Steven Ristaino

Steven Ristaino

Military Relocation Professional, Seniors Real Estate Specialist
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Baby Proofing Your Home

There are so many ‘what ifs’ when it comes to your baby’s safety at home, and baby proofing can seem overwhelming for many expectant parents. A few simple steps can make your home much safer. 

According to a 2017 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “unintentional injuries are a leading killer of children ages 1-4 in the United States; more than 2,500 children younger than four die from them every year.”

Where to even begin? 

Children go through stages and learn very fast, it is important to be aware of where they are developmentally when taking safety protocols in your home. Start with their bedroom. When you bring your newborn home, their sleeping arrangement is the first thing to consider. To help prevent SIDS, which is the leading cause of death in babies under the age of 1, your newborn should sleep alone in his or her crib and on their back. Having items such as blankets and pillows in your newborn’s sleeping space can pose a suffocation hazard. I recommend using a sleepsack, a wearable blanket for your baby. If your baby is sharing a room with you it is important that they are in their own sleep space such as a bassinet, as sharing a bed can increase the risk of SIDS by 400%. The crib or bassinet should be away from windows, blinds, or any device with cords. 

Some other simple measure to baby proofing your home

  • Keep bathrooms locked and secured at all times

Injury can occur easily in bathrooms. Children can drown in small amounts of water, even just a few inches. Keep your bathrooms locked at all times 

  •  Look out for heavy objects around your home

Your baby will start to move around a lot starting at around 6 months of age. Make sure cabinets are secure and furniture such as dressers are anchored to the wall. 

  • Be cautious around electricity 

Around your baby’s first birthday, they may start to get fascinated with putting items into places they shouldn’t be like sticking things in electrical sockets. I suggest parents find tight-fitting electrical outlet covers that cannot be pulled out by your baby. 

  • Use gates in appropriate areas 

Always use caution around stairways with your baby by placing safety gates at the top and bottom of your staircase. If you have animals such as a large dog, using a playpen gate during playtime is also recommended. 

  • Keep cleaning products out of reach

In 2015, the Consumer Products Safety Commission estimated that around 84,000 children were treated in the ER as a result of poison exposure. Lock cabinets and keep products high and out of reach of children. 

Taking the right precautions for your child’s safety could be a matter of life and death.

The post Baby Proofing Your Home appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

Is Your Broker Supporting Your Growth?

Being a real estate professional is a unique profession because you have the power to choose where to hang your license and ultimately who will provide the right support to help your business continue to grow.  Choosing the right broker is so essential to your business and making sure that they are supporting your growth.  

For new professionals, this is a critical choice in beginning what could be a prosperous, successful, and exciting career.  For current professionals, it’s about doing some research and discovering which broker is the right fit for you and what you need to continue to move your business forward.

How to choose a real estate broker

First, you’re going to want to take a look at your career.  What has been working? What areas need improvement? What do you need to take your career to the next level? 

So many different brokers claim to provide the greatest education, mentorship, tools, technology, commission, and plenty of other resources. However, doing real research is key to finding out what is accurate and what might be a bit of an exaggeration.  

Realty ONE Group, although is a brand that does offer all of this support to its professionals. The unique business model offers over 14,000+ agents at any stage in their career support that the industry has never seen before.  The latest technology, resources, mentorship, training, and education from an in-house learning management system. And then, there’s the 100% commission model but we’ll save that for another blog post.

What should new agents be looking for in a real estate company?

If you’re just beginning your career in real estate, first of all, congratulations! Exciting times lie ahead but picking the right company will dictate so much for your future.  New agents are going to want to choose a company that offers not only education & training but mentorship.  Learning from those that have been where you are is an underrated tool that can really help your business flourish.  Educated and learning-based professionals are the ones that own their market and find continued success.  So, finding a broker that will offer education and the right education is key.  For example, Realty ONE Group’s ONE University is an internal learning management system with over 2,000+ online courses for agents at any stage in their career.  The whole platform is available digitally and you can learn at your own speed on your own time.

Let’s talk training.  Which company has the best? 

Probably going to sound like a broken record here, but Realty ONE Group has the best training especially in the midst of this year.  When the world suddenly stopped earlier this year, Realty ONE Group quickly shifted gears and moved to a complete virtual experience for its network.  Daily town hall meetings quickly began with training courses, news, updates, guest speakers, partnerships, and more to keep everyone connected and in the loop. Brand new virtual training initiatives were available to agents and ONE University’s courses and education continued to grow. 

There are so many different real estate companies out there to choose from.  The important thing is to keep you and your business moving forward, no matter the circumstances.  Choose the right broker that will support your growth. 

