Feel Like You Belong – Features Real Estate Broker, Lola Audu ‘A New Way to Sell Real Estate’

Lola Audu is used to creating firsts in her adopted U.S. home. As an international student in college, she had to teach white administrators about unintended racism. As a real estate professional, she became the first black president in the 117-year history of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors. As a graduate of the Cultural Intelligence Center, she is now bringing cultural intelligence (CQ) to the real estate industry. Join Alan as he interviews the Nigerian native who has become a West Michigan force to be reckoned with.

Audu Real Estate Nominated for Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce EPIC AWARDS 2016!

From the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce announcement of the finalists nominated  for the 2016 EPIC AWARDS:

The EPIC Awards celebrates those businesses and people who are doing great things in the business community by being Entrepreneurial, Progressive, Innovative and Collaborative.

Seven categories of awards recognize businesses and individuals supporting the community, demonstrating growth, finding ways to innovate, and are working with others as mentors and collaborators.

Anticipation builds for the annual EPIC Awards celebration as the field of nominees is narrowed—keeping finalists and attendees on the edge of their seats as the envelops are opened and award recipients are finally announced from the podium during an Oscar-styled reveal at this premier Chamber event.

Audu Real Estate is thankful to be recognized by our peers in the fields of business and industry as an innovator in the arenas of entrepreneurship and excellence in service.  The company was one of three nominees within the Minority Business Category.  Our goal and mission in service for the past 20+ years has been to build relationships through the process of serving the community through the practice of real estate.

Over the years we have had the privilege of helping hundreds of individuals and families locate spaces which they now call home.  The best reward is the celebration we experience with our clients when they find a community they can embrace and which loves them back.  It’s a sacred honor to be a small part of that process.

epic-awards-chamber-of-commerce-capture

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Epic Awards photo credit

What to do when your home closing is delayed

What to do when your home closing is delayed

This is an UPDATE to a previous FAQ post.

As the year 2016 reaches the half way point, another issue is emerging as a challenge for homeowners and home-buyers coordinating move out/in dates.  After many years of closings being largely an efficient process (especially when experienced REALTORS and Lenders worked together), the implications of the new TRID guidelines aka RESPA/TILLA seem to be kicking in as more REALTORS and their clients are complaining about unforeseen closing delays.

The delay may be just a few days or sometimes stretch into weeks.  This is really a problem if you’re planning on buying another house, have immediate plans for the use of the money from the proceeds of your home, or have ordered moving vans, utilities and time off work.  The issue is complicated by the fact that you may not know about the delay until  a few days or a week before the closing was scheduled to occur.  Here are a few simple tips to help ease the transition process.

  1.  Don’t stress!  Shouting, harrasing or abusing your REALTOR, Lender, Appraiser etc only increases the tension in an already tense situation.  You want people to keep working to make your deal happen.  Anger adds more potential pitfalls and slow downs.
  2. Do follow-through and be persistent.  Especially as your transaction nears the finish line and even more so if the date of the closing draws near with no clear directive about when the clear to close will be available.  Knowing that you are going to be calling everyday or even twice a day to get an update keeps your case top of mind.  You can also e-mail for status updates.  Be clear about the fact that you simply want to be informed and stay in the loop.  You’re also going to be more likely to detect potential issues or miscues if you are integrally involved.
  3. Keep communication lines open.  This includes lines of communication with any parties who may be impacted by a slow down on your end including agents negotiating the transaction on the other side, movers, insurance representatives, your workplace etc.  It’s easier to reschedule a planned vacation with your boss if there has been regular communication regarding how you are proceeding with your home purchase or sale.  It’s also better to know potential ramifications about a delay with a mover with regards to costs etc. This may be an additional avenue for negotiation to compensate for the inconvenience and help to sweeten a transaction that would otherwise turn sour.
  4. Know that this too shall pass.  The vast majority of home sale transactions will close sooner or later.  In the long view, a few days or weeks delay is not as significant as the pleasure and joy you anticipate experiencing when you move into your new home or the relief that comes from a successful sale of your previous one.

More FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) here

About the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions Series)

This series is designed to answer questions that we hear clients asking over and over again.  Perhaps, you’ve wondered about some of these questions yourself.  While this is not intended to be an exhaustive explanation on the subject being discussed, it is our hope that these short blogs will provide helpful insights and may encourage you to explore further.  Please feel free to contact us by phone or e-mail with any questions.

Certified International Property Specialist – West Michigan welcomes the world home!

Certified International Property SpecialistGrand Rapids, Michigan is welcoming the world home as REALTORS expand their awareness about the world and global markets. The local association is currently hosting a national designation offered by the National Association of REALTORS to train local real estate agents about the benefits of becoming globally proficient and connected. Approximately 20 students are currently enrolled in the designation course which involves classroom time, a certain amount of practical experience with international transactions and some other requirements.

It’s especially good for me to participate in this class as it represents the fruit of seed from efforts in 2011 when the association created the International Committee. Today, this committee is active in enhancing awareness about the impact of globalization on the economy of West Michigan.

We have had the opportunity to serve people from all over the world. It is always an interesting and enlightening experience. It requires attention to detail and an awareness of some of the unique challenges that people from different parts of the world face. As an immigrant and New American, I have a real appreciation for the benefits of homeownership in America.

One of the challenges of the classroom experience is the danger of stereotyping as we seek to learn more about people whose experience differs. For instance, we’re having discussions about high context vs low context cultures. What’s emerging in the discussion is the fact that you cannot take generalizations too far. At the end of day, it’s about the individual and their culture – you can’t divorce one from the other. It’s a packaged deal.

The CQ Advantage! Cultural Intelligence for REALTORS

The CQ Advantage! Cultural Intelligence for REALTORS

Audu Real Estate is pleased to present a brand new CE Marketplace certified course:  The CQ Advantage!  Cultural Intelligence for REALTORS.  Please contact Lola Audu at lola@audurealestate.com for information about booking this course for your company or organization.  The course is certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for Michigan real estate agents. (1 Hour Elective, 1 Hour Legal)

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course Descriptive:  C000482  – available through the CE Marketplace

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for real estate professionals in the State of Michigan

*Material is also available in two one hour classes certified for 1 credit each.  Course number C000609 and C000610 if you prefer a shorter version of the material.

Click to view/download mini-PDF version of course: Cultural Intelligence Mini Preview

We live in a global village, a multi-contextual mixing bowl of cultures and counter-cultures.  Cultural Intelligence has emerged as a critical form of knowledge, insight and engagement necessary to be competitive across a broad spectrum of client interactions.  Perhaps few professions deal with differences in culture and perspective as frequently as members of the real estate community who are tasked with helping people of every race, tribe, creed and tongue find that unique spot to call home.

We’re pleased to present a unique class which explores the role that Cultural Intelligence can play in helping REALTORS understand how to serve the needs of their clients.  Culture is an entity that morphs and changes.  Simply learning a few ‘so called ‘rules of engagement’ is not adequate preparation for the numerous ways in which culture impacts response patterns, thinking and interactions.  A lack of cultural intelligence can create angst, irritation and loss of otherwise promising business opportunities.

The class draws from Lola Audu’s personal experience of growing up in a cross cultural context within the African continent that included an educational experience where students represented 60 different nationalities.  A term which is sometimes used to describe individuals who regularly navigate the world of multiple cultures is ‘third culture’ kids.  A simple question such as ‘Where is home?’ may be answered in surprisingly nuanced ways.  The Millennial generation is the most diverse generation in America’s history.  It is also the most diverse generation culturally in the entire world.  You may enjoy reading the this article and watching the video below.

While most Americans will not have this level of cultural dissonance or experience, the reality is that in today’s world, a REALTOR’s clients will increasingly have some elements which differ from the traditional norm of the dominant culture.  Are you prepared to serve effectively?

In addition, the course will cover issues of cultural ethnocentrism as well as discussing Fair Housing issues related to the impact of the institution of dominant cultural norms and discrimination in the United Sates.

