Archive for October, 2007

Hearing vs. Listening

Posted: October 31, 2007 in General

2 things you need to know before I get started:

Google Talk1. My wife and I use Google Talk during the day so that I don’t have to talk on the phone during the day. You know, I’m super busy. I hate stopping to answer the phone and talk about miscellaenous things.

Homeschool 2. We homeschool our 12 year old daughter. She has been homeschooled for almost 5 years. It’s amazing! She is smarter at 12 than I am at 35. I’m not sure whether I should have said that or not. Well, anyway.

These 2 things are important to the story that I’m about to tell. I didn’t want to have to explain them right in the middle. It would have been distracting. So, here goes the story…



Home Repairs

Posted: October 30, 2007 in General

Have you ever heard that cow people song (that’s my term for country folk) that goes something like, “Like a hammer and a nail; socks and shoes – we go hand in hand like the rhythm and blues. What good is a man who hasn’t got a dream? Bout’ as good as car with no gasoline.”? It’s about things that go together – obviously. If a cow person made a song about me and tools, or any home repair for that matter, it would be completely opposite of that song. Home repairs and I go together like soap and fungus, matches and dynamite, Clinton and honesty. It’s just not a good thing!

My fence fell down. Yes, you read correctly. My fence fell down. Last Friday I had to leave the office around noon in order to go to Home Depot and get stuff to fix a huge section of my fence that fell down. Why did my fence fall down, you may ask? Here’s a picture of a section that is still standing –

myfence.jpg It was built in like 1902 or something.

You can clearly see that there are boards hanging off of the posts. The boards that are still attached in some way are only attached because I’ve added extra nails, glue, and prayed frequently. And who builds fences like that anyway? I mean, since when are the slats horizontal instead of vertical? I digress.


I left off yesterday talking about how people were running around to and fro trying to get everything ready here at our office, remember? After I logged off of here I went and took some pictures of the different people, different rooms, and what things looked like during prep time. The mood was electric, exciting, and a little tense. Here’s some of what I saw —

 Training Room < This is our training room                Reception Area < This is our reception area

Conference Room < Here is a conference room              Cubicle Area < This is our cubicle area

Break Room < This is our break room – These guys were ready to stab folks with miscellaneous spatchelas and what not because agents were trying to take food early.

Ok, so you get a pretty good idea of what things looked like at around 3:30-4:00pm. But what about Craig? Where was Craig ONE HOUR before he had to be tuxed up, hair combed, smile on, ready to go???

Craig hard at work 1. He was working – seriously! He was writing checks, dealing with vendor issues, and helping out agents

Craig decorating 2. He was trying to decorate. Craig and I are very much alike, and I can promise you that interior decoration (or any decorating for that matter) is better left to anyone besides us. This is why you see Kelly in the forefront trying to help Craig out. Keep in mind that these decorations were taking place 1 hour before the event.

What about the agents in the office? What were the agents and assistants doing this whole time? Were they at home primping and preening, getting ready for the festivities? Well, we already saw that Barbara DeLamo and Kelly Pancake were STILL at the office helping out. They were tremendous. But what about the others? Let’s see —

Bryan Asvestas Here is Bryan Asvestas hard at work. When I took this picture the flash caused him to turn around and look at me like, “Can’t you see I’m trying to get stuff done chump? Back off!”

 Diana Gutierrez Diana never went home! But of course, neither did I. But I’m a guy. I don’t care if I wear the same thing all day long. Diana was hard at work even after I left. I left at 7:30ish. She was networking, rubbing elbows, showing off the building, and otherwise being proud of her new family.

Franny Ah yes – Steve Collins’ assistant, Franny Lopez. I think she put on some different eyeliner, but that was it. She stayed right on through until the event was fully underway.

But here’s the one that really cracked me up. The Goodwin Group were ALL still in their office working! By the way Cathy, thanks for the use of the camera. 🙂

 The Goodwin Group 

But what about at “go time?” How did things look then? Well, see for yourself. Remember our break room, training room, conference room, and reception area?

