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Happy Birthday! COMPASS brand turns 6 in 2021

Yes, a few weeks ago the COMPASS brand turned 6 years old. Originally named “Urban Compass”, the brand name, logo, and graphics were changed in early 2015 when we were merely around 300 family members in total.

The speed at which Compass’ brand name recognition has grown – especially amongst home buyers, sellers, landlords, developers and renters, specifically in more luxury markets around the nation – in the past 6 years is quite remarkable. The brand name recognition amongst those monitoring the financial markets has been further accelerated since our IPO a month ago. The TOP 5 luxury brands in the world are:  Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, Christian Dior, and Louis Vuitton: all are at least 75 years old.  According to Statista, there is only one brand amongst the world’s TOP 20 Most Valuable Worldwide Brands that is 10 years old…..the majority have been around much longer. Of the Top 25, only seven are not one-word name brands. 

“Compass is a simpler, more universally memorable brand name that speaks directly to the connection between people and technology that is so central to what we are building,”  Matt Spangler, February 2015 when discussing the shift from URBAN COMPASS to simply….COMPASS.

A powerful brand name is possibly your most competitive advantage: imagine Coca-Cola without its brand name… would be merely just another soft drink. A brand with a distinct personality drives value perception. A brand has to evoke a perception, a story. COMPASS’ brand speaks to modern luxury. It speaks to the next generation of luxury, regardless of age. It speaks to a mentality. Boldly broadcasting our best-looking properties promotes an identity and association that has tremendous value to ALL properties we market. The brand sets the tone. A brand has to speak its own unique language. The COMPASS brand speaks to simplicity, the new language of modern luxury that is more about authenticity and simplicity than gilded opulence or stodgy heritage. It speaks to contemporary, tech-fueled efficiencies and A-grade service.

When a newly built Condominium comes to market called for example “THE PRETTY CONDOMINIUM”, many locals may identify it after many weeks of advertising and marketing. But it would cost many millions of dollars to achieve the same recognition and quality association that you achieve if you were to brand-associate the building, eg: “THE FOUR SEASON’s Pretty Condominium”.  That association INSTANTLY messages to the consumer years worth of advertising and personal experience no brand can ever hope to achieve without massive investments in money and time.

Imagine the value of the COMPASS brand when 20,000-plus in the COMPASS family are messaging that brand name multiple times per day, if not by the hour. Here are some examples:

* If every Compass agent sends out one social media post per day with the name COMPASS attached to it…..that’s over 7 million posts per year. If each social media post is exposed to on average 500 people, that’s 3.5 BILLION impressions.

* Imagine if every COMPASS family member sends 25 emails per day (I’m being kind!) with the COMPASS brand name attached….that’s close to 200 million impressions per year: that’s pessimistic knowing how much we email.

* Now add in T-shirts, print and digital advertising, billboards, mugs, video, public relations e, 6-million-plus website visits per month, yard signs, office signage, ticker-tape appearances, Robert’s book (coming out this week), etc… get the picture.

The COMPASS brand is now delivering MILLIONS of impressions ….daily. And Consistently. While all of this is very impressive, you may be asking the obvious question: “What’s in it for me?” As agents and teams, we are all our own individual brand and that is empowering and extremely valuable. Creating your own unique and differentiating identity is great. Attaching that identity to the COMPASS brand multiplies its effectiveness dramatically. It is a brand association/endorsement that speaks of invaluable marketing aspects – INSTANTLY – that is impossible to replicate.

BRAVO to our multiple teams of creative and marketing geniuses around the country who consistently and brilliantly build and nurture the COMPASS brand and maintain its high-quality standards every single day. THANK YOU!

Choice Education

by Leonard Steinberg

I am often troubled when people say about others who are in a bad way in their lives or careers: “Well, that’s what happens when you make poor choices!” Yes, it’s absolutely true, most predicaments are a direct result of choices. And yes, poor choices mostly lead to bad outcomes. But the biggest problem is that many people have never been taught HOW to choose, or they do not consult experts – or those with great experience – before they make a choice. Are you well versed on HOW to make choices?

