Everything you need to know about Previews?

Previews 3D_CBPI_Logo_NoShadow_1500pix_2011

What is the “baseline” reference?

  •  It is the lowest price point a specific zip code demands.  No matter what the zip code is, the lowest price point for ANY PREVIEWS property is $500,000.  The entire list of zip codes, along with the baseline price, is on the PREVIEWS section of the Marketing Intranet page.  If your zip code is not on the list, please do let us know, so we can add it! (Email to PaulaFortier@cbbainseal.com)

How is the baseline determined?

  • It’s the top 10% of sold prices within the zip code during the previous twelve months (the lowest price of the top 10% determines the baseline).  It must be a residential home, with exceptional style and quality, with features expected in a luxury home.
  • As long as the property qualifies, the property can be promoted as a PREVIEWS listing.  If you, as the listing agent, do not have your certification as a Previews Property Specialist, you can still promote the home (you simply cannot promote yourself as a certified broker).  However, you can use the Previews listing presentation, yard signs and marketing materials available at Express Docs.  The Previews website will promote your listing, using office information in place of agent contact info.

How do you get certified?

  • Step One; completion of the PREVIEWS certification course is.  Our team of educators are offering this course on September 25th in the Portland area, and again on November 19th in our Kirkland Training Center.  Click the hyperlinks to register now!
  •  Step Two;  is a verification process that you have either listed or sold four PREVIEWS qualified homes within the past 24 months (two of which you were responsible for developing the marketing plan for the listings).  Verification must be supported by your branch manager’s written acknowledgement of the production.  Furthermore, Coldwell Banker Previews International headquarters must approve the production form delivered and signed by your manager.  This process can also happen prior to taking the certification course – but the course must be taken within six months of production approval.

From the Trenches: Why Not Now-5 Good Reasons to keep working.


Home for the HolidaysEvery year around this time, I hear “the holidays are coming” repeated approximately every three minutes, by real estate brokers looking for an excuse to stop “working”….and by working, I mean “prospecting”, “listing homes” and “showing homes” (it gets dark earlier, have you noticed?)  For several reasons I would like to dispel the notion that the last two months of the year aren’t worth your time and effort:

Once upon a time, in a land more desert than forest, there was an agent who sold seven homes in December; there was snow on the ground (it was cold), and more than once, the customer in her car helped dig her out of an unplowed driveway.  It was worth the trouble, because January & February were happy payday months!

Oh, did I mention nobody else in the bullpen was working in December?  Less competition for the business!  (That’s reason #1)

You might consider how motivated these buyers were, in the middle of December, out looking for a home in the dark of night and the cold of winter… (reason #2)

Every home we saw was decked out for the holidays – inviting and warm inside, with baking scents to greet us… (reason #3)

The interest rates were hovering around 11% – not exactly optimum – but people were still buying homes…(low interest rates, reason #4)

Prices were static (normal for that market), so not declining, not escalating, in a market where homes typically took six months to sell… (reason #5:  when has there been a better time to buy in our market?)

So… why not now?  Why not make a commitment to take at least one new listing in November and December?  Why not decide to sell at least one home in November and December?  Listings are crucial today – there is not enough inventory to sustain the demand – even the demand during the holidays!  Keep working – it will pay off!

From the Trenches: Rating the Experience

CB Bain CB Seal Consumer SurveysThe Principal Managing Brokers (sometimes known as Branch Managers) have spent many hours discussing how to measure the customer experience, once the transaction closes.  Shall we send surveys?  Shall we call or email or text the customer?  If the goal is to provide the best possible experience for our customers, how do we measure up?  How do we know?

There are two things I think we can rely on:

a)      If they’re thrilled with our performance, they’ll take the time to respond to a quick & easy survey;

b)      If they’re discouraged, disappointed or disgusted, they will call the manager to complain!  (Oh! How I hate getting those phone calls!)

CB Bain Real Estate is a people business; it amazes me how we seem to be inventing new and better ways to avoid meeting our buyers and sellers: AuthentiSign being the latest and greatest “convenience” tool in a world of shortcuts in a business that should have no shortcuts.