The post Is Your Broker Supporting Your Growth? appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

World Mental Health Day- Oh Yes, You Can Do Something

I’d love to say it’s more important now than ever before, but that’s just not true. Mental health awareness and the treatment of mental health conditions has always been critically important, just not discussed.

I see this changing because of wonderful organizations like our friends at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAMI), impassioned leaders, celebrities, and role models speaking their truth and a willingness by all of us to not only accept those who struggle with mental illness but to reach out and embrace them.

Yes, we have a heightened awareness of the state of mental illness in our country because of this relentless virus and we should. COVID-19 has taken a toll on so many including our healthcare workers, parents, the already isolated, the elderly, the unemployed, the impoverished and our children — we worry so much about our kids who aren’t able to see their friends regularly, pass a football, and even swap sandwiches and share laughter in a school lunchroom.

So, this is definitely a year to recognize this day, World Mental Health Day 2020. How do we do that?

No. 1 – Know the resources that are available to you and the people you love. You can start with the World Health Organization’s, World Mental Health Day 2020 but also NAMI’s website (NAMI.org) which is full of resources and a directory of those local to you.

No. 2 – Give – but only if you can – to those organizations who continue to fight for resources for millions of Americans living with a mental health condition. I’m so proud of our company for donating $11,111 to NAMI earlier this year.

No. 3 – Download and share a link to a Children’s Story Book to help young children cope with COVID-19.

No. 4 – Share our World Mental Health Day 2020 social media post or your own on your social networks. You never know who, in your vast network, may need help and your simple post will spread the word and serves to diminish the stigma associated with this very important topic.

The post World Mental Health Day- Oh Yes, You Can Do Something appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

Base Camp 2020: Virtual Edition – RECAP

Last week, Realty ONE Group held its annual Leadership Retreat, Base Camp, but this year with a twist.  Given the unprecedented climate that this year has given us, we wanted to make sure Base Camp was still happening, but in a safe and efficient way.  Welcome to Base Camp 2020: Virtual Edition!

Base Camp 2020 brought the same excitement and education that our previous events have, but from the comfort and safety of your home.  This 100% Live event was an absolute success and left attendees feeling encouraged, optimistic, and ready for what’s next at Realty ONE Group and for the industry.  The event had an exciting line up of speakers from some of our very own like, CEO & Founder, Kuba Jewgieniew, and President of Realty ONE Group Affiliates, Vinnie Tracey.  New York Times Best Selling Author, Ben Nemtin gave an extremely enlightening talk as well as Mike Maddock and Chris Allen.  We also heard from an incredible line up of some of our Rock Star Pros during the Top Producer’s Panel.  All of this will soon be available as downloadable recordings (stay tuned for more info). 

Announcements and updates are always a guarantee at Base Camp as we are constantly innovating and evolving this brand.  After many updates and countless hours of works, we are proud to announce the launch of the new realtyonegroup.com! The all new site will include:

  • An improved search experience that now includes home listings as well as professionals and locations 
  • Recruitment-focused pages built to promote and share our key selling points, such as our UNtraditional branding, comprehensive technology, coaching, and COOLTURE.  
  • SEO optimized and accessibility compliant content and graphics designed to increase traffic, reduce bounce rate and bring in leads.
  • …and so much more 

It wouldn’t be Base Camp without some UNtraditional entertainment! We kicked off the event the night before with a little welcome reception complete with an informative mixologist lesson that left the audience feeling gooood, as well as a magic show! Yep, we brought in a talented magician to perform an immersive and digital show with some pretty cool tricks. It was a brief moment, in the midst of all the chaos this year has brought us, to have some fun and toast this brand!

Base Camp is always a milestone, giving us a chance to lookback on the past year and look towards the year ahead.  This year brought some terrible and unforeseen events that has affected each and every one of us, but we have powered through.  The future is looking bright for Realty ONE Group and we are excited to continue to hold events in the future, including Summit 2021, next March!

See you there! 

The post Base Camp 2020: Virtual Edition – RECAP appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

Top Resources for Continuing Your Real Estate Education

With the covid-19 pandemic, we have all been given a unique opportunity and that opportunity is time.  Now, more than ever, we need to take our extra time to get educated and continue moving forward.

Education for Real Estate Professionals at any stage in their career, is absolutely essential.  The only way to continue to grow their business is to stay current, motivated, and educated.  As independent contractors, professionals have to consider education as an investment in their business and their future.  This industry is constantly changing and evolving, with new practices, marketing strategies, tools, and technology being introduced at a rate like never before.  

