Real Living Brokerages Win Big for 2018 QE Awards

Real Living is proud to announce that an astonishing 18 Real Living network brokerages won a 2018 QE Award – more than any other real estate brand this year. The QE Award recognizes America’s Top 35 real estate firms based on service excellence.

The following Real Living network brokerages were named among medium-sized companies:

  • Sine & Monaghan Real Living, Mich.
  • Real Living Kee Realty, Rochester, Mich.
  • Real Living Realty Professionals, Mass.

The following Real Living network brokerages were recognized among small-sized companies:

  • BOWES Real Estate Real Living, Arlington, Mass.
  • Real Living Pittman Properties, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Real Living Property For You, Peoria, Ariz.
  • Real Living Capital City, Atlanta, Ga.
  • Real Living 1st Choice Realty, Coral Springs, Fla.
  • Real Living Real Estate Experts, Warren, Pa.
  • Real Living Georgia Life Realty, Villa Rica, Ga.
  • Real Living Casa Fina Realty, Tampa Fla.
  • Real Living Cornerstone, Farmville, Va.
  • Real Living Gateway Real Estate, Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.
  • Real Living Brokers Realty Group, Warren, Ohio
  • Real Living Now Real Estate, St. Louis Metro Area, Mo.
  • Real Living Real Estate Professionals, Redding, Calif.
  • Real Living Northwest REALTORS®, Bothell, Wash.
  • Real Living Palm West Home Realty, Inc., Palm Coast, Fla.

According to QSC, the QE Award is the combined overall Customer Satisfaction Rating of all returned surveys of real customers, where every past customer has been surveyed without selectivity, editing, deletion, cleansing or manipulation.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!


Thoughts on Leadership: Business Plan Now

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me in Northern California, taking meetings, organizing calls and just this morning, leading a teleconference with Debbie De Grote, founder/CEO of Excelleum Coaching & Consulting all about business planning. For all of us, a business plan is vital because even as an agent we must think of ourselves as a business, and all businesses must have a plan. Remember the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Some may think it’s strange though to have a business-planning call at the end of August but there’s a reason for this exact timing. During my 30+ years in the real estate business—as an agent, a manager and an owner of a company—I’ve always found that there’s a cash flow problem in the months of January and February. This applies to agents as much as it does to owners.

Why? Because real estate operates on a 90-day cycle, so what we do 90 days before gets paid out 90 days later. This means a lag in business during the fall months will show up in Q1 of the new year. The lag is understandable, though avoidable; it’s obvious to notice right after Halloween a great number of agents go into hibernation. There’s Thanksgiving, the holidays … life gets busy and business gets put on the back burner. (Extrapolate those 90 days during this lull and you’ll understand clearly why cash-flow problems plague us in January and February.)

To get you started, access our Business Planning Essentials by clicking HERE

Starting now, I want us to no longer think of Jan. 1 as the beginning of the new year. Our new start? Oct. 1. If we assume Oct. 1 is the “new” New Year, then we have to take the month of September to complete our business plan by that date.

As a small aside, it may seem early but now is a great time to organize the holiday cards you’ll send out, to arrange for a family photo shoot, to make sure you handwrite those messages (if possible) for your prospective and current clients. You want your holiday card to be in the mail on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so when that Friday hits and everyone is shopping and home with family, yours is the first card they receive. (As a tip, make sure it has your photo and/or a family photo on it so they’ll be more likely to keep it.)

Another very important aspect of your business plan is to schedule your calendar for the entire year. The first thing to schedule is your vacation, days off—anything that will give you balance. This will ensure that it actually happens and you don’t schedule meetings or calls during the time when you’re supposed to be off.

So, what’s the message? First, if you haven’t already, click HERE to download the Business Planning Essentials document. Then make a promise to dedicate the entire month of September to complete your plan and have it polished, finished and ready to go on Oct. 1. But this timing shouldn’t just be applied now; you should for the rest of your career use this as a framework to build and grow your business. Each year, pledge to complete your business plan by Oct. 1 and then, when everyone else isn’t working or scrambling to business plan over the holidays, you’ll be way ahead of the game.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


Real Living 360 Service Mid-year Results: National Customer Satisfaction Results Exceed 97%

Real Living Real Estate is pleased to announce that Real Living 360 Service ratings are in for thousands of transactions between January 1 and June 30th, and both home buying and selling satisfaction once again exceeds 97%! 
These results put the network on track to once again achieve a 97% satisfaction rating for the year, and potentially reach 98%. We appreciate the efforts of everyone in the network in providing superior customer service.

