Texas First Time Home Buyer Program Explained

Texas First Time Home Buyer Program Explained!

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University has answered the call, Again!!! In the current issue (July 2012) of “Tierra Grande” magazine they explain very simply how the program works and what needs to happen if your clients are qualified for the program.

Realtors, If you’ve been confused by this program, get ready to see the light!

Hope this helps you in your business! Click this link to read the report on The First Time Home Buyers Program!

Don’t worry it’s a very easy read and you can save it as a PDF to your computer!

Wishing you all good things…

The Referrals Matter Team

Do You Get Referrals Back From Other Real Estate Professionals?

  Realtors getting referral fees from Mortgage Brokers


I recently read a post where a Realtor inquired that, after working with my Mortgage Broker, they were feeling that the lenders were not keeping up with them in the “Referral Trade”.  Realtors have expressed the same of me, and this is exactly why I created Referrals Matters… 

There are an estimated 27 related transactions that surround a Real Estate Closing.   Many vendors that realtors ‘feed and water’, and few of these related industries can return the same level of referrals or business that a Realtor can. 

In fact, many Realtors are trained to deter vendors soliciting the Realtor for referrals with this dialog. 

PERSON SOLICITING REALTOR FOR REFERRALS:  “Mr. Realtor, I’d like you to refer my business as part of the Real Estate transaction, would you consider using my services with your client?”

REALTOR: “Sure thing, sounds great – tell you what.  How about we do a one-for-one trade?  Since you came to me… you start the trade”

Many realtors consider that common etiquette would be, if a realtor refers a client to a mortgage broker then the mortgage broker should refer clients back to the realtor.

I’ve tried several mortgage brokers around here and found that they are always the ones that ended up with the candy cane, and I end up with a good ol’ boy slap on the back. I’m sorry, but an “At-a-boy” doesn’t put groceries on the table.

Today I had yet another referral for a mortgage broker. I called him up and told him I wanted 25% of the loan origination fee or $250, whichever is greater. The mortgage broker was really defensive about it, but after a lengthy confrontation agreed to fax me a written agreement detailing as such.

How do you guys feel about it? Is there anyone else that is tired of putting groceries on the mortgage broker’s table and only getting a slap on the back in return?

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up… 

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us.. Call Now (817)723-7223.


Are You Stopping the Flow of Your Referrals

How to Stop the Natural Flow of Referrals

Your Professionalism can cost you referrals.  Here the results of a study that caused me unease and that I disagreed with.   See what you think.

The study found two things:

  1.  “Consumers will not refer people or industries that have a poor reputation”.
  2. Consumers will make referrals to people whom they consider are of the same or lower economic position.

Regarding #1:  Consumers will not recommend people or industries that have poor reputation.   When is the last time you referred any business person that came off as the “used Car Salesman”?

Regarding #2:  If consumers won’t make a referral to a realtor that they consider at the same or equal socio economic status – what does that mean?

Simply, people make referrals to people that they see as doing better financially then they themselves.  

Note the word “consumers” in this.  Business owners will recommended outside of these parameters…  They don’t have the same hang-ups as consumers do…   – Generally…  

Meaning, we need to do something to cause someone not to refer us. So, what causes people to not recommend us?

  1. Show up late. When you are lake you break trust, and demote yourself in their eyes.  Never be late, it will cost you referrals.
  2. Let them walk all over you.  Allowing a client to take advantage of you will ultimately make working with them harder…  Have a set of ground rules and stick to them.   Tell your client up front how you work, what you are willing to do and not do. Having boundaries will enable you to promote yourself as a professional in the client’s eyes, and will prove you are worthy of a referral. 
  3. Allow them to talk you into a price reduction on your commission.    Every workman is worth his wage…  says the old prophet.   Still as true today as it was yesterday.    Most agents allow commission reductions, when not necessary, and many times Realtors® are the ones that bring that up…   Get that out upfront and deal with it.   You can start that one off with a quick “OK if I understand what you are telling me you want me to cut my commission.   You seem like the kind of client that would like me to work 100% for you.  If I’m going to cut my commission… what part of my services would you like me to cut as well? 
  4. Dress poorly…   this one is likely touchy with my folks, bit you will rarely catch me in no less that a suit and coat…  It makes people realize that I mean business.  
  5. Allow unordinary drama in the transaction.   74% of the average family’s net-worth is in their home. They should take the transaction seriously, and so should you.  But, all too often I hear stories about how a Realtor is actually causing the drama in the transaction, or inciting a riot on the behalf of their client to prove their worth…   Be the calming force of the transaction…  when adversity strikes the flow of the closing. 
  6. Adversity, is natural being the calming force will build your reputation.
  7. No one likes to be hounded. A gentle reminder is so much more effective than hounding someone.   