Finding a brokerage that has a Learning Management System:

Joining a brokerage that has education as part of their platform can be a huge advantage.  Not only will you get real estate education for free or at a heavily discounted price, but you also are hanging your license with a brand that puts emphasis on its professionals staying educated.

Realty ONE Group is a brand that has made offering education and training to its professionals a priority.  ONE University is Realty ONE Group’s internal Learning Management System and is something never before seen in Real Estate. It gives 14,000+ professionals an immediate leg up on the competition.

Why is ONE University unique?

Professionals with Realty ONE Group have access to some of the best training, coaching and educational resources in the industry. Classroom training has formed an excellent foundation, but Realty ONE Group is taking the next step in Learning with ONE University.

In addition to instructor led training, ONE University offers an online coaching and education platform unlike any other Real Estate company in the world. Agents now have access to over 2,000 online classes, coaching courses and materials, audiobooks and ebooks, 24 hours a day. They can learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, and the available content only continues to grow. There is access to training and education on a wide variety of topics including Goal Setting, Time Management, Lead Generation, Customer Service, Sales Skills, Team Building, Personal Development and more! This platform is accessible on mobile as well, and many of the courses can be downloaded into audio format and listened to on the go.

From rookie to veteran, you must continue educating yourself:

Remember, no matter where you are at in your career, continuing your education will only help your business.  The most skilled and successful real estate professionals are the ONEs who are learning based.  If you haven’t already, schedule in some time each work week and learn something new.  Find a Learning Management System that makes it easy for you to search classes, topics, and training for any stage of a professional’s career.  Your business and your future will thank you!

The post Top Resources for Continuing Your Real Estate Education appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

So, you want to start a career in real estate? You might be ...

You’re thinking about starting a career in real estate, that’s fantastic! I’m sure you have a few questions. Let’s try and answer some of those while also showing what it takes to have a successful career in real estate.

Whether you’re about to get your real estate license, or you’re already beginning your career as an agent, you will need a plan of action. Being an agent is not for everyone and requires a specific personality, work ethic, and grit to be successful.  Let’s start simple:

Should I become a Real Estate Agent?

You need to start and think about who you are and what you want out of your career.

  • Are you looking for an exciting lifestyle that isn’t your routine work hours, but has high-income potential? 
  • Are you looking to meet and work with new clients and assist them with what inevitably is the biggest purchase in one’s life?  
  • Are you a self-starter and someone that can handle growing their own business as an independent contractor? 

This is not just a job, but rather a business and needs to be treated like one.  Thankfully, there are brokerages out there that provide the necessary support, training, education, and tools to help you and your business grow.  

Realty ONE Group is a perfect example of a modern forward-thinking brokerage that provides all the right resources to keep its agents successful, even in unforeseen times.

Is Real Estate a good career in 2020?

2020 has been an unexpected year, to say the least, and the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on our economy and the real estate industry.  It’s a valid question if real estate is a good career in 2020?  The short answer, yes.  Real Estate as an industry has navigated this pandemic and recently, The National Association of Realtors found in their June report that existing home sales jumped 20.7% from May 2020. One thing is for certain; people are still buying homes.  If you are someone that is willing to adapt to change and adapt their business, then real estate is a good career in 2020.

Is it worth it?

One of the beautiful things about being a real estate professional is you are what you make it.  Your business is dictated by how much work and effort you want to put into it.  It’s a career that truly shows you the fruits of your labor.  With the right brokerage offering the right support, you can find success, achievement, and happiness with a career in real estate.  

Click here to learn more about joining your local Realty ONE Group office

The post So, you want to start a career in real estate? You might be a better fit than you think! appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

100% Commission Structures in Real Estate | Are these too go...

Real Estate Professionals work off of commission, so it is important to know how different commission structures work, after all it is what pays the bills.  Most traditional brokerages work off some sort of commission split where the agent will take a percentage and the brokerage will take a percentage of each transaction.  Then, what is a 100% commission structure?

Let’s talk about 100% Commission Structures.  How do they work?

Is a 100% commission model as literal as it sounds? Technically, yes.  When an agent joins a brokerage with a 100% commission model, they receive 100% of the commission with each transaction.  Typically, there is a monthly fee attached with being a part of that brokerage as well as some sort of transaction fee with each transaction. It is important to consider, as a real estate professional, what your business looks like and if it is better for your business to be on a more traditional split or a 100% commission model. 

