2016 October GRI Graduates!


Congratulations to Lil Livingood, Margaret Gallagher, William Oliver, Scotti Ringley, Jessie Bryan, Greg Janowiec and Kelsey Bergey for completing the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation this October 2016!

  Lil Livingood


William Oliver


Scotti Ringley


Greg Janowiec


Kelsey Bergey


Jessie Bryan



Minnesota is the #4 state by percentage of REALTORS® who have earned their GRI Designation!

Don’t be Left Out! Be the next GRI Designee


Minneapolis Association classroom, 5750 Lincoln Drive, Edina:

  • November 7th, 1-4pm, Resolving Transaction Disputes with Jonathan Kopecky
  • November 18th, 9-noon, Risk Management with Susan Dioury and Anne Kealing

St. Paul Association classroom, 325 East Roselawn Avenue, St. Paul:

  • November 21st, 9-noon, Negotiating with Confidence and Power with Deb Greene

*All classes approved by the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce for 3 hours of real estate continuing education each unless otherwise shown.

More classes being added. Check our website HERE


The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.




Technology had evolved, and what was once amazing, untouchable technology is now mainstream. Here’s a look at some video technologies that are evolving.

by Travis Saxton, vice president of technology

Remember when you first heard about drones and what they could do for the industry? It took a while, but eventually, laws were made and clarified. Then, photographers and virtual tour companies that possessed the proper FAA license, equipment and skillset necessary to get high-quality drone video started promoting it for real estate. Rules have changed again, making it easier for photographers to get licensed or certified to use drones.This will again change the landscape. Using drones in real estate photography isn’t quite mainstream just yet. After all, it is costly and not easy to use to market properties under $500,000. But, it soon will be and eventually the majority of real estate professionals will be using drones to market properties.

Such as it is with new technology, a product launches and is out of reach for many until suddenly it’s accessible and mainstream. What’s amazing is how quickly technllogies are developing in the area of photography. Here are our thoughts on the frontier of video:

Digital Photography: It was invented in 1975 but didn’t become mainstream until the 1990s. /by 2004-2005, digital cameras had widely replaced film cameras. It took 30 years for digital photography to become mainstream!

HDR Photography: After digital camera HDR (high dynamic range Imaging) photography, which was invented in 1985. However, it wasn’t used for commercial purposes until 1993 (medical field) and then, in 1997 for motion pictures. HDR didn’t hit real estate until 2006-2007 and was mainly used to market luxury properties. In 2010-2011, it started to become more mainstream. Now, many listings get this treatment, and its adoption is widespread. This also took 30 years from invention to being widely adopted.

Digital Video: Digital video was invented in the late 1970s and became commercialized by Sony in 1986. It didn’t hit personal computing until the early ’90s. This also didn’t become mainstream in real estate until the mid-2000s, with widespread usage by approximately 2010 – another 30-year period from commercialization until mainstream.

Now, let’s look at the cutting-edge tactics that our industry is seeing. One might argue that these are just evolutions of their predecessors or variations. That is a valid argument. What can’t be ignored is how fast these technologies are proliferating through our industry.

Drones: They first hit the scene in a commercial format in 2010 and by 2014 were used to market some luxury properties. Now, in 2016, it’s becoming more mainstream, particularly in the luxury market. All this in a six-year period!

3D Modeling: Used primarily for floorplans and, eventually, layouts, it now is used to present full, #D models. This was invented around 2010-2011 when Matterport burst onto the scene. It is now relatively mainstream in real estate. In May 2015, Zillow announced they would be serving up Matterport tours. This was a short four to five-year period from inception to mainstream.

Virtual Reality (VR): From a commercial and personal use, virtual reality was invented in 2013 by Oculus Rift (which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.) Google joined the fun in 2014 with the launch of Google Cardboard and turned it into an affordable and practical way to consume content. We saw this creep into our industry in mid-2014. By early 2015, some companies were adopting VR technology for luxury listings. By late 2015, some luxury firms had adopted VR across our country. While this isn’t mainstream yet, we anticipate a three-year window from inception to mainstream – expect it by late 2016 to 2017.

360-degree Video (aka Immersive Video): The newest kid on the block is 360-degree video. It didn’t become on option until YouTube started working with the format in March 2015. Now, many companies such as Ricoh, Alliecam, 360 Fly are producing consumer products for under $500. This isn’t close to mainstream yet, but we have seen early adopters using it in real estate. In less than one year, we already are using this in real estate.