For booking information:  Lola Audu  – 616-791-0511 or lola@audurealestate.com

To preview other courses visit: http://audurealestate.com/workshops-seminars/

RESPA/TILLA – What Regular Folks Need to Know About the Changes Affecting Selling and Buying Real Estate

chair setSome important changes will be put into effect with regards to the process of completing a real estate transaction on October 3, 2015. The changes are part of the Dodd-Frank Bill and in the industry are referred to by what may seem like a curious set of initials to the average person – RESPA/TILLA.  The government agency responsible for implementing and overseeing the enforcement of these new changes to the law is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which you will also see referenced by the initials CFPB.

While, the requirements will largely impact new processes for the Lending and Title industry with regards to actual changes in forms and procedures, we do anticipate that there will be some adjustments necessary for the real estate transaction as conducted by REALTORS as well. For our clients (Buyers & Sellers), the adjustments will largely be (though not necessarily completely)reflected in the following ways:

1. New Timelines requiring additional time to complete a fairly standard real estate transaction
2. Ability to understand the re-disclosure period and how it can impact the timeline of getting your home or your money.
3. Coordination of  ‘stacked’ closings and why closing and purchasing in the same day may no longer be possible
4. A couple of new forms for the Lending & Escrow process

As REALTORS, coordinating the process in a way that minimizes stress for our clients is our primary concern. To this end, we are taking courses to ensure we understand how to advise our clients to ensure that your investment in a home occurs as smoothly as possible during this period of significant transition.

If you have been thinking about buying or selling a home and would like to have a more in depth conversation about the best way to navigate through this changing landscape, we encourage you to contact us well BEFORE October 3, 2015 when these changes are scheduled to take effect. *(Implementation was delayed from August 1, (today) to address concerns about preparedness by the industry and consumers. Our Number: 616-791-0511.

Lastly, if you are currently in the processing of retailing your home on your own or are considering this option in the future, we would be willing to talk with you about how to avoid potential pitfalls particularly during this time of transition.  In the days ahead, knowledge and understanding will be critical in ensuring the your transaction does not become an unintended casualty of the law of ‘Unintended Consequences’.  Our office is prepared and ready to assist with all your real estate needs and concerns.  Call us to talk.  It’s Free!

Inspiration for your Business – Transformation for your Life! New Classes now Offered!

Leadership Essentials Capture

The grind of daily life is something that every serious business person experiences and learns to cope with.  Successful entrepreneurs understand that it is important to refuel and recharge to avoid or at least mitigate some of the burnout that accompanies the relentless pace of industry today.

For professionals involved in the real estate industry, the relentless pace of life has also included the stress of dealing with a marketplace that has experienced periods of intense activity and stress due to foreclosures and more recently, extremely low levels of housing inventory.

‘Leadership Essentials’ inspires REALTORS and individuals involved in business to reshape their thinking about the nature of challenge and adversity.  The interactive course utilizes storytelling and principles of Leadership gleaned through navigating the tumultuous world of real estate during one of the most profoundly difficult seasons the real estate industry has ever witnessed.

Lola Audu served as the President of the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS in 2011 and was elected President of the Women’s Council of REALTORS- Western Michigan Chapter in 2013.  Lola’s personal journey and unique experience profile serve as a backdrop for a deeper conversation about what it means to not just lead, but become a leader who invokes participation through inspiring others to follow and engage in life transforming ways.

To book this course for your real estate brokerage, business or non-profit group, please contact Audu Real Estate at 616-791-0511.  A mini preview of the course can be accessed through downloading the link.

Leadership Essentials Mini Presentation

COMING SOON:  cc: Authentication – The Process of Becoming an Authentic Influencer.  Check back for more details for this course which is scheduled to premier in May – June 2015.

Steady Gains in Price for Existing Homes in West MI…but WHY is this NOT the Whole Picture?

February Existing Home Sales CaptureReal Estate professionals in West Michigan are finding themselves involved in an interesting line of conversation with potential home buyers in recent months.  After the usual qualifying questions about housing needs and wants, the next step is to find the right home.  That’s where it’s getting complicated.