Training Room 2 Here’s the training room. Yeah, it’s full. The hard thing to believe is that it got FULLER (is that a word?). There were over 1,000 people in attendance last night. It was nothing short of phenomenal. There were even 2 guitarist’s tucked into a corner way in the back. Here, let me show you —

Guitarists These guys rocked out. They were singing and playing a kind of quick flamenco. You can’t really tell from this picture, but these guys were really into it. It was great. I don’t know who they were but they did a great job!

There was a chocolate fountain as well. I did not get to even tastse it. I’m on this particular eating plan that doesn’t allow that. I have to watch my girlish figure, you know? The chocolate fountain wasn’t the only temptation though. There were servers walking around with platters of marinated shrimp (I may have had 1 or 9 of those), marinated chicken (one of those made Glenn Clarke’s wife cry), and these little stuffed bellpepper things with mushrooms in them. I don’t really like mushrooms, so that wasn’t a temptation.

Reception Area 2 Yes, that is Mark Willis with Craig’s dad. I was happy to see Mark there. That guy is amazing. Did you know that he can remember anyone’s name, their spouses name, their children’s names, the dogs name, and what their favorite cereal is? Ok, it’s not that good – but he’s a stud with names!

Cubicle Area 2 Here’s the cubicle area you saw before. That’s the guy who stood in that little cubicle area the whole night. I’ll tell you, that guy was awesome. He was serving wine like nobody’s business. And can you imagine how busy he was with over 1,000 real estate type people there with FREE wine?

Craig Looking Good Look at Craig. He cleans up kinda nice, huh? This is him at about 5:30. How Craig Owen, who is infamous for reinventing “realtor time,” made it home and back in like an hour is beyond me, but he did it!

But now what you’ve all been waiting for – the ribbon cutting! This ribbon cutting celebrates an unbelievable journey for Craig, his staff, and the agents of Keller Williams who stuck with Craig as he fought tooth and nail to take an office that was floundering, change the culture and standards, and redefine real estate in San Antonio.

Short Speech This is moments before the cutting. Craig was thanking the ALC and staff (Russ, David, Tina, Kim P, Kim B, Patty, Nancy, Anna, etc) for being an intricate part of the success!

The Cut Mark and Craig doing the honors.

cut.jpg And here it is – Official!

I don’t think that this could have been anymore successful a turnout. The support shown by the community was beyond belief. Stewart Title, Perma Pier, W.R. Starkey, Fidelity National Title (I finally got to meet the awesome girls that I always bug on the phone), and Newmark Homes – thank you, sincerely!

I am providing a link to my Picasa album so that you can view all the pictures at your leisure – Picasa Web Album.

Everyone have a super weekend!

Dustin Curlee

Keller Williams Grand Opening Party

Posted: October 25, 2007 in General

Keller Williams Realty

Tonight is the night – the big GRAND OPENING of our Keller Williams Heritage office.

 As I speak, er, type, there are people passing by my window hurrying about. In fact, Kelly Pancake (She is being a huge help) just grabbed me and made me help carry some chairs from the break room to an empty office. I’m telling you it’s crazy around here. Table are being moved, pictures are being hung, last minute preparations are occuring, and all so that we can show off this amazing building! It’s all worth it. What a journey it’s been.

Our building hasn’t always looked like it does right now though. I remember walking through the shell of this thing with Craig about 4 weeks before it opened. It was weird. And you couldn’t help but think, “How in the world is this going to be done in a month? There’s no way!” Take a look —


But it did get done. Granted, there were a few small details that had to be ironed out. Isn’t that expected in a project this size? Our building is 22,000 sf. That’s no self-storage unit.

 Not as big

The rumor is that there are supposed to be over 1,000 people here. I would imagine that just about every Title Company, Lender, friend, foe, and second cousin twice removed, received an invitation. Good! Bring ’em all here. The more the merrier. Although, putting a huge group of real estate agents and lenders around each other where there is alcohol present seems like putting a box of self-strike matches near the short fuse of a stick of dynamite.