Yes, it’s true many people make OBVIOUSLY poor choices that with just a wee bit of common sense are easily and wisely answered. But often people make uneducated or poorly informed choices. Sometimes this is a result of laziness. Often it’s because they don’t know what questions to ask of themselves and others or they are embarrassed to ask or they guess fueled by arrogance. Or they don’t pause to do the necessary homework. Going ‘with your gut’ is great, adding in thorough research and consideration is much more reliable.

Making choices via trial and error is a part of growth. Much time and aggravation and heartache and suffering could be avoided if we were better educated on HOW to make those choices. Mentors, managers, parents, teachers, solid education that teaches rationalization skills not just information, etc. are critical components in a well-lived life. Learning how to do research by consulting multiple sources and not relying on just one is helpful. All of this takes work and time. But this time spent may be your best investment.

So next time you are confronted with a choice (and all of us are, multiple times during any day) before you make that choice, ask yourself are you REALLY well enough equipped to make that choice wisely? Do you need an opinion from someone you really trust or someone who can help you navigate by asking the right questions? Have you done the correct, thorough research and fact gathering? Sometimes a simple pause is all you may need to choose wisely.
And maybe next time you attribute ‘poor choices’ to someone down on their luck or in serious trouble, try to understand whether they had the opportunity to be adequately equipped to have the ABILITY to make good choices. There is no excuse for poor choices, but often there is an explanation.

Remember:  No one succeeds alone!

Is Trillion The New Billion?

by Leonard Steinberg

These days the number ‘trillion’ seems more and more commonly used…..when did that happen?  We can all agree that a billion dollars is a lot of money, but a THOUSAND billion – or a trillion – is a mammoth amount of money!

Remember when the headlines around the world screamed how APPLE had become a TRILLION dollar company. That was in August, 2018. Today, just about 33 months later, Apple is now valued at over TWO trillion dollars. Yikes! Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft all have a trillion-dollar-plus market cap too. To put this number into perspective: Just 16 countries in the world have a GDP of $1 trillion or more.

Around the 2008/9 financial crisis – one of the worst in history – an $831 billion stimulus package was designed to juice the economy through tax cuts, credits, and spending on programs such as health care, infrastructure, and education. The coronavirus emergency plan of March 2020 cost more than twice that package and equaled nearly 10% of all US GDP. 

The average home price in 2010 was around $270,000….today that is over $400,000. Some say assets should double in value every ten years to keep up with inflation…..they may have a point! One thing is for certain, during inflationary times, real estate is a good thing!

Genius In A Bull Market

by Leonard

Recently I felt like a real genius as some of my tech stocks performed miraculously well. It is easy to feel this way when markets rise relentlessly. But real genius is required when markets are not performing this well across the board. Many of us were able to do unimaginably well during a very challenging environment this year….that may be a much bigger achievement than doing well when everything is easy.

They say you learn who your true friends are when times get tough: the same is true in business. During the toughest times, people reveal their true selves and also reveal their capabilities. Those who can perform well in tough times are often better equipped to do even better when everything is going well. Sometimes they don’t do as well performance-wise, but their consistency is more reliable and stable. Sales figures alone are not the measure of ability. Often during tougher times, the best of the best are planning and structuring things for the future, laying the foundations for future growth and success. Often they have more patience and a longer term view. 

It is during the toughest times that we have the capacity to tap into our inner genius and draw out the strength, calm, rational thinking and deliver impressive results…..not immediately, eventually.

What are your thoughts and when do you tap into your inner genius? Please do respond.

