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Phone banks


Jump to Section:

Introduction

Creating an Online Phone Bank

Creating a Phone Bank Link

Managing your Online Phone Banks and Phone Bank Links

Monitor Caller Activity

Phone Bank Statistics

Cloning a Phone Bank

Introduction


The Online Phone Bank feature helps organizations efficiently manage their electronic telephone communications.

Paper Phone Canvassing Lists can be generated from the Create Lists and Files page and are not considered part of the Online Phone Bank.

There are many advantages of using an Electronic Phone Bank for your telephone communications. They include the following:

  • You do not need to print your list – The caller information and survey script are displayed on your computer screen.
  • You can distribute your list to thousands of potential callers in minutes.
  • No additional data entry – Callers can click call responses during the calls. You can even enter new phone number, email, address information plus comments.
  • You can have logical branch surveys and even use multiple surveys.
  • You can call both Voters and People.
  • You can monitor caller activity and productivity.
  • You can schedule work shifts and enter event RSVPs from the same interface.
  • Voters who have returned their ballots are automatically removed from calling universes without any additional effort by the organizations.

The Online Phone Bank page allows you to create Online Phone Banks, which can accessed from any where as long as the participants have the link to the phone bank. The Online Phone Bank use Electronic Surveys, and access to these phone banks can be limited to registered phone bankers, or open to the general public as long as they self-register as a phone banker. Once created, the list generated in the Online Phone Bank becomes static and will not update to reflect the changes in your universe. Once ballots have been returned during the election cycle, we will go through each phone bank remove the individuals who have already voted.

  • To access the Online Phone Bank page, hover the mouse over the Outreach section of the Navigation Menu, hover your mouse overPhone Canvassing, and click Online Phone Bank in the sub-menu.

Creating an Online Phone Bank


Creating a basic Online Phone Bank requires a Phone Bank NameSaved Universe, Electronic Survey, and a user selected End Date. The Online Phone Bank also features additional features allowing you to add secondary and tertiary surveys, geographic filters, call filters, and other additional options. Below are a list of fields in the Create Phone Bank Project pop-up.

  • Name – Allows you to set the name for your Online Phone Bank.
  • Universe Type – Allows you to set the type of universe you would like to use to generate your online phone bank.
  • Universe Name – Allows you to select the actual universe that will be used in the Online Phone Bank.
  • Phone Bank Survey – Allows you to select the main survey that will be used in the Online Phone Bank.
  • Phone Bank End Date – The date your Online Phone Bank will close.
  • Template – Allows you to select the Online Phone Bank Layout. Note: This option only will display if your selected universe type is People or Person List.
  • Recently Called Filter – Allows you to filter out individuals who were called within a select period of time.
  • Universe Filter – Allows you to filter your Online Phone Bank to the individuals who intersect with the universe selected in the Universe Name drop-down menu and the Universe Filter drop-down menu.
  • Acquisition Type – Allows you to set the Acquisition Type for the flags that are collected in the Online Phone Bank.
  • Qualifying Persons Only – Limits the Online Phone Bank to only display the individuals in your universe.
  • Show All Persons at the Phone Number – Expands the Online Phone Bank to display all of the voter in the household where at least one person meets the criteria of the universe.
  • Top Priority Universe – Allows you to select an additional survey that an individual will receive if they meet the qualifications of the universe selected in the Top Priority Sub-Universe drop-down menu and the Universe Name drop-down menu.
  • Top Priority Sub-Universe – Allows you to select a Universe of individuals who will receive the survey selected in the Top Priority Universe drop-down menu as long as they are in the Universe selected in the Universe Name drop-down menu..
  • Secondary Survey – Allows you to select an additional survey that an individual will receive if they meet qualifications of the Universes selected in the Secondary Survey and Universe Name drop-down menus, while not meeting the qualifications for the Universe selected in the Top Priority Sub-Universe drop-down menu.
  • Secondary Sub-Universe – Allows you to select a Universe of individuals who will receive the survey selected in the Secondary Survey drop-down menu as long as they are in the universe selected in the Universe Name drop-down menu, while not in the universe selected in the Top Priority Sub-Universe drop-down menu.
  • Set Geographical Filter – Allows you to set your Online Phone Bank to voters in a user selected list of geographic areas.

