Viewing by month: April 2011

Changes to new south wales' residential tenancy laws

As of the end of January 2011, the New South Wales residency tenancy laws changed quite significantly. The new Residential Tenancy Act 2010 applies to all existing and new residential tenancies, and therefore affects you and the advice you give on a daily basis as a CENTURY 21 real estate agent to both your rental clients and landlords. 

According to NSW Fair Trading, the new Act contains more than 100 areas of reform.  However the main changes outlined by NSW Fair Trading are as follows:

• There is more protection for victims of domestic violence
• Tenants must be given at least one means of paying their rent that does not incur a fee
• The time to evict a tenant who has stopped paying rent will be cut by up to 18 days
• Red tape will be cut for landlords dealing with goods left behind
• Tenants will be able to make reasonable requests to make minor changes to premises or to sub-lease a spare room
• Landlords will be required to make premises ‘water efficient’ if they wish to charge tenants for water usage
• Landlords will gain the right to show premises to prospective tenants or buyers at least twice a week
• Landlords and their agents will be prohibited from knowingly concealing certain important information from tenants
• Tenants will no longer be forced to have carpets professionally steam-cleaned when vacating premises. 

The NSW Fair Trading website contains further information about the changes, with specifics on how they apply to both renters and landlords.  If you haven’t already, it may be a worthwhile exercise to take some time to read through the changes in detail, so that you can confidently explain them to your property clients. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 27/04/2011 at 9:09 AM | Categories:

Working Smarter

It is fact – Australians tend to put in more hours at work and take fewer annual leave days than those in most industrialised countries.  As a career driven Australian, this fact from The Economist may inspire you, however the reality is that as a working culture, Australians may be working harder and longer, but not smarter.

As a CENTURY 21 real estate agent the concept of ‘working smarter’ means that you should achieve the same results using less time. Be aware that working more intelligently does not necessarily mean working less; instead you will learn to work with focus and intent. The elimination of yourself from distraction is key if you want to become an efficient restate agent.

With today’s instant messaging, emails and online disruptions readily available at any given time, it is difficult to find solitude during the working day to concentrate with intent on your tasks at hand.  Distraction and procrastination are the enemy of most agents as it is naturally easy to be led by either.

Despite the buzz around you and constant movement to and from the office, one helpful method of working smarter not harder is to distinguish the difference between being busy and being productive. When you are busy you could feel productive, but this may not be the case. It is results such as exchanging on contracts and meeting with clients that can help you move forward in your career, as opposed to the less relevant tasks you may be more tempted to check off your weekly to do list instead.

Whilst concentrating on achieving your high output tasks at work, you also need to learn how to work faster by identifying opportunities and knowing when to say no. Most agents take on more than they can handle, causing stress and discomfort. Unfortunately in these situations learning how to multitask is not necessarily the answer. Studies have shown that more time is spent switching from task to task when multitasking and that it is difficult to effectively progress forward on any one task properly.  The simple answer here is to say no when appropriate, taking on an 80/20 principle and eliminating yourself from further distraction.

Happiness can be achieved when productivity enables a higher quality of life, not frantic over-achievement. If you can learn to eliminate distraction at work and only accept an ambitious yet suitable workload for your job title, you will be able to face a long list of tasks without procrastination.

Learning to work smarter as a real estate agent will help you to significantly increase your output, giving you back some time to spend with family and friends and improving your life-work balance. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 19/04/2011 at 11:43 AM | Categories:

Learning to deal with workplace conflict

It is not uncommon for real estate agents to encounter conflict on a regular basis, whether it is with a colleague in the office, or caused by differences between buyers and sellers.  Learning to confront and deal with such tensions can help you to effectively manage the emotions that can arise during these stressful situations.

Workplace conflict can cause large amounts of tension and has the potential to turn a pleasant working environment toxic.  Left unresolved, a difference in opinion between two agents can turn from a neutral situation into negative and potentially harmful conflict.  It is in situations like these that you need to step back, reflect on the situation and act accordingly.

Mediation can be an effective and useful tool to resolve real estate disputes, regardless of whether it involves two real estate agents or a vendor and a buyer.  As an agent who may be faced with such situations, it could be a worthwhile exercise to talk to your manager about attending a training session teaching effective mediation techniques.

The mediation process involves a lot of preparation and skill and the lack of knowledge and understanding between both parties in conflict may cause the process to be long and drawn out.  Learning to be knowledgeable, assertive and respectful towards the opinions and perceptions of others is a great tool in general to learn, and a helpful skill to assist you when workplace conflict does arise. 

If you possess a non-confrontational personality, the following suggestions may aid you to resolve and prevent your own conflict, both in the workplace and out in the field.

For individual situations:
1. Address the problem directly.
2. Look for the facts, not the emotions, inflaming the situation.
3. Find common ground by identifying the agreed upon facts behind the argument.
4. Be positive.

When mediating between others, employ the above, as well as:
5. Listen to both sides by letting each party talk without interruption to better gauge their perception on how and why the tension arose (it is usually best to talk to each party separately).
6. Bring both parties together to discuss the issues. There may be facts that the other party was not aware of, so as mediator it is always good to slowly talk through the scenario at hand.
7. Seek a situation of compromise

Conflicts inside or outside the workplace are generally inevitable.  The best way you can manage and learn from them is to encourage acts of mediation by identifying the underlying problem at hand. You will find that most conflicts are personality based and may seem difficult to settle in the workplace. If you would like to learn how to deal more effectively with workplace conflict, it is advised that you pursue any available mediation and work conflict training.

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 08/04/2011 at 11:32 AM | Categories:

Networking for real estate success

There is no doubt that the way we as a society communicate and network has changed and will continue to change.  With the establishment of social media giants such as Facebook and LinkedIn, much of the way we network for both social and business purposes has been transferred online, with many people now discounting the importance of personal contact. 

Being a CENTURY 21 real estate agent and part of a worldwide network of skilled professionals, it is worthwhile taking a moment to recognise the value to your career that can be created by using both forms of networking.  You can definitely improve the success of your personal networking by combining social media and the art of one-on-one communication.   

Traditionally if you wanted to network with prospective clients or persons of influence in business you could take them out for lunch or drinks, or attend community networking events.  Despite the rising popularity of virtual networking, this face-to-face contact was and still remains one of the best ways to establish and build successful personal and professional relationships. 

There is no denying that web-based networking tools such as Facebook and LinkedIn are an essential aspect of the way networking will exist in the future.  The arrival of both sites has had a remarkable impact on individuals and businesses globally, as people are easily able to make themselves visible to others who may be interested or working in the same areas.  A conversation can be started as simply as clicking on a button.   

Viral networking has definitely changed the way businesses and people act.  It has shrunk the globe and made e-communication easy, convenient and live, allowing the formation of successful international relationships.  For all the positives however, online networking seems to have given people in all industries, including real estate, an excuse to reduce the amount of time they spend meeting people in face-to-face situations.  

Real estate is inherently a people’s business.  There is no doubt that while clients may appreciate the convenience of communicating and receiving information online, you will be able to build a more solid relationship with them when you see them face-to-face.  

It is therefore important to stay ahead of the game with your real estate networking and not lose sight of the importance of face-to-face contact.  Appreciate online methods for the convenience and timeliness they provide, and combine them with more traditional forms of personal networking to ensure you build successful relationships that last over the long-term. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 04/04/2011 at 9:34 AM | Categories: