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NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development

A Business, Careers and Education podcast
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NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development podcast focuses on education in the real estate industry and is hosted by Monica Neubauer, an award-winning industry leader, speaker, and instructor based in Nashville, TN. The podcast discusses formal and informal sources of industry knowledge, including NAR education and credential programs. This podcast is for REALTORS®, REALTOR® associations, real estate and allied professionals, real estate educators, education providers such as schools, and consumers.


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032: Best Practices for Historic Homes with TJ Pierce and Michelle Drum
Today’s episode is all about historic homes. These homes have unique architecture and features that set them apart. Monica interviews two different guests about mid-century homes and antique homes. They share information about what REALTORS® should know when it comes to renovating and listing these properties. TJ Pierce — Mid-Century Homes: Homes older than 50 years are now considered historic homes. These mid-century homes are homes that were built in the ’50s and ’60s, with the more technical definition spanning 1947-1972. These homes followed specific architectural trends (usually a ranch style home). These homes were built so people could stay in them for their whole lives and shared many common features. While the time frame is the biggest qualifier for a mid-century home, TJ shares some of the other common characteristics of these homes. The architect is very important for mid-century enthusiasts. There are two different approaches: mass production and the nuance of an architect-grade home. Builders were putting up homes at a rapid rate for Vets returning from war, as well as more individualized homes for important people and the common person. When it comes to renovating these homes, the best practice kind of falls on two different ends of a spectrum. Some people prefer an untouched home to re-enhance the original features, while others like to keep the structure but bring in new features. If you choose to renovate, you’ll get the best premium if you keep renovations era-appropriate. Monica and TJ discuss listing these homes, and whether sellers should renovate before they list it on the market. There are many mid-century experts that can provide tips and ideas for ways to update your home appropriately. As REALTORS®, if you understand mid-century architecture or have an expert who does, it may be worth it to update it before listing. If not, it may be better to let someone else come in and do the work. To market these homes, it may be beneficial to make some connections with other people who already market to the mid-century enthusiast community with other products. It’s also important to use the appropriate hashtags on social media. In many markets across the country, if you have a listing that has the mid-century style, find those experts and agents to network with. TJ shares many resources that are linked below that provide great content on mid-century architecture and homes. He also shares why they started their company, and how they seek to help the people in their local market and across the globe. Michelle Drum — Older Homes This portion of the episode focuses on homes that were built in the 1800s and early 1900s. When looking for older houses, it really comes down to structure and stability. Some of the most important structural things to look for when listing an antique house are pest infestation and authentic features. Michelle talks about her own home renovation property, and how she and her husband curated it to be as authentic as possible for the next generation. The story of a property is essential for REALTORS® when it comes to listing these homes. When people are looking for an old home, they’re looking for a story, not just a building. As an agent, you can help buyers find the story by going back to look at the deeds or historians to see if you can give a name to the house. It will give it a complexity that other properties don’t have. Creating these connections between historians and agents can be very beneficial. Michelle talks about some of the renovation/restoration considerations for older homes. When people want to update an older home with modern amenities, some of the most important things to consider are flooring and color schemes. Michelle shares some best practices for listing an older home. The number of bathrooms is usually an issue — she recommends having an original floor plan, and also one with some proposed changes a buyer could make to make it more family-friendly. You may also want to get a quote for central A/C. Anything to get ambiguity off the table will help the listing. Antique houses can also be hard to photograph, so you want to make sure you consider room size, lighting, etc. It is good to give some of the story in the MLS listing. You can share the rest of the story and history of the property at the showing. Putting your home on the national registry won’t necessarily increase the value. If a property becomes part of the city's historic register, it may increase the value a little bit. Michelle shares some of the resources she has for people who want to learn about old homes. Most states have a Historical Preservation Commission, and you can also connect with lecturers and builders to learn more about the architecture and style of these older homes. Everybody should find what they love, and really dig deep to learn as much about it as you can. This will bring in buyers and sellers for your career.   