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Homeownership Expenses That Your Clients May Overlook

Homeownership Expenses That Your Clients May Overlook

By the time buyers contact you for help in making a real estate purchase, they’ve likely considered their budget and determined how much they can afford to spend on a new home. They’ve probably considered a down payment, mortgage payments, closing costs, taxes, and insurance. Your buyers even may have obtained pre-approval from a lender. Even when they’ve been very thorough, buyers may overlook or underestimate some of these common homeownership expenses:

Lawn care

Caring for turf, gardens, shrubbery, and trees can add up, even for do-it-yourself homeowners and for those with smaller yards. Buyers will likely have expenses for gardening equipment, fertilizer, weed killer, mulch, plants, lawn and garden products, plus any professional care. If there are trees on the property, buyers will need to budget for regular trimming, fertilization, and removal of hanging tree limbs that can fall and damage roofs, windows, and other trees, shrubbery, and plants.

Snow removal

In some climates, homeowners will need to contract for snow removal from driveways, walkways, and the roof or budget for snow removal equipment to do the job themselves.

Chimney cleaning

If the home has a wood-burning fireplace, regular chimney maintenance is necessary for fire safety. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 211 says, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” The Chimney Safety Institute of America also recommends that open masonry fireplaces should be swept at 1/8″ of sooty buildup and sooner if there is any glaze present in the system.

General maintenance

Depending on the size and condition of the property, there can be a variety of seasonal and annual expenses associated with filter changes, roof repair, caulking, sealing, and other upkeep.

Termite and pest control

Protecting a home from termite and other pest infestations can vary according to region. Still most homes need some level of protection from termites as well as other common household nuisances, including rodents, ants, flies, roaches, bed bugs, and others.

Swimming pool/spa maintenance

If the property has a swimming pool and/or spa, there will be costs associated with cleaning, chemicals, filters, pump maintenance and repairs, and possibly winterization in some climates.

Automatic irrigation maintenance

Lawn sprinkler systems can be convenient but will require expenses for system inspections, winterization, replacement of sprinkler heads and lines as needed, plus water utility costs.

Repair or replacement costs

Home system and appliance component failures due to normal wear and tear are an inevitable part of homeownership. Per-trade estimated repair or replacement costs* that homeowners without home warranty coverage could experience include:

  • Plumbing up to $1,200
  • Appliances up to $1,500
  • Heating up to $3,625
  • Cooling up to $3,800
  • Pool and spa up to $600

An American Home Shield® home warranty offers your clients budget protection for covered home system component breakdowns at special Real Estate Edition prices. In addition to industry-leading home warranty coverage, your clients can choose from customizable plans specifically designed for the needs of home buyers and sellers.

Helping your clients consider basic home maintenance costs can help them with more than budgeting. When your clients have an accurate understanding of the expenses required in homeownership, they’re more likely to enjoy their new home and be happy with their real estate purchase.

*Based on the 2019 ClearVantage report “A Study of Homeowners’ Appliance and Home System Service Experiences.” The “up to” costs listed above are in the 80th percentile of repair or replacement of high cost items in each category.

To learn more about our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog.

6 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

6 Home Staging Mistakes to Avoid

Getting a home ready for its prime-time listing debut can be an exciting, busy time for you and your clients. Presenting a home in its best light for listing photos, videos, and showings can create a lot of pressure and anxiety, especially when clients are still living there. Whether your sellers are using a professional service or staging the home themselves, here are six common mistakes to avoid:

1. Blocking traffic flow

While one of the objects of home staging is to make rooms appear spacious, arranging furniture so that it’s hard to enter a room or to move around freely is a mistake. Keep traffic patterns in mind when placing furniture and remove pieces if they block doorways or impede movement and flow. Avoid placing furniture in front of windows, too, which can look awkward and block natural light.

2. Forgetting to stage the closets

Ample storage can be a big selling point, so remember to stage a home’s closets and rooms. Clothes closets should be well-organized and uncrowded, so pack up or store shoes or clothing that pack the space too tightly. If needed, paint closet walls and thoroughly clean flooring or carpet. Neatly arrange linen closets and pantries to make them look as roomy and accommodating as possible.

