Setting Standards For A Brokerage

Setting Standards For A Brokerage


What do you look for in a brokerage?  What do you expect from them?


Brokerage Standards


Whether you’ve decided to move on from your current brokerage or are doing it for the first time, interviewing a brokerage can be a tricky process. Here is a list of standards REALTORS® Kristina Wilton, Rick Sergison, and Steven Sarasin, featured in the video above, look for in a brokerage:

  • Attention
    • “When I’m calling you, you’re not rushing to get me off the phone.” – Steven Sarasin
  • Support
  • Invests in you and your career
  • Proper training
  • Positive energy
  • Respect what you have to say


When Kristina met with her broker, she mentioned she felt unsafe working in the current location. She also didn’t like bringing her clients to the office as she felt it didn’t represent her business. Her broker listened and moved to a different office that resolved both issues.


This made Kristina feel respected, valued, and confirmed that she and the brokerage she works with have similar standards. 


Get A Prenup


As far as Rick’s concerned, the brokerage works for you. You as a realtor are the broker’s client. If the managing broker doesn’t do their job, the agents leave. He says that one of the most important questions to ask is, “How will you treat me when I leave?”


Brokers can offer you the world when you join them, but what will they do if/when you decide to move on? When your clients call, will they forward your new number or will they tell them that you’ve left the business? Legally, they can take your business after you’re gone. So you need to figure out if their ethical standards align with yours. Think of what you would put in a prenup before shaking hands and working towards growing your business with that brokerage. 


Give Us A Call


Book your free consultation here. We’ll discuss your goals and figure out the best way we can help you succeed online. Got any topics you’d like us to cover in a future episode or a guest you’d like us to sit down with? Let us know in the comments below! You can also reach us on Facebook and Instagram.

Setting Your Standards

Setting Your Standards

Setting your standards for you and your business will set you apart from other REALTORS®, attract your ideal client, and help you create a healthy work/life balance.


Your Time Is Precious


People often have this perception of REALTORS® making stacks of cash, not knowing how much money actually ends up in your pockets at the end of a deal. Or the hours of hard and dedicated work put into every listing.


You become completely invested in your client’s lives. So much so that you end up missing special moments in yours. You might miss time with your new born child, a family member or friend’s birthday celebration, or, in Steven’s case, you end up cancelling a non-refundable trip or two.


Whether you’re married, in a relationship, single, a parent, in your 20’s, 30’s, 60’s 70’s, your time is precious. You need time for yourself. You need time with your loved ones. Your loved ones need time with you. Not setting standards for yourself or your business can become a slippery slope. You end up stressed, burnt out, and miss out on important moments. 


Set Your Standards


“If you have your standards set – you’ll only get clients that fit those standards.” – Steven Sarasin


Every REALTOR® has experienced working with a difficult client that was time consuming where the end result was not a fruitful one.


Steven shared an experience with a difficult client he had when he first started out. The client wanted to list their home for 25%-30% above the listing price and Steven kindly refused. The client decided they were going to wait.


When he followed up with them, they were listed with a different agent. Later he found out their experience with that REALTOR® ended poorly. They moved onto another agent, then another with no success. 13 months later they came back. The bulk of the work had already been done and Steven listed their home at the price he originally had given them. In the end, he sold their home for a couple hundred over the asked price.


Our advice : set standards for your business for the kind of client you want to work with. Be okay letting go of clients that do not fit those standards.


Set Your Baseline


Setting standards for your business, from the beginning, will allow you to accomplish the following:

  • Work with your ideal client
  • Separate you from other REALTORS®
  • Allow you to spend time with family and friends
  • Take well-deserved time off
  • Will help keep you safe


“Be as authentic as you can be. Show clients who you are because you really will attract very similar people.” – Kristina Wilton


A standard that Kristina sticks to in her business – remaining as transparent as possible with her clients during the entire process is. Even when they aren’t together, she keeps them in on the process. It builds trust while setting down guidelines that she will not go beyond.


Rick Sergison says, “a standard is your baseline that you do not deviate from.” You have to look at yourself and decide what your standards are. The day you take less or answer that call later than you normally allow, your standards have dropped. If that’s not a fit for your client, that’s okay. Let go of that client and move onto the next.

