If you’re looking for a fun activity on Saturday, September 25th that supports a great cause, check out the annual Wag n’ Walk fundraiser in Simi Valley. Rodeo Realty agent Sharon Staples is one of the event organizers and will be participating with her three rescue dogs Missy, Maui and Buddy.
What: The annual Wag n’Walk is a fundraiser for Animal Rescue Volunteers of Simi Valley. The walk is 3 miles and takes animal lovers and their canine companions through the Rancho Simi Community Park and surrounding areas.
Team Staples
The event includes:
• Complimentary breakfast for registered walkers during registration and prior to the walk. Walkers that raise at least $100 receive a goodie bag and an event T-shirt. And there will be secret roving judges during the walk awarding prizes during the walk to your canine companions.
• Silent auction during the entire event. Bid for items and check back to ensure you’re still the top bidder. Tremendous deals have been won at previous events! At the end of the event, payments are collected and auction items are distributed. Items must be picked up at the end of the event.
• Fundraising prizes will be awarded and there will be a raffle for walk participants after the walk.
Who: Animal lovers, dogs, families and anybody who wants to walk for a good cause are welcome.
(Team Staples’ Missy, Maui and Buddy)
Where: Rancho Simi Community Park amphitheater in Simi Valley
When: Saturday, September 25th 2010. Walker registration and breakfast starts at 7:00AM. The walk starts at 8:00AM. The event ends approximately at noon.
Why: All proceeds go to benefit Animal Rescue Volunteers (ARV), Inc., a non-profit organization that began in 1994. The group works with local animal shelters, veterinarians, and other rescue groups to locate animals most in need of care. It places animals in foster homes and hosts weekly adoptions.
Contact: Sharon Staples, (805) 501-0756, Animal Rescue Volunteers, (805) 579-8047, or visit:

Heidi Montag's Lease Listed For Sale

Brian Stevens’ Malibu listing made L.A. Times Hot Properties this week. Here’s some of what reporter Lauren Beale had to say:
Reality TV star and singer Heidi Montag has been hiding out by the beach this summer at a Malibu place she rented for $25,000 a month, according to the Multiple Listing Service. But she moved on in late August, and the gated contemporary is back on the market at $5.5 million.

Yes, that’s Heidi of “The Hills,” as in Heidi and Spencer, as in soon-to-be divorced Heidi. Lost? Backing up, Montag began dating fellow cast member Spencer Pratt while working on “The Hills” (2006-10). The pair eloped to Mexico in 2008 and, just for good measure, got married again stateside last year. In July she filed for divorce.

The acre-plus property where she made her summer home has a saltwater lap pool, tropical landscaping and mature trees. The kitchen has a blue glass sink, an eat-in center island and a skylight; the master suite has a two-sided fireplace, a wet bar, dual closets, a sunken tub and shower for two. There are 6,636 square feet of living space in which to lose oneself. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom house, built in 1972, is also available for lease at $19,500 a month, furnished, with a year lease.

Home Once Owned by Elton John, Joan Collins and Christine McVie

This gated and private East Coast traditional view estate is located in the star-studded Crest Streets of Beverly Hills. Not surprisingly, the home has a long list of former celebrity owners including: Christine McVie of the rock band Fleetwood Mac, Joan Collins, and Elton John.

The estate is on more than ¾ acres of lush, park-like grounds. A large motor court entry leads to a majestic home that features flagstone exterior and slate roof.