People have a natural inclination to give you a referral, if they like you.  I know that, and so do you.  

Everyone likes to recommend someone. 

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up… 

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us.. Call Now (817)723-7223.



Are You Soliciting Referrals or Building Relationships?

Referrals based on a Relationship?  Or is it a Solicitation for Referrals?


I was flying home last summer from a training class and talking with a younger agent about what he learned from the training.  I had earned this trip and the 4 day training, the company paid for the trip, and I being self employed took the 4 days off to get this “Advanced Training Class”. 

As a coach and trainer, in training…  I was curious what everyone was going implement when they got home.   The young agent excitedly showed me the marketing piece he was happy to start using for his past happy client family. 

It was beautifully done.  This type of scene is done professional actors and models.  …But enough like everyday people that they could almost really be the standard Happy Past Client.

In this beautiful scene Mom, Dad, and the laughing Children are huddled on their couch being… You guessed it…  Past Happy Client Family.

 For full effect, I hope you are imagining this in your mind now, should be easy as you have seen this same type of photo before.  

This picture takes 1/3 the page, and just below this beautiful happy family including kids is a company written blurb about referrals, that should inspire any client to fill in the name and numbers of all his close friends..  

After the patriotic paragraph about how you and the company made them just that Happy Clients the best part…

Company Initiated, Company Sponsored…. 

Bold Lines and (Thank goodness for the truly enthusiastic) there are 28 spaces for the names and numbers of their best and most successful friends.

It’s a Solicitation.  Bummer… it started as relationship.

So, how do you actively generate referrals without the above formula?

No secret most companies have a formula for referrals

That formula usually is… Pester, Pester, Pester, Beg, Beg, Pester, Pester, and repeat…

What can we do instead? 

We recommend that you have a system for reminding clients (and friends) that you are in the Market for Referrals.   Remind them, that you respect them and value their relationship. And that you are a valuable resource and professional in your field. 

Then be that trusted advisor in your field, so that when they naturally run across people whom could use your services… 

  • They will call you…  
  • Because they have heard from you frequently enough that they remember you. 
  • We have just this type of system here at Referrals Matter…

We have a marketing system designed to get you referrals

Then you are notified:

  • What market piece when out…
  • To whom it went out…
  • When it went out…

… and your clients –phone number, so all you have to do is pick up the phone and make a short phone call.. 

And get your referrals!

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up… 

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us… Call Now (817)723-7223.




Calling all 60%’s! Are you following the laws of marketing? For Referrals?

Market yourself or perish!  According to NAR (in Texas), 88% of buyers will use the same realtor again, but only 14% do! Here’s why!

Many  Real Estate professionals are great at marketing, but many times, they forget that someone else is marketing  them, and unintentionally not really for them. 

What does that mean?  What do the laws of marketing have to do with Realtors® – and Real Estate Referrals?

  • ·         Simply put the laws of marketing say that you MUST market a person at least 8 times a year!
  • ·         Marketing a Brand only requires 4 touches a year.  
  • ·         Company based marketing markets the Company Brand.  
  • ·            You have to Market yourself for Referrals

Don’t believe me yet?  Look at the top line again!  Repeat if necessary.  Read on when you are ready for the solution. 

Marketing a brand only take 4 touches a year.  Marketing a person is more in depth and takes at least 8 touches a year…  When you look at a business card of someone that you don’t know your focus naturally moves toward the branding.   Always.  Everyone is looking for company LOGO, not the actual person.  Marketing machines have trained us to do this.  To market the person (Realtor®) you have to draw attention away from the company branding to the actual person.  

This is one of the reasons that Realtors® subconsciously know to put their picture on their card.  The focus is successfully drawn away from the branding, and toward the Realtor®.  

I’m not placing blame on the company, their job is to market the brand (Brokerage), and you want them to do just that.  But let’s be honest with ourselves the company is doing very well.  

  • According to NAR, the Mammoth Majority – 85% will definitely (69 %) probably (16%) use or refer their Realtor® again.  
  • 79% will use the same company again. -NAR 
  • Only 14% use the same agent.  -NAR

Another NAR stat reminds us that 88% of people cannot remember the name of their Realtor® after just 3 years in their home.   But they can remember the company.  

Unfortunately, too many realtors are ONLY using the company’s marketing systems. 

Highly Productive Realtors® actively generating referrals have at least 1 system that is:

  • Not Company Generated
  • Not Company Sponsored
  • Not Company Oriented. 

