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The secret to great leadership is being truly present

(BUSINESS) Every broker sees themselves as leaders, but the great leaders have one thing in common – they’re truly present. Here’s how you can be, too.



realtors standing out convert

When it comes to leadership, not only is your “presence” important, but being present in the moment – with your team, with your partners, or with your organization – may mean the difference between effectiveness and mediocrity.

Mindfully present leaders are connected to more satisfied, more civil, and better performing employees.

Present is being in the moment, versus simply existing at the time. Are you spending more time with your head, or more time in experiencing?

We often recognize presence in other people with particular adjectives: like “real,” “authentic,” “deep,” or “meaningful.” Presence is an active effort to be in the here and now, and being present can help you to get more feedback and information to take the best decisions.

Naturally, being a better decision maker means becoming a better leader.

Focus here on the leadership behaviors of Doug Conant, a former CEO of Campbell Soup Company. His emphasis is on “touchpoints,” which represent opportunities to interact, influence, and lead people in pursuit of a common goal.

Those touchpoints are a reframing of regular interactions that we may seem as unimportant – the opportunities that exist to create a connection with the people you are leading. Touchpoints are made out of a leader, another party, and an issue.

His approach to leadership engages your head, heart and hands. Leaders identify the nature of the touchpoint (head), put the goals of the group ahead of their own (heart), and interact with confidence, tenacity, and effectiveness (hands).

This approach mirrors the experience of counseling and mentoring – where you have to be present in terms of mind, body, and emotions.

Basically effective leadership is “all in.”

As a CEO, Conant was well known for the time he invested in getting to know people and possessing a genuine interest in their lives. Over 30,000 handwritten letters of gratitude and encouragement are his paper trail as a leader. And judging by his excellent book (check it out here, friends), it really spoke to his legacy and effectiveness as a leader.

Other famous leaders who embody this approach may come from places many people wouldn’t expect. As the Governor of The Lonestar State (Texas, y’all!), George W. Bush was well known for roaming the basement of the capital and chatting with everyone, from housekeeping to executives, remembering names and personal details of all he met. This kind of genuine, passionate engagement of people was well received by those who worked with him and it made him beloved by those who worked under him.

Short and sweet, be “all-in” with your people. Just showing up to the office won’t cut it. Learn how to focus your mind, engage your heart, and put the hands to work – excellence begets excellence, and we need leaders who are earnestly interested in the lives of their teams, organizations, and partners.


Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

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Real Estate Big Data

Crystal ball: what will home sales do for the rest of this year?

(REAL ESTATE DATA) NAR’s Chief Economist lays out his predictions for home sales in the coming year.



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NAR Midyear forecast

Last week at NAR’s annual REALTORS Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo (NAR Midyear) in Washington, key economic leaders took to the stage to forecast home sales for the coming year.


What to expect

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, presented a midyear economic forecast. When it comes to existing homes, according to Yun’s report, the first quarter sales hit 5.62 million, the highest since 2006 and a 3.5 percent increase from last year. He said that these figures “exceeded expectations” and attributed the sales increase to “record highs” in the stock market, “16 million new jobs created since 2010… and rising consumer confidence.”

However, Yun also noted that the number of new homeowners remains somewhat suppressed.

That suppression is largely due to lack of listings in the low- and middle-market range. Pricing growth in many metropolitan areas has caused overall existing-home prices to rise by 5 percent, making many existing homes unaffordable to first time buyers and young families. “Prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes,” Yun explained.

Low ownership rate

Unfortunately, new home construction may not make up for the difference. Yun explained that the “building industry’s ability to produce more single-family homes” was being thwarted by “limited lots, labor shortages, tight construction lending and higher lumber costs.” Yun predicts that 1.5 million new homes will need building, an increase in housing construction of 8.4 percent.

Yun believes that sales will increase when “there’s a meaningful bump in new and existing inventory.”

Yun was also joined onstage by Jonathan Spader of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Spader added to Yun’s analysis of the low homeownership rate, adding that older adults are foreclosing, while younger homebuyers are delaying their purchase in hopes of an economic upturn. Nonetheless, he anticipates reaching over 60 percent homeownership by 2025, with increasing diverse family structures, races, and ethnicities represented amongst homeowners.