Real Living Network Brokerages Among Top Firms For Services Excellence

Companies Honored with QE Award for Verified “Extraordinary Customer Service”- an Industry First

America’s Top 35 real estate firms based on service excellence are being honored for exceptional customer service satisfaction with an industry first – a QE Award (pronounced “Quie”) – “that measures and independently verifies excellence in the delivery of the highest levels of customer satisfaction and service quality in real estate in North America,” according to Quality Service Certification, Inc. (QSC), creators of the award.

“They’re not just raising the bar for customer service; they’ve committed to a whole new standard knowing consumers are tired of seeing meaningless perfect reviews where every agent has a 5-star rating.”

The 2017 QE Award recognizes the Top 5 Large Companies, the Top 10 Midsize Companies and the Top 20 Small Companies, spanning 22 states, from Florida to California and Minnesota to Texas, and includes some of the most respected independent and well-known national and regional brand names.

“There is no greater honor than earning the highest ratings from our customers for the hard work of our agents touching all the bases and bringing home a fantastic service experience for every one of our clients,” said Mike Pappas, President and CEO at Keyes Real Estate in South Florida. “That’s why winning a QE Award from Quality Service Certification is the best award any brokerage in real estate can receive,” he added.

The 2017 QE Award is based upon the results of an independent survey limited solely to buyers and sellers who were in a real estate transaction that actually closed with participating real estate companies from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.  Quality Service Certification, Inc. and Leading Research Corporation, San Juan Capistrano, CA administer the survey process to ensure that every past customer is surveyed, preventing agents or the company from interference or influence in any way.

The 2017 QE Award winners for the Top 5 Large Companies include:

  • Charles Rutenberg Realty, Greater Chicagoland Area
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties, Northern California and Nevada
  • Harry Norman, REALTORS®, Atlanta, GA
  • The Keyes Company, South Florida
  • RE/MAX of Reading, Reading, PA

The 2017 QE Award winners for the Top 10 Medium Companies include:

  • Real Living Messina & Associates, Inc., Duluth, MN
  • Kinlin Grover Real Estate, Osterville, MA
  • RE/MAX Estate Properties, Los Angeles, CA
  • Real Living Kee Realty, Rochester/Clinton MI
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Tomie Raines REALTORS®, East Lansing, MI
  • Real Living Realty Professionals, MA
  • CJR Carol Jones Realtors, A Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate, Springfield, MO
  • RE/MAX Allegiance, Alexandria, VA
  • Coldwell Banker Hickok & Boardman Realty, Burlington, VT
  • Keller Williams Classic Realty, Coon Rapids, MN

The 2017 QE Award winners for the Top 20 Small Companies include:

  • The Berkshire Group, REALTORS®, Denver, CO
  • Home Realty, Inc., Owensboro, KY
  • Real Living Property For You, Peoria, AZ
  • Real Living 1st Choice Realty, Coral Springs, FL
  • Real Living Capital City Realty, Atlanta, GA
  • BOWES Real Estate Real Living, Arlington, MA
  • Real Living CO Properties, Denver, CO
  • Real Living Palm West Home Realty, Inc., Palm Coast, FL
  • RE/MAX Select, Oviedo, FL
  • Real Living Wareck D’Ostilio, New Haven, CT
  • Real Living Northwest REALTORS, Bothell, WA
  • MikkiMoves Real Estate, Inc., Eureka, CA
  • Real Living Cypress Realty, Inc., Fort Myers, FL
  • Real Living Volpini Realty Group, Youngstown, OH
  • Real Living Karapasha Realty, Katy, TX
  • ERA Martin Associates, Salisbury, MD
  • Real Living Realty Group, Franklin, MA
  • Golden Real Estate, Inc., Golden, CO
  • Real Living Gateway Realtors, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
  • First Colorado Realty, Inc., Estes Park, CO

“At a time when consumer are seeking transparency, greater accountability, and trusted information to help them make better, more informed decisions and choices, hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of their service professionals are now electing to participate in service assessment and feedback following every transaction, which is setting a new and better standard for excellence,” said Kevin C. Romito, President, Quality Service Certification, Inc.

“They’re not just raising the bar for customer service; they’ve committed to a whole new standard knowing consumers are tired of seeing meaningless perfect reviews where every agent has a 5-star rating,” Romito adds. “We believe that in a consumer-centric world the higher standard for gauging excellence in professional services should authentically measure how well each customer is served not just how much business is done.”

Larry Romito, Chairman, CEO sees the new QE Award as motivation for change. “We hope the prestigious recognition of the QE Award for measurable excellence in service and satisfaction will launch a viral movement toward better customer service, transparency and accountability, where every real past customer is surveyed and all surveys are unedited.  That’s what QSC and the new QE Award are all about. A complete, reliable picture of customer feedback, from real past customers on issues important to prospective consumers,” he added.