Interiors are elegant and comfortable, with wood floors and wonderful spaces for entertaining. The living room features a marble fireplace and French doors that lead to a covered patio overlooking the landscaped grounds and breathtaking city, mountain and ocean views.
The formal dining room also features French doors that open to a fragrant rose garden. The centerpiece of the home is a gourmet kitchen with center island, breakfast area, pine cabinets, exposed beam ceiling and top of the line commercial stainless steel appliances. An adjacent family/media room with oversized fireplace and built-in bookcase plus separate den/office with fireplace are also featured.
The master suite offers tranquil city and ocean views, an oversized fireplace and a gorgeous master bath with dual sinks, spa tub and steam shower with ocean view. Three additional bedroom suites complete the interiors. The lush and verdant grounds include several flat grassy areas, a swimmers pool, sun deck and pond with shady gazebo.
Joe Babajian of Rodeo Realty and Judy Cycon of Prudential California Realty are co-listing the property. The price is $7.45 million. For more information visit:

Ben Salem and Cash for Keys Transactions

Ben Salem of Rodeo Realty’s Sherman Oaks office just returned from the 2010 CoreLogic® Vendor/Broker Conference in Orlando (formerly First American) called “Insights for Success,” where he was asked to lead an educational panel on REO evictions and best practices. Here’s what Salem had to say about the experience and another upcoming speaking engagement:
“This was an amazingly insightful conference, packed with three days of educational tracks covering a wide range of vital issues involving BPOs, REO servicing, and field services. I know attendees, myself included, took away some valuable ideas and advice on what to expect from our clients and how to employ best practices in evictions. Of course it also gave us all an opportunity to network with our industry colleagues.
My panel, titled “Evictions—Avoid Costly Delays and Penalties,” allowed me the opportunity to share my experience and ideas on how to negotiate a successful cash for keys with compassion, while avoiding delays and other costly issues that can impact a servicers’ bottom line. We had a fantastic turnout.
Through a comprehensive overview of the evictions process my goal was to offer REO agents a unique perspective on how to handle this most delicate aspect of any foreclosure and effectively complete cash for keys transactions. We focused on borrowers rights; the difference between personal property and debris; techniques for occupancy determination; and how to break the ice with occupants.
Next month I’ll be speaking at the Five Star Default Servicing Conference and Expo (Sept. 21) in Dallas. I will be presenting another educational session on the do’s and don’ts when negotiating cash for keys transactions and dealing with not-so-welcome occupants. Former first lady Laura Bush will serve as one of several distinguished keynote speakers, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this upcoming industry event!
Ben Salem Properties and the Elite REO Team continue to think outside the box when it comes to innovative ways to help our clients manage and move their properties in the most efficient amount of time with the least amount of complications and for the best price possible.
Educating other REO agents on how to provide compassionate relocation assistance to struggling homeowners as we serve our clients goals is part of our commitment to excellence and to our community.”

Katherine Kelly Lang Selling Home in Sherman Oaks

Soap star Katherine Kelly Lang, who has played Brooke Logan Forrester on CBS’s the “Bold and the Beautiful” since 1987, and husband, entertainment industry executive Alex D’Andrea, have listed their Sherman Oaks home.

The South of the Blvd. abode blends warmth, charm and impeccable designer interiors. It has 3,410 square feet of living space, 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. Soaring ceilings, wood floors, fireplace, and a 7’ built-in wine rack are just a few of the home’s perks.

The generous master suite includes a spa tub, separate shower and walk-in closet. The backyard boasts a basketball goal, lush landscaping, viewing area, and even a putting green.

Lang and D’Andrea’s home is situated in the Dixie Canyon Elementary boundaries and close to many prestigious private schools. The house is priced at $1.449 million and Todd Jones of Rodeo Realty is the listing agent.

For more information visit:

Kenny Roger's Former Home On the Market

Lauren Case and Stefani Porter of Rodeo’s Woodland Hills office are co-listing the former home of country music icon Kenny Rogers. The 3,147 square foot Spanish Hacienda hideaway is on more than an acre of land in the Mulholland Scenic Corridor. Apparently Kenny Rogers was the home’s first owner back in the late 1970s.
Designed for indoor/outdoor living, the home has numerous French doors opening to pergola covered patios featuring a built-in BBQ grill, a large swimmer’s pool and spa, a putting green, flat lawns and mature landscaping.
Close to hiking, bike trails and urban areas, the multi-level 4 bedroom, 3 bath residence has sweeping mountain views from bedroom verandas, custom plaster walls, carved wood & iron entry door, tall ceilings, wood beams, skylights, and imported French stone & tile accents.