Home Buyers are often surprised to find that there are not that many homes to choose from.  And, when a suitable home is found, there’s another surprise.  Hopeful new home owners may find themselves competing with multiple offers to purchase a home – sometimes within hours or days of new listings coming onto the market.

For Investors, the outlook is even bleaker.  According to the latest statistical reasearch available from the National Association of REALTORS, ALL CASH sales dropped slightly in February to 26% (down 1% from the previous month) and Individual Investors accounted for 14% of the market (down from 17% in the January).

Distressed Sales remain largely unchanged at approximately 11% of the national market.  The days when Investors were getting houses for a ‘song & a dance’ have disappeared.  The average Distress Sale retails between 15-17% below fair market value.

Inventory levels are at an all-time low nationwide.  As a result, housing prices have remained strong.  The average home is on the market for less than 65 days.  34% of homes on the market in February sold in less than a month.

On the local front, the Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS reports some trends that mirror the national marketplace but overall West Michigan is posting positive gains.  The average home price has increased 7% over the same period of time last year with today’s average home retailing for just under $159,000 versus approximately 140,000 a year ago. This is a significant increase of over 12% over the past year.

What remains the most unexpected element of this story is that last year (February 2014), Inventory levels were at approximately 3.1 months of supply.  Today’s numbers indicate a drop to 2.6 percent.  Surprising, even as we prepare to enter the Spring Market of 2015.  If we repeat the trend from last year, it will be July before inventory levels peak above 3 months of housing inventory.  Great news if you’re thinking of becoming a Home Seller.  For Home Buyers…well, not so much.

For more information about the insights shared in this Market Trends Report, please contact:  Lola@audurealestate.com.

National Association of REALTORS Infographic

Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS statistical report

New CE Marketplace Certified Courses for Michigan Real Estate Professionals – 2015

We’re pleased to announce the approval of 5 NEW Continuing Education Courses for real estate professionals in the State of Michigan.  The following courses have been CE Certified by the CE Marketplace for the 2015 calendar year.  Real Estate professionals can now take advantage of this ground breaking material while earning educational credits to satisfy licensing requirements.  Book your Continuing Education event today by calling 616-791-0511 or e-mailing: lola@audurealestate.com for availability and booking information.  The course and descriptions are highlighted below including a mini-preview of course content.

Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for Michigan Real Estate Professionals

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course Descriptive: C000177

Pivotal Real Estate Cover Capture

This class explores 23 pivotal trends that have potential for significant impact within the real estate industry. We will highlight several key areas of opportunity and challenge for real estate professionals. These include developments in the following areas: Government Regulation, Consumer Trends & Behavior, The Housing Market and the changing role of the Real Estate Professional and Technology.  Topics covered include:  International Investment, Global Competition, Rise of Personal Marketing, Housing Market – Implications of Low Inventory Levels, Changing Demographics & Spending Pattern Shifts, Real Estate Professionalism – Code of Excellence, New Association Standards, Technology – Big Data technology, Rise of the iTechnologist, Democratization of Technology, Mobile Technology, Government Regulation – CFPB, Mortgage Regulation, Frank-Dodd Act

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Pivotal Real Estate Trends for 2015

Anatomy of a Smart City

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education Credit for Michigan Real Estate professionals

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Anatomy of a Smart City Capture

Course Description: #C000140
A Smart City is one which utilizes digital technologies and smart governance to enhance performance, reduce cost and to more effectively engage actively with its’ citizens. By 2050, the United Nations estimates that 70% of the world’s population will live within city centers and their perimeters. Real estate professionals can play key roles in helping their communities plan and prepare for housing needs and demographic shifts as populations centers shift. This will require an understanding of how the smart communities operate and the need for real estate professionals to have key roles in engaging the citizens and government effectively to spearhead the type of growth which will benefit the interests of private property rights and home ownership.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDFAnatomy of a Smart City: Re-inventing the Future of Community

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Anatomy of a Smart City: Re-inventing the Future of Community