3. Paring down too much

While removing clutter and personal objects can be a good idea when staging a property, completely stripping rooms of accessories and details can leave a sterile, uninviting environment. Be sure to leave ample lamplight, especially in rooms without overhead fixtures. A few simple decorations in each room can add color and interest.

4. Gender-specific rooms

If possible, avoid decorating bedrooms and bathrooms, specifically for one gender. That’s because you want prospective buyers to be able to picture their families living in the home. When lookers see neutral décor, they may be more likely to see the rooms working for their family members.

5. Overlooking pretty views

A home doesn’t have to have a sweeping vista to capitalize on a pretty view. Open window treatments and position furniture to show off a pretty garden, flowering shrubbery, a graceful tree, or a charming gate. Take advantage of attractive interior views, too, such as a welcoming fireplace, a decorated bookcase, or an interesting piece of artwork.

6. Not including a home warranty

Did you know that home warranty coverage can help you stage a property? For example, when a placard or brochure is left out alerting sellers that an American Home Shieldâ home warranty is included in the transaction, prospective buyers and their agents will appreciate the added value that the coverage brings. Buyers will know they won’t have to worry about covered repairs or replacements during the contract period, which will help protect their budgets and give them the confidence to proceed with an offer. They’ll also know that a ready repair resource will be at their fingertips for covered malfunctions.

When staging a home, it’s also a good idea to avoid décor that is too trendy. Instead, focus on timeless pieces of furniture and soothing color palettes for accessories and artwork. Remember to include items that can make the home look comfortable and ready to be used, such as simple table settings, towels stacked in the bathrooms, a book on the nightstand, or a cozy throw across the back of a sofa or chair.

For more helpful information from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog.

5 Ways to Handle Stress in a Real Estate Career

5 Ways to Handle Stress in a Real Estate Career

A real estate career can be interesting, exciting, challenging, rewarding, and stressful — sometimes all in the same day. In addition to dealing with all the moving parts of typical real estate transactions, real estate professionals find themselves responding to market and economic fluctuations and a variety of human emotions on a daily basis. Real estate is also a service-driven career with pressure to perform and please clients, creating another level of stress. Here are five tips that can help you avoid burnout:

1. Strive for balance.

It’s easy to slip into an all-work-and-no-play routine as a real estate professional. Between working around clients’ schedules, continuous access to technology, and staying on top of listings and transactions, you can quickly find yourself working around the clock. While you may have to tilt the scale in favor of your career when you’re starting out or during particularly busy seasons, it’s vital to find ways to maintain a wholesome work-life balance that enables you to relax, rewind, and recharge on a regular basis. If you’re finding it hard to find an equilibrium, try blocking out time on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis for family time, hobbies, getaways, fun, and self-care. You’ll find you’re a better real estate professional when you’re leading a well-rounded life.

2. Practice healthy habits.

Making your health a priority can help you handle stress better and boost your immune system. Eating a nutritious diet and making time for regular exercise can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It’s also important to build time in your schedule for regular physician visits and check-ups, as well as for dental and eye care. Making healthy choices each day will pay long-term dividends in your energy level and your ability to cope with stressful situations.

3. Stay focused.

When things get hectic, it’s easy to get distracted, which can lead to more stress. As much as possible, try to stay organized and prioritize the most important tasks that you need to accomplish each day. Keep a list of your short-term and long-term goals, and filter everything you’re doing through those lens. Concentrating on moving forward can often lead to a sense of accomplishment, which may lessen any pressure you’re feeling.

4. Reach out.

When things get tense at work, don’t be afraid to seek help. Use friends and family as sounding boards, or go to colleagues for advice. Other real estate professionals can often relate to your experiences and share how they’ve handled similar situations. Look for more experienced agents who might be willing to mentor you or network by attending local association meetings and workshops. If your anxiety persists or worsens, consider making an appointment with a professional counselor.