Here is why.  They know those systems, by themselves, come off as a solicitation for the company. 

If these systems worked, all Realtors® would be rich by now, but they are not.

Many companies have great systems in place specifically designed to generate Realtor referrals while solidifying the relationship between client and realtor.   Ours takes the best aspects of the greatest of these, and brings them in a way that they:

  • Have Continuity and Consistency, so they are effective.
  • Affordable, so the Realtor® will actually use them – talk to us – you will be surprised.
  • Hands free, so the Realtors® don’t have to think or act upon anything.

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up… 

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us…
Call Now (817)723-7223.


Realtor Designations Explained

Ever wonder what all the designation initials behind a Realtors name on their business card really mean?

I keep seeing business cards with GRI, CCIM, CPIS, ABR and on and on. What do all these designations really mean?

We’ve identified and categorized most (not all) of the common designations. These are recognised by NAR and there are other private designations like CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert).  There are other designations from different organizations which relate to real estate, especially in the property management field like CPM (Certified Property Manager). So there is an endless list of initials to put on your cards!

Enjoy finding out what these  designations actually mean:

Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)

  • The Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation from the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council helps prepare real estate professionals to represent buyer clients in residential real estate transactions and provide the quality of service and degree of fidelity to buyers that sellers have customarily enjoyed. It also offers ideas and methods for building a buyer representation business and tools for conducting buyer counseling sessions.

Accredited Buyer’s Representative Manager (ABRM)

  • The Accredited Buyer Representative Manager designation is the only buyer representation designation for managers, brokers and owners. Topics in this designation include creating a new company vision, company and technology policies, disseminating policy changes, training and marketing systems, risk management, and marketing evaluations that help increase buyer agents’ productivity.

Accredited Land Consultant (ALC)

  • As land professionals, ALCs keep abreast of market developments and current land values. They work diligently to secure the best sale or purchase price for their clients based on changing market, geographic, and demographic trends. ALCs also assist buyers and sellers in such areas as finance, leasing and land management.

Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM)

  • CCIMs are recognized experts in commercial real estate brokerage, leasing, valuation and investment analysis. The CCIM business network includes more than 9,000 designees and 5,000 candidates principally in North America, but also in Asia and Europe. CCIMs are backed by a respected education program, as well as superior technology products and business resources.

Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)

  • The Certified International Property Specialist network is comprised of 1,500 real estate professionals from 50 countries who deal in all types of real estate, but with one common element: they are focused specifically on the international market. Whether traveling abroad to negotiate and manage transactions, assisting foreign investors, helping local buyers invest abroad, or serving a specific customer niche in local markets, CIPS designees are consumers’ best resource to ensure they are dealing with a professional skilled in the unique aspects of international real estate.


  • E-PRO is a training program presented entirely online to certify real estate agents and brokers as Internet professionals. E-PRO is not just about technology; it’s about how you can leverage your most powerful asset, your people skills, into doing more business on the Internet. E-PRO gives you exhaustive Internet training, unique competitive advantage, and professional distinction. Continuing education credit is now available in several states.


  • The National Association of REALTORS® Green Designation is the definition of green professionalism, excellence, and leadership for today’s real estate practitioners. Specifically designed to address the educational needs of practitioners in residential, commercial, and property management markets, this training program is a true cross-over designation and the only green designation recognized by NAR.

Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI)

  • The Graduate REALTOR® Institute designation indicates to buyers, sellers and other real estate industry professionals that you have made the commitment to provide a high level of professional service to your clients by securing a strong educational foundation. The GRI designation is obtained by attending a specific, intensive series of courses that total 90 hours of classroom instruction. The subject matter has been chosen to educate practitioners about local, state and national real estate practices that affect them and their clients. In today’s competitive business environment you need more than just motivation and initiative to succeed, you need the advantage of the education you receive in the GRI program.

At Home With Diversity (AHWD)

  • At Home With Diversity ® is designed to present a picture of the changing face of the real estate industry. More importantly, the class teaches how real estate professionals can increase their sensitivity and adaptability to all types of clients due to demographic shifts in the marketplace. The course addresses issues of diversity, fair housing, and cultural differences. All three subjects are closely related and hold value for real estate professionals who serve diverse local markets.

Performance Management Network (PMN)

  • The Performance Management Network (PMN) is built to bring you the real-world skills, the know-how and the tools that will keep your business out front and on top of a lighting-fast market. This designation is unique to the REALTOR® family designations, focusing on the idea that in order to enhance your business, you must enhance yourself.