Technology is moving fast and 360-degree video, drones and 3D modeling have now hit our industry. They are transforming the way we market real estate listings. REAL Trends thinks all of these technologies are amazing and will eventually become mainstream. What’s next? Think something futuristic like holograms and projected content. It will take the place of video as we know it!^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


Looking to grow via acquisition? There are few basic rues that should govern this approach to growth.

by Steve Murray, publisher

Few brokerage firms are truly growing at the same pace as the market through organic means, such as recruiting and developing sales associates. Many are growing at about the same rate that REALTOR® membership is growing – about 3 to 4 percent per year. Most aren’t growing that quickly. Agent productivity runs about 8.6 transactions per REALTOR® per year and has been within a small variation of that number for the last four years. The peak was way back in the 1998-2002 era when it was above 10 transactions per year.

Benefits of Acquisition – Many brokerage firms that want to grow faster than the market turn to acquisitions or variations of this theme. There are many good reasons for this, including faster growth, elimination of competition, adding key office locations, spreading overhead over more units and enhancing profitability from core services such as mortgage, title and escrow. All have worked when a deal can be done at the right price and term without too much risk.

Basic Rules – There are few basic rules that should govern your approach to growth via this path. First, enlist the help of good counsel – accountants, lawyers and operations leaders who know how to put these deals together successfully. Second, while the numbers are important, it is just as important (maybe more so) that the cultures are harmonious and that the commission plans are not too dissimilar. Many people hurry through the due diligence on culture and commission plans without giving them full consideration. This is, in fact, where most combinations go wrong. Too much focus on the numbers and financials and not enough on the actual fit. Do remember that as much as leaders dislike change, sales associates and employees dislike it even more.

Lastly, while growth through acquisitions and mergers is fun and exciting, leaders should not ignore that recruiting and developing sales associates is fundamental to success. When you don’t have an effective program to grow in this organic fashion, you will keep on buying sales associates while losing them on the back end. The data from REAL Trends 500 and Up-and-Comers rankings have shown this over many years.

One Last Thought – Growing through acquisitions and combinations is no different than recruiting sales associates. After all, you’re recruiting and attracting whole companies rather than individual sales associates. The same courtship that goes on with recruiting agents should be used by leaders when approaching a favored company for a combination. As with recruiting agents, it is often not about the money but more about the intangibles of culture ad service. Keep that uppermost in your mind.^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.



How can you grow? It’s simple.

by Steve Murray, publisher

Firms that consistently grow their number of sales associates are also mainly the ones growing faster than the market. Firms that are not growing this key number are growing at about the rate of the market. This and other findings will be forthcoming in a analysis of the 2016 REAL Trends 500 and Up-and-Comers report.

Top-performing teams are growing faster than top-performing individual agents – by a significant margin. Team production over the last five years, in total and on average, among The Thousand (REAL Trend rankings of the top 1,000 individual agents and teams in the United States) has substantially outpaced that of individual agents. More on this in next month’s REAL Trends.

We try to make the business complicated when, in reality, it isn’t. For brokerage firms, recruiting good people, developing their skills and spending less than what is coming in, are all that brokerage leaders must do to be successful. For agents and teams to grow, they must execute on the fundamentals. Those fundamentals for brokerage firms are recruiting and growing people’s talents in sales and for teams are growing the customer flow and conversion rates.^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


Learn More $ Earn More – Program #2 – Feb 17th

The second program in the Learn More $ Earn More series is Wednesday, February 17th at the Maple Grove Community Center!

Program Cost $29 – 8 am registration – program 9 am – noon

Expand Your Market Share

Come spend three hours of your morning getting valuable information you can start using in your everyday business! Tailor the morning to you – starting with a keynote session on Emerging Markets and then picking one program from two breakouts that best fit your professional development needs!

The Program:

9 – 9:50 am Keynote Session – Emerging Markets (1hr)

10 – 10:50 am Breakout #1Choose from one of the following:

  • New Construction Impactology (1 hr of CE Approved) * – Get an overview from an expert and expand your client’s choice by learning about new construction. Instructor: Rob Phyle
  • TBA

11 – 11:50 am Breakout #2Choose from one of the following:

  • Energy Fit Homes: Certification and Market Benefits (1 hr of CE Approved) * Instructor: Rebecca Olson
  • Rental Property Management (1 hr) Instructor: Deb Newell

*These courses have been approved by the Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce for 1 hour for real estate continuing education. 

