Category Archives: Technology

Ken And Bunny Libby Host AREA Retreat

By Ken Libby

I had the pleasure of hosting about 65 real estate agents for the annual Associated Realty of the Americas (AREA) retreat at the Stowe Mountain Lodge on Sept. 11-13. The three-day event sought to help agents learn more about “Harnessing the Power that is AREA.”

AREA is an international real estate referral network representing luxury residential properties, commercial properties, land, resorts and selected developments throughout North America. The event was an extraordinary networking and educational opportunity for some of the brightest and best agents from around the nation (many are board members and leaders, providing quality support to their peers and clients in an ever-changing marketplace).

During the series of informational sessions, panelists debated the meaning of leadership, what to do in gray and/or challenging real estate situations and best practices in the field. In the vein of education were discussions on marketing, client communication and improved business strategies with the help of AREA.

Throughout the weekend, it was great to see so many social posts from agents who enlivened our special place with pictures from the top of Mt. Mansfield, hiking in Smugglers’ Notch or enjoying the village. Some found the Depot Street Malt Shop for a step back to the 1950s while others ventured out to the Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm. Fifteen agents also gave a huge thumbs up for dinner at Gracie’s on Friday night.

I would like to offer my sincerest thanks to all who attended the conference, agents from California to Florida and everywhere in between! Thank you to Bunny for being co-chair of the retreat, Jo Kenney (the Mistress of Ceremonies), Diana Bull, Suzanne Cooper, Ron Phipps, George Harvey, Jr., Kaki Lybbert, Ryan Asao, Audrey Novoa, Carl Bosse and so many others that acted as moderators and helped with the event. A big “Thank You!” to Trapp Family Lodge/Brewery, Stowe Mountain Lodge and other businesses that contributed their time and talents to host our group.

The members of AREA say that real estate requires a team to make any successful transaction possible and once those motivated professionals are gathered then “the world of real estate is at your feet!” I couldn’t agree more. Looking forward to next year’s retreat!

Realtors Compile School Data

By Ken Libby

From 1997 to 2012, Vermont had a 15 percent decrease in K-12 enrollment — about 1,000 fewer students a year. Despite declining enrollment, Vermont’s education spending has dramatically increased. Skyrocketing school spending plus declining enrollment doesn’t add up.

There are two main reasons for declining school enrollment: Vermont has the second-lowest fertility rate in the country (fewer births now mean fewer children in schools when they start kindergarten six years later) and more people leave Vermont than move into it.

The late 1990s marked the beginning of Vermont’s increases in education spending. By the mid-2000s, inflation-adjusted spending had risen to about $1.5 billion — as much as a 50 percent increase in a decade. Compared to other states, Vermont spends significantly more per student, with some estimates indicating that per-pupil spending is as much as 71 percent higher than the national average.

A survey conducted by Vermont Realtors showed that 76 percent of Vermonters believe that school property taxes are too high. Reforming Vermont’s education finance system is not a simple task and it will take time. But to do the best for our children, their future and our state as a whole, we must begin prioritizing changes that will bend the spending curve while a more comprehensive solution is designed.

The Vermont Realtors, the Vermont Voice of Real Estate, has a very active government affairs committee. The committee meets weekly during the Vermont legislative session and it had a tough time separating fact from fiction. As a result, it obtained a grant from our national association and contracted with Art Woolf, noted Vermont economist, to review the material known to be reliable. Our goal was to identify the problem.

The study was interesting, in that it did not agree that significant savings in school expenses could be obtained by some of the more frequently discussed options, such as fewer supervisory districts.

Vermont Realtors decided that someone needed to become a source of information so the public could be aware of the various proposals and how they would impact property taxes. With that in mind, we received another grant from the National Association of Realtors and have developed a website: knowmorevt.com. The objective is to provide the reader with one location to get all the information. You will also see that, once legislation starts to be presented, it will be posted on this site so you can have it at your fingertips.

Vermont Realtors also has arranged for a final grant from the national group, if required, to conduct public education if a bill that seems to fix the problem is proposed by the legislature. Stay tuned. Check this site a few times a week and be informed.

This guest perspective was also published in the Stowe Reporter.

William Raveis Stowe Realty And William Raveis BCK Real Estate Launch New Websites

1_WRBCK websiteSTOWE/BARRE, VT (February 27, 2015) – William Raveis Stowe Realty and William Raveis BCK Real Estate are pleased to announce the re-launch of their websites StoweRealty.com and BCKrealestate.com. The updated sites have extensive content, property searches, interactive neighborhood maps and mobile access, designed to assist customers in making informed real estate decisions.

According to John Biondolillo, owner/broker of William Raveis Stowe Realty and William Raveis BCK Real Estate, the new websites and brand refresh are more closely aligned with the company’s affiliation with William Raveis and strategic vision for growth and expansion.