Lost Fortunes, New Fortunes

Article by Leonard Steinberg

Yesterday’s hero, Today’s ZERO? That’s brutal, and my somewhat feeble attempt at rapping…. but it serves to remind us all that when we lament the loss of some people’s fortunes – or careers – we should know that new fortunes are being created simultaneously.
One peek at the equity markets and you can be certain those invested in technology stocks are not only doing well…..they are doing REALLY well, while those who were airline or hospitality magnates might not be doing so well right now.  Fortunes come and go. Careers come and go. Very few people maintain their career-leading status their entire lives. Some may not even want to. Take a look at the list of Hollywood titans from 5 years ago: today several of those bold names are almost invisible. Helen Hunt used to be in three movies a year, and today that is no longer the case. Many ‘faded fortunes or careers’ still leave their ‘victims’ quite well-to-do though, so please don’t cry for them Argentina!
Twenty years ago, certain real estate agents and brokerages dominated certain markets: today, many of them are non-existent, or largely minimized. Things change. Careers change. Fortunes come and go. As the planet evolves, so too do the beneficiaries.  Who knew of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos 25 years ago? Who knew of Compass …..or Warby Parker, Uber, or Zoom a decade ago? Of course there are several professionals, leaders and brands that have been around for many decades and continue to thrive, mostly because they evolve and adapt quickly……like Walmart, Target, etc who saw the threat of e-commerce early and adjusted with great speed as if their lives depended on it.
In this reality-check lies a reminder for us as agents to adapt, re-educate ourselves, evolve and continuously be on the lookout for new trends and opportunities…..and the next generation of successful clients whose real estate needs may require your expertise and guidance. 
If there was one single lesson I learned from my decade in fashion it was to be continuously looking forward to the NEXT trend (while maintaining my business as it was). Opportunity lurks always, anytime. In this lies tremendous opportunity and growth potential. And the ability to replace lost business.

The ZOOMationship

by Leonard Steinberg

photo by The Verge
In this world where we are forging, maintaining, and nurturing relationships via virtual meetings, let me be the one to say this out loud and clear:  I HATE IT! Soon it will be time to take the ZOOM out of ZOOMationship and replace it with REAL!
Yes, virtual meetings do work in several instances, and I look forward to continuing them where appropriate and effective. Yes, without Zoom, BlueJeans, GoogleMeet, etc, we may never have survived the Pandemic Lockdown and I’m eternally appreciative. But I’ll never be convinced – EVER – that a virtual digital meeting can replace the spontaneity, creativity, energy, and human interaction of a face-to-face meeting. NEVER! EVER! Yes, I may be wrong about this maybe because I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but I don’t care. There, I’ve said it.

Working from home in a digital, virtual bubble is possible and many of us are thriving doing so in these extraordinary times. But there will come a time when COVID will be manageable and even eradicated. Maybe then we will fully realize that quality, substantive relationships that help build and fuel careers require face-to-face reality. Small facial gestures, mini-interruptions, other body languages, and a whole host of elements only possible in face-to-face interaction matter in developing real understanding and connection. Yes, we will continue to incorporate virtual meetings forever moving forward (we had done so pre-COVID) but when we meet again face-to-face(it’s coming soon) we may realize that quitting the office altogether is simply a bad and unsustainable idea.

Thought that this article would be interesting to actually everyone!

Low Grade Depression

Are you feeling a little blue these days? Not depressed, but maybe just a little sad or down? You are not alone. Even those of us who have weathered – and even thrived – during COVID may be experiencing a mild depression bombarded daily with bad news, the end of Summer and a general sense of loss/lack of control/fallibility/etc.  The Mental Health Index says the risk for depression among U.S. workers climbed by 31% from June to July and soared by 102% since February.

So you think it’s only older folk like me who may feel a bit down these days? Wrong. Workers between 20 and 30 have a 101% higher risk of depression and a 132% greater risk of general anxiety disorder than those between the ages of 40 to 59 and a 305% higher risk of depression than those ages 60 and older. In fact, around 25% of young adults have felt a sense of hopelessness recently due to the pandemic.

Overall levels of stress and anxiety remain approximately 14% and 11% above normal, respectively. A recent American Psychological Association study that found 83% of Americans believe the fate of the nation is a significant source of stress, while 78% sited the pandemic as a major stress factor and 71% said police violence toward minorities was a key stress source.
So now that we know we are not alone, what can we do about it? Here are some thoughts:
1.  Knowledge is power. Knowing you are not alone feeling some of these feelings should come as a relief. OF COURSE some of us will feel this way! A good reminder that we are human. If these times don’t bother us a bit, then what will?