Romito notes that the QE Award is based upon the aggregated overall Customer Satisfaction Rating of all returned surveys of real customers where every past customer has been surveyed without selectivity, editing, deletion, cleansing or manipulation. “No other system exists in the real estate industry that can legitimately make that claim,” he said, noting that “accurate, reliable, independently validated survey results of individual agents” can be accessed by visiting RatedAgent.com.

Quality Service Certification, Inc. created the QE Award to foster, encourage and recognize the highest levels of service quality and customer satisfaction.  QSC with its sister company Leading Research Corporation assures the careful measurement and independent validation of service and satisfaction results.

Eligibility for the 2017 QE Award requires a minimum number of surveys sent and returned, which may be adjusted from year to year based upon market conditions and the number of participants. More than 30,000 real estate agents and 750 companies elected to participate in the customer satisfaction assessment survey process in 2016 for the 2017 QE Award.

About Quality Service Certification  

Quality Service Certification, Inc., based in San Juan Capistrano, CA, provides the most accurate and valuable customer service measurement service for the real estate industry, having conducted more than 2 million customer satisfaction surveys of real estate agents. QSC offers consumers the only complete, reliable and unbiased picture of participating agents’ overall and detailed customer service satisfaction history. QSC provides real estate agents the timely and detailed feedback they need to both improve and maintain their highest levels of professional service. For brokerages, QSC offers a Performance Management Platform that helps firms better influence, manage and control professional activities that they can otherwise not see – resulting in measurably better, more satisfying and a more valued customer service experience. Founded in 2000, accurate, reliable, independently validated survey results of individual agents from QSC can be accessed by visiting RatedAgent.com.


Real Living McCarthy Real Estate Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Marietta, OH-based Real Living McCarthy Real Estate just celebrated 60 years in business this winter. Located right on the Ohio River bordering West Virginia, the brokerage has seen a lot of change in its local economy over the past six decades. From large factories producing plastics, oil and gas to a huge reservoir and a power plant, despite the changes, the firm has managed to stay consistently strong.
“I believe we’ll have another really good year,” said Steve McCarthy, broker/owner at Real Living McCarthy Real Estate. “We don’t see the highs and lows so much around Marietta.” McCarthy bought the company with his brother and sister in 1989 from their late father, Walter J. McCarthy, who started the company in 1957 during the post-war residential development boom.
“Congratulations to the team at Real Living McCarthy Real Estate,” said Robert McAdams Jr., president of Real Living Real Estate. “We wish them many, many more years of continued success!”

Real Living Recognized as 'Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year' in 2017 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study

Here at Real Living Real Estate, we were recently recognized as “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” and “Most Trusted” real estate brand in the 29th annual Harris Poll EquiTrend® study. Real Living Real Estate has received Brand of the Year honors for two consecutive years and is the only brokerage network to be recognized twice in its category.

“Back-to-back awards of this stature are a wonderful tribute to the individual brokerage members across America who represent the Real Living Real Estate network,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates, which operates Real Living Real Estate. “Our franchisees do a great job for their clients and, in doing so, build a strong culture trust and integrity.”

The Brand of the Year study is based on consumers’ perception of brand familiarity, quality and usage consideration across more than 4,000 brands. Brands ranking highest receive the Harris Poll EquiTrend “Brand of the Year” award in their category. Real Living Real Estate’s distinction as “Most Trusted” real estate brand represents its reliability and integrity in the eyes of respondents. The study includes the opinions of more than 100,000 U.S. consumers surveyed online earlier this year.

Robert McAdams Jr., president of Real Living Real Estate, said the network’s philosophy to invite client collaboration in the real estate process may be a factor in the brand’s overall favorability and rank as the “Most Trusted” brand in real estate. “Client satisfaction and trust is our highest priority,” he explained. “It’s the foundation of our Real Living 360 Service® program, which invites clients to rate the service of their Real Living Real Estate network professionals following closed transactions.”

Earlier this year the brand received an impressive 97% satisfaction rating from buyers and sellers through the Real Living 360 Service® program as tracked by Quality Service Certification, Inc., an independent research firm. This ties a record high satisfaction rating for Real Living Real Estate network agents.

“Real Living Real Estate network professionals are honored to serve their customers’ real estate needs and their performance truly sets them apart in the industry,” said McAdams. “We are thrilled their hard work and dedication has been recognized.”