Creating a Simple Voter Phone Bank

  1. Click the Create Phone Bank Project button.
  2. Use the Name textbox to assign a name to your Online Phone Bank.
  3. Use the Universe Type drop-down menu to select Voters.
  4. Use the Universe Name drop-down menu to select the Voter Universe.
  5. Use the Phone Bank Survey drop-down menu to select the Electronic Survey you would like to use in the Online Phone Bank.
  6. Use the Phone Bank End Date drop-down menu to select the date you would like the phone bank to end.
  7. Click the Save button.

Creating an Advanced Phone Bank

  1. Click the Create Phone Bank Project button.
  2. Use the Name textbox to assign a name to your Online Phone Bank.
  3. Use the Universe Type drop-down menu to select Voters.
  4. Use the Universe Name drop-down menu to select the Voter Universe.
  5. Use the Phone Bank Survey drop-down menu to select the Electronic Survey you would like to use in the Online Phone Bank.
  6. Use the Phone Bank End Date drop-down menu to select the date you would like the phone bank to end.
  7. Click the Advanced Options link.
  8. (Optional) Use the Recently Called Filter drop-down menu to select a group of recently called individuals that you would like to remove from your Online Phone Bank.
  9. (Optional) Use the Universe Filter drop-down menu to select a Voter Universe that you would like to use to intersect with your base universe.
  10. (Optional) Use the Acquisition Type drop-down menu to select an Acquisition Type to associate with the flags that will be collected.
  11. (Optional) Use the Top Priority Universe drop-down menu to select the top priority survey.
  12. (Optional) Use the Top Priority Sub-Universe drop-down menu to select the top priority universe.
  13. (Optional) Use the Secondary Survey drop-down menu to select the second priority survey.
  14. (Optional) Use the Secondary Sub-Universe drop-down menu to select the secondary survey.
  15. (Optional) Click the Set Geographical Filter link.
    1. Use the List of Districts drop-down menu to select the type of district you would like to use to filter.
    2. (Optional) Use the Only Areas drop-down menu to select the area type you would like to use to filter your list of geographies.
    3. (Optional) Use the Areas drop-down menu to select the area that you will be filtering towards.
    4. In the list, click on the areas you would like to add.
    5. Click the Add Criteria to Universe button.
  16. Click the Save button.

Creating a People Online Phone Bank

  1. Click the Create Phone Bank Project button.
  2. Use the Name textbox to assign a name to your Online Phone Bank.
  3. Use the Universe Type drop-down menu to select People or Person List.
  4. Use the Universe Name drop-down menu to select your People Universe or Person List.
  5. Use the Phone Bank Survey drop-down menu to select the Electronic Survey you would like to use for your Online Phone Bank.
  6. Use the Phone Bank End Date drop-down menu to select the ending date for your Online Phone Bank.
  7. Use the Template drop-down menu to select the template you would like to use for the Online Phone Bank.
  8. (Optional) Click the Advanced Options link.
    1. Use the Acquisition Type drop-down menu to select the Acquisition Type to associate with the flags.
  9. Click the Save button.

Creating a Phone Bank Link


Phone Bank Links provide your canvassers with access to your Online Phone Banks. An Online Phone Bank can be assigned to multiple Phone Bank Links, with each link having its own special properties. Once an Online Phone Bank has been completed, the Phone Bank Link can be reused again for a new Online Phone Bank, allowing you to update the Phone Bank without changing the URL for your canvassers. The list of fields for creating a Phone Bank Link are listed below.

  • Phone Bank Link Name – Allows you to assign a name to your Phone Bank Link.
  • Phone Bank to Use With This Link – Allows you to associate an Online Phone Bank with the link.
  • Require Phone Bank Password – Makes passwords required to access the Online Phone Bank from the link. Note: You will set the password in the Password textbox.
  • Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Optional) – Displays an organization drop-down menu in the Online Phone Bank login screen allowing your canvassers to select the organization they belong to before logging in.
  • Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Required) – Displays an organization drop-down menu in the Online Phone Bank login screen requiring that your canvassers select the organization they belong to before logging in.
  • Enable Callers to Self Register – Allows callers to register themselves as canvassers to your Online Phone Bank.
  • Disable Skip Calls – Disables the ability to skip calls in the Online Phone Bank.
  • Phone Bank Link URL – Displays the URL that is used to access the Online Phone BankNote: You will only see a link here once your Phone Bank Link has been created.