There are caterers already here who are unloading gallons and gallons of wine, soda, food, and other various catering type things. Other unfamiliar faces are roaming the halls mumbling different things about what they need to get done in the next hour. I saw Craig in the hall about an hour ago throwing his car keys to Robert (his brother) so that he could pick up more supplies. You’re a brave man Craig – brave indeed. 🙂

Ok, so it is 2:58 now. We are 2 hours away from the launch. The actual ribbon cutting is at 6. I’d say it was at 6 sharp, but we are talking about realtor time, aren’t we? Although I’m sure that Showcase magazine, among many others, will be here to take pictures, I too am going to be snapping shots throughout the night. I will post my pictures in the next day or so.

Until the next post, let’s have some fun and celebrate this grand opening. I hope that a lot of people recognize Craig tonight for the job that he’s done. It’s nothing short of stunning. I’ve been with Keller Williams since the day Craig left The Owen Group and became the Team Leader when we were at the Blanco Market Center. There were about 90 agents at that time. Now we are about 440 strong and growing. Our profit sharing has gone up, numbers have increased, our reputation is unparalleled, and most of all, the culture has grown stronger. Amen! Thank you Craig!

In addition, the staff that is now in place here is, quite seriously, unbelievable. In no particular order I need to say thank you to Tina Morales, Kim Perry, Kim Bridgforth, Patty Alcala, Nancy Higgs, Anna Velazquez, and of course, Russ Stewart and David Jones. We truly would not be where we are without their support.

No, I didn’t forget Sean. In fact, here’s a picture:

Sean - the IT guy (Thanks for putting up with all of my, “Hey Sean, can you help me do ___________.”)

Look for a post-party post with pictures.

Dustin Curlee

I often visit the blog Rain City Guide. There’s a lot of great information to be found there. The folks who work on that site are top notch. In fact, Dustin Luther (what a great name, i.e. Dustin 🙂 ), one of the head tech’s there, often speaks at our Tech Boot Camps for Keller Williams.

Anyway, I stopped by today and found this post —

ardell.png Agent receives $5,000 fine for taking the key from the keybox, giving it to the electrician and allowing the electrician to remain on the property unattended.

Agent receives $5,000 fine for giving her keypad to an unlicensed friend to show property.

Agent fined $3,000 for changing the price by $1.00 or $2.00 to cause the property to show up on the agent hotsheet to get more attention and possibly showings.

Agent fined $3,000 for advertising another agent’s listed property in a real estate publication.

Agent waited in car while handing his keypad to his unlicensed assistant who showed the property. Agent did not leave a business card in the house. $5,000 fine.

$1,500 fine for not uploading a photo in a timely manner, not changing the status in a timely manner and not taking the keybox off of the property in a timely manner.

It is sometimes easy to forget that “The MLS” is not simply a data base for listed property to gain the eyes and interest of potential buyers. Reading the report of hefty fines being paid by members for, in some cases, what might appear to be fairly minor transgressions, is a good reminder of what “the mls” really is and is not.

I have to admit that as I am typing this, I am wondering if there is a fine for writing a blog post about fines.

In today’s sue happy world, Realtors® need to be extra careful in paying attention to what they may consider a “small detail.” A “small detail” could cost you $2000. Or, in our rush to get things done, it would do us well to take an extra moment or two in order to make sure that the small detail is finished. This may mean that you need to replace that extra cup of coffee with a glass of water.

Coffee IV I know that I’m guilty of the coffee O.D.

This is one reason that I just love our risk manager, Hank Braunstein. Our risk manager

This guy has been an unbelievable assett to the company. There’s no telling how many times he has kept Keller Williams out of the court room just by catching the “small details” in contracts. Now, he can be a little…um, how do you say…abrasive, gruff, grumpy, intense, from time-to-time. It’s all in love though. He doesn’t fool me!

So, again, check the details. Slow down. Keep yourself out of trouble. It is very worth it!

Dustin Curlee

I thought that all of you might enjoy this article written by Gary Keller. It’s extremely helpful.


WHEN MARKETS SHIFT – Six Truths to Consider

GARY KELLER – September 20, 2001

TRUTH ONE:  Markets shift – this is a way of life.  Markets go up – markets go down.  It is an ongoing and never ending series of progressions and regressions.  The cycle lives on.  So, you have a choice: to rise and fall with the tides (be reactive or rise and fall with your own intent (be proactive).  The bottom line is that people buy and sell homes in all markets.  Only the number of units and sales volume change.  And, the larger truth is that markets are always in a shift transition.  They never (except in a true depression) stay at the top or bottom.