5. Be prepared.

Know in advance that things may be stressful, and prepare by doing your homework and planning a strategy for handling stressful or frustrating situations ahead of time. For example, American Home Shield® home warranties can help you keep transactions on track, reducing stress for you and your clients. In addition to offering important budget protection for your buyers and sellers, an AHS home warranty can help you mitigate home inspection issues, streamline transactions, and minimize post-closing involvement.

For more information about the benefits of American Home Shield home warranties for your clients and you, contact your American Home Shield Account Manager or call 888.776.4663.

DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more from our partners at American Home Shield by checking out their blog.

5 Ways to Be a Memorable Real Estate Agent

5 Ways to Be a Memorable Real Estate Agent

Building a strong repeat and referral network through long-term client relationships is a major part of growing business as a real estate professional. It’s important that the service you provide and the connections you form are memorable enough to prompt clients to recommend you to friends and family and call on you again when they wish to buy or sell a home in the future. What can you do to be a memorable agent? Here are five ways to make a lasting impression:

1. Be responsive.

Buying or selling a home can be a stressful time for your clients. That’s why they appreciate it when you respond to questions and requests promptly and completely. When it comes to being memorable, the importance of good communication cannot be underestimated. Return phone calls, text messages, and emails as soon as you can. If a client asks for information, gather it right away and make sure they receive it. Always follow up to see they understand the answers or data you provided and find if they have additional questions or needs. If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, take the initiative to check in with them. Offer regular updates and progress reports on listing activity, market changes, and other real estate-related news to keep them informed and in the loop.

2. Little things matter.

People often remember the small gestures that can make life easier, and the real estate transaction process more pleasant. Things like bringing hand sanitizer and cold water to showings, offering clients an umbrella when it’s raining, and bringing in their newspaper from the driveway or their garbage can from the curb can make big impressions. Always look for little ways to demonstrate to clients that you’re always looking out for their best interests and putting them first.

3. Stay in touch.

If you want your client relationships to continue after transactions are finished, look for ways to keep in touch long after deals close. Send holiday greetings in the mail or electronically. Share market updates regularly as well as any information or links that might help them as homeowners. If you have extra tickets to local events, offer them to your clients for their enjoyment. Check-in frequently to inquire about their family and pets, as well as to see if they are still enjoying their home.

4. Close with a gift.

In addition to thanking clients for their business, the gesture of a closing gift can serve to remind clients of the important service you provided, and the relationship you built with them. Try to choose closing gifts that will last over time, such as something for their home or garden. Candlesticks, serving trays, a small tree to plant, a garden sculpture, or a framed rendering of their home can all be proudly displayed and a reminder of the successful transaction spearheaded by you.

5. Include American Home Shield® home warranties in transactions.

One of the best ways to show clients that you care about them is to include American Home Shield real estate home warranties with every transaction. Each time clients have a covered repair handled, they will be grateful to you for the budget protection and the repair solution provided by their home warranty plan. American Home Shield’s Livable and Forgivable Coverage is built for every day, real life, with no age limits, no inspections, and no maintenance records required. Livable and Forgivable Coverage can mean less frustration, higher client satisfaction, and more appreciation for you. Contact your American Home Shield Account Manager or call 800.735.4663 for more information.

Another way to stay on your clients’ radar is to connect through social media. Be sure to follow your clients on their preferred social media platforms where you can interact with them as well as keep up with what’s happening in their lives.

For more information from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

What to Do When the Inspection Report Isn’t Good

What to Do When the Inspection Report Isn’t Good

Whether you’re representing the buyer or the seller, the home inspection can be a critical time in the real estate transaction process. When the home inspection report is good, a collective sigh of relief can often be detected from agents and clients alike. When the home inspection report isn’t good, it’s time for agents to swing into action. Here are some steps to consider:

Know your market.

To some extent, reaction to a less-than-stellar inspection report may be tempered by whether you’re dealing with a buyers’ or a sellers’ market. If it’s a buyers’ market, sellers may be on the line to fix most of the deficient items noted in the report before the deal can continue. In a sellers’ market, buyers may not have as much negotiating power. It’s important to understand the current real estate climate and explain to your clients how the market conditions factor into home inspection expectations.

