July 16, 2020 – Doctors’ Banker Eric Castro, RE Goddess Tracy McLaughlin and New Skills Free Guillermo Miranda

July 16, 2020 – Doctors’ Banker Eric Castro, RE Goddess Tracy McLaughlin and New Skills Free Guillermo Miranda

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Eric Castro – Co-Founder of Bankers Healthcare Group

It’s all a choice. You can look at life one way or the other. I get the
idea that sometimes you are going to look at it in a negative way.
It’s life. But that doesn’t mean that tomorrow you can’t
change that outlook.

Eric Castro is an expert in leadership, people management, corporate culture, and organizational design. Eric is a past recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and a current member of the Forbes Business Council. Recognizing the unique financing needs of healthcare professionals, in 2001, Eric co-founded Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG) along with his two partners, with a deep passion for effective leadership and execution. A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, he quickly learned the importance of a strong leader to guide a motivated group toward significant accomplishments. BHG has been placed on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Companies more than 10 times, been named the Best Place to Work in South Florida by the South Florida Business Journal, and is ranked #2 on FORTUNE® magazine’s Best Companies to work for in Financial Services. Always intrigued by the idea that success is directly correlated to meaningful human interactions and trust, Eric is driven to help people realize their full potential, achieve their goals, and find success in and out of the boardroom.

Tracy McLaughlin – Director of Luxury Estates at The Agency and Author of Real Estate Rescue – Read interview highlights here

Price your home right at or slightly under its value and we
are going to drive it up artificially with multiple offers. 

Tracy McLaughlin has been Marin County’s top-producing agent every single year since 2005, and was ranked #63 Individuals By Sales Volume in the United States for 2019 by REAL Trends/The Wall Street Journal. In 2019, Tracy hit a record-breaking $178 million in sales volume. Tracy’s acute understanding of the local market, coupled with her unsurpassed knowledge of the region, has made her the broker of choice for luxury home buyers and sellers in Marin County. Having personally purchased and renovated over 20 properties, Tracy’s extensive experience in design and construction makes her uniquely qualified to advise her clients on the smartest investment decisions regarding which home to purchase, when to sell and what improvements to make in anticipation of selling to maximize a property’s resale value. She is a regular contributor about real estate to Bloomberg Businessweek, San Francisco Chronicle, The Wall Street Journal, and many other leading publications. Tracy is the author of the latest #1 New Release in Home Design Remodeling & Renovation, Real Estate Rescue: How America Leaves Billions Behind in Residential Real Estate and How to Maximize Your Home’s Value, a book packed with essential advice to change the whole understanding of the home sale process.

Guillermo Miranda – Vice President & Global Head, Corporate Social Responsibility at IBM

IBM has a program called Summer Skills Up. On Tuesdays, you
have a program in the morning that helps you understand the skills,
how to better work in this environment. On Thursday, we have
classes specific about the technology. 

Guillermo Miranda, a seasoned tech industry leader,  is Vice President & Global Head of IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility. In this role, he is the Global leader in charge of the overall strategy and business execution of IBM’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Technology Impact initiatives. Since 1997, Guillermo has served IBM in various leadership roles around the world, beginning in Peru and extending across Europe, Latin America, North America, Africa, and the Middle East. Guillermo is the founding Chair of the Digital Learning Consortium, serves on the Board of Directors of IPCOM Global LLC. and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Digital Marketing Institute. Guillermo is deeply engaged in using digital learning to transform the workforce for the future, and is passionate about the tangible benefits of diversity and inclusion.

Highlights from Tracy’s Interview

In terms of sales volume, in 2019, I did $178 million. So I actually just moved up in The Wall Street Journal rankings for Individual Agent By Sales Volume, from number 63 to number 20. We just found that out this week, so that’s some good movement. There’s a difference between an agent and a brokerage though. I did own a brokerage, but we sold that to Compass. So that $179 million was just my own individual numbers.

So my new book is called Real Estate Rescue: How America Leaves Billions Behind in Residential Real Estate and How to Maximize Your Home’s Value. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but what the book is saying is when you sell your home, you probably won’t get what it’s worth. Because after watching the same movie for about 21 years now, what happened was I started to see that people unknowingly leave so much money on the table in the sale of their home, and oftentimes in the purchase because they’re overpaying and not picking the right investment location. So I kept seeing parts of the same movie over and over, and finally, I saw the most egregious transaction where a gal that I knew left about a half-million dollars on the table. I remember watching the horrendous things that went on during this transaction. I represented the buyers, the first offer I made on the house was for $5 million; it was probably worth just around $5 million, and they didn’t even respond to that offer. Then nine months later, two staging jobs later, nine months of mortgage carry, my second set of buyers went back and bought that house for about $4.6 million. So I wrote in the book, I hope that friendship with her listing agent was worth a half-million dollars because that’s what it cost her to be her friend.

At that time, the light bulb went off and I said, there is a book in this, I have got to start explaining to people the gross negligence, the mistakes that are made in our business. Because we are emotionally tethered to the asset, unlike any others. You don’t fall in love with your stock portfolio, you don’t fall in love with your commercial building that you own, and a myriad of other things, but you fall in love with your own home. Once you are emotionally connected to the asset, it makes it very difficult for you to walk through the right steps to sell it for the highest possible price. You don’t want to listen to seasoned experts, you don’t want to believe the numbers, you overprice your house, you don’t inspect it, you do work without getting permits, you negotiate with the wrong people, you pick the wrong agent, you pick an Eloise who just got her license and you say, “Oh my god, I owed Eloise 10 favors, I’m giving her the listing.” Boom, there goes your money! So that’s why I wrote this book.