TRUTH TWO:  When markets shift up, both reactive and proactive work.  When markets shift down, only proactive works.  Think of a shift up as a “might/might not have to” market.  Think of a shift down as a “have to” market.  The hard part is always fighting inertia or habit, and facing the key question: can you shift?

TRUTH THREE: Make no mistake, when the market shifts new strategies are required.  Market shifts require strategy shifts.  Market shifts create new rules.  New rules require new strategies.

TRUTH FIVE: The issue is not so much the shift, but how long the lag continues before equilibrium is hit.  No one knows how long this will be, so you just have to get after it, be more focused, ….and hang in there.  The larger point to

consider is that the drop off of agents is quicker in a down-shift and the increase of agents is slower in an up-shift.  This explains why agents, who hang on during the down-shift, grow and prosper when the up-shift occurs.

TRUTH SIX:  In a down-shift, it is “all hands on deck” time.   No matter what your role or what you like to do to get business, when the market down-shifts it is “back to basics” and “prospecting rules” time.  There are two ways to get business: prospecting and marketing.  In a down-shift you keep doing both, but you personally (and all your team members) now spend a fair amount of time each day prospecting.  You don’t drop marketing.  You think “marketing plus”- adding call follow-up and personal contact to all marketing.  And, to that you add straight up prospecting.  Cold calling, warm calling, door knocking, open houses are now back in style!  No more cherry picking leads.  Follow-up, personal contact and servicing are key.  Why?  Because real business leads are precious and few.


Have an awesome day!

Dustin Curlee

You know, I’ve been going to training classes within Keller Williams for 8 years. I’ve been to just about every Boot Camp, Breakout Session, and Tech Seminar available. In the Technology Boot Camps you always hear about You Tube. Agents are highly encouraged to employ You Tube as a marketing strategy to brand themselves. In addition, Agents can use You Tube to advertise their homes very effectively – and for FREE! The sad things is that I don’t know many Keller Williams agents who actually use this valuable tool – except Richard Zepeda of The A-Z Group.


Richard has made great usage of You Tube. The location of his page is here. Let me give you a quick example of 2 videos on Richard’s site that give a better explanation of what I’m talking about:

Uh, yeah – how cool is that? Pop Quiz: What would you rather do as a potential client? A) Read a 12 pt Arial font testimonial about how great an agent is, or B) Watch a video of actual clients who have experienced an agents service? It’s a no brainer for me too!


Want to see another video from his site? Considering marketing your a home for your client?

This particular video was viewed 1,174 times so far. What’s more – there was a comment left from a potential buyer who is moving to Texas. I bet Richard snagged that lead! Yes, you can see how many times your videos have been viewed, have comments left, and respond to the viewers. It’s incredible.

Ok, one more –

Yes, that is a Buyer Presentation on video. Imagine having a buyer lead come in, giving them a quick call to introduce yourself, getting an e-mail address, and then sending this as a semi-introduction. Richard is on the ball.

Cash Money

At this point you may be asking yourself, “How much is Richard paying Dustin for this?” The answer – NOTHING.

Look, I am impressed by people who don’t settle for status quo. When I find those people, I give them props (that’s hip language for accolades). And when I find people who are using great technology, then I share that with other people. The sad but true reality is that the majority of people who read this and say, “Yeah, that’s really good stuff,” won’t even go out and start using the tools available to them. Comfort is much easier on the butt, but harder on the checkbook.

So let’s make this simple:

  1. Go to You Tube and create a FREE account
  2. Purchase a semi decent digital video recorder here or here
  3. Record a video
  4. Upload it to your FREE You Tube site (instructions here)
  5. Repeat steps 3-4 consistently


So anyway, hats off to you Richard. I like it. I am going to start employing the usage of You Tube video on my blog. I have already created a FREE account and have personalized my player. Now I just need to make videos worthy of watching. 🙂

Dustin Curlee