Work with the other agent.

As soon as possible, contact the other agent in the transaction to discuss the inspection report findings. Acknowledge that the report contains bad news and start the conversation about next steps. As much as possible, try to get a sense of their reaction and willingness to make concessions.

Ask for more time.

The real estate contract often specifies a date or timeframe for removing the home inspection contingency. Requesting an extension of that date may give you and your clients the chance to consider the report, gather additional information or estimates, negotiate repairs, fix deficient items, or decide your next steps. If you think some extra time would help keep the deal on track, request it.

Get multiple estimates.

If the cost of repair work noted in the report concerns the buyer or the seller, gathering several quotes from qualified sources may help pinpoint what exact costs are likely to be. In some cases, repair costs may be lower than the client’s project, which can be reassuring. If the estimates come in higher than clients predict, they have the accurate information they need for negotiation and decide whether to move forward.


With accurate figures in hand, have a heartfelt conversation with your clients to understand how the inspection report affects their financial and emotional commitment to the deal. Be ready to communicate their position to the other agent clearly.


After you’ve assessed market conditions, have an accurate understanding of costs involved, and have communicated with your clients, it’s time to negotiate. In some cases, you may be negotiating which repairs the seller needs to make before the deal can close. In other cases, you might negotiate a reduction in selling price or a credit at closing to cover the repair costs. If you’re facing an unusual inspection issue, seek advice from trusted colleagues who may have handled similar situations in the past.

Request documentation.

For everyone’s protection, specify that sellers submit documentation of repair work performed from qualified service professionals. It’s also a good idea to schedule a follow-up inspection or a walk-through to confirm that the negotiated work was satisfactorily completed.

Add American Home Shield® Home Warranty Coverage.

300,000 real estate transactions per year include American Home Shield home warranties, and for a good reason. In addition to offering important budget protection for covered items, American Home Shield coverage can help mitigate unexpected home inspection issues to keep transactions on track. Home warranty protection can also offer valuable reassurance to buyers, especially when the age or condition of covered home systems and appliances are in question.

When home inspection reports are disappointing, it’s important for clients to see their agent responding calmly and deliberately. They will always remember the valuable, professional, and steady guidance that you offer during a critical time.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

How Video Can Help You Stay in Front of Clients

How Video Can Help You Stay in Front of Clients

Successful real estate professionals know the importance of using all the tools at their disposal. In today’s selling environment, video can be one of those effective tools. Whether you’re new to video technology or a seasoned pro, understanding how it can help your business is the first step to using it to your best advantage. Video communications can be beneficial to your real estate career by helping you:


When people can see your face and hear your voice, it’s much easier to connect with your message. Whether you’re talking about a listing, offering real estate advice and expertise, or sharing via social media, video communications can be more effective and memorable than other forms. With video, you can express your personality as well as share your expertise.


Video tours can help you market properties, even when prospective buyers are in different geographic locations. When you have clients who are buying, video can help them narrow down their choices without wasting valuable showing time. With the 3D virtual tour technology available today, videos can help you show the actual layouts and room flow of properties much more effectively and accurately than still photographs can.


Video can be a great way to share information with clients, colleagues, and the general public. For example, sellers can use videos to show their spaces while you make suggestions for listing preparation. You can send videos of listings to colleagues to spark interest and to share with interested clients, or as a way to follow up after private showings or open houses. If prospective buyers have follow-up questions about properties, you can provide visual information or confirmation instead of written answers. Video tours can be great ways to get the word out about new listings to generate interest.


When social distancing is required or recommended, video tours can provide an opportunity to keep real estate deals moving forward. Video tours, showings, and even open houses can be conducted virtually. In some cases, home appraisals and home inspections can be completed in full via video.

