Coldwell Banker Previews International Event comes to Kirkland, WA

The Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal  Premiere Previews Event is promising to provide ideas, direction and motivation for all brokers interested in the luxury market.

CB Bain Seal Previews

  • Karen Burke, Senior Director for Coldwell Banker will discuss the concept behind the Previews brand, where it’s been and where it’s going, new tools to expect, statistics on its market strength
  • Betty Graham, head of marketing for Coldwell Banker NRT will share her take on how this mega company leverages the brand for maximum impact.
  • Tina Mak, top Previews broker from Vancouver, BC and Inman News featured speaker will cover how she uses Previews to reach the global market
  • Christophe Choo, Beverly Hills broker with deep experience in the luxury market will share how he took a boutique independent presence to prestige and international reach with Coldwell Banker Previews.
  • A panel of local top dogs from CB Bain Seal offices will cover how they develop their own niche and share ideas for how you can too.






The event  is in The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, rated #1 by TripAdvisor for the state. It is a luxury boutique hotel.  We’ve negotiated attractive corporate rates so you can come early or stay late.  Kirkland is a charming, walkable town.  The waterfront is two blocks away, with shops, bistros and galleries surrounding the hotel.

Book a room at The Heathman using the corporate code CBBCR.


Video: It’s not just for promotion any more

Real Estate video Shoot for SuccessThere is lots of talk about incorporating video in to the marketing of your listings.  You may have considered making a personal video starring you—what you do for your clients or giving out some tips about today’s marketplace.  One of our brokers, Michael Ackerman, takes an idea and spins it into a two minute tip or explanation.  He’s done ones from “how to choose the right buyer’s agent” to “why sellers shouldn’t blog about their house.”

Another Bain broker, Mike Herren, has used video in another way which you might want to incorporate into your business.  Sometimes there is just no better way to show a problem or solve it than by showing.  How to do that when the person who needs the explanation isn’t available?  Video!  Mike didn’t need to go far or hire anyone.  In one case he filmed himself and in another he enlisted the seller in the job.  Both worked beautifully in getting the problem solved.

Mike had a listing where the inspector for the buyer recommended that the access panel but cut into the door of the furnace to provide easier access for changing the filter.  This could have been expensive for his seller.  More importantly, unnecessary.  The seller said, “It’s easy to change the filter, I’ll show the buyer.”  Mike worked with the seller to have a 15 second video made demonstrating how to do this.  The video was posted on YouTube.  The buyer saw it, and didn’t ask for the panel to be cut.  The buyer lives in Auburn, the house is in West Seattle.  If the buyer had to drive over to see the demonstration, it would’ve taken at least a couple of hours, instead of the few minutes it took.

The second problem that video solved was one involving a sale where there was confusion regarding the address.  The property was owned by Freddie Mac so getting them to help correct the problem was very difficult.  Mike filmed the street sign, the house sign, he showed the physical property and how it was situated, the previous listing.  He emailed the link to the YouTube posting and viola! The bank accepted the information and all closed on time.  A creative solution to a problem solved through video.

You might not want to be on camera but video can still be a wonderful tool for you.  A video of a problem on an inspection report might convince an out of area owner to fix it.  A video of a street fair or festival might be just the extra touch that convinces a buyer about the neighborhood.  You might work with a seller to video how the yard looks in one season to help with the marketing in another.  Think of the neighborhood amenities that could help sell the relocating client before they arrived.

This tool gives us many of the benefits of a live, one-to-one contact but can do it across space and time.  Well, it doesn’t include ‘smellavision’ but you could describe that sensation too.  The point is—expand your vision.  Get beyond the idea of self promotion or even listing promotion.  Think about how you can educate, explain, demonstrate, and even have a little fun.  Save time. Impress your clients.  It’s not about your close-up.  It’s about effective communication.


When buying a home: Why not “on or before”?

Why not “on or before”? Closing Calendar

Often a buyer and seller aren’t sure when they want to close.  They would like to write in the contract that the closing will be “on or before” a certain date.  Brokers will sometimes go along with this thinking that the issue will be resolved later.