100% Commission Real Estate Companies

There are a number of different companies in the industry that claim to have a 100% Commission Model.  There are only a few companies that have managed to do it successfully.  Realty ONE Group is ONE of the leading 100% Commission companies in real estate.  With a philosophy of encouraging agents to reinvest in their own business by putting more money in their pocket, it creates success across all avenues.  Realty ONE Group has experienced incredible growth and expansion because agents across the globe are realizing this 100% model actually works.  The monthly fee is a small sacrifice that also comes with an incredible amount of resources including:

  • incredible marketing & branding with an in-house creative agency 
  • Learning Management System with the best training and education in the industry 
  • the latest tech and tools designed to streamline the real estate process 

Let’s discuss fees

It is important to consider that agents create their own business.  If an agent is not selling any homes, then they are not making any commission and if they are with a brokerage with a 100% model, then they are likely paying fees each month.  These monthly fees, transaction fees, and broker fees can be a lot if an agent is not compensating them with the commission from a transaction.  These fees do typically come with tools, education, and resources from the brokerage. This model is not for everyone, but for those that want to make real estate a career, have a determined attitude, passion for success, and want more money in their pocket, the 100% commission model might be the right choice.

The post 100% Commission Structures in Real Estate | Are these too good to be true? appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

5 Quick and Easy Tips to Optimize Your Website

Optimize your meta titles and descriptions

  • Your site’s search appearance is important. It is the first thing that a user sees after searching on a search engine and it will help them decide whether or not to click on your website. Because of this, optimizing your appearance in search engine results can have a huge impact on your ranking position and click through rate (CTR).
  • For example, our team at Realty ONE Group wrote the ‘Title’ and ‘Description’ you see in the image below and we can test and update it to ensure we get the best click through rate and remain at the top of search results.

Make sure all of your site’s images have optimized ALT text

  • We suggest adding ALT text to your images so that it’s easier for search engines to index them. What is ALT text? Search engines don’t physically see images the way people do, so ALT text is content that allows you to specifically describe the image. Creating ALT text allows you to attach a description to your pictures so that they show up in Google and other search engine’s image results. Make sure your website images have their own specific ALT text.

Make sure your profiles on third party real estate websites are updated and that you include a link on your profile to your website

  • Search results are similar to a popularity contest and your popularity is determined by how many other websites are linked to yours. This is why we recommend that you include links to your website on as many third party real estate websites as you can. 

Optimize the content on your site to include key search terms you want to rank for on Google

  • This goes without saying, but if you want to show up in the search results for a specific search term, your website needs to include that search term. The deeper the dive, the more complicated it can get but put simply, Google won’t serve you up to people searching for real estate if you don’t say the words real estate! 

Search engines love fresh content. Create a blog or news section where you can update your site consistently

  • Create a blog or news page to keep fresh content, with plenty of the search terms you’d love to be ranked for, on your website. This gives you the flexibility to write about a variety of topics, with a variety of key search terms that will help your rankings. 

The post 5 Quick and Easy Tips to Optimize Your Website appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

Google My Business for Brokerages

If you tuned in to the early parts of Realty ONE Group’s Waking up to Win Town Hall series you probably heard me emphatically stress how important your Google My Business profile is for the success of your business. Because I love you, I want to make sure you’re covered and so, let me outline why I will continuously stress the importance of Google My Business (or GMB when we show off acronyms). 

Why is Google My Business (GMB) Important for My Business? 

Because you work in real estate, you already know that everything is local. GMB is the online directory source for all businesses and service providers at a very local and targeted level which means that when you search, Google will give you results that are most relevant and nearest to you.

For example, when someone searches for a ‘real estate agency near me,’ they will see your physical address if you’re in close proximity. Now the rest is up to you. You’ll need to make sure your business profile is up to date and complete, including your address, website, etc., to be visible for Google and to entice people to click on it. 

Your business name, location, service categories, and website URL are critically important if you want Google to serve you up in search results. 

I KNOW, I WANT TO GET UP AND START DANCING FROM THIS EXCITEMENT TOO!

Remember, GMB is not a social media platform or a website. Think of it like the new-age yellow page listing. It’s the identity information source of your business which Google will first look at and it’s local, just like real estate. 

So, step number ONE? Make sure your GMB is updated with the service area! 

How Do I Update my Google My Business?