For the latest in virtual home tour technology, be sure to check out Streem®, a dynamic new video chat tool, and enhanced communication platform being developed and tested by American Home Shield®. Streem enables you to share digital space with clients using one-way video and two-way audio. In addition to virtual home tours, Streem can also aid in remote listing preparation and documentation. With the helpful StreemshotsTM feature, you can highlight, share quick sketches and diagrams, and capture full-resolution photos during chats. For more information about Streem, contact your American Home Shield Representative.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

5 Tips on How to Successfully Work Remotely

5 Tips on How to Successfully Work Remotely

The events of 2020 prompted more people than ever to find ways to work and study remotely. According to Gallup Panel data from April, sixty-two percent of employed Americans said they worked from home during the Covid-19 crisis, a number that doubled since mid-March of the same year. Whether you’re currently working remotely or plan to do so in the future, here are some suggestions for a successful experience.

1. Stick to a schedule.

Having an agenda each day can help you manage your time and stay on track with projects and deadlines. A schedule can also help provide structure to your day. It’s usually best to design your schedule around the same timeframes that you’d be keeping if you were in an office with your co-workers. Of course, one of the biggest benefits of working remotely is that you won’t have to factor in commuting times.

2. Give yourself space.

With laptops and tablets, it can be tempting to work from the couch, or even from your bed. From productivity and ergonomic standpoint, it’s usually best to designate a specific work area where you can keep the tools, supplies, and resources you need within easy reach. A dedicated office space can also help you corral all your work materials in one place, preventing them from being spread out all over your home. Make your designated workspace as comfortable as possible, with good lighting, a stable work surface, and a chair that provides good back and leg support.

3. Keep quiet.

When you’re on calls and videoconferences, try to minimize any background noise. Even when you’re working remotely, it’s best to maintain a professional atmosphere. You’ll also want to be able to hear and understand your colleagues and customers correctly. Close the door to your workspace to limit noise from pets and other family members, as well as sounds from household appliances, street traffic, and neighbors.

4. Take a break.

If you normally stop mid-morning and take a break at the office, it’s a good idea to keep up that habit. Even if you don’t leave home for lunch, fight the urge to take your meal back to your work station and eat elsewhere to give yourself a change of scenery. If the weather permits, fit in a walk around the block or sit outside during your breaks to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. You’ll likely be more productive when you step away from work and clear your head periodically during the day.

5. Connect with people.

Working in isolation can be intense and lonely. Make time each day to relate with others outside of zoom conferences and work-related communications. Keeping up social connections, even while socially distanced, can be important for your mental and emotional health as well as for your outlook.

Working remotely can have many advantages, including proximity to your family, pets, and your kitchen. You can often dress in a more relaxed fashion and can save on commuting costs. Whether you plan to work remotely permanently or temporarily, finding ways to stay productive and creative can add to your overall job satisfaction.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

How to Prepare Your Kids to Move

How to Prepare Your Kids to Move

No matter what real estate trends you’re dealing with in your market, moving is always stressful and difficult, but it’s even more overwhelming when you have to prepare kids for the process. Kids usually don’t want to leave their friends and school behind, and they may anticipate missing family members. But it’s important to frame moving as the start of a new adventure, while giving kids space to grieve for the things they’re leaving behind.

Get your kids ready for a move by starting discussions about it as soon as you can. These moving tips will help you get your kids ready for a big change of lifestyle.

Don’t Put Off Telling Your Kids About the Move

If you have an upcoming move, the best thing you can do is let your kids in on it as soon as possible. Telling your kids about the move early on gives them a chance to process their feelings about it and get used to the idea. This is especially important for older kids and teens, who are the most likely to react poorly to a planned move; they are more strongly tied to their social groups and more likely to be looking forward to events and outings, like prom with their friends, that they might miss because of a move.

Kids will tend to react to news of a move with apprehension, so it’s a good idea to talk to them about it often and give them as much information about it as you can. Answer their questions and address their concerns with reassurance. Kids need to know that moving can be a good thing. If possible, take them to the town or neighborhood so they can get an idea of what to expect. If it’s not possible to take kids to their new home in advance, try to find as much information about the new community as you can. Look for pictures of the new town and school, activities they can get involved in or facilities they might enjoy.