Fair Housing Risk Reduction Strategies

Certified for 3 Hours Legal Continuing Education and Fair Housing

Instructors:  Doretha Ardoin and Lola Audu

Course descriptive: #C000141

Fair Housing Cover Capture

Fair Housing is foundational to the rights and privileges available to people living in the United States.  The history of the Fair Housing Act as well as Civil Rights is covered in the class.  In addition, students will gain an understanding of the the role and responsibility that is involved in providing housing services through sales, property management and counsel in the real estate industry.  Fair Housing covers a number of areas which include:  race, familial status, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, color, sexual orientation and marital status.  The class will include case law as well as video examples and discussion about a wide variety of situations.  This class promises to broaden your scope of understanding how to avoid costly litigation and provides students with the information and knowledge to offer service across a wide range of potential clients.  Diversity is celebrated as one of the strengths that has enabled America to become a great nation.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Fair Housing Risk Reduction Strategies

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Fair Housing – Risk Reduction Strategies

Netiquette:  Social Media Etiquette Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Certified for 2 Hours of Continuing Education for Michigan Real Estate Professionals (Ethics)

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course descriptive: #C000056 and C000178

Netiquette Cover Capture

Social Media is woven into the core of life and business in every sector today. Savvy entrepreneurs can utilize this medium to increase their profits, build brand recognition and to find new customers. This is definitely true in the real estate industry where surveys indicate that more consumers are choosing to engage on social media as a way to connect with and choose real estate professionals. Unfortunately, the rules have not always been clearly defined. As a result, real estate professionals may find themselves in legal jeopardy or worse as they strive to navigate a world that seems to blur the boundaries between what is personal vs. professional.

Click to Download Mini Preview PDF Netiquette: Social Media Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Click to Download Mini Preview Slideshow Netiquette: Social Media Etiquette Savvy for the Millennial Entrepreneur

Placemaking Capture

Instructor:  Lola Audu

Course Descriptive:  C000203  – available through the CE Marketplace

Certified for 1 Hour of Continuing Education Credit for real estate professionals in the State of Michigan

Placemaking: Re-thinking the Nature of Environment examines the role of REALTORS and real estate professionals in facilitating an effective strategy for collaboration with community stakeholders, business leaders and organizations and residents in their local areas.

You may be asking…what is Placemaking?  Well, a concise answer is this:Placemaking creates vibrant spaces through the thoughtful and intentional development of shared communal space. A number of recent studies indicate that when the development and integration of shared communal space is addressed intelligently, there is a direct correlation to a number of benefits including healthier community engagement and interaction as well as enhanced economic growth and opportunities.

The course is designed to educate real estate professionals about the opportunities and responsibilities the industry shares in ensuring that our communities develop in healthy and economically viable ways.

May also be of interest to: Business & Community leaders, Planning and Zoning Boards, Environmental companies, Commercial real estate and lending professionals, Non-profits interested in community development, City planners, Developers

Click to view mini pre-view: Mini Placemaking Version 2

Lola Audu awarded the Performance Management Designation (PMN)

For Immediate Release

Contact:           Women’s Council Education Dept.

800-245-8512

Performance Management Network Designation Awarded to Local REALTOR®

Lola Audu ~ 2011 President of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors®(Chicago, IL—August 4, 2014) Lola Audu, a Audu Real Estate REALTOR®, has been awarded the Performance Management Network Designation by the Women’s Council of REALTORS. The Performance Management Network is a next-generation REALTOR® designation designed from the ground up to deliver the real-world skills, know-how and tools to keep an agent’s business out front and on top of an evolving real estate market.

PMN curriculum is driven by the following topics: negotiating strategies and tactics, networking and referrals, business planning and systems, personal performance management and cultural differences in buying and selling.

About WCR

Women’s Council of REALTORS® is a nationwide community of more than 10,000 real estate professionals who include many of the best and brightest in the business. Women’s Council is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. For more information on Women’s Council, please visit WCR.org.

Mission

We are a network of successful REALTORS®, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.