Basically, everything starts and everything begins in our business by selecting the right person. Selecting the right person is making a decision on somebody who is treating this as a long-term career and has based their business on relationships and the longevity of relationships, versus a transaction. There’s no barrier to entry in this business. 60 hours of Anthony’s real estate school or whatever your state has, and 18 years of age, and boom, you are empowered to tell anybody what they want to hear. There’s no checks and balances, no one’s listening to you in terms of your accuracy of the evaluation. It’s a very unvetted business, unlike a stockbroker or a money manager, where you have to get an undergraduate degree, get your series seven, and then there are all sorts of checks and balances in terms of what you’re telling your client. For some reason, in this business, and I’d love to see it changed, there are no educational requirements. You just go to Anthony’s Business School, you’re 18 and all of a sudden, you’re telling people what they want to hear. That starts us down the road of really compromising your asset in so many ways. So a lot of the book is really about making your home prepared to look like a magazine photo. I don’t care how limited your budget is or if you have to go borrow money, the name of the game is that that house has to look perfect and it has to be very well-photographed and marketed to sell for the highest price. That’s a whole nother discussion, though.

Here’s the thing. You might as well pick the agent in your neighborhood if her sales numbers are extremely consistent and she is in the Top 5 consistently, or she’s got a ton of integrity, is starting out and smart. But just because somebody stands down at the local whatever: at the kids’ soccer game or is sponsoring banners in children’s sports or whatever, that does not make them intelligent at this business. This business is very complex, it combines money management, understanding valuations, being able to price, being able to negotiate, being a home interior designer; being able to take a home and say, “The wall color needs to go white, the rugs are the wrong color, I need contrast in photography. Basically, we wear about seven or eight hats if we’re really good at what we do; being involved in the community is not at the top of that list. So I always tell people to do the research, there’s so much available information out there with all the technology.

Here’s what you want to say to your agent, there are a few things. Send me your numbers, send me your sales over the last five years. Send me your ranking in the industry for the county that you’re being ranked in. Are you number 2 or are you number 200, let me see the actual ranking. Just as importantly, send me your last three years’ average list-to-sell percentage. Where did you list the home, and percentage-wise, where did it trade out, and how long did that take you? Because we all know, just like a divorce, time is nobody’s friend in a real estate transaction. If a house is languishing and it’s yesterday’s news, it will undersell week after week after week that it sits in stagnation on the market. So those are the things you want to do. Interview five people, call their references. I’m one of the top people in the country and I still bring five references every time I walk into someone’s house and say, please call these people and ask them how I work. How much was I communicating with you? Did I tell you the truth, was I transparent? Did I give you my best guidance? You want to really want to interview a real estate agent just like you would interview a doctor or a lawyer or whomever you’re hiring.

Then, the next step is the valuation of your house. I cannot tell you what a difference the furniture makes. I have to say, if you buy Real Estate Rescue, don’t buy the audio version because you can’t see. I split screen the before and after and I show exactly what was spent. Here’s the thing, please pay attention to this. Even if you do not have the money for great furniture, rent it through a place like Court. Get your stuff out of your home, go To Court Furniture Rental, you can live and sleep on their things, and input in what looks current. Simple, clean line, L-sectional, a headboard that’s got linen on it, and then contrast contrast contrast. People don’t understand this, but what makes for great house marketing is the contrast in the photography, that you have a darker floor with a lighter rug, with the white sheets on the bedding, with pretty little pops of color in the art. Here’s what people do, it’s so interesting to watch. They will spend years loving the Ralph Lauren sofa from 20 years ago and the dangling big chandelier that’s taking up half the room, and what happens is it’s just like listening to George Michael back in the 80s. I love that song. Even today, if you put it on, you go I love George Michael just like I did in the 80s. So what happens with people in their homes is they fall in love with their Ralph Lauren sofas, they fall in love with the stuff they bought when they got married, and they never see beyond it. They still love it when they go to sell, they keep it when they go to sell, and what it tells the young consumer is dated, dated, dated. You have literally about 25 seconds to capture somebody’s attention online with your house. Make it look like magazine photos that you see on Pinterest or House, or pick up Elle decor and rent the furniture. You don’t have to go out and buy it, but it will be the best investment that you’ll ever make.

Now, where we list your house depends on supply and demand and how many competing homes are available in the neighborhood. If it’s a very tight market, here’s what you’re going to do. We’re going to price it right at or slightly under its value, and we’re going to drive it up artificially in multiple offers. The best day you will ever have is when your agent calls you and says, there are two offers on this home, Customer A doesn’t know what Customer B is going to bid. So Customer A just went $20,000 over what they thought they should pay because they have to have the house. At the end of the day, it’s supply and demand and it’s the competition that drives artificial pricing. So I have a whole chapter about multiple offers. I did research all over the country. I know I live in a very frothy inflated market in the Bay Area with all the tech, but I called Detroit, I called Tuscaloosa. I really did research all over the country to understand if multiple offers were just a thing of the Bay Area or if it’s applicable around the US. But what I found is they happen all over the country, it’s about how you show your home and how you price it. Don’t overprice your house.

I want to mention, if any of the listeners ever want to ask me a question, I’m very generous with my time, I love helping people just as a favor. You can always send me an email, send me a photograph. FaceTime me, I’ve been face-timing people all over the country saying, take those flowered linen curtains down right now. So anyway, I’m happy to help any of the listeners.

The book is available on Amazon, so you can order either the audio version or the printed version. I’m on Instagram, Tracy McLaughlin. My email is Tracy@TracyMcLaughlin.com. Or you can go to TracyMcLaughlin for my website and find out more.