Give Your Kids Some Decisions to Make

Kids will feel more confident about an upcoming move if you involve them in the decision-making process. You could take them house hunting with you, or if that’s not practical, show them the online listings for houses you’re considering and ask for their input. Older kids can even help you look for promising listings.

Once you’ve found a new place, give kids some input on getting the new home ready. Maybe they’d like to choose a paint color for their new bedroom or spend some time planning new bedroom layouts with crayons and paper. Getting new furniture? Let kids choose their own bedroom sets or decorative elements. Take the opportunity to start teaching kids about home maintenance or plan some outdoor DIY projects for them to look forward to.

Ease the Transition

Very young children, under five years old, may not understand what moving means. Use stories or books to explain the concept, and explain what’s happening again when you’re packing up. Ease the transition for very young children by trying to keep the same furniture and layout in their new bedrooms and play areas, if not throughout the house.

Older kids can understand the process and will appreciate being given some role in the move. School-aged children may be sad about leaving friends and relatives, or anxious about a new school. Prepare for the move by gathering as much documentation as you can for the new school, including test scores, medical records and curriculum information. School-age children will want to know everything they can about their new school, new teachers and potential new friends, too.

Teens are most likely to struggle with a move, since they are often so closely connected to friends and social groups and are deeply committed to extracurriculars and hobbies. They may resent uprooting their lives, leaving their friends and missing out on upcoming social events. Give teens the chance to express and come to terms with their feelings, while reassuring them that moving is difficult for everyone and helping them plan to maintain their relationships with those they’re leaving behind. Planning a post-move trip to visit old friends and relatives might help, as well as encouraging teens to maintain connections via social media and correspondence.

If a move happens in the middle of a school year, it might be worth letting teens finish out the school term with a close family friend or trusted relative. If your teen is close to finishing school, it may be easiest for everyone if he or she is allowed to graduate with his or her friends before joining the family in the new home for the summer before college.

While moving is often logistically difficult and stressful for adults, it can be exciting for children. Getting your kids ready for a move can give them the foundation they need to thrive in their new home, and buying a home warranty can give you the budget protection you need to focus on helping your kids adjust, instead of worrying about unexpected repairs. American Home Shield® today to find out more about protecting your new home.

8 Ways to Attract New Clients

8 Ways to Attract New Clients

For real estate professionals, building business usually means attracting new clients. With long hours and busy days, it can be difficult for agents to find the time and energy target prospects and market to them. If you feel like you’ve plateaued recently in your prospecting efforts, here are some ideas that may help:

1) Include testimonials in your promotional materials.

Testimonials are a highly effective marketing technique, especially in service-oriented businesses. Ask former clients if they’d be willing to write a few sentences describing the service you provided to them, and then ask for permission to publish their statements and their names on your website, social media accounts, and printed materials. These testimonials could tip the scale in your favor when prospective clients read them.

2) Target your advertising.

Instead of taking a blanket approach to marketing your services, think about the segment of real estate clients you want to attract, and then narrow your efforts to avenues that would reach those demographics. For example, you might want to send mailings to certain zip codes or place door hangers in specific neighborhoods. If you specialize in relocations, contact companies in your area that transfer personnel into the area.

3) Personalize your social media.

More than most avenues, your social media accounts enable you to let your personality shine through, which can attract people to you. In addition to advertising listings, use your social media pages to post recent pictures, share videos, and to give a glimpse into what you do as an agent and who you are as a person. Interacting with other accounts can help increase your online profile and express your individuality as well.

4) Ask for referrals.

​​​​​​​It may not occur to people that your business can benefit from referrals, so don’t be afraid to let them know. Tell former clients, friends, and family that you’d appreciate them sharing your name and experience with others, especially those who are actively looking for real estate assistance. Supply them with business cards and other printed marketing materials to pass along. Periodically share on your social media accounts that you welcome referrals and include information about how you can be contacted. When someone does refer a client to you, don’t forget to thank them promptly with a phone call, card, or small gift to let them know that you’re grateful for their trust and their effort.

5) Be social.