Give Us A Call


Online marketing is a stress that we can help you with! You can book your free consultation here. We’ll discuss your goals and figure out the best way we can help you succeed online.


Got any topics you’d like us to cover in a future episode or a guest you’d like us to sit down with? Let us know in the comments below! You can also reach us on Facebook and Instagram.

Over A Pint | Setting and Keeping a Positive Mindset

Over A Pint | Setting and Keeping a Positive Mindset


Setting and keeping a positive mindset everyday and knowing when to take a moment to recharge can change your business and your life.




Most people don’t see the stress, struggles, and sacrifices that happen behind-the-scenes in real estate. The long hours, day after day. The interrupted family events, holidays, and vacations. The ones that are missed entirely.


It can be tiresome to smile all day for clients while working your butt off to sell/buy their home. It can be tough to stay positive at the end of a 12 hour day and know you have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow.


Kristina Wilton,  one of the special guests featured in this month’s Over A Pint, brought up the struggle of keeping a positive mindset.


“How do you get yourself out of a negative mindset?”


It’s all about perspective. If the way you are tackling challenges and everyday stress leaves you in a negative space, you need to change your outlook. It can be easy to enter a negative space and stay in it. Rick Sergison shared an example, in the video above. One of his coaching clients continued to self-sabotage everything they were doing. They’d put themselves in a “victim” mindset. One day, he decided to give his client a Superman t-shirt and asked them to go into the washroom and change. When his client came back, Rick said “Let’s start all over again and talk about this situation as if you were a superhero.” The conversation became something completely different.


“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford


Steven Sarasin, also in the video above, mentioned that wearing a suit and going into the office leaves him far more productive than working at home in sweatpants. Wearing a nice suit is his own version of wearing a Superman suit.


Change the way you think about the upcoming day and its challenges. Focus on the things you’re grateful for, make a list if it helps, and start your day ready to conquer!


If you’re feeling a little run down, as all people do sometimes, give yourself an extra boost. Put the Superman t-shirt under your button-up and wear your Clark Kent glasses. Don’t have a prescription? No problem, get yourself a pair of blue light glasses. They’ll protect your eyes from harmful blue light coming from your device’s screen. Hey, who doesn’t feel smarter with a good pair of glasses on?


Train Your Mindset


Creating a positive mindset doesn’t happen overnight. You need to consistently train your mind and be aware of when you’re entering a negative space.


Rick’s first piece of advice, and Steven agreed, is to read as many books as you can. Read any book that will inspire you. If you’re not someone who likes to read, listen to them. Realtors spend countless hours driving. What better time to put on an audio book and take a moment to put yourself in an inspired space?


I’ve always kept a pretty even, solution-based mindset. If something happened in my business, I’d think to myself “this is my fault, what do I need to do to fix it?” Rick brought up something interesting. He said not to confuse “fault” with “being responsible”. Most of us don’t like to hear this, but we cannot control everything that happens in life. Sometimes it’s just not your fault, but you are responsible for how you react to the issue and what the outcome is.


Your clients get the best of you. You take on their issues, their challenges, and then at the end of the day you have to go home and deal with your own. It can be a lot and leave you with a bad mood and short temper for your family and friends.


Find little tricks that can help you hit the reset button when you find yourself in a negative space. For example, when Rick’s in a bad mood and heading into the office, he’ll park further away from the front door. This gives him time to take a moment by himself, take a short walk to the front door in the fresh air, and reset his mind.


If you love music, create a playlist of songs you love to listen to on your way to an appointment or on your way home at the end of the day. Take a minute to take a few full breaths and list things you’re grateful for. Steven said that working out on a regular basis affected his general mood in a positive way.


Remember, You’re Human


Emotions, negative or positive, are completely natural and only make you human. It’s important to allow yourself to feel whatever emotion presents itself when working towards setting and keeping a positive mindset. Kristina says “if you’re having a shitty day – you can have a shitty day. If you’re feeling angry, if you want to cry, whatever it is you need to do, do it, but then end it.”


Take the hour, the day to feel whatever it is you’re feeling, but then let it go. “Allow yourself to feel it because they’re real and it’s healthy but then release it.” 