“We recognize the importance of constantly innovating and adapting to new ways of doing business and technology,” Biondolillo said. “With the introduction of our tagline – Your family’s way home – we are placing a high value on local communities and family in handling real estate.”

The William Raveis Stowe Realty and William Raveis BCK Real Estate websites offer a clean, modern design and easy-to-navigate functionality. The search tool enables customers to quickly research and compare properties; users will be able to contact an agent, schedule a showing, take notes, use affordability calculators, save favorite searches or listings and receive e-mail property updates and housing reports.

“We hope the new StoweRealty.com and BCKrealestate.com prove to be useful, informative portals for our customers to get to know William Raveis and the real estate services we offer,” Biondolillo said. “Our tools will allow potential and active buyers and sellers to track and understand market trends and navigate through the sales process from beginning to end.”

William Raveis Stowe Realty is a full-service real estate brokerage company with offices in Stowe and Morrisville, Vermont. William Raveis BCK Real Estate, founded in 1981, has additional offices in Barre, Montpelier, Mendon, St. Johnsbury, Essex and, most recently, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Together, they boast more than 30 sales associates and employees. Through a recent affiliation with William Raveis, the company now joins 100+ offices and 3,500+ sales associates throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

A Family Decision

View our new short film called “A Family Decision,” reflecting how important family is in the BCK Company and the consideration that went into the William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance affiliation. Kudos to the Biondolillo family, John, Marcia, Sam, and Tori, for their stellar performances!

For Experienced Agents

Better systems for making sales

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do just about anything. And if you want to do something the right way—consistently—you are going to need a system.

At BCK, we have developed proven systems for doing the three things that are most important to real estate agents:

  • Generating leads
  • Marketing homes
  • Switching to a better, more helpful real estate company

How BCK helps you generate more leads

No real estate company does more than BCK to provide our agents with leads. In the past 12 months, BCK has delivered an average of 96 leads per agent.

How do we do it?

Our web site not only shows all BCK properties, it also shows most properties that are listed with our competitors. Since our web site is the most popular real estate web site in the region, we attract the most inquiries—both for properties listed by BCK and ones listed by someone else.

Those leads go directly to our agents. And with our LeadsNow system, leads can be easily displayed, organized and tracked.

Our 4-SALE LINE® is another source of leads for our agents. When home buyers call, they are transferred directly to a BCK Agent after hearing the property description.

The best support in real estate

Nothing happens in real estate until you are face to face with a buyer or seller. The trouble is, there are so many other things that demand your time.

BCK helps take care of those “other things.” In fact, no other real estate company does a better job giving agents the support they need.

So you will have more time to do what you do best—working with buyers and sellers. And you will have more time to enjoy life, too.

BCK Leads The Way In Technology For Vermont Real Estate

BCK Real Estate has a new BCK Android Application. BCK Real Estate Mobile allows you to search for MLS listings in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Northern Massachusetts.  This is just another way that BCK give both consumers and agents what they want while keeping pace with an ever changing world.

The App includes an  image gallery, detailed information, nearby listings, GPS turn by turn directions, satellite overview of the property or neighborhood, and easy contact with an agent ensure a premium experience while searching for a home.

To get the app simply click on:
http://www.androidpit.com/en/android/market/apps/app/com.bckrealestate/BCK-Real-Estate-Mobile

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) In The Palm Of Your Hand

Imagine your clients being able to have instant access to a property for sale from your hand-held internet device or cell phone. Since 2005 the www.BCKrealestate.com has offered a mobile version of our website. Type in the www.bckrealestate.com/mobile on your phone and you are in. It’s that simple.

BCK makes buying a home easier for the consumer. Chief Information Officer, Mark Howard states “The website designed to fit your hand-held device, and it offers the convenience of BCKrealestate.com anywhere.”

This site supports any hand held device with Internet access including iPhones, Blackberries, Palms, Droid and other cell phones. Consumers & agents will benefit by getting immediate access to property information. Now, the next time you are driving down the road and pass by a property for sale, you can bring it up instantly on your hand held device instead of waiting to get to a computer!

With this home-buying technology, BCK Real Estate delivers any property that is for sale by all brokers with just a few strokes on your hand-held device. Once connected, the complete property specifications including list price, square footage, taxes, room and features will be displayed. There are interior and exterior photos of the properties so you can see inside the house without leaving your car.

Another great feature of the BCK mobile site is that it’s possible to call the listing agent for more information by clicking on the phone number listed on the property specifications.

BCK is focused on the future by constantly upgrading our services to buyers and sellers. Instant connectivity to information generates more interest in homes for sale, and quicker and more profitable results for clients and agents.