Real Estate Professional Assistant (REPA)

  • Real estate offices, teams, and professionals stand to gain when all individuals possess a better understanding of the real estate landscape. Every administrative employee in the brokerage office, from listing secretary to personal assistant, will benefit from this quick-start program geared toward fundamental knowledge of the real estate industry.

Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS)

  • The Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist certification is for second-home professionals who enjoy helping consumers achieve their goal of multiple-home ownership. REALTORS® specializing in resort and second-home markets and interested in demonstrating their knowledge and expertise should pursue the RSPS certification.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

  • The Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation trains REALTORS® to ethically and profitably serve the real estate needs of clients over the age of 50. Designees will learn about the lifestyle needs of maturing clients as well as services to offer them while earning their trust and respect. They will explore ways to address key concerns facing today’s mature client population and help maturing clients take positive action in estate.

Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR)

  • Your ability to close short sales and foreclosures depends in part on your confidence in seeing these transactions through. Designed for real estate professionals at all experience levels, the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification gives you a framework for understanding how these deals work. Begin building your confidence today with SFR.

Texas Affordable Housing Specialist (TAHS)

  • The Texas Affordable Housing Specialist certification equips you with the knowledge to help make the dream of homeownership a reality for more Texans. The certification components focus on programs and alternatives that help make homeownership more affordable and sustainable for first-time, underserved, and at-risk market segments.

Why Past Happy Clients WILL NOT Refer You.

Why do people send you referrals?

 According to John Jantsch, it’s because people are physiologically prewired to refer one another.  Happy clients refer Realtors® because they HAVE to.  His (August ’11 Texas Realtor article) meeting someone’s needs for a recommendation to a good movie (or Realtor®) is ‘Social Currency’.  

This suggests that YOU have a NEED to help people find their way.  So a referral to a good restaurant may be human instinct and may extend from when a good recommendation in the past would lead someone to a good hunting ground.   So, would Real Estate Referrals be linked to life or death reflexes? 

 So when is your ‘Social Currency’ no good?

According to Gary Keller, Lead Generation is every Real Estate Agent’s first priority.   Without Plenty of Good Leads your Real Estate Business is defunct.   He teaches you to develop Referrals as a course of business.  That certainly sounds right…  Systematic Referrals for lead generation.

 When does systematic lead generation Break down?

What about all the fads, distractions and lack of follow through?  When do the high-tech talking Signs, and other similar Real Estate and Lending distractions actually COST you effective generation of Real Estate Referrals? 

They will NOT send you referrals for a Couple Reasons.

    • they forget to
    • they dont remember who you are
    • they lost your contact infomation
    • aren’t reminded to refer you

By the way… the above teachings are all true.

But, if you stay with me for a minute I’ll share with you a couple epiphanies to referral generation. There is nothing new under the sun.   Everything has already been developed.   I’m not trying to tell you that cold fusion already exists.  But there are no ‘New’ ways to do the fundamentals.


Past happy clients will continue, or (again) start to refer you for several reasons

    • You remind them
    • you help them remember who you are
    • they have your contact infomation
    • they know you can help someone


But, the Chief Reason past happy clients will refer you.  — RELATIONSHIPS.

Yes.  All the teachings of the greats above are about relationships.  But, here is Protein of this lesson.    The things that clients are energized and stirred by are the same as they have always been.   

They will refer you, because of your relationship.  They remember to refer you because you remind them of your relationship.   …I’m betting you are thinking of the ways that you know

Successful Lead Generation comes from

    • Calls (outbound) to past clients.  (Call as a friend, think relationship).
    • Hand written correspondence (you have heard this before)
    • Breaking Bread with Happy Past Clients (You eat with your friends right)

Unfortunately,  NAR Surveys have always indicated that Past Clients have intention to Definitely or probably refer their Real Estate Agent  (shouldn’t we say the same for mortgage Lender Referrals ) but the actual results are less than stellar.. Why?

Could it be that you know the things to do, but fail to have a system in place to follow through?

Realtors are busy looking for new clients, to pay next month bills.   And they forget to do the activities that generate consistent referrals.   Most Realtors, but not you Right?

Here is where Referrals Matters comes in our systems:

    • remind them who you are
    • how to contact you
    • remind you to call them
    • send hand written corrpondece from you
    • consistantly without your involvement

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up… 

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us..
Call Now (817)723-7223.



Have your team of referrals ready to provide great services for your clients. Be the Hub of your network…

Today’s real estate market offers great choices and opportunities for today’s home buyers and sellers.  Most Buyers and Sellers (89% nationally according to NAR) rely on the experience and expertise of a Realtor.  Most (51%) cited selecting a realtor based on reputation and integrity, according to NAR.