Give Us A Call


Online marketing is a stress that we can help you with! You can book your free consultation here. We’ll discuss your goals and figure out the best way we can help you succeed online.


Got any topics you’d like us to cover in a future episode or a guest you’d like us to sit down with? Let us know in the comments below! You can also reach us on Facebook and Instagram.

Over a Pint with Jason Stephen

Over a Pint with Jason Stephen


Have you ever thought about using targeted Facebook ads as a networking tactic when attending an event?


I had the chance to sit down with Jason Stephen, CREA’s 2019 President. We discussed everything CREA, online marketing, social media, and Facebook tactics for REALTORS®.


“Funny, I Just Saw Your Ad On Facebook!”


Jason and I were both basketball coaches before becoming parents. Jason said he got a client out of that here and there though it wasn’t why he coached. I didn’t want to be “that guy” who walked around handing out business cards at games and practices either.


People don’t want to be sold a service while they’re trying to support their children at a game or practice. At the same time, you want people to know what it is that you do and how you can help them.


So, how can I get them to come to me?


I noticed that parents would pull out their phones during time outs. I decided to run a Facebook ad with a picture that included my face and logo. I then targeted it to the specific building we were playing in and the people attending it. After the games parents would walk up to me saying “Hey! Funny, I just saw your ad on Facebook!” I would smile and say “Wow! What a coincidence!”


It’s an easy way of advertising your services and keeping yourself at the forefront of people’s minds. This applies to any event you’re attending as well. For example, I’ll create an ad when I speak at a conference. I take a picture of myself in front of the building and create an ad inviting attendees to my session.


You don’t have to speak at an event to let people know you’re there. If you’re attending a community event and have a table set up, create an ad and let people know where you’ll be!


Getting Your Facebook Ads Approved


You’ve created your ad and yet, no matter how many times you try, Facebook refuses to approve your ad. There are 2 main things to watch out for:


  1. It could be that you never certified your compliance with local regulations.
  2. You could be using the wrong type of language/words in your ad.


One of our clients runs 2 crossfit gyms. When we run an ad for them, the ad cannot contain a before-and-after picture as it may cause the viewer to feel bad about themselves. Facebook also disapproves ads that use the word ‘you’ too often. Generally those ads make the viewers feel that they aren’t enough and need to be doing more.


We Can Help You!


Need help targeting your Facebook ad to the event you’re attending? Just Sell Homes can help you with that. Click here to book a free consultation.


Got any topics you’d like us to cover in a future episode or a guest you’d like us to sit down with? Let us know in the comments below! You can also reach us on Facebook and Instagram.


Over a Pint with Jason Stephen

Over a Pint with Natalie Sutton Balaban


Online branding, automation, and figuring out a good work/life balance with Natalie Sutton Balaban.


This week I sat down with Natalie Sutton Balaban, a manager with Sutton Group Associates, Over A Pint. Natalie grew up in a real estate family and has been active in the industry for eight years. She began her career filling in for an administrator and moved her way up to manager. Some of her tasks include training, events, marketing, and online branding.


Online Branding


One of the topics we covered was the importance of branding online and through events. Some don’t find it to be a valuable asset because it doesn’t usually translate to profit right away. Those who see the value understand that you have to play the long game when it comes to building an online presence.


Building your brand and remaining consistent online is time consuming. You have to create and update:


– Your profile in a way that will help with SEO

– Produce top quality content

– Dedicate time to planning and scheduling your content to remain consistent


Organic social media growth can be frustrating. Often taking up to 6 months before seeing a noticeable change. Remember, you’re building a brand culture online and consistently showing up on your followers’ feeds. People get an inside look at your business and can see themselves being a part of it.


You’re accumulating new connections through your online listings and social accounts – time for a new system! It’s easy to casually go back and forth with prospective clients on social media. It’s also easy to lose track of who’s information you’ve actually collected. That can get tricky when it’s time to give them a call or send them an email.




Advertising your services and listings online is a great way to put your business in front of people. It also means you can find yourself with a large amount of people opting in. This can leave you overwhelmed and make it difficult to figure out which are serious leads and which aren’t.


Though I wouldn’t recommend automation as a main form of contact, it can be a great way to sift out the solid leads. When people opt in, they receive an automated message asking them a question. There are two great outcomes from this simple system:

  1. You’re given information before making direct contact with them,
  2. Those who are serious will take the time to answer the question, those who aren’t won’t bother. You’re left with a shorter list of leads to contact.