​​​​​​​Networking doesn’t just happen at industry events. In fact, you can meet new clients at just about any social occasion. Accept invitations, attend events, be active in your community, and volunteer for charity work. While you’re participating, talk to people about what you do, work your experience and knowledge into the conversation, and share your contact information.

6) Be an excellent communicator.

Check all your message portals frequently, and return calls, texts, emails, and direct messages as soon as possible. You don’t want to miss a message from a prospective new client, and you want to make a good first impression by getting back to them promptly.

7) Ask for the business.

​​​​​​​When you hear that someone is about to sell their house, wants to find another, or maybe just wants to look around at real estate and kick some tires, don’t be afraid to offer your services. A personal phone call or visit from you at an opportune time may be all it takes to land a new client.

8) Go the extra mile for your clients.

​​​​​​​Satisfied clients will be more likely to tell others about you and the service you provide. One way to provide personal service and to let clients know that you care about them even after deals close is to add an American Home Shield® Home Warranty to every transaction. American Home Shield offers valuable protection for home buyers and sellers alike for many of a home’s most critical home system components and appliances, as well as a reliable resource to call for help with covered malfunctions. When clients feel that you care enough about them to go the extra mile, they may be more willing to refer you and to return in the future as repeat customers.

As important as it is to attract new clients your business, don’t forget to stay in touch with previous clients, too. In addition to being a great source of referrals to you, building long-term relationships with people can be one of the biggest joys of having a real estate career.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!

10 Tips for Avoiding Germs While in the Field

10 Tips for Avoiding Germs While in the Field

When you’re out and about showing homes, meeting clients, and networking with colleagues, you may be exposed to harmful germs that could possibly lead to illness. As a busy real estate professional, unplanned time away from work can cause disruptions for you, your clients, and your transactions. While you can’t avoid every single germ, it’s important to take prudent steps to protect yourself and to give yourself the best shot at remaining healthy and productive. Here are some practical tips to that can help keep certain types of germs at bay:

1. Wash Your Hands

Wash hands often and well with soap and warm or cold running water, then rinse and dry them. When you don’t have access to running water and soap, substitute with hand sanitizer. Remember to clean under your fingernails and around rings and jewelry, which can harbor germs.

2. Social Distancing

Avoid standing or sitting too close to people, leaving at least six feet of space on either side of you. Remember to do this even when standing in lines or sitting in waiting rooms.

3. Wipe Down Surfaces

Frequently wipe down surfaces such as your phone, keyboards, door knobs, desk and counter surfaces, and car door and faucet handles.

4. Avoid Touching Public Items When Possible

When in public spaces, such as restrooms or elevators, avoid directly touching things like door knobs, handles, hand rails, and buttons. Instead, use a disposable wipe, paper towel, or operate the items with your clothed elbow if you can.

5. Avoid Touching Your Face

Avoid touching your face as much as possible. When you must, wash your hands first.

6. Don’t Share Personal Items

Don’t share food, beverages, straws, cosmetics, dishes, or towels with others.

7. Stay Up to Date on Vaccinations

Make sure to get an annual flu shot, and check with your medical provider to see if you’re up to date on other important vaccinations.

8. Use Technology for Interactions

Meet clients at showings instead of driving them in the same vehicle to avoid close contact. When possible, use FaceTime or Zoom to connect and communicate.

9. Take Common Sense Measures

To avoid food poisoning when you’re eating at restaurants, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests taking common sense measures like checking health inspection scores and food safety training certificates, watching for safe food handling practices, ordering properly cooked food, and avoiding food that’s served lukewarm.

10. Take Care of Yourself

Take care of yourself. Give your immune system every advantage by eating a balanced diet, getting adequate rest, exercising, staying hydrated, and avoiding stress. Talk to your doctor to see if you should be on a vitamin regimen.

If you feel like you’re getting sick, stay home and isolate yourself from others as much as you can. While you might not be able to protect yourself at this point, you can protect others and help prevent the spread of some illnesses.  Even if it’s a false alarm, it’s best to err on the side of caution. With online access and remote office capabilities, you may even be able to stay in contact with your clients and get some work done when you’re feeling better.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, check out their blog!