Creating a Phone Bank Link

  1. Click the Create a Link button.
  2. Use the Phone Bank Link Name textbox to assign a name to your Phone Bank Link.
  3. Use the Phone Bank to Use With This Link drop-down menu to select the Online Phone Bank you would like to associate with this link.
  4. (Optional) If you would like to password protect your Phone Bank Link, activate the Require Phone Bank Password checkbox.
  5. (Optional) If you would like to give your canvassers the ability to associate their canvassing with an organization, activate the Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Optional) checkbox.
  6. (Optional) If you would like to require your canvassers to associate their canvassing with an organization, activate the Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Required) checkbox.
  7. (Optional) If you would like to give your canvassers the ability to register themselves as phone bank callers, activate the Enable Callers to Self Register checkbox.
  8. (Optional) If you would like to disable the ability to skip calls, activate the Disable Skip Calls checkbox.
  9. Click the Create Link button.

Once your Phone Bank Link has been created, you can share the link by clicking the Copy Link link, which will copy the link to your computers clipboard.

Managing your Online Phone Banks and Phone Bank Links


Managing your Online Phone Banks

Once an Online Phone Bank has been canvassed, most of the fields of your Online Phone Bank will lock, only allowing you only to extend the end date of the phone bank. The Online Phone Bank will also add two buttons, which are unique to a canvassed Phone BankRelease Skipped Calls and Second Pass. The Release Skipped Calls button will place the households that were skipped in the Phone Bank back into the Phone Bank. The Second Pass button will release the individuals that were marked with Non-Contact Dispositions back into the Phone Bank.

Managing your Phone Bank Links in the Main Page

Phone Bank Links can be managed in the main Online Phone Bank page, however, the options are limited in this screen. For full editing options click on the name of the Phone Bank link. The main Online Phone Bank page allows you to change the Online Phone Bank associated with the Phone Bank Link, activate/deactivate the Self Registration option, and activate/deactivate the Skip Calls feature. The Online Phone Bank associated with the link can be changed by using the Assigned Phone Bank Project Name drop-down menu to select the phone bank. The Self Registration option can be enabled and disabled by activating and deactivating the Allow Self Register checkbox respectively. The Skip Call feature can be enabled and disabled by activating and deactivating the Disable Skip Calls checkbox respectively. Once you have completed your changes to your phone bank links, click the Save button below the Active Phone Bank Links table.

Managing your Phone Bank Links by Clicking on the Name of the Phone Bank Link

Clicking on the name of your Phone Bank Link will provide you with complete access to edit your Phone Bank Link. Instructions for editing your Phone Bank Link can be found below.

  1. Click on the name of the Phone Bank Link you would like to edit.
  2. Use the Phone Bank Link Name textbox to assign a name to your Phone Bank Link.
  3. Use the Phone Bank to Use With This Link drop-down menu to select the Online Phone Bank you would like to associate with this link.
  4. (Optional) If you would like to password protect your Phone Bank Link, activate the Require Phone Bank Password checkbox.
  5. (Optional) If you would like to give your canvassers the ability to associate their canvassing with an organization, activate the Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Optional) checkbox.
  6. (Optional) If you would like to require your canvassers to associate their canvassing with an organization, activate the Show Volunteer Organization Dropdown on Login Page (Make Required) checkbox.
  7. (Optional) If you would like to give your canvassers the ability to register themselves as phone bank callers, activate the Enable Callers to Self Register checkbox.
  8. (Optional) If you would like to disable the ability to skip calls, activate the Disable Skip Calls checkbox.
  9. Click the Save Link button.

Monitor Caller Activity


The Monitor Caller Activity page allows you to review your Phone Bank activity in two different reports. The Active Callers report provides you with a top level view of your callers overall activity, while the Call Details page will provide you with a call by call report. The reports are selected in the View Report Type drop-down menu. Once a report has been selected, you can use the remaining drop-down menus and textboxes to further customize your report.

  • View Report Type – Allows you to select the type of report you are generating.
  • Filter By Phone Bank – Allows you to filter the report to specific phone bank.
  • Filter By Coordinator – Allows you to filter the report to a specific coordinator.
  • Filter By Caller – Allows you to filter the report to a specific caller.
  • Volunteer Organization – Allows you to filter the report to a specific Organization.
  • Filter By Survey – Allows you to filter the report to a specific Electronic Survey.
  • From / To Date – Allows you to filter the report to a user selected date range.
  • Search by Voter Last Name or Phone – Allows you to search the report for a specific voter.
  • Export to – Exports the report to a spreadsheet.
  • Process Report – Generates a report based on the selected criteria.

Phone Bank Statistics


The Phone Bank Statistics page provides you with a number of ways to review your phone banking efforts.