Work / Life Balance


Creating a work/life balance that works for you – the age-old struggle.


In the real estate industry it isn’t uncommon to miss certain events. To have to excuse yourself during dinner with the family to take a call. Knowing where to draw the line when it comes to your availability can be difficult. Every individual has their own lifestyle, so there isn’t one work-life-balance-fits-all.


One of your goals is to allow for more uninterrupted time with family and friends. Take the time to analyze your tasks. Figure out where you add the most value and narrow down the tasks that are taking up time and causing stress. The hardest part is letting go of some control and delegating tasks to others. Doing so will help your business grow and help you achieve the sought after work/life balance.


Give Us A Call


You can book your free consultation here. We’ll discuss your goals and figure out the best way we can help you succeed online.


Got any topics you’d like us to cover in a future episode or a guest you’d like us to sit down with? Let us know in the comments below! You can also reach us on Facebook and Instagram.

SEO for Real Estate: Simplified

SEO for Real Estate: Simplified

For the sake of simplifying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for real estate —and to take the edge off an otherwise intimidating task — we’ll liken your website to a cozy cabin in the woods.


You’ve converted said cabin into a bed and breakfast and now you need to fill it with customers (stay with me here). But much like the real estate industry, your badass B&B faces steep competition. Fortunately, you’re about to learn simple SEO principles that’ll kickstart your ranking quest and give you the edge over competitors.


So what exactly does Google look for in a high ranking website?


High Quality Content

Google has one goal for their users: To serve them the best possible answer to their search or ‘query‘. If your real estate website lacks quality content that people will find valuable, you’ll never be a blip on Google’s radar.


How can Google tell if people like your content? One determining factor is your bounce rate. If website visitors don’t see a reason to stick around, they’ll quickly bail — or “bounce” — signaling Google that your content wasn’t useful.


So if your B&B cabin was rundown and riddled with cockroaches, most sane people would u-turn and leave. I mean, if you saw a bunch of people running out, would you spend your money there?


Same concept.


💡The takeaway: Above all, focus on creating content that potential clients will find valuable. Keeping them engaged and coming back for more is key for successful real estate SEO.


High Quality Backlinks


After some reno love, your B&B cabin hits 5-star status. But just because you built it, doesn’t mean they’ll come. If you want people to come to your cabin, you need a boost.


Wait —what’s this? Oprah just raved about your hot new five-star B&B during Super Soul Sunday. You just hit the instant credibility jackpot. People start to flock.


In the other corner, Mr. Sketchy on the street is incoherently rambling about this ‘killer cabin in the woods.’ In this case, one might think meth shack over cozy cabin. Bottom line: No one is going —at least not the caliber of customer you’re shooting for.


That’s the idea behind backlinks —one of the most potent techniques to showcase your value to Google and drive traffic to your website. When another website links to yours, it validates the quality of your website to Google. But you don’t want just any website linking to yours. Untrustworthy websites with bad content won’t help.


💡Just a Tip: So how do you earn links from high end website in your niche? Make a list of 5 well respected, authoritative websites in your niche and pitch them with an idea for a guest blog post. In your article, weave in a link or two that directs traffic to relevant content on your site. Sidenote: Some sites don’t allow backlinks in guest posts so be sure to clear it with them first.


As a real estate pro, you know how powerful word of mouth can be. Why not leverage it online?



When it comes to SEO for real estate, you’ll need to know the keywords you want to rank for. When someone searches specific words and terms in Google, these words signal Google that your content is a match.


For example, someone searches “Toronto Homes for Sale.” If your website doesn’t once mention “Toronto Homes for Sale,” Google won’t once mention you.


What are your potential clients searching for? Consult Google’s free keyword planner to figure it out. Be warned though, to rank for the top terms, competition is stiff. And rather pricey.


Companies like Zillow, RE/MAX, and Royal LePage spend a LOT of money to get their site ranking —more than you’d ever feasibly spend. So trying to outrank them for the keywords “homes for sale in Toronto” is a pipe dream.