Additional Links: OnlineLearning.REALTOR for online education offered through NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development — List of classroom courses for NAR and REBI classes. for RRC classes and online training   Host Information: Monica Neubauer Speaker/Podcaster/REALTOR®   Additional Bios:   TJ Pierce   For the Mid Century Section:   #midcenturyhome #midcentury   Atomic Ranch Magazine Modernism Week   TJ Pierce is the owner and team lead of a real estate company based in Boise Idaho called Mid-Century Homes. He is also a Co-host to a podcast called Next Up — Mid-Century Homes where they highlight the people, the places, and the work of folks that are making an impact in the world of mid-century design and architecture.   TJ and his team spend as much of their waking time as possible helping make mid-century dreams come true and you can find out more about their work on the web at or you can find them on Facebook and Instagram @boisemidcebturyhomes.   Michelle Drum   Michelle Drum specializes in the sale of historic & coastal properties in Rhode Island. She lives in a nationally registered Schoolhouse that she and her husband are always in the process of restoring. She puts her Ivy League education in Historic Preservation to good use helping buyers and sellers. RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission
031: Working Successfully With Home Inspectors with Scott Frederick
One of the most important things that can help your inspections go smoother is to have a good relationship with your home inspectors. This not only benefits you as the REALTOR® but also benefits your client. An excellent REALTOR® and an excellent inspector is a fabulous combination to help create a better experience for buyers. Today’s guest, Scott Frederick, joins Monica on the show to talk about how we can foster better relationships between REALTORS® and inspectors, including what to look for in an inspector and communication skills.   The U.S. is about 50-50 between states that require home inspectors to have a license and those that don’t. Inspectors should be a member of ASHI or NACHI, especially in states that do not require a license. ASHI is the American Society of Home Inspectors, and InterNACHI is the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. ASHI tends to be more credible, simply because of the guidelines and requirements it takes to become certified. When looking for a home inspector, you should look for at least one of those certifications.   Training for home inspectors involves a technical instruction background, but almost as importantly, good communication skills, good grammar, punctuality, and time management are key to becoming a good home inspector. There is usually a mentor/shadow period, where you train with an experienced inspector. As an agent, it’s important to do your due diligence to find an inspector to help with the real estate transaction.   The most important part of Scott’s job is to build the relationship between the client, the buyer, and the REALTOR®. He talks about some of the customer service standards they use on their team, starting from the first call to the systematic inspection of the house. During the inspection, they set up shop, go over what the client ordered in terms of the inspection, and get the expectations of the buyer upfront. Get an unbiased opinion from the beginning so the inspection can be thorough and honest.   The way you present yourself from the beginning of the inspection and instill confidence in yourself and your ability will put the client at ease. The inspection is also an opportunity for the client to do their own walk-through and identify anything they are concerned about.   Communication is key between inspectors and REALTORS®. Agents need to learn how to be facilitators of information between inspectors and buyers. To be a good communicator, you have to be able to give and receive. As a REALTOR® or an inspector, try to create a good dynamic between you and the other people, so collaborating is productive and easy. As REALTORS® and home inspectors work together over the course of their careers, it creates a camaraderie that leads to good questions and open communication.   If there is an issue with the house that comes up during the inspection, it’s important to engage the conversation so that the buyer can hear all the information from the inspector themselves. It is all about how you phrase the problem verbally as well as in your report. Scott’s team addresses issues in three tiers: 1. Safety 2. Structural Defects 3. Cosmetic Defects. When presenting issues, make sure to offer solutions as well.   Whether the agent is at the inspection or not, they are the ones who will be negotiating with the broker. It is important that the inspector leaves thorough comments about any necessary repairs so that the agent can effectively negotiate these. One of the worst habits an inspector can get into is deferring everything to another expert. Agents can help with this by providing feedback to inspectors on what they would like to see. A REALTOR® is just as important in creating a good inspector as an inspector’s time in the field.   