  • Active Phone Bank Status – Provides you with the progress for each active phone bank individually.
  • Statistics – Provides you with a summary for the progress of each.
  • Daily Progress – Provides you with a report of the support statuses captured through the Online Phone Bank. The line graph can be filtered by Online Phone Bank, Coordinator, and Caller.
  • Top Callers – Provides you with a report for each caller between all phone banks.

Cloning Phone Banks


Once an Online Phone Bank has been saved, the list of voters in that phone bank becomes static. This means as your canvassing efforts increase outside of the Online Phone Bank, the list of voters in the Phone Bank will remain the same, even if the selected universe has changed overtime. To easily update the universe used in an Online Phone Bank, you can Phone Bank. This will copy all elements over from the previous Phone Bank, except for the name of the previous Phone Bank and the end date. Instructions for cloning a Phone Bank are featured below.

Cloning a Phone Bank

  1. (Optional) Activate the Show Inactive Projects checkbox.
  2. Click the Clone button in the row of the Phone Bank you would like to clone.
  3. Use the Name text box to assign a name to the new Phone Bank.
  4. Click the End Date text box to populate a calendar, which you can use to select an ending date for the Phone Bank.
  5. Click the Save button.
https://helpcenter.the-pdi.com/support/Create%20Phone%20Banks.htm
https://helpcenter.the-pdi.com/support/Create%20Phone%20Banks.htm

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18 Relentless Lead Follow Up Rules

Memorize, Internalize and practice daily and you will Almost instantly be making more money, more consistently.

Rule:you must follow up daily on All Leads of all types, until they either (a) list or buy with you or (b) tell you they’re listing or buying with someone else.
Or ~ they file a restraining order because you’re falling up so well and so consistently!

Relentlessly lead follow-up means that the goal is to feel like you might be over communicating with prospects. In reality, it is impossible to over communicated with Prospect or even exist in clients. The number one complaint listed in a recent Nar survey of hundreds of recently closed real estate clients was, ” lack of communication and follow up by my real estate agents. “

Be the one who follows up. Many agents make the initial call or contact. Almost no one follows up. Can you guess who makes more money? Or example, when I’m home expires, everyone calls. However, if they don’t get the appointment on the initial try, 99% of real estate agents give up, losing lead or convince themselves that the customer isn’t motivated.

Schedule you’re Relentless lead follow-up daily. No excuses! You must end each day knowing that you have communicated with all your leads. By the way, email does not count. It is so important that you should no longer say that you work any day that you skipped your lead follow-up.


Keep all your leads in one place, using one system.
For example, we recommend either a super simple three-by-five card system, or top producer it’s almost all of you have but don’t use. Top producer has some excellent training systems that don’t take long to help you utilize their service.

Enter ALL your new leads into your dedicated system daily. Keep your system updated and you’ll be more likely to actually practice Relentless lead follow-up. This of course means that you’ll make more money faster.

Skills that will make you rich in real estate.

Eric Smith, former CEO of Google, was giving advice to search I bring, the new CEO of Google. You told him to, be great at five things. Steve Jobs is autobiography, you received similar advice from both his father and his mentors. We agree with them. Come great at a simple list of things that is what will bring you wealth in real estate.

In a world of distractions, how do you know what to actually do in real estate that definitely leads to a paycheck? Is it your website? Networking? Paying for leads? Twitching your landing page? You are probably busy enough just holding deals together. What’s an agent to do?

Keep it simple. Become great. Lead generation, lead follow-up, pre-qualifying, presenting, because she ate in, and closing. When you are the best of each of these six critical things, it would be impossible for you not to meet or exceed your financial goals!


LEAD GENERATION RULES


Maintain a minimum number of buyers and listings at all times. This is your number one job in real estate. Prospecting enhanced marketing or marketing enhance prospecting.

Know where you will get your leads. What are your spokes? Past clients, center of influence, referrals, Builders, open houses, unrepresented Cellars, expired listings, and with bronze ellipsis the list goes on. Choose your sources and become great at generating leads from them.

Follow a daily schedule that focuses on generating new business.
Embrace and internalized the fact that generating new business is the fuel for the engine known as your real estate business. Do you have a strong engine or are you still walking to work? It’s a decision you make every single day.

Make the commitment to be the best at lead generation and stop dabbling!

Learn how to close to cut down on losing potential clients and wasting time on endless follow-up.


NEGOTIAtING RULES

Understand that the definition of negotiation is, bringing two parties together to reach a mutual agreement. Not beeping on the other side!

Learn to be in control of your own emotions so that you can do the best job for your clients. Be creative and flexible and maintain the mindset of be of service, even when the other parties don’t behave the way you desire.