78% rely on their Realtors as a Trusted Advisor for what NAR terms ‘A broad range of services and management of most aspects of the home sale’.   Seems they expect their Realtors® to have a team in place to assist with ‘most’ aspects.

Given that more are relying on the council and direction of Realtors now more than ever.  NAR reports a 29% increase from 69% (2001) to 89% nationally (2011) for Real Estate Agents.

So, how can you stop the drama, before it ever happens? Be proactive, while building your reputation as a Real Estate Agent that can get it done.

Many of our successful Realtors® say their secret is based on perception. This one hint will cost you a little time before a ‘crisis’.  And can save you hours of talking buyers and sellers, down off the roof.

  • Have a team in place.  You will look prepared beforehand.
  • Send a pre listing or buyer’s packet ahead of the appointment.
  • They should receive your packet 48 hours before the meeting.

Let’s face it real estate transactions tend to have some drama.   Sometimes great drama – however, if your clients feel their Real Estate Agent can take care of them, they are easier to calm when there is a hiccup.

And the simple Intro packet ahead of time will assure them that you have been through this rodeo before and of your ability to assist in the face of a struggle.

Consider having the following in the Pre Listing or buyers meeting…

  • Easy Moving check list, including timeframes
  • Local utilities.
  • Emergency and Non-Emergency Numbers and Contact sheets…
  • Vendors List:  Yes Vendors…

So, what about the vendors around you?  Can they be useful in getting transactions back on track and setting them up for Real Estate Referrals?  Without a doubt!  You HAVE to recommend certain vendors from time to time.  You CAN and WILL recommend them often if the vendors are shown how to assist you in getting a transaction back on track.

Vendors don’t naturally know, not to get involved in a real estate transaction, but trained before hand can be instrumental in allowing you to calm client nerves.  And, of course will reinforce the your professionalism which helps set you up for referrals

So meet with the your vendors and tell them how to not get involved with the transaction, when to call you first, and recommend them often.  You will be amazed how often you can stack up IOUs that can be called in when you really need a blue chip favor.

Suggestions for vendors for the same pre info kit:

  • Local utility vendors, phone, cable, water, etc.
  • Title Companies with go to names and number.
  • Contractors (that you referral regularly – so that you can call in a Blue Chip Favor), plumbers, roofers, handyman, etc.
  • Elevation Survey Company, (we have had numerous changes in the flood management )
  • A Professional Insurance Agency.

We have these relationships in place and I cannot begin to tell you how they have saved our necks, and have assisted in setting our clients up for repeat referrals.

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up…

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us…
Call Now (817)723-7223.

As a Realtor how are you setting yourself apart from the crowd?

Tarrant County, Texas 2011

  • Population 1,809,034 per US Census
  • Number of Houses sold – 16,378 per NTREIS
  • Number of Realtors who sold a house – 3,271 per NTREIS
  • Potentially, 1 out of every 553 people in Tarrant County are Realtors

So as a Realtor, how are you setting yourself apart from the crowd?

People do not get excited about the ordinary, do you? People talk about things that surprise them or make them feel great about themselves. The extraordinary! The unexpected!

Every Realtor can list a house. So what makes you special? To be successful (I mean beyond paying the bills) this is a question that screams for an answer. What’s yours?

How many referrals did you get in 2011? Referrals are a measure of the “Experience” you are providing your clients. The better the experience the more referrals you should expect.

Expecting referrals is not about you; it’s about the customer. It’s about giving them an experience, one they cannot forget or stop talking about. (Hopefully a good experience)

According to NAR, in Texas 2011:

  • Home buyers used a Realtor 82% of the time
  • They found their agent 40% of the time by referral
  • 88% say they would probably use the same agent again
  • Yet only 14% used the same Realtor to buy another house

With 16,378 houses sold and only 40% sold by referral… Somebody  worked hard to sell 9,826 houses without a referral. Selling houses by referrals is easy.

If 88% of buyers say they would use the same agent again, why did only 14% actually do it? Was it the “experience” they had or did they forget who you are?

Referrals Matter is in the business of making sure they don’t forget who you are, you have to provide the “experience”.

Need to talk about Referrals Matter here briefly…..

Contact Referrals Matters today to arrange a 15 minute discussion to discover a system that effectively generates Real Estate Referrals.   Ninety-eight percent (98%) of Realtor® and Lenders that see this program agree that this system will generate at least 1 Referral per year (more by completing the action steps), per client per year, and sign up…

We cannot get your clients set up on Your Referral Program until you call us..
Call Now (817)723-7223.

Building Your Business One Referral at a Time