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Use these tips (from science!) to convey your brilliance to others

(OP/ED) Sure, what’s on the inside count. But outward presentation matters too, especially in the real estate game. Here’s how to appear smarter and more professional.



smart brilliance

Science says…

We all have good hair days and bad hair days, and I’m not just talking about hair. When we leave the house we’re either imbuing confidence and charisma or we’re feeling kind of meh, right? The reasons why are sometimes in our control, but mostly it’s just a feeling. It’s that moment that you look in the mirror and think “Damn I look ______.”

Now, the subtle science of human perception has brought us closer to understanding how we can appear a little bit more intelligent when we’re out in the world. Good hair day or bad.

How to convey brilliance

Open your eyes
People who open their eyes wider and don’t appear to be drifting off or bored tend to be perceived as more intelligent.

Smile a little
Studies have found that we connect small smiles to intelligence as well.

Basically, just look happy and awake and people will think you’re smarter.

Wear glasses
Especially thick glasses. It’s not just a perception thing either. A study at University of Melbourne’s Centre for Eye Research recently connected short sightedness with intelligence.

Take care of yourself
Appearances matter and we associate a good looking person with a lot of positive behaviors. People with thin faces tend to be perceived as smarter, so let that be your inspiration to hit the gym.

Don’t swear
Studies have shown that people who swear are perceived as less intelligent and less mature by prospective employers.

Skip the Sangria
Drinking can make you appear less intelligent according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan. They call it the “Imbibing idiot bias,” which means we think drinkers are dummies, even if we’re indulging ourselves.

Notice your speech
Speak slowly and thoughtfully. Abolish the word like, and know what big words mean. Some people believe that speaking quickly is the path to being seen as more intelligent like nerds on TV (think Chuck or Sheldon). But clear speech is the path to appearing smarter.

Rep your middle name
By using your middle initial in a professional setting, people see you as more accomplished and smarter according to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.

Shine bright

These aren’t just tricks, these are daily habits that with practice can help you become a smarter, more accomplished person.Click To Tweet

Take care of yourself, use some of these tricks, and your exterior actions could affect your inner confidence turning that bad hair day into a really really good one.


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Spider infestation forces family to abandon their $450k home, legal battle ensues

After a massive spider infestation in a beautiful St. Louis home, a family has abandoned their home, and despite a judge’s orders, are not seeing compensation.



spider infestation

We have all had a spider or two in our home, and maybe a client panic that they’ve seen one during a walkthrough, but one St. Louis family’s story will make yours pale in comparison. A gorgeous home valued at roughly $450,000 has been abandoned and is now in foreclosure because of spiders.

Brown recluse spiders, to be specific. They are are not known for attacking people, but when they do bite, the venom can kill the tissue cells at the bite site, causing necrosis, and while not fatalities have been confirmed, it remains known as the most poisonous spider in the U.S. Most bites lead to intense pain, itching, and sometimes fever, chills, vomiting, and even shock.

You see one in your house and you call the exterminator. You see hundreds and you run like hell. The St. Louis family recently won a lawsuit against the previous owners for failing to disclose the infestation of thousands of brown recluse spiders.

Although the family saw no signs of spiders at the final walkthrough, not even webs, after they moved in, they began finding them everywhere – falling from the ceiling, bleeding from the walls, scattering themselves in their clothes, food, and other belongings.

The spider infestation gets more bizarre

If that isn’t enough to want to run away screaming, State Farm insurance defended the previous owners when the new owners sued them. This led to a jury trial wherein the new owners won a $472,110 award.

They weren’t able to collect.

State Farm refused to pay the claim and the previous owners declared bankruptcy. Why? Spider infestations do not fall under the umbrella of damage to a home. In fact, the policy excluded insect infestations. The new home owners’ lawyers argued that spiders are not “insects,” but they stood firm.

The home has gone into foreclosure and is now in the hands of Fannie Mae who is in the process of tenting and fumigating the home, a process normally reserved for termites, not spiders. “There’ll be nothing alive in there after this,” the exterminator told he St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that tenting houses is a new method for dealing with brown recluse spiders that was not in use three years ago when the family abandoned the house.

Burn it to the ground

It seems curious that State Farm still refuses a judge’s orders to pay out, given that the house still exists. At least the family didn’t use a self-made blowtorch like a Seattle man did this summer, nearly burning his house down in an effort to kill a lone spider.

It doesn’t appear likely that this family will be compensated for their nightmare, and this house might be a tough sell, but at least they escaped alive. Realtors should take note of this saga – buyers may have heightened spidey senses right now with a particular sensitivity about infestations, given this story.

Note: the freaky image above is of a wolf spider, not a brown recluse, but it scared us more than anything on the web, so it has done it’s job.

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