Never, ever give up. If you have a buyer who wants to buy and a seller who wants to sell your job is to figure out how to get them to close!


Some money is better than no money. Assess the situation before you say no to deals at you have the power to close. Don’t be part of the problem.


CLOSING RULES


Understand that closing is The Logical result of a great presentation. If you don’t have a great presentation you’ll never close well.

Learn how to do soft closes, assumptive closes, and direct closes.

Close at least five times before you give up. No use the Sharpie close.


If you aren’t the best in your Market on the six critical skills outlined above, hire a coach today. Hire a coach or become okay with your production. You don’t have to struggle with this. Be coached by the best. If you already have a coach, do what he says.


Homework

Identify where your weaknesses in each of the skills above and create a specific plan to become the best!

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Daily Minimum Standards

Superstar behavior

Superstars have goals in the five areas of life: family, financial, mental/spiritual, physical, and educational. Superstars don’t just talk about these goals, they have them posted in their offices and review these goals daily. This is the reason they are working.

Hint: Balance is a myth. And you’re focused and accomplishing a specific goal is normal to be out of balance.

Superstars have a schedule and take it seriously. Their schedule is based on dollar productive activity. In real estate, this only means prospecting, lead follow-up, pre-qualifying, presenting, negotiating, and closing ~ lather, rinse, repeat.

Do the things you don’t want to do but you don’t want to do them at the highest level, consistently. When you do, you will have, be, and experience the things in life others never will ~ Tim and Julie Harris.

Superstars don’t worry that doing the above is sometimes tedious and they don’t start and stop what they’re learning all the time. They know that repetitive boredom pays off but only when momentum is reached. Stopping and starting creates the stopping and starting of income. Staying on the course create predictable, profitable outcomes.

Superstars have a lead generation wheel. Imagine an old fashioned wagon wheel. Can you see the old wheel with all the spokes. The strongest Wheels always had the most spokes. If a wheel with minestrone supposed to rock along the road, the wheel would have no problem rolling on down the road. No imagine the wheel with only two or three spokes. If that will work to hit some rock oh, what would happen? It would collapse.

For the sake of your real estate business, your goal should be to have as many strong spokes as possible. Spoke is a source of business. What 99% of all agents do is rely too heavily on too few spokes (sources of leads). It’s critical that you have a lead generating wheel with a minimum of seven strong spokes. Examples of potential spokes include such things as prospecting, expireds and FSBO’s, your Centers of Influence, geographic Farm, social Farm ( social networking), REO’S, BPO’S, Radio/TV advertising, professional organizations, unions, Credit Unions, sports teams (your softball teams or kids’ teams), internet marketing, pay per click, various paid lead sources (Zillow), etc

Hint: Do not create a new spoke until the current spoke has been mastered.


 Superstars are relentless with lead follow-up. They can tell you their top 5 prospects of the top off the top of their head, what is motivating these buyers or sellers, and when is their next appointment. They tried these leads on a spreadsheet or wipe off board.

Superstars use scripts and systems consistently. Virtually every aspect of their days is designed around accomplishing their goals. Anyone who is successful is so because he does the same thing over and over.

Work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion said Parkinson’s law.


 Superstars NEVER wing it. They know that a smart man learns from his mistakes a brilliant man learns from the mistakes of others. Follow the path in front of you. Never stop, never slow down.

Superstars devote 10% of their income and 10% of their time to education even when they are producing the income required in meeting their goals. They are constantly improving their skills.

Fact: The more you learn the more you earn~ but only when you take action.

Superstars controls our mind, body, schedule, and wallet. HREU Superstars do a brain dump every day.

Embrace being bored. Know that repetitious boredom pays off. ~ Tim and Julie Harris.

Superstar start with the end in mind.

Superstars always ask for help when they need it. They’re willing to ask for help from colleagues, their coach, or get it from the material available to them at hre you. Remember that our Superstars were not born this way semicolon they learn each of the above in a gradual, sometimes painful or frustrating way. It’s okay to be frustrated, it’s okay to need help. It’s not okay to do nothing

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New York Real Estate News


URGENT ALERT- updated 2/10/2020 
DEAR HGAR MLS MEMBERS: As many of you know, on Friday, February 7, 2020, HGAR issued an URGENT ALERT regarding the DOS Guidance issued on January 31, 2020, in which the New York State Department of State (DOS) published an updated “Guidance for Real Estate Professionals Concerning Statewide Housing Security & Tenant Protection Act of 2019 and the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act” (“DOS Guidance”)

IT RELATED TO THE FAQ #5 and PAYMENT OF “BROKER FEES” BY TENANTS. 