The chef’s kitchen has a large custom built eat-in granite table large enough to seat six with wood cabinetry and wine rack beneath, granite counters, Sub Zero fridge, and Viking range with grill. For more information contact Lauren at (818) 974-8722 or Stefani at (818) 999-2030. You can also visit the listings section of

Renewing Your Real Estate License

The “Broker’s Corner” contains information on current issues regarding the Department of Real Estate, National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS and legislative activity affecting our industry.
By Ken Davis of Rodeo Realty
I would like to address procedures for renewing your real estate license. The DRE provides two methods for renewing your license, whether it be a Salesperson’s or Broker’s license.
The first is sending paper documents by mail. Assuming 3-5 days for the post office to deliver, and 3-5 days for the DRE to log it in and cash your check or charge your credit card, you can expect at least 6-10 days before you have any evidence the DRE has acknowledged your renewal application and accepted your payment.
If you have 2-3 months before your license expires, you probably will not experience the stress of your license expiring on the DRE website. Or maybe you will. The DRE is generally running 45-60 days late in processing mail-in renewals.
If your license expires, the DRE requires your broker to sever you from Rodeo Realty, until proof of renewal is provided. The DRE forbids you from practicing your profession while your license is expired. This is not something any of us want to face.
The second method is “E-Licensing”. You simply file the same information you would have submitted by mail, but you do it on-line. When you complete the on-line form, you fill out a credit card payment authorization and click the submit button.
If you have a broker’s license, you are finished. If you have a salesperson’s license your broker is immediately notified by e-mail that your renewal has been submitted electronically. Your broker logs into the DRE e-licensing page and acknowledges the submission. In a nanosecond, your license expiration date is advanced four years and you and your broker can go on to more important things.
The moral of the story is, if at all possible, please use E-Licensing to renew your license. It will save you stress and make your broker smile!

Bob Mackie's Former Beverly Hills Home

bob mackie house

Rodeo Realty’s Joe Babajian is listing the former Beverly Hills abode of fashion designer Bob Mackie. It is located in the desirable “Crest” streets in prime BHPO. Recently renovated designer interiors include: a dramatic living room with fireplace and 12’ ceiling; showroom-quality kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances that opens into a family room; formal dining room; and separate office. The master suite features a sitting room, dual closets and master bath with spa tub. There are four other bedrooms including a staff room with separate entry. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house provide plenty of natural light and prime views of the city. Other features include wood floors, integrated audio visual system and security system. And the grounds? The property is on a street-to-street lot that offers a tranquil and private setting. It also has a large patio and fire pit for entertaining. List price: $2,695,000. See more at:

Media Relations 101 for Real Estate Agents

What do you do when a reporter from the local newspaper, or a national publication, calls asking for quotes about the real estate industry? A) Run for the hills. B) Put off the call until a later date. C) Claim that you don’t want competitors to know your trade secrets.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, you just lost an opportunity for the best free advertising on the planet. And, you lost the opportunity of potentially being that reporter’s trusted source in the future, the real estate pro that he/she calls first.
Knowing how to respond to media inquiries and pitch story ideas to reporters is an important marketing skill for one big reason: The public is more likely to take notice and trust a news story written by a credible publication than spend the same time scanning your paid advertisement through and through.
I worked as a newspaper reporter for more than a decade. The media world moves fast; deadlines are often the same day or hour. Anytime I dealt with story sources who couldn’t get it together enough to call me back, I moved on.
It’s sad, because many of those people who didn’t take the call, played “gatekeeper” to their boss, and the like, lost out on the possibility of increased revenues and future interviews.
That said, real estate agents should also know a few rules of the road when dealing with the media.
The Do List:
1. Do call reporters back immediately. If you get their voicemail, leave a cell number. Set up a protocol in your office to make sure calls from the media are forwarded to a live body that can talk on the record.
2. Do provide substantive quotes and content. This may make the difference between you or your competition getting in the paper. Remember that good reporters call multiple sources.
3. Do be proactive and call reporters when you have an interesting story idea. Ask them about the types of stories they prefer to write and the types of information they prefer. Meet their needs.
4. Do get to know the real estate reporters in your area. Offer to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss trends you are observing in the real estate market. Reporters can pick up on story ideas that you would have never thought of.
5. Do offer to provide other resources and interview opportunities that can help the reporter accurately cover his/her beat or story, even if those resources aren’t directly linked to you.

