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Category Archives: Day in the Life of a Broker

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Elite Newswire…Breaking News at RE/MAX Elite!!!

Introducing NEW President of Operations & Managing Broker at RE/MAX Elite!

We are excited to announce that Kerry Ramage has been promoted to President of Operations and Managing Broker at RE/MAX Elite!  She’s going on her 10th anniversary here at Elite, so for most of you no introduction is needed.  For others that don’t know her yet, we will do our best to bring you up to speed.

Kerry brings a fresh new perspective and years of leadership experience to our team.  She’s had her Broker’s license for the past 12 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to the table.  Kerry’s well respected by her peers in the industry and is a great listener.  In her past life, she worked as a paralegal/legal assistant so she navigates contract issues just like an attorney would.  A lot of you have already experienced this wisdom in your private pow wow sessions on various issues over the past decade. Kerry has a gift of being able to see both sides of the situation before drawing a logical conclusion on how to solve a problem.

Kerry has also served at the board on the Grievance & Professional Standards Committee and currently serves on the Professional Standards Committee as an Ombudsman  .  She extremely ethical and holds all Realtor’s to a higher standard.

Kerry will continue selling real estate as well, which we see as another competitive advantage. She will be on the front lines right next to our agents overcoming past, present and future trends as they occur in real time.

“My career has always been in sales.  Before becoming a REALTOR℗, I was a licensed insurance agent in the State of Florida.  After that, I spent 10 years in the shoe industry both as a buyer and a sales representative for a major shoe manufacturer.  I began my real estate career in Fairfield County, CT a suburb of NYC.  I returned to Brevard County in 2002 to raise my children near family.  After opening and selling a successful business, I returned to the real estate profession and have held my Brokers License in the State of Florida for the past 12 years.  I’m really excited about this new leadership role at RE/MAX Elite and look forward to the challenge of helping our agents become the best they can be.

Kerry is currently a Member of:

Space Coast Association of Realtors

Florida Association of Realtors

National Association of Realtors

Professional Standards Committee as an Ombudsman

Education, Designations and Achievements:

University of Florida, Associate of Arts

The American College for The Arts, Bachelor of Arts Interior Design, Cum Laude

PREC Course II for Brokers

Certified Distressed Property Expert –CDPE (short sale and foreclosure designation)

International Real Estate Specialist – IRES

Tom Ferry’s Sales Power for RE/MAX

ePRO®

RE/MAX Executive Club 2011, 2013

RE/MAX 100% Club 2012, 2014, 2015

RE/MAX Chairman’s Team Club 2016

You may reach Kerry on her cell at 321-863-2746, direct office line at 321-775-8062, or e-mail kerryramage@gmail.com.

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RE/MAX Elite Family Fun Day 2016

What a great time had by all for our Annual Family fun day and our 10 Year Anniversary Celebration!

Our Family kickball tournament was a blast and Team RE/MAX Elite came out with a win of 15-13 after trailing for most of the game by only a point or two!  Great job Prestige Title Company of Brevard and RE/MAX Elite for playing!

 

Check out this video for some pix from the event!

See you again next year!


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Buyer Beware: Sophisticated Email Scams Targeting the Real Estate Industry:

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Buyers need to be aware with all of the sophisticated email scams!

Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of real estate agents or other persons involved in a real estate transaction and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions.  Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever!

This is a busy and hectic time for real estate professionals, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire throughout the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.

The National Association of REALTORS® urges its members and state and local REALTOR® associations to be on high alert for email and online fraud.

In May 2015, NAR issued an alert regarding a sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the real estate industry.  Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting practitioners have continued to rise but the advice is the same.

Bottom line: Do not let your guard down!  Start from the assumption that any email in your inbox could be a targeted attack from a criminal.