A New York judge in Albany has granted a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) this afternoon, halting specifically the DOS’s guidance with respect to FAQ#5 whereby the DOS had barred the payment of Tenant-paid rental commissions (“broker fees”).

The DOS Guidance had prohibited tenants from paying rental commissions in cases where the landlord hired an agent to market the listing.  Early on Monday morning, REBNY, NYSAR and other brokerage firms filed an Article 78 Proceeding requesting a TRO against the DOS, which has been granted. 

To our knowledge, no other part of the DOS Guidance was halted or modified by the TRO. 

UPDATED NOTICE – IN LIGHT OF THE RECENTLY ISSUED TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, BROKERS AND AGENTS MAY CONTINUE TO COLLECT “BROKER FEES”IN THE SAME MANNER AS WAS CUSTOMARY PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE DOS GUIDANCE.
AT THIS TIME, HGAR MEMBERS DO NOT NEED TO MODIFY ANY LISTINGS AS RECOMMENDED BY HGAR’S PREVIOUS ALERT.  

Breaking news, The Real Deal !  (see https://therealdeal.com/2020/02/10/judge-halts-rental-commission-ban/) reported that: “In a statement, REBNY and NYSAR said they look forward to resolving the issue in court ‘in the weeks ahead.’ In the meantime, agents will be able to ‘do business in the same way they did prior to last week’s DOS memo without fear of discipline by the DOS.’

The plaintiffs argued that rental agents would suffer irreparable injury unless the restraining order were issued. The next step in the process would be a hearing on whether a preliminary injunction is justified. It was not immediately clear if the Cuomo administration would appeal Monday’s decision. In to this email to members, REBNY said it would head back to court on March 13.

In the meantime, agents can go back to business as usual. “Landlord’s agents can collect a commission from a tenant until further notice,’ the email said.”  
Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS, Inc., One Maple Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605SafeUnsubscribe™ jcosentino@westchesterrealtyconsultants.comForward this email | Update Profile | About our service providerSent by gary.connolly@hgar.com in collaboration withTry email marketing for free today!
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The time has come to reinvent Real Estate Transactions. Brokers will soon be Obsolete. Read on …

Thursday, February 6, 2020 —– Today’s Paper

World | U.S.| Politics |N.Y. |Business |Opinion| Tech| Science |Health| Sports| Arts| Books |Style| Food|Travel| Magazine| Real Estate| Video|

Brokers in New York have near absolute control over apartment listings and leases.
Brokers in New York have near absolute control over apartment listings and leases.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times
Luis Ferré-Sadurní

By Matthew Haag  and 

  • Published Feb. 5, 2020 Updated Feb. 6, 2020, 5:14 a.m. ET

In New York City’s intensely competitive rental market, tenants usually deal with middlemen known as brokers, who have near absolute control over apartment listings, viewing appointments and leases.

In return, brokers collect fees that can be as much as 15 percent of the annual lease, typically paid in one lump sum by tenants before they can move in.

But late on Tuesday, New York State effectively eliminated them.

In an unexpected addendum to last year’s rent laws, state regulators said renters can no longer be charged broker fees, potentially upending the market and delivering the latest blow to an industry already reeling from new regulations and sweeping tenant protections.

New York is one of the few cities in the country with a broker industry that has such financial leverage over how people rent apartments.

And the elimination of broker fees, in addition to the laws passed last year, pushes New York further as a national leader in creating rules favorable toward renters.

Brokers can still collect a fee, the state said in the revised rules, but it must be paid by the landlord unless a prospective tenant hired them to help find an apartment.

The new rule, buried in a legal guidance on last year’s rent laws, caught lawmakers, many landlords and brokers off guard. The Real Estate Board of New York, the influential trade group, immediately threatened to challenge the rule in court and urged its members to protest.

“This is a dire issue with our members, so we are literally going through every single avenue,” said Reggie Thomas, the board’s senior vice president for government affairs. “It’s an all-hands on deck thing because this came out of left field.”

Brokers warned that the new rules would simply increase what tenants pay in monthly rent, since many landlords will likely pass on the cost of a broker’s fee to their residents in higher rent.

“What was the intended purpose of this?” said Jared Antin, director of sales at Elegran. “If it’s to minimize the cost to the tenant, it just changes when the cost is due. Instead of upfront, they will pay it monthly.”

But state laws limit how much rents can be raised in New York City’s roughly 1 million rent-regulated apartments. There are more than 900,000 market-rate apartments that are not regulated.