Register Today!

The Minnesota Association of REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active is all aspects of the real estate industry.

Characteristics of a Quality Home Inspector

What to look for in a quality home inspector.

Once you’ve found your next home and have a signed purchase agreement, you will need to have that new place properly inspected for structural issues or necessary repairs prior to closing. How do you know who to select for this important job? Here are some characteristics of a quality home inspector:Home Inspector

Contractor Expertise

Not just any handy-man will do! You want to hire someone with an extensive background in building materials, mechanical and electrical systems and modifications, energy efficiency issues and repair processes. Having someone who understands both new and old products and their pros/cons as well as maintenance and repair needs is also beneficial. This person needs to know it all – from driveways and foundations to windows and appliances.


Contractor expertise on its own is not enough. You need your inspector to be clear and concise in their assessment of your property – which might mean delivering difficult news. They need to be able to translate sometimes complicated or technical subject matter in a way that you can understand and process. Both in writing and orally, this inspector needs to communicate very effectively the concerns of your new home and their recommendations prior to closing on the home.Read More »

How to Research School Districts

Finding the right school district can make moving easier.

Your family has a move in its future and it includes changing schools. As if finding a new place and managing a move isn’t enough stress, but adding in a school change can be a challenge for the entire family. So how do you go about finding a home you love with a strong school system? Here are a few tips for researching school districts:FInd the rights school district

General Information:

When you are starting your home search be sure to use a reputable REALTOR, as they are knowledgeable on neighborhoods and school districts. Many times, listings have links to the affiliated schools so you can easily find information about the system in that neighborhood.

More Specific:

The MN Department of Education (education.state.mn.us) has a website that includes a section called “MN Report Card” (find it under the Data Center tab) where you can find all sorts of district or school specific information on public schools. It’s easy to use – you can select from any district in the state or a specific grade school, middle school or high school and you’ll have all sorts of information at your disposal. Information on test scores, demographics and general school and district wide information are available via this site.Read More »

Why it Pays to Hire a REALTOR

Hiring a REALTOR instead of doing it yourself can save you stress and time.

It may seem that homes are selling really fast in your neighborhood these days. So fast, in fact, that you are tempted to just stick a “FOR SALE” sign in your yard and handle the selling of your home yourself. Before you go ahead and do that, consider why it pays to hire a REALTOR vs doing it yourself. You just might be surprised how much time and work it takes to sell a home.

Education and Experience

Real estate agents have the background necessary to price, market and sell your home in a timely fashion. If they are part of the National Association of REALTORS , they also have extra education to meet the association’s high standards and code of ethics. This education and training means you have a highly skilled professional working on your behalf to get your house sold.Hire a Realtor vs doing it yourself

Market Pros

Not only do REALTORS understand the current market climate, they also understand the nuances from one neighborhood to the next and how that might affect price, competition and time on the market.


Agents know people who know people…who might be in the market for a house just like yours. They also have access to new house listings days before they hit the MLS. Those precious days can mean a jump start in finding or selling a home.Read More »

Benefits of Hiring a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company can save you a lot of hassle.

Your house is sold and plans are falling into place for the move to your new home. But what is the best plan for your move? If you’re moving from a dorm room back home, that is simple. Pack it into the back of a truck and drive yourself. Or if you’re moving out of your parent’s basement to your first apartment, you might be able to get away with buying pizza and beer for your friends to help. But if you’re moving your family of five from one home to another that is across town or across the country, you may want to consider hiring a moving company. What are the benefits of hiring a moving company?Hire a Moving Company

When deciding whether or not to hire a moving company, first consider what it would take to do it yourself: your time, proper packing materials (boxes, tape, packing peanuts or bubble wrap), at least one truck, gas $ and plans for childcare and pet-care while you work your tail off.   Can you manage all that? Do you want to do all that?

Or for a modest investment, you can instead hire out the move and have a very different experience. Hiring a moving company has the following benefits:

Time: Selling a home and moving takes over your life – do you have the time to spend wrapping and packing every last knick-knack in your home? Every framed photo, every pot and pan, toy and candle and book? It’s possible, but it requires an enormous amount of time. Hiring a moving company will save you tons of time and free you up to work on other important details involved with a move, like registering for new schools, requesting address changes and finding new doctors and orthodontists.Read More »