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Disarm them!

Sometimes you have to face a colleague or client or make a call that is just so incredibly uncomfortable for a host of reasons. Instead of focusing all your efforts on arming yourself with ammunition to fight, why not focus the same energy on DIS-arming your subject instead.

Yesterday, I had to make a difficult call to a significantly more difficult client. At first I listed in my mind ALL the horrible things they had done that have slowed down everything about the sale of their apartment to a crawl. This was going to be my ammunition for WAR!  Then as I dialed the dreaded number, I thought of a moment with my friend from Texas who visited in New York a few years ago. Instead of yelling at a cab driver who was driving like a lunatic (my immediate, automatic and natural inclination) she reached forward to the cab driver and with a charming smile and her kind, Texan drawl said: “Excuse me sir, I love this music you are playing. May I ask a favor of you? I would so greatly appreciate it if you were to slow down.  I have a rather weak heart and I would rather get to my appointment a bit later than have a heart attack and ruin your day!” The cab driver slowed down instantly.

So instead of going into attack mode, I applied this lesson with a few “you are so right” and “that’s such a great idea” comments along with some well timed laughter. The testy client was almost immediately pacified. I dialed into my empathy gene. I recognized this was the best way to calm him down knowing how stressful selling a home can be. Instead of attacking, I focused on the future benefits of our life together….me as the broker and he as the happy client.

DIS-arming is usually much better than WAR! (It’s much more fun too and can make you feel extremely powerful!)

Thought that we all could this as a better way to DIS-arm an incredibly uncomfortable situation.

Home Energy Assessment

Canva - Hand Touching Lit Lightbulb
Photo by geralt
As agents, staying in touch with your clients is critically important. We should add value to their lives on a regular basis, not just at the time of a transaction. This way our costs seem so much more palatable. Why not suggest doing a home energy assessment to your clients? Maybe gift this to them upon closing? I know few people who wouldn’t like to save a buck…..and help this planet consume more efficiently.
A professional assessor can identify numerous areas of energy cost-savings within a home – you’d be amazed! – that can save lots. These assessments cost around $400. Most opportunities exist around heating and cooling and insulation. Did you know that many people have too large air-conditioners that fill up a room too quickly with cold air that adds to moisture and condensation: a smaller unit may use less energy and achieves the same cooling. This may be especially valuable to renters…. doing right by renters may lead them to be loyal buyers in the future? Leaking ducts and crawl spaces are other opportunity areas. A caulking gun can perform wonders!
Timed thermostat controls for heating and cooling can substantially reduce costs and usage too. More energy-efficient new appliances can make a big difference. Newer water heating systems can improve energy efficiency anywhere up to 300%! Switching from incandescent lighting to LED’s can save up to 85% in energy usage.
You get the idea. Herein lies an opportunity to inform your clients and reminds them that you are a real estate advisor who cares about much more than just a commission check!

Agent Renovation Consultancy – COMPASS CONSULT?


Many agents around the country are not that knowledgeable about design and renovation, but the vast majority of us do know what does and does not deliver re-sale value in a renovated property. It’s time to message this service more boldly to our clientele and the consumer at large.
How many times have you been called in to pitch/value a renovated home to sell only to be confronted by a multitude of renovation touch-points that simply add little or no value to the re-sale price. Often people spend on items that have little re-sale value while forgetting to address the critically important stuff. Sometimes I witness items that are not only semi-worthless, but actually take away value as I know the next buyer will either be distracted by them and probably have to remove these items at a substantial cost.
We as real estate professionals and advisors should encourage ALL consumers and clients to consult with us FIRST before undertaking a renovation, even the smaller ones. There is nothing worse than over-capitalizing when renovating…..the disappointment some sellers experience when they discover that their expensive custom shelves have ZERO re-sale value can be painful. We can guide homeowners to what is critically important.This is also a perfect opportunity to engage with potential future sellers who may ultimately call you down the road to sell their home. These prospective future sellers are certain to speak kindly of you – and refer business to you potentially – if you provide them valuable advice.
While the services we provide via COMPASS CONCIERGE are a wonderful tool to help sellers prepare their homes for sale, we often encourage our clients to be a bit more selfish:  make your home gorgeous and desirable while you live there, not just when you sell. And then when you do sell, reap the benefits for the SECOND time!


Good morning on this Good Friday:


To everyone at Compass who celebrates Easter and Passover this weekend, my very best to you, your friends and family.

DID YOU KNOW? U.S. single-family rents increased 2.9% year over year in February 2019, up from a 2.7% increase in February 2018, according to the CoreLogic Single-Family Rental Index.

DID YOU KNOW? New Mexico beat out Florida as the number 1 destination for retirees to move to. (Marketwatch)

DID YOU KNOW? On April 3, Fannie Mae updated a document called the “Second-Home Rider.” The previous version of the rider, in force since 2001, was interpreted by many lenders and homeowners as completely prohibiting second-home owners in mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac from renting the property. The rider’s new language now explicitly allows homeowners to rent a second home after one year of ownership, and it allows short-term renting in the first year under certain conditions. (WSJ)

DID YOU KNOW? As home prices soared in recent years, homebuyers’ struggles with worsening affordability understandably garnered a lot of attention. But affordability isn’t just an ownership problem. Some data indicate that since the last housing boom homebuyers overall have fared better than renters. Nationally since 2005, the monthly cost to rent a single-family home has increased significantly (up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005), while the monthly principal-and-interest mortgage payment that homebuyers face is still slightly lower. (CoreLogic)

DID YOU KNOW? Census Bureau data show that the estimated number of cost-burdened, owner-occupied homes with a mortgage fell 32% over the 10-year period, from 19.4 million in 2007 to 13.2 million in 2017. Over the same period, the estimated number of cost-burdened, renter-occupied homes rose nearly 19%, from 16.8 million in 2007 to 19.9 million in 2017.

DID YOU KNOW? NETFLIX is investing $100 million by 2024 to build 6 new sound stages in Brooklyn and add 127 jobs to the 32 it already has in Manhattan. Netflix’s new corporate offices will cover 100,000 square feet at 888 Broadway, the old ABC Carpet and Home.

Great article! by Leonard Steinberg with Compass