Tenant advocates cheered the new broker fee rule, saying it helps tilt an uneven real estate playing field.

“These are important tenant protections and it’s about time we had them,” said Michael McKee, treasurer of the Tenants PAC. “Real estate brokers have been able to get away with a lot for a long time so it’s about time they got reined in.”

Newcomers to New York City have long been mystified and frustrated about having to pay a broker’s fee even when they found an apartment online. But unlike most cities in the United States, landlords often choose not to work directly with renters or market their units on their own. Instead, they hire a broker.

For months, real estate insiders had privately feared this particular interpretation of the new rent laws, which emboldened Democratic lawmakers passed last year after regaining control of the Legislature for the first time in a decade.

The new laws, aimed at protecting tenants and strengthening rent regulations, said that tenants could be charged no more than $20 in fees when applying for an apartment, including background and credit checks. The rent laws passed in June also capped security deposits at one-month’s rent, further diminishing the lump sum amount renters typically must pay before being given keys to an apartment.

It was unclear from the language, however, whether that $20 cap also applied to broker fees or whether it was lawmakers’ intent to abolish the practice of tenants paying broker fees. For a $2,500 per month apartment, a broker could collect up to $4,500 in a one-time payment based on a 15 percent fee.

In its most recent guidance, however, state regulators clarified that the cap did indeed apply to broker fees, effectively banning the practice.

Now, the burden falls on landlords to pay brokers their fees or they can choose to list, market and lease their units on their own. The changes could effectively turn New York’s rental market into a no-fee market if renters choose to hunt for an apartment without hiring a broker themselves.

It was the latest in a long string of recent defeats for New York’s real estate industry, which has seen its power diminished after years of allying itself with Republicans when they were in control in Albany.

“This one is just like salt in the wounds,” said Jay Martin, the executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, a trade association representing about 4,000 building owners. “It’s going to decimate the brokerage industry.”

Mr. Martin said the prohibition would disproportionately affect small building owners, who typically outsource the work of showing apartments and finding tenants to real estate brokers.

Given New York City’s exorbitant rents, broker fees have become the target of progressive lawmakers seeking to curb housing costs. Last year, for example, Councilman Keith Powers introduced a bill to cap broker fees at one-month’s rent.

Some tenant activists rejoiced the new guidance, saying it would help reduce the barriers for housing for many tenants and potentially reduce New York’s growing homeless population.

“It’s about rehousing 92,000 homeless people,” said Cea Weaver, the campaign coordinator of Housing Justice for All, a statewide coalition of tenants that pushed for the new rent laws. “Hopefully, it’ll make it easier for people being pushed from substandard housing to substandard housing.”

Still, Ms. Weaver said that she was skeptical the real estate industry would abide by the new guidance, which is subject to change. The best way to protect tenants, she said, was if state lawmakers passed a good cause eviction bill that would make it even harder for landlords to raise rents and evict tenants.

For market-rate apartments, the cost of broker fees could still trickle down, but it might be impossible to pass on the costs to tenants of rent-regulated units. Increases on those rents are set by the government.

About 2.4 million people live in rent-regulated apartments in New York City.

Most significantly Mr. Martin said, the changes could lead thousands of real estate brokers to lose their jobs.

“I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that,” Mr. Martin said.

There were more than 25,000 licensed real estate brokers in New York City as of early 2019, according to New York’s Department of State.

Eric Benaim, the chief executive of Modern Spaces, a brokerage firm with about 100 employees, said that the changes hurt agents, who make a living based on collecting broker’s fees.

“They are just on this high,” Mr. Benaim said, “of just punishing real estate and those in the business.”

Matthew Haag covers the intersection of real estate and politics in the New York region. He previously was a general assignment and breaking news reporter at The Times and worked as an education reporter at The Dallas Morning News. @matthewhaag

Luis Ferré-Sadurní covers New York State politics in Albany. He joined The Times in June 2017 and previously wrote about housing for the Metro desk. He is originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. @luisferreA version of this article appears in print on Feb. 6, 2020, Section A, Page 20 of the New York edition with the headline: Shock for Landlords Is Delight for Renters: No More Broker Fees. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Allow us to present a new and better way to RENT real estate:

We knew the day was coming when landlords and tenants would recognize the inefficiencies and unnecessary expense of renting property. We are prepared. And sales agents need not despair; They must simply reinvent themselves and sell real estate software instead. If properly done, this will be a win-win situation because that sales force comes armed with industry contacts and experience. Now they have a more palliative and more ethical product.