Prevention

Follow this guidance to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Immediately contact all parties to all of your upcoming transactions and inform them of the possibility of this fraud.  Attorneys, escrow agents, buyers, sellers, real estate agents, and title agents have all been targeted in these scams.  You can also download and distribute NAR’s online fraud prevention handout, accessible here.
  • If possible, do not send sensitive information via email.  If you must use email to send sensitive information, use encrypted email.
  • Immediately prior to wiring any money, the person sending the money must call the intended recipient to verify the wiring instructions.  Only use a verified telephone number to make this call.
  • Do not trust contact information in unverified emails.  The hackers will recreate legitimate-looking signature blocks with their own telephone number.   In addition, fraudsters will include links to fake websites to further convince victims of their legitimacy.
  • Never click on any links in an unverified email.  In addition to leading you to fake websites, these links can contain viruses and other malicious spyware that can make your computer – and your transactions – vulnerable to attack.
  • Never conduct business over unsecured wifi.
  • Trust your instincts.  Tell clients that if an e-mail or a telephone call ever seems suspicious or “off,” that they should refrain from taking any action until the communication has been independently verified as legitimate.
  • Clean out your e-mail account on a regular basis. Your e-mails may establish patterns in your business practice over time that hackers can use against you. In addition, a longstanding backlog of e-mails may contain sensitive information from months or years past. You can always save important e-mails in a secure location on your internal system or hard drive.
  • Change your usernames and passwords on a regular basis, and make sure your employees and licensees do the same.
  • Never use usernames or passwords that are easy to guess. Never, ever use the password “password.”
  • Make sure to implement the most up-to-date firewall and anti-virus technologies in your business.

Damage Control

If you believe your e-mail or any other account has been hacked, or that you or a client has otherwise been a victim of online fraud, you should take the following steps:

  • If money has been wired via false wiring instructions, immediately call all banks and financial institutions that could possibly put a stop to the wire.
  • Contact your local police.
  • Contact any clients or other parties who may have been exposed during the attack so that they take appropriate action. Remind them not to comply with any requests from an unverified source.
  • Change all usernames and passwords associated with any account that you believe may have been compromised or otherwise made vulnerable by the attack.
  • Report any fraudulent activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigations via their Internet Crime Complaint Center. More information can be found by clicking here.
  • Brokers should report any fraudulent activity to their state or local REALTOR® association so that the associations can send out alerts or take other appropriate action, including contacting NAR.

This advice is not all-inclusive, and real estate practitioners should work with Information Technology and cybersecurity professionals to ensure that their e-mail accounts, online systems, and business practices are as secure and up-to-date as possible.

Be aware that these emails are extremely convincing.  Many sophisticated parties have been duped. No one should assume that they are “too savvy” to recognize the fraud.  In addition, no one should assume that they are “too small a target” to be on these criminals’ radars. This fraud is pervasive, convincing, and constantly evolving.

For more information on this and other cyber scams, as well as further information on cyber security best practices, visit these resources:

http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org/2015/05/19/alert-wire-fraudsters-targeting-real-estate-transactions/
http://www.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/protecting-your-business-and-your-clients-from-cyberfraud
http://www.realtor.org/articles/request-to-redirect-funds-should-trigger-caution
http://www.realtor.org/topics/data-privacy-and-security
http://www.realtor.org/topics/risk-management
http://www.realtor.org/articles/internet-security-best-practices
http://www.realtor.org/topics/realtor-safety/articles

 

It’s a jungle out there so please stay safe!!!  May the force be with us…JB

 


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Mission accomplished. We are DOPEY!

We are extremely proud of our very own Breanne Brown representing RE/MAX Elite at the Disney Dopey Challenge this week. The challenge consists of 4 consecutive days of long distance running. She ran 3 miles yesterday and 10 more today. Tomorrow is 13.1 miles (1/2 marathon) and then Sunday is the 26.2 mile marathon! We know she will be all smiles crossing that final finish line!   Run, Forest, Run!!!

Mission accomplished. We are DOPEY!  48.6 miles run and done!

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Cash back to Clients?

Can I rebate money back to my customer if they don’t have a real estate license?

I’ve had this question asked several times over the years.  The answer is YES so long as they are a party to the transaction and you are fully disclosing to all interested parties.

In general you are not allow to compensate an unlicensed person.  However, FREC made an exception to the rule.  Here is their take on the matter:

Although Section 475.25(1) (h), Florida Statutes, generally provides that a licensee may not share real estate compensation with an unlicensed person, Rule 61J2-10.028(2), Florida Administrative Code, creates an exception: “The sharing of brokerage compensation by a licensee with a party to the real estate transaction with full disclosure to all interested parties is not considered a violation of Chapter 475, Part I, Florida Statutes.” Please note that “all interested parties” should conservatively include any person or entity involved in the deal. For example, the buyer’s lender would need to know about this rebate, as it could impact the lender’s loan calculations. 