Therein lays the problem.   The date isn’t certain.  Good contracts are unambiguous.  Everything pertinent to the transaction, all the terms of the agreement, is spelled out in it.

In a good transaction, someone could know exactly what the parties had agreed to by just reading it.  As a Principal Managing Broker I am often called into a situation where a transaction is faltering.   The first thing I do is review the paperwork.  As I talk to the broker involved, if they have to explain what the parties REALLY meant (say on the notorious “form 34”) I know we are in trouble.

Good transactions are factual, precise, and specific.  Actions are spelled out, results identified.  Thankfully we have excellent forms already written for us by attorneys.   These forms have been tested and revised when they are found wanting.

“On or before” isn’t factual, precise or specific.  One party can think that the closing will happen as soon as their financing is ready.  The other party can be arranging for packers and movers with another date in mind. Worse, either party assumes they can compel the other party’s cooperation to their date.  No, they can’t.  Lenders don’t like it.  Escrow doesn’t like it.

Go into every contract with clear precise language.  If the parties agree to a change, amend the agreement.  That is how you really look out for the best interests of your client.


Don’t Compromise Yourself—It’s all you got

And yet—most real estate transactions are all about compromise.  The perfect house has yet to be built.  Buyers have their list of features. Then the savvy broker says—“tell me your top three”, not because they wouldn’t love to find all 20—but because it isn’t likely to happen.

The broker serves the buyer by helping to focus the search.

Likewise, sellers want and deserve to get the best deal for their property.  To do this they have to convert their home into a sale-able commodity, diminishing the personal, upping the neutral. Their brokers guide them from one calculated choice after another, balancing the expenses to sell with the potential sales price. A closed transaction most often represents compromise all around.

On the other hand, compromising your own integrity should be inviolable. The other day a broker came to me about a transaction in which the selling broker wanted some documentation about the property.  No problem with that, but this selling broker wanted to use the statement to minimize the buyer’s concerns, concerns which were justified. For that buyer to make an informed decision, they needed to do more investigation.

Do you provide the information, knowing it will be misused?  What responsibility does the listing broker have towards the buyer?  One thing is for sure, you don’t want to compromise your own integrity.  Don’t let yourself be manipulated into participating in a falsehood, whether it is withholding information from the buyer or the lender or any party to the transaction.  Making the deal can’t be at the expense of what’s right.

The Realtors’ Code of Ethics says we owe fair and honest dealings to all.

Start with yourself. Be fair. Be honest. No compromise.

CB Bain’s Kimberly Brangwin’s Top 3 take-aways from Generation Blue

Coldwell Banker’s Generation Blue (Gen Blue) was one of the best conferences I have been to in years.  The speakers had vital points to share and communicated in clear concise ways.  I took away ideas that I will put into practice from nearly every speaker.  My top three were Mathew Ferrara “Secrets of Social Networking” ,  Sam Sebastian of Google and Troy Hazard “Revenue Through Relationships”.
I have taken lots of classes on social networking, but Mathew Ferrara presented some ideas that really helped bring it into focus.  This is the prospecting tool of today.  Cold calling wasn’t really being done anyway.  Mailing is slow and unpredictable.  Social media is fun, creative, and a real way to touch people.

1.      Make five connections a day
2.      Touch five people a day
3.      Share five things a week

Divide your Facebook friends into lists (work/family/new) so all posts don’t go to all people.  Use it to reach out to them, not sell yourself.  His ‘smackdown’ with Mike Ferry really demonstrated what the differences really are.  Both ways are used to create relationships which are the basis of growing a real estate business.  Like other forms of prospecting, you have to be consistent.  It isn’t something you can start and forget about.  It needs to be a part of your daily, weekly schedule. “ Facebook is the barbeque or birthday party, Linkedin is the cocktail party, Twitter is the headline news, YouTube is content nirvana.”

It wasn’t all about social media either. I learned about working with international clients, CB recruiting tools, the newest ads and marketing from CB, and finding personal balance in this demanding business.  It was great.

Kimberly Brangwin,  Seattle Metro Capitol Hill