Smart contracts on the blockchain allow the landlord to bypass the broker and save money. He can also save on many other expenses associated with renting his property. Likewise, the tenant can have certain assurances and get faster results. Unfortunately, the middlemen such as lawyers and rental agents may lose commissions in the traditional way. However, if they are proactive they can begin to sell real estate software in the form of D-Apps and Smart contract. This is what we do with our product The Real-T.

An Overview Of Landlord-Tenant Leases

The Real-T Smart Lease.

In order to understand how the Real-T Smart Lease is designed let’s understand the anatomy of any standard Landlord Tenant Rental Agreement. The most common type of tenancy agreement is the ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ (AST). This agreement must be written in plain English and be of mutual benefit to both the tenant and the landlord. Differences exist between the various types of Lease deposit schemes such as insurance backed (whereby landlord keeps the deposit and pays a premium) versus custodial schemes (whereby deposit is transferred to the trusted third party scheme). There are also three government backed deposit schemes :

the Deposit Protection Service (DPS),

MyDeposits, and

the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).

The landlord must ensure that he complies with the law and puts the deposit in one of the approved escrow accounts within 30 days of receiving it . At the end of the tenancy, the deposit (minus any agreed deductions) must be returned within 10 days to the tenant , but can take longer in the case of disputes. Some of these disputes can end up in court. Handling the deposit is integrated into the smart contracts, because they provide a perfect method of holding funds without the need for a trusted third party. The main tenancy agreement stages are illustrated in the next diagram.

The main stages involved in the tenancy agreement process

Issues that can arise with tenancies

Issues that can arise with tenancies often involve the tenant failing to pay the rent. If the tenant cannot afford the rent, he can resolve the issue by giving the landlord notice to end the tenancy agreement and leave the property (generally with 2 months notice). However, this is not always the case and tenants often stay in the property without paying rent, leading to them being served an eviction notice from the real estate agent. This notice must be hand delivered or sent by recorded delivery in order to obtain a proof of delivery of the document – registered mail – (it cannot be sent by email for a number of legal reasons).

There are also several checks that the estate agent must undertake to verify that the tenant is suitable for the tenancy and has a good record; for instance a background and credit report. They obtain an employer’s reference, a bank status inquiry (to ensure they can afford the rent), and a previous landlord reference. These help to ensure the tenant has a good record and will pay the agreed rent on time. With the current immigration headlines the tenant may in some cases nowadays be required to also have a valid passport, or a valid visa which guarantees their legal right to stay in the country for the duration of the tenancy. I believe these checks would still need to be conducted by the real estate agent to work alongside Real-T, seeing as these agents have years of experience in this field to ensure a more accurate assessment (especially as a lot of the checks carried out are done with the knowledge of what fraudulent documents look like).

Application requirements:

• The Real-T D-App is very robust as it will be handling other people’s money.

• Application does not show any users information that they are not authorized to see, due to tenancies being private matters.

• The user interface is simple to use for non-technical users.

A Realtor Office

Tenancy Agreements as Smart Contracts

Smart contracts are perfectly suited to being adapted to all kinds of contractual agreements, particularly those which involve some kind of value transfer where there are multiple, potentially distrusting, parties. As the smart contracts are independent entities which live on the decentralized blockchain whether it be the Ethereum or RSK ( formerly Rootstock ) blockchain, they can be publicly inspected, verified, and providing their logic is sound, are completely tamper-proof. Once created, the data they store is immutable, unless explicitly modified by valid transactions sent by contract participants. In the case of tenancy agreements, these transactions can map to operations such as signing the contract or transferring a rental payment. The following subsections will look at these tenancy agreement actions in more detail and will assess the possible design options.

The Real-T Smart Lease will not deal with the phase during which tenancy agreement terms such as rental amount and tenancy duration are agreed upon, since these are generally known in advance or negotiated in person prior to the contract being created. If, in the future, it was deemed necessary to add this functionality the interface would likely resemble that of the Express Agreement project detailed in another post on this website with that label. Instead, this project will handle the stages during which the tenancy agreement is actually active, from contract creation until lease completion.

Contract Creation and Signing

How does it work?

The tenancy agreement data will be stored in a smart contract which is then stored onto the blockchain in order to capitalize on the logic guarantees that smart contract code provides. This means that information such as the contract start time and duration need to be stored on-chain in order to, for example, disallow payments being made before the tenancy has started.

… To read more Register and Click on “Tenancy Smart Contract” in the Table of Contents .