Sometimes it may be a good idea for the inspector to come back after any repairs are made to ensure that they were actually done as the receipt says. Scott does this as a courtesy, but if the relationship is there between the REALTOR® and the inspector, hopefully, something can be arranged at a fair price to provide a level of comfort.   When it comes to older homes and inspections, you want to make sure you find an inspector who is knowledgeable about old homes. As a REALTOR®, you can ask questions to make sure you are going to hire a qualified inspector for the home in question. Cosmetic issues are going to differ between old and new homes, and that’s something to keep in mind during inspections.   When it comes to cosmetics, it comes down to dollars and cents. Depending on cost, cosmetic issues could become larger or more important issues. Scott brings awareness to cosmetic issues but differentiates based on the cost of repair. From there, it is up to the REALTOR® to negotiate price.   The final thing Scott reiterates for REALTORS® is the importance of building relationships with inspectors. The more that you know each other and what you want from each other, the better the work relationship is, which ultimately provides the buyer with the best customer experience. Developing open lines of communication is key; it is all a collaborative effort.   Some additional courses for more information on this topic:   ABR Designation SRS Designation New Home Construction Course   Guest Links:   Pillar to Post   Additional Links: OnlineLearning.REALTOR for NAR Online Education — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes. for RRC classes and online training   Host Information: Monica Neubauer Speaker/Podcaster/REALTOR®   Additional Bios:   Scott Frederick, Pillar to Post Franchise owner, Kirkwood, MO in the Greater St. Louis area.   Franchise Owner/Home Inspector Franchise Owner since 2013 Retired St. Louis City Firefighter Former owner of Frederick Renovations ASHI certified home inspector InterNACHI certified home inspector CE Educator Married with two children Enjoys fishing, boating, and spending time with his family  
030: Divorce Situations in Real Estate Sales with Laurel Starks
For clients who are in some phase of the divorce process, the house is often the largest asset in the case. As REALTORS® in these cases, you can help your client navigate through the real estate aspects of doing what’s best for the family and the property. Laurel discusses her work as a court-appointed real estate expert and shares helpful tips for divorce cases that are also great tips for regular listings.   It’s important to note that the court has jurisdiction over most things in a divorce case. The first thing that needs to be established is whether the court has made any specific orders regarding the house and the client; the client would be whichever person is on the title. The orders can indicate anything from the list price to certain terms defined. The house often comes into play with other aspects of the case as well.   The title company usually disperses the proceeds, but as the REALTOR®, you want to make sure the title company gets a copy of an order that dictates how these should be dispersed.   Laurel has been involved in some legal work during her real estate career. In family law, the court and attorneys are accustomed to working with experts. In her work, Laurel is a real estate expert that is appointed by the court to handle the real estate aspect of the case, making recommendations and making sure the court orders are followed. Usually, an agent on the deal would be the court-appointed expert.   When you get a client who may be recently divorced, the first step is to do an intake to gather information, like who is and isn’t in the house, any court orders, who is on the mortgage, etc. After that, you would generally want to visit the property and do a walk-through; in divorce, there is often evidence of distress. There may be opportunities for improvement so they get the most money. These should always be suggested with discretion and sensitivity for the situation. Asking probing questions to get more information may be uncomfortable, but as REALTORS®, you must own your professionalism. You can’t best help your clients without all the information.   Proactive communication is especially important in these cases. When it comes to education, it’s really important to take the position of not being attached to the outcome. It’s not about trying to get them to list the house, it’s about giving all the information so the family can make the best choice for them. Communication helps establish trust and neutrality.   In Laurel’s practice, when they do the intake and the walkthrough, she never meets the clients twice. She meets with the parties separately and will alternate appointments. You want to avoid having too much communication with one client to make it look like you’re taking sides. Each situation will be different, but it’s important to gather all the information so you are considering both person’s needs. Laurel shares some best practice tips for when it comes to communicating through emails.   In these situations, it is very common to have pacing issues. One spouse may be ready to sell the house and get everything done, while the other is still grieving the loss of both their house and their marriage. You may have to slow down and get the other spouse on board before you get too far.   