2.  Don’t ever be embarrassed by feelings of depression. It’s normal and there is ZERO shame. ZERO! 

3.  Seek help. Even if it’s just a conversation with a colleague, friend or family member. There are multiple helplines if you cannot afford private professional help. If your depression feels overwhelming, seek professional help without delay.

4.  Don’t wait. Time heals lots, but sometimes depression can snowball.

5.  Plan healthy routines and stick to them. Be sure to include PEOPLE in those routines.

6.  What makes you feel happy? List these things and include them in your daily/weekly routines. Seek new things that might cheer you up. Stay busy.

7.  Identify and evaluate your trigger points so that you can rationalize and manage them more effectively.

8.  What you are feeling now should be EXPECTED, not a surprise. We all deal with stress differently, but these are stressful times on any standards.

9.  Speak to anyone who has been mildly depressed in the past and they will say that looking back they are glad they experienced what they did to fuel gratitude when the good times returned.

10. VERY few of us are happy and joyful all the time. Being a little down some of the time is healthy and ok.

C.H.O.T.E.S6 Things Wealthy People Seek

by Leonard Steinberg

I know wealthy people rather well. In the USA, ‘wealthy’ is attributed to the 5% worth $2.5 million or more. I have worked with and been around wealthy people all my life and I feel I truly understand what really, really matters to them. These days – more than ever – there are six things that I feel matter to them most as it relates to where they choose to live:
1. Culture: Why make all that money if you cannot spend it on something and enjoy the fruits of society such as art, music, theatre, opera, great food, etc. These are the things that stimulate creativity and fuel enjoyment of life.
2.  Health.  Everyone knows by now – more so than ever before – that without good health life is very different and less enjoyable. Being healthy and having access to outstanding healthcare is critically important. Access to the best Doctors, Hospitals, nutrition, workout and exercise facilities all matter. Creating a healthy living environment in a healthy city/town/village is an increasing priority.
3.  Opportunity:  To create, grow and maintain wealth being in a place that encourages, stimulates and nurtures opportunity is vital. These days much of this can be done remotely by investing in far off places, yet the environment wealthy people live in must have a ‘can-do’ spirit, and attract job-creating industries that stimulate growth
4. Taxes.  I have yet to find a wealthy person who dreams of paying more taxes. Unfortunately our world has classified all wealthy people as “billionaires who don’t pay their fair share of taxes”. In some areas this is true for the few who have enormous tax loopholes that allow them to pay far less than similarly wealthy people…..who end up paying much more to compensate for this (mostly legal) abuse of the system. Lumping all the wealthy under one umbrella is silly: I know many wealthy people who are quite comfortable paying their fair share of taxes (and some even believe they should pay more!) as long as what they pay in shows real value to the world and their community. Too often tax money is wasted and inefficiently spent. 
5. Education: I know of many wealthy people who made a move specifically for schools or colleges. Some have moved towards the cities with the best educational institutions knowing corporations and innovation will follow suit. I feel certain Mike Bloomberg’s investment in the Cornell Tech Campus in New York has helped fuel a tech boom in the city. Business goes to where the talent is.

6.  Safety: Most wealthy people simply don’t want to worry (or even think) about crime and safety. Safety may be their most important priority. Any country, state, village, town or city that is unable to deliver safety and security is doomed to attract or retain the wealthy.
All people will prioritize the above differently, but all matter. And all the above matter to ALL people, wealthy and not wealthy. Some of these needs may be offset by a private jet or broadband. If any state, city, town or village wishes to attract – and retain – wealthy people to their area, focusing on the above six items would be prudent and practical. While some may resent the wealthy right now, we cannot ignore some harsh realities:  the wealthy  pay almost 39% of all federal taxes collected, create businesses, donate heavily to charities, cultural and educational institutions, spend LOTS, create jobs and new industries and invest in them to grow, etc. Some are monsters for sure, but the vast majority are not. Most of us are extremely reliant on the buying habits of the wealthy. Unfortunately unlike most of us, the wealthy have the luxury of mobility and choice, and they will gravitate toward the places that deliver most of the above …..because they can.