The Don’t List:
1. Don’t ask to speak “off-the-record” when you are being interviewed. The line between on-the-record and off-the-record can get blurred. Also, reporters are looking for information and quotes that can be used in their story.
2. Don’t say things that you would feel uncomfortable having viewed by thousands of readers. If you are bound by a confidentiality agreement with a client, do not break that agreement.
3. Don’t ask reporters to let you see the story before it goes to press. But you can ask to review your quotes and context of the story over the telephone. Some reporters are open to this idea, and some are not.
4. Don’t pitch bad story ideas. That’s the quickest way to lose a reporter’s ear. Trends that nobody else has written about, human interest stories related to the housing market, and significant transactions are typically good bets. Charity events, average real estate listings, and your latest marketing gimmicks are not worthy of a story.
5. Don’t, and I repeat DON’T, ever try to bribe a reporter or editor to write a story. Generally speaking, reporters cannot accept gifts, lunches, etc… that exceed $20 in value. And some reporters and editors cannot accept anything other than your quotes and insight.

Tips For Real Estate Agents Using Facebook

In the world of social networking, Facebook is one of the most popular sites to connect with friends, family, businesses and more. The site has more than 400 million active users, and 50 percent of those active users log-on in any given day, according to Facebook.
A huge opportunity for spreading the word about your work as a real estate agent, right? The answer is yes. But agents would also do well to think before they post a Facebook profile and kick the marketing machine into high gear.
First of all, Facebook personal profiles are meant for people; Facebook Pages are meant for businesses, organizations, products and brands. It only takes a few minutes to set up either. And once you create a profile, you can add information, photos, links to your favorite past-times and more.
Personal profiles can be a blast, but also a little awkward. Once you put your name into the system you start getting “friend” requests from people you haven’t seen in years. You can accept or deny each friend request, and you can establish privacy settings to limit the amount of info available to the public.
The Huffington Post recently ran a useful story on Facebook privacy settings. Check it out at: The number of friend requests adds up quick.
If you want your personal profile to be a fun social outlet, I recommend focussing on just that. Sure, mention in your stats that you’re a real estate professional and even link to some of your favorite real estate groups. But steer clear of posting your latest home listings and using the forum to hard sell your old buddies from high school.
As an avid Facebook personal profile user, I have deleted numerous connections as a result of being bombarded with marketing material.
The people that get the most attention and followers on personal profiles are the ones who are funny, relevant and above all…social. Many business professionals I’ve spoken to say their Facebook personal profiles have netted business connections and deals. But the latter is more a result of networking and socializing than selling.
If you accept both business colleagues and old aquaintances as “friends,” know that your business connections now have a view into your personal life. Make it a policy to accept only colleagues, no colleagues, or just the ones you feel comfortable sharing your personal life with. And make sure all of the content on your profile is appropriate for public consumption.
Setting up a separate Facebook Page is one of the easiest ways to focus just on your business. You can do it by visiting
Once you create a profile, you can send a note to your personal profile friends encouraging them to become “Fans” of your business page. And -this is an important point- you can place a Facebook icon on your company’s home page that links directly to the Facebook profile. Facebook also offers an advertising option that can increase your number of connections.
The same rule applies for business pages as personal profiles: The ones that get the most attention post relevant information, stay up-to-date, and make an effort to socialize versus just hard selling their fan base. The point is to stand out from the millions of other people and companies trying to do the same thing.
By Eric Billingsley, Publicist, Rodeo Realty, Inc.