search field. Let me send you the link.”

With a response like that you are still providing the facts (unbiased information) but letting them make the choice.

Fair Housing: Things You May Not Know, But Should!

handing over keys

I remember when I was the broker of a large real estate company and I got that dreaded phone call from a Federal Fair Housing Auditor with the message, “One of your sales associates has violated a Fair Housing law.”

Wow! That hit hard! I remember feeling sick to my stomach, wondering,

  • “What exactly did my agent do?”
  • “What happens now?”
  • “What do I need to know to help my agent?”
  • “If my agent did violate a Fair Housing law … why?”

In this case, my agent did in fact violate the law. It was unintentional but was still a violation.

Read more »

Results vs. Action

relaxed man vs. active man

This week I had a few clients who were feeling down about some things that had transpired in their business lately: Transactions that fell through at the last minute, past clients who didn’t refer business, and the inconsistent nature of this business in terms of income were all weighing heavily on them.

In fact, not only was this weighing heavily on their outlook, but worry and anxiety were causing their confidence to take a nosedive. As salespeople, confidence is paramount to their interactions with others. When a salesperson loses their mojo, it can cause them to draw away from their business and their clients which just intensifies the problem.

When I have a client with a challenge like this, I remind them of the importance of focusing on the action … not on the results.

Read more »

Ask Denise: Getting Results

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, I am trying to focus on action rather than results, but it is hard! I have been mailing very strong content to my farm area for six months. However, my phone has not rung once! I am concerned about continuing to pour money into this. What do you recommend – stopping the farm or continuing?

A:  This is exactly what I am talking about! Great question! I wish there was a magic formula for determining when your phone will ring. Sometimes it takes one month. Sometimes it takes a year. It all depends on the timing of the homeowners. If it were me, I would look at my investment and stick with it for at least six more months. In the meantime, I would probably take additional action by having someone review my materials for content and visual impact. Also, I would probably work on previewing all new listings as they come on the market and try to do open houses to increase my visibility. Keep taking action!

Ask Denise: Soliciting Reviews

Denise Lones

Q:  Denise, what do you think about soliciting reviews on Yelp?

A:  Yelp is another website that people turn to for reviews, so from that perspective a Yelp review isn’t a bad thing. However, I would assign the priority to obtaining reviews on Trulia and Zillow before directing clients to leave reviews on Yelp. People do expect to find restaurant reviews on Yelp, but that is not usually the first place they go to find a real estate agent.

Design Spotlight: Royal Treatment

Royal Treatment design

Today’s design spotlight features the newly refreshed Instant Identity brand, “Royal Treatment.” Sumptuous and elegant, and at the same time bold and colorful, this design is full of personality! A delicate floral pattern gives depth to the background while wrought iron swirls emerge from shadowy corners. An elegant flowing script adds a touch of old-world charm, while the brilliant blue-violet color palette keeps the design firmly rooted in the present. Give your clients the royal treatment with this one-of-kind brand!

Read more »