Thought that this was a very interesting article and something that you might not know.

Today Will Be A Perfect Day!

Article by Leonard Steinberg

My partner Thom told me the funniest story yesterday while we took an early morning walk through the exquisite meadows of Northern Westchester – an hour outside of Manhattan – that was reminiscent of the best in the Cotswolds, Provence or Tuscany (without the jetlag!). The story goes like this:
Once as a kid, he awoke to a similar, perfect-weather day. It was gorgeous. Spectacular. That day was going to be the best day ever. Just before he headed out on that beautiful Summer’s day, he paused reminding himself that Summer was also a time for bugs….. So he and his friends were prudent and proceeded to spray one another with bug repellent. As he depressed that sprayer button to help out his friends – pfffffft! – he realized the sprayer was pointed in the wrong direction and he sprayed his face with repellent, with eyes open. You know the rest of the story. He spent the rest of that perfect day washing his eyes out and keeping them closed to heal from the nasty effects. That day that had all the promise of perfection was dashed in a split second.
This little tale is not designed to get you depressed. But it is a good reminder that what happens at the very beginning of the day does not necessarily determine the rest of that day. Conversely, the day may start out on a bad note and continue to improve through the day, ending on a high note. The great stuff may happen in the last hour or minutes. Likewise, be wary of judging your performance or success by a week, month or even a year. Sometimes you can have a bad year (or even two) and sometimes you can have a sensational year. Neither will determine or define a career.
Yes, I begin every day with an overwhelming sense of optimism and a can-do spirit. I make every effort to make every day the best it can be. But stop being too harsh on yourself when things don’t work out the way you want when you want or expect them to. Know that the roller-coaster of life always delivers ups AND downs. Try to enjoy the experience during both times, knowing roller-coasters never go down or up without a change.
Have a TERRIFIC Tuesday!

Hope you enjoyed this article.

The Great Unlocking Of 2020

Over the past several years, as many owners of very large suburban homes saw their kids depart for college and elsewhere to become ’empty-nesters’ they were confronted with multiple challenges to sell their homes and downsize or relocate. This market stalled fueled by the desire for more efficiently scaled homes, urban living and the limitation of the SALT tax deductions in the December 2017 tax bill that impacted many of these homes in higher tax states. 

Then along came COVID-19, and all of a sudden a new buyer pool opened for larger homes, and this market re-awakened with a bang. What until early 2020 seemed like a ‘dying’ market sector that had experienced dreadful sales volume and substantial price declines in many areas roared back to life. Now these empty nesters have the ability to move on with their lives, relocate to smaller homes more suitable to their space needs, or move back to the urban environments they left to raise kids in a suburban setting. Or move to another location altogether based on retirement needs.

In January, 2018, horrific mudslides devastated parts of Montecito – one of the most beautiful places on earth – following massive wildfires. This week news broke that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle bought a massive house in the area, following extremely robust buying activity in recent months that has consumed much of the inventory that had stagnated for many months. What to some seemed hopeless at one point, is now thriving again.

What do these two things have in common? Time. Time has the capacity to unlock that which may seem impossible or even hopeless. Time heals most things. Time allows us to get a clearer perspective. Time answers unanswered questions. Time allows evolution and innovation to get back on track. Time allows us to forget. No area of the planet – or real estate markets – is immune from some form of adversity. And it is usually time that restores things back to ‘normal’.

Yes time implies the one thing we all lack most….patience. In the waiting, some will panic. Some will predict eternal gloom and doom. Others, however, will wait and see while some will see opportunity, roll up their sleeves and get back to work, taking accurate inventory, evaluating solutions and future mitigation to prevent repeating past mistakes. And ultimately benefit when the stalemate unlocks.

The “GREAT UNLOCKING of 2020” of the stalled large-house market is one example of how all (most) stalled markets turn eventually, some sooner than others.