Thoughts on Leadership: The Importance of Celebration

By Gino Blefari

This week my travels find me first working from my home office in Northern California and then eastbound to Miami for the AREAA Global Luxury Summit, all about the rise of Miami as an international powerhouse for high-end real estate investment. Speaking of real estate, spring is such a critical time in the cycle of a real estate agent—we’re right in the middle of spring selling season—and it’s often a time when we expect a lot and reality may not always deliver. That’s why I want to write today about the importance of celebration, (as you know, I always say we must celebrate the small wins), and how critical it is to make time to celebrate as we move onward and upward in our careers. Oprah Winfrey once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

I recently attended a top-agent awards dinner in New Jersey where celebration took center stage. The event was an impressive, elegant evening honoring a group of incredibly hard working agents, held at the beautiful Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City. Now, I know most of you reading this weren’t there, so let me set the scene: Floor-to-ceiling windows framed an early afternoon New York City skyline view, special presentations recognized top agents and top teams company-wide for 2016, and a talented a capella band, Blue Jupiter, serenaded the crowd and even wished me a happy birthday! (Yes, as it happened, this awards celebration fell right around my birthday.)

Oprah Winfrey once said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”

So, what’s the message? Celebrate your success, for these happy times will get you through the tougher ones. Good to Great bestselling author Jim Collins famously wrote this about mediocrity: “Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity … are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.” Great leaders do not welcome mediocrity and fear greatness, in fact, they embrace greatness, they CELEBRATE it! Whenever you achieve something great—whether it be the top agent ranking in your brokerage or a new client—be sure to stop and celebrate your accomplishment; a memorable celebration like the one organized in New Jersey will motivate you to create even more reasons to celebrate yet again.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


Real Living Agents Achieve Record High 97% Nationwide Customer Satisfaction

We’re very pleased to announce that in 2016 Real Living Real Estate agents achieved a 97% satisfaction rating from buyers and sellers across the nation!
This incredible rating for Real Living Real Estate agents marks the second consecutive year Real Living Real Estate achieved 97% and eight consecutive years the brokerage achieved a rating of 96% customer satisfaction rating or higher.  In addition, Real Living agents once again exceeded average National Association of REALTORS ®  customer satisfaction scores by a significant margin. The fact that actual customers completed Real Living surveys gives the results an authority and authenticity that online, anonymous ratings lack.
“The record high survey results are extremely gratifying, but they’re not surprising to anyone that works with our agents,” said Robert McAdams, Jr., president of Real Living. “Our network has made service its cornerstone value for more than 10 years now. Real Living 360 Service is more than a program. It’s our culture, and the performance of our professionals across the nation truly sets them apart from the rest of the industry.”

Real Living Northwest Realtors Shares Impressive Anderson Island Stats

The Real Living Northwest Realtors’ Anderson Island office sold more homes in 2016 than the next ten brokerages in the Anderson Island market combined – that’s a whopping 36% market share. Anderson Island is a little-known paradise in Pierce County, WA. The remote, southernmost island in Puget Sound is accessible only by ferry and is home to a network of trails, parks, and two freshwater lakes.

Stephanie McCarthy, owner of Northwest Realtors, said the Real Living Real Estate brand is key to Anderson Island brokers’ success. “Our motto ‘The Power of Us, the Freedom to be You’ allows us to offer our agents all the tools and systems of a national brokerage, while giving our agents the freedom to let their unique personalities shine through,” she said.

To learn more about the Anderson Island office and how they’re leveraging the brand, take a look at the full press release here.


Real Living Real Estate Announces New Social Media Center

Real Living Real Estate, one of the nation’s leading real estate franchisors and a member of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, recently announced the launch of its Real Living Social Media Center, which distributes fresh and ongoing content to network members’ consumer and professional connections across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“We are excited to deliver the new Real Living Social Media Center to our network members and help them share engaging content with their spheres of influence,” said Robert McAdams Jr., president of Real Living Real Estate. “The platform is simple to use and will help our agents increase their visibility and thought leadership locally.”

The Real Living Social Media Center, powered by Back At You Media and free of charge for all Real Living Real Estate network members, helps professionals to create social media content such as listing announcements, text posts, images and links to articles, and to preschedule the material to appear at a later time. It also provides a steady flow of fresh content written and curated by Real Living Real Estate, including national real estate market updates, homeownership trends, brand updates, holiday messaging and more.

Matt Kaufman, director of marketing and technology at Real Living Real Estate, said the Real Living Social Media Center complements agents’ ongoing marketing and communication strategies.

“Our main goal in launching the Real Living Social Media Center is to provide every agent in the network with the tools and expertise to build a strong, credible social presence, regardless of their skills or experience,” he explained. “With a leg up on social media our agents can focus more time on what they love to do – help their clients buy and sell real estate.”

Gino Blefari, CEO of HSF Affiliates, congratulated the network on its implementation of Real Living Social Media Center. “Social media is an integral part of real estate communication—from property marketing to client interaction, branding and beyond,” he said. “The platform will help Real Living agents leverage social media in smart, interactive and effective ways.”