So there you have it!  It’s perfectly legit to disburse rebates to your customers if you choose to do so under certain conditions.  Next week, I’m going to cover another spin on this topic that includes Charitable Rebates.

 

Until then, enjoy your weekend!!!  We’ll see you around the campus real soon…Thanks, JB


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Success Is NOT An Accident!

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For this weeks blog, I wanted to share with you one of the best motivational videos I have ever watched in my life.  I’m talking instant chills and the hairs on the back of my neck standing up after taking this message all in.  You don’t have to be a basketball fan to appreciate the underlying message of how this relates to your business.

I can still hear the moderator’s words ringing in my head:

“Success is not an accident, success is actually a choice!

“Make the choice to create great habits!”

“Are the habits that you have today on par with the dreams that you have for tomorrow?”

It’s not easy to make the choice to create great habits, but the rewards are truly worth it.  It takes discipline and sacrifice to show up everyday and follow your game plan to the end.

Take the time to invest the next 3 minutes and 50 seconds of your life watching this video.  If this doesn’t motivate you to kickstart your 2016 then I don’t know what will.

 

Enjoy!  JB

 


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Am I a Transaction Broker or Single Agent?

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This week I would like to cover another topic that has surfaced a few times lately.  It appears there is still a bit of confusion on the type of representation we provide our clients in different situations.  On and after July 1, 2008, a real estate licensee representing a customer is assumed to be operating in a Transaction Broker capacity.  This means you are not required to provide a transaction broker notice to the customer before or at the time of entering into an agreement for representation, or before showing property.

Don’t I have the option to represent them as a Single Agent?  

The answer is YES and NO.  If you are showing property and negotiating contracts that are NOT listed with RE/MAX Elite, then you are perfectly okay to operate as a single agent.  However, once you get involved with an in-house transaction, you must transition back into the transaction broker status. The Florida Statutes requires that you must obtain the customer’s written consent as a condition to transitioning.  The disclosure that must be used in this case is entitled “Consent to Transition to Transaction Broker.”
One of the main differences between the two is Limited Confidentiality, unless waived in writing by a party.  This limited confidentiality will prevent disclosure that the seller will accept a price less than the asking or listed price, that the buyer will pay a price greater than the price submitted in a written offer, of the motivation of any party for selling or buying property, that a seller or buyer will agree to financing terms other than those offered, or any other information requested by a party to remain confidential: and any additional duties that are mutually agreed to with a party.

 

You are still required to deal honestly and fairly no matter what!  There is nothing against representing your customer as a Single Agent as long as all parties understand you may have to transition if you get involved with any inventory listed by our firm.  Of course that includes selling your own listing 🙂

Questions, comments or concerns?

 

May the force be with you!  JB

By Justin Brown aka JB | Jedi Master Yoda @ RE/MAX Elite


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Focus on the Solution and NOT the Problem!

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focus on the solutionI’ve been drilling this statement into the heads of our agents since we opened our doors back in 2006.  Some have had more issues than others, which means they have heard me sing this tune like a broken record over the years 🙂So often in the world of business we allow our emotions to get the better of us.  When that happens the logical side of the brain shuts down and the irrational responses take over.

In real estate there are so many moving parts spinning in motion behind the scenes.  You could have the buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, buyer, seller, tenant, landlord, title agent, lender, insurance provider, home warranty rep, home inspector, contractors, attorneys, surveyors, appraisers, family relatives etc. and the list goes on.  Any one of these players can stir the pot on a moments notice and send blood pressure readings through the roof.

When this happens we all have a choice to make.  We can meet them at their level OR choose to rise above and redirect our energy towards a peaceful resolution. In every case that I’ve intervened with over the years, the answer was not far away once we removed all obstacles from the equation.  Finding common ground is easier to do with a level head versus one that resembles a rupturing volcano.

Does pressure make you fresher, or do you tend to be sucked into the chaos when the sky appears to be falling?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this.


May the force be with you!
 JB

By Justin Brown aka JB | Jedi Master Yoda @ RE/MAX Elite


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