Let’s dial it down to “what does it take to impress people”?  The first problem is the consumer has no idea what we do to earn our money.  Imagine if every single time you met a new customer, you actually spent time (lots of time) explaining our business model, explaining the process, explaining all the sixty-seven things that need to happen before closing occurs, explaining how commissions are divided by four…and most important, spent the time explaining Agency and how it affects our behavior and their rights as a consumer.

An educated seller or buyer feels confident with the information they’ve received, and begin the process impressed with the professionalism and detail delivered.  An agent (broker) cognizant of the stress involved throughout the transaction is worth their weight in gold.  As long as I can remember, the number one complaint from the consumer expressed on NAR surveys is lack of communication. So simple to overcome!

So, let’s focus on developing the skill to sell what we deliver!  Pride in yourself, pride in your company and pride in providing an exceptional experience!

I Have Found the Enemy and It Is Us!


Cooperating BrokersYears ago, I wrote an article for the local MLS newsletter, entitled:

I Have Found the Enemy & It Is Us! It popped into my head today while I was chatting with an experienced, highly productive real estate broker.  Our conversation skirted around the frustration surfacing in every transaction, whether you are the listing agent or the selling agent.  Why is that?

Well, we can blame it on market conditions, or short sales & foreclosures, or irritating mortgage changes, or even poor summer weather….but what is really driving it?  People!  People like you.  People like me.  People so anxious to hold a transaction together, they forget about their seller’s story, or the disruption moving causes in their lives.  People who feed the drama instead of controlling the drama involved in every real estate transaction…

Our “job” is all encompassing: in order to provide the best experience possible for our customers, educating and communicating every detail – controlling their expectations before a crisis can rear its ugly head, is essential.  (Remembering you are the heart of the transaction, despite the setbacks along the way)…

For heaven’s sake, the real estate agent on the other side of your transaction is not the enemy.  A straightforward conversation once you have mutual acceptance, promising cooperation and explaining how you work, how best to communicate with you (be honest about your anal retentive tendency!) will go a long way toward smoothing the inevitable bumps along the closing road.  Isn’t selling real estate stressful enough without fighting with the co-op agent?  Be accountable – it’s your job.

One more thing:  sometimes it really is the customer who is causing the drama; don’t assume it’s their agent’s lack of control… We’ve all had those people, and survived.  We’ll have them again!  Customers can be anal retentive too…manage their expectations with constant communication.

Everyone concerned hopes for a great experience… delivering service above and beyond the anticipated outcome paves the way to a happy ending…isn’t that what we all want?


Contracts, Purchase and Listing Agreement…It’s Complicated


Contracts?  Purchase Agreements?  Listing Agreements? What’s the big deal?

Real Estate ContractFor the past 36 years, I have watched the evolving process of listing and selling real estate with curiosity and concern.  Just how complicated does it need to be?  Trust me when I tell you how simple it was in 1975 (you probably wouldn’t believe me)!  Using one page to list a home, and one page to sell a home; what happened?

Consumer Protection happened.  Disclosure happened.  Inspections happened.  Accountability happened.  License Law changed.  Agency changed. Representation changed.  Most of all, the Consumer changed:  they’ve become educated and interested in the process; they can find out almost everything they need to know about the property online!

Today’s consumer expects service and instant information beyond our imagination in 1975…they want to be tuned into the process every step of the way – communication rules!

So what about those purchase agreements?  What do they say? Who do they protect?  Who’s paying attention to timelines and conditions and responses and delivery?  Never in the history of real estate has understanding purchase agreements been more important!  For one thing, they change constantly….that’s one reason why a professional real estate agent is more valuable than ever before.  “Do it yourself real estate” overlooks details crucial to a successful transaction.

Educating brokers gives them the confidence to counsel their customers, equating to a better real estate experience for everyone concerned.  Enhancing the real estate experience is the name of the game.  That’s our reputation, and our reputation is our future.

Now you know why it’s a big deal!