So how do you compete with the big guys? Well. Your random “bed and breakfast cabin in the woods” search term won’t make the cut. But “bed and breakfast cabin in the woods for people with Chihuahua’s,” will surge your odds of ranking high.


Aim to start ranking for terms that those big sites don’t target. This means in-depth, specific and local. 


Think of a buyer’s linear path —what’s the earliest you can hook them? For example, someone searching for “homes for sale” is already in house hunting mode and pretty late in the process.


You want to nab them information gathering mode.


Think of hot topic questions people might search. To illustrate, everyone was talking about bully offers a few years ago. So I created a blog post entitled “What is a bully offer?”. That post single handedly brought hundreds of people to my website every week.


Visitors will come to your website for something like that, and stay for the great information. That’s when you swoop in and start building relationships with them. By the time they’re ready to start looking for homes, it doesn’t matter if they end up on Zillow or — you’re already working with them!


The more niche you can go the better, too. If you rank for “bungalows for sale in Leslieville with pools within walking distance of the 501 streetcar” you won’t have much competition. Those are long-tail keywords.


💡Just a tip: If you farm a specific neighbourhood, create an in-depth page on your website about every single street. Add a new street every week. Over time, any time someone Googles a street in your area, they’ll end up on your site.


Low volume but high value traffic!


Header Tags


Header tags are valuable for real estate SEO. They point Google to what’s important.


Think of headers as the ‘Turn Here‘ and ‘Exit here for 5 Star Bed and Breakfast Cabin’ highway signs that help people navigate to you.


Use header tags in an H1, H2, H3, etc. format to emphasize specific text. Your H1 tag should only be used once on a page to highlight the keyword you’re trying to rank for. H2, H3, and so on should highlight other pieces you want to emphasize.


Headers also improve your content’s readability. People skim blog posts online so using headers to break up the content into sections  makes for a better reader experience overall.

Internal Links

While backlinks are important, so are internal links or links that connect to other pages on your website. They make it easy for Google to find more content on your site and better understand it’s structure.


As a top notch B&B, you provide each guest with a welcome packet that includes a list of on-site activities, available amenities and instructions on how to get to their room.


Internal links serve the same purpose —not only to guide Google but encourage your guests to spend more time on your site. The more time spent on your website, the more likely they are to do business with you.


Site Speed


Whether it’s SEO for real estate or a cabin in the woods, speed matters. You’re likely to get more business if your cabin is 10 minutes from the customer source versus 5 hours. The longer it takes to get there, the harder it will be to attract people.


The same goes for your website. The longer it takes to load, the less likely they are to use it or ever come back.


Large images, heavy graphics, or too many plugins can reduce your sites load time. The slower it is, the lower Google will want to rank your site in search results.


Mobile Responsiveness


Ninety percent or more of your traffic will likely come from a mobile device. That means if your site isn’t mobile friendly, your Google rank will plummet.


To milk the cabin analogy — because there’s nothing like beating a dead horse — if that area was a dead zone and people couldn’t use their phones, your customers would be miffed. Not having a mobile friendly website is a quick way to tank your traffic volume and your relationship with Google.


Now that we’ve unpacked your basic SEO elements, we’ll touch on some best practices.



What is White Hat & Black Hat SEO?


There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it SEO for real estate. Ever heard of the terms “white hat” or “black hat SEO?”


White hat SEO is the right way. It’s what Google wants. It’s optimizing your site to help Google learn where it should rank online. Black hat SEO —spoiler alert — is the opposite. It’s trying to game the system, find loopholes and exploit them.


It would be like putting up 1,000 open house signs all over town when town by-laws state only 4. They may work in the short term but will catch up with you. Google could de-list you entirely.


💡The takeaway: Do what it takes to please the Google Gods and play fair.

Getting Results From SEO

It’s worth mentioning that once you start creating great content and implementing SEO, it could take 6 months or more to start seeing measurable results. Sure, you won’t reap the rewards overnight. But keep it up. It’s worth it.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of SEO for Real Estate. It’s a complex and in depth practice with cutthroat competition. But this simplified guide is enough to help kickstart your ranking quest.





Tired of second guessing whether you’re doing SEO right? Or maybe you’re just getting started with digital marketing and need timely advice from pros while you implement…That’s what the Wheel House Elite is for.