When getting a lawyer involved, you want to keep them reasonably updated, but don’t bombard them with too much communication. Some things to update lawyers on: when the listing agreement has been signed, the terms, once the house is on the market, when the house is in escrow, and when they are ready to close. Don’t involve the lawyers unless you absolutely need to.   There are some things to prevent early on in a divorce listing. Make sure you know who all is on the title, and make sure the title will respect a Power of Attorney in the situation that the client themselves is unavailable. This is helpful even for a regular listing. You also want to check loan payment amounts that may be affected by previous loan modifications. Laurel recommends ordering a mortgage payoff early on. Knowing how to prevent land mines is key — if you think or know something may be a problem, address it sooner rather than later.   Reverse mortgages can be used as a tool in divorce when one person wants to stay in the house or to help a buyer when they want to move into a new house. A spouse who wants to keep the house has to qualify all on their own. With all the expenses surrounding divorce, oftentimes they don’t qualify. Laurel is a proponent of not staying married to the mortgage. Reverse mortgages only apply to clients over the age of 62. In normal mortgage situations, you usually will have to refinance to get one person off the mortgage, or sell the house and take the proceeds to find a new living situation.   The rules for ownership and how things are dispersed vary from state to state. When it comes to listing agreements, some states take a listing agreement with whoever is on the title. In some states, you also need both parties to sign the listing agreements. It’s important to look up your state’s regulations. This determines who the client is — whoever you are taking the listing agreement with.   If you’re working with friends or people you are familiar with, it’s important to establish professionalism. You should treat it the same as a situation with a new client, and make sure all the education is provided and you’re still following through with all necessary procedures.   There are some warning signs when entering divorce real estate situations. One is to make sure your client has an attorney; as a REALTOR®, there is no legal pull, and your client may need help navigating the court system. If one party is trying to sway your allegiance, maintain boundaries and neutrality. Another big warning sign is that lawyers can write into orders a right of first refusal. This can affect the basic rules and regulations of real estate sales. If you take on a case where one spouse wants to buy out the other, make sure that option has been detailed out up front so you don’t run into anything later.   As REALTORS®, it’s not your position to create a sense of urgency to list and sell a property, but you can help motivate them if they are experiencing grief or anger. It starts by building trust with your client. If you can seek to understand their goals and concerns, you can help guide their actions.   Children are the unintended casualties in divorce cases. Sometimes parents will use the children as pawns to try to sabotage the sale. There is not an obligation to the kids, but you can help to advise your client on how they can help their children through the situation.   Divorce listings are very complex listings. They far surpass agents trying to hit their sales goals; it’s about meeting people on their worst day and helping them rebuild.   Guest Links:   Starks Realty Group The House Matters in Divorce: Untangling the Legal, Financial & Emotional Ties Before You Sign On the Dotted Line, by Laurel Starks   Additional Links: OnlineLearning.Realtor for NAR Online Education — List of Classroom Courses for REBAC and REBI classes. for RRC classes and online training   Host Information: Monica Neubauer Speaker/Podcaster/REALTOR®   Additional Bios:   Laurel Starks is a recognized expert in family law real estate, has sold over $120 million in divorce sales volume throughout Southern California, and is often regarded by her peers as the pioneer of the divorce real estate niche. In this capacity, she has advised, consulted, and testified in hundreds of divorce cases, and serves as a court-appointed expert in the disposition of real property. Attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals have come to rely on Laurel’s knowledge, judgment, integrity, as well as her ability to explain complex real estate matters to those affected by them.   In 2016, Laurel was recognized as an Inman Innovator by Inman News for her pioneering work in the divorce real estate field, and in 2017, Laurel Starks was recognized once again by Inman, as an Inman Influencer for her contributions to the real estate industry.   Laurel speaks at numerous events around the country each year and is equally at home addressing ordinary homeowners, REALTORS®, or a room full of judges and attorneys. She is the founder and owner of the Divorce Real Estate Institute for real estate agents.   Laurel is the author of The House Matters in Divorce: Untangling the legal, financial and emotional ties to the house in divorce.  


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Podcast Details
Apr 26th, 2017
Latest Episode
Oct 1st, 2019
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