Here are five components of your Google My Business that must be complete:

  1. Your business name 
  2. Your business address
  3. Your business website address – REAAAALLLLLYYYYYY IMPORTANT Y’ALL!
  4. Your business phone number
  5. Clear and horizontal exterior and interior photos of the office

And things get better, my friends. Because you are a Realty ONE Group franchisee, you get GMB optimized for local SEO for FREE! Yes, our leadership has invested in the local success and visibility of your business. To make sure your Realty ONE Group office is included in this program follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to https://www.localact.com/one/ and submit your information. This allows LOCALACT to create a user profile for you and provide you with access to the performance dashboard.
  1. While signed into your business Google account, (the same account you created your GMB profile with): 
    1. Go to business.google.com
    2. Click the “Users” tab on the lower left side panel
    3. Click the invite users button in the upper right-hand corner (plus sign icon)
    4. Add the e-mail realtyonegroupllm@gmail.com and grant “Owner” access This level of access is needed to move the listing into the folder feeding the API. This allows the display data in LOCALACT for your location’s insights. Don’t worry! You are still the primary owner of your business listing.
  2. If you have any difficulty granting access to LOCALACT, you can reach out to support@localact.com 

PLEASE make sure the information you provide is consistent (e.g. same name, address, etc.) with all of your other online placement.

WAIT! Did You Do It?

If you’ve made it this far and you’re reading this my hope is that you completed the steps above and are on your way to making sure you exist digitally. If you’ve skipped ahead then hit the rewind button buddy because you are definitely missing out on some value. If you’re completely ignoring this then just know you’re making me cry inside and I’m screaming in my heart “WHYYY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!?!”

Until next time, toodles!

The post Google My Business for Brokerages appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Know NOW!

Digital marketing in real estate is always evolving and is as trendy as the latest face masks. To help, I’ve laid out the top five digital marketing trends every real estate professional and business owner should factor into his or her business plan.

Google My Business

Chances are you’ve heard us mention Google My Business or GMB. Why is it important? Google My Business is the foundation of your business identity. Having a complete GMB profile is similar to being included in the yellow pages back in the day. 

GMB is today’s online directory for all businesses and service providers at a very local and targeted level which means that when you search, Google will deliver results for those entities that are most relevant and nearest to you. 

Remember, 89% of transactions begin with a Google search. If you can’t be found on a search, you don’t exist.

Video / Vlogs

As a real estate professional, you should already be using video for marketing. Whether you use it to promote your business or a listing, video content is highly consumable and drives performance. In fact, video content consumption is increasing more than ever especially with mobile devices and connected tv.

As with the content on your website, you need to optimize your video for search results. Be sure to clear titles and thorough descriptions that provide information such as detailed specs on the home for sale, a link to the listing, and a link to your website.

You can also copy the vlog embed code and place it into a new blog page on your website. Make sure the header describes the vlog and that there’s also a description of it on the page. Have this video live on your website and use that page link to share on all of your social media networks. 

Content

If you want to keep driving traffic to your website and help increase your rankings on search engines, you need to focus on developing content. Informative, verifiable, interesting, and relevant content is going to be the lifeline of your website. 

Be creative, show some humor and personality. Don’t make it about yourself, but personalize the content so that the reader or viewer feels as if you’re speaking directly to them. 

Paid Digital Media

Using organic tactics to rank at the top of the search engine results is free but it can take time. To get better results faster, you can invest in paid search ads, or pay-per-click (PPC). This will allow you to bid on keywords to show your ad to get the attention of your target audience. But remember, PPC ads is a bidding process (a.k.a. an auction), which means someone with a bigger budget, may outbid you and your ads won’t be displayed. 

Paid digital also includes paid social media advertising which can be very targeted and very effective. When creating paid social media ads, you can define the exact audience you want to see the ads and you can also elect to have them show on Instagram. Both Facebook and Google require you to acknowledge that you’re displaying a housing ad.

Pro tip: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see an immediate influx of leads. While you’re learning and refining your campaigns and tactics, you’re still investing in amplifying your brand online.

Social Media Etiquette 

Your audience is watching you. What you say or do online, especially in social media reflects on the values of your business. With 64% citing shared values are the primary reason for the relationship with a brand, your social media etiquette matters. This is all the more reason to make sure the content you share is verifiable, of interest, relevant to your target audience, and can provide the opportunity for a two-way conversation to help capture the prospect. 

With recent concerns over privacy and increased protections being implemented, having a professional, engaging, and informative social media presence will help your audience be more comfortable reaching out to you. 

What now?

Are you ready to make sure you exist digitally? Are you ready to become a leading source of real estate information in your market? Remember it’s not as difficult as it seems. To be successful you need to stay focused and consistent. Create fresh content. Keep your website updated. Share links to your blogs and vlogs as well as reviews on your social media. And, stay relevant!

The post Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Know NOW! appeared first on Realty ONE Group Blog.

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