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From creating a high-profile website to taking a good hard look at hour-by-hour workflow planning and battling agent burnout, the 2014 HomeFinder.com Agent Makeover Sweepstakes Presented by PNC Mortgage winners are bursting with renewed energy.

The 2014 HomeFinder.com Agent Makeover Sweepstakes Presented by PNC Mortgage provided four lucky agents an all-expense-paid trip to Chicago this past September. The two-day business and style makeover included a two-night stay at The James Hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago and a style makeover that included a new outfit and styling session from a professional stylist, a new hairstyle and hair/makeup consultation and a professional headshot photography session. In addition, the winners had the opportunity to take part in one-on-one coaching sessions with industry leaders, providing valuable insight into how to create a specialized business in a competitive real estate market.

While the National Association of REALTORS® reports that real estate agents have over 12 years of experience on average, HomeFinder.com is dedicated to providing real estate professionals with the strategies and tools they need to positively benefit their business.

“The digital tools and resources available to agents have changed drastically over the last few years, offering a number of new ways for real estate professionals to manage their business,” says Doug Breaker, president and CEO of HomeFinder.com, who goes on to say that flexibility is crucial when it comes to maintaining a successful real estate business. “The goal of the HomeFinder.com Agent Transformation Sweepstakes is to provide the four winning agents and thousands of entrants with the tools and information they need to reinvigorate their passion for real estate and grow their business in a competitive industry.”

Here, the 2014 winners reveal how the HomeFinder.com Agent Transformation Sweepstakes has benefitted both their business and professional success.

For Bernie Calvario, a real estate professional with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Northborough, Mass., one of the biggest takeaways was the importance of creating a professional website. “Not only have I taken the time to create my own website, I’ve also updated my profile information to be consistent across all real estate platforms,” says Calvario. “And I’m now asking for testimonials from previous clients to grow my client base.”

Since returning from Chicago, Vernon Ubico of HP Residential Services in Coral Gables, Fla., has focused his efforts on overhauling his schedule, setting aside specific times to accomplish tasks.

“I also began filling in my calendar over a month in advance with both personal and professional events to better manage my workload,” he says. “Now I have a specific time each week to follow-up with clients and to reach out to sellers and prospects. Not only does this allow me to set expectations for my clients, it forces me to try to generate new business on a daily basis.”

Ubico goes on to say that the entire process encouraged him to become more technologically efficient as well. “I’ve upgraded my computer and Internet speed so I can accomplish my tasks with ease and get more work done,” he says.

For winner Cindy Harris of Coldwell Banker Gosslee in Shreveport, La., one of the most inspiring aspects of the entire event centered around one’s social presence—and its importance in connecting with today’s buyers and sellers.

“I started a Facebook business page and then updated my profile information across all social media channels,” says Harris, who is working to maintain a consistent presence in her community.

Harris has also focused her business more fully, zeroing in on a specific niche. “I decided to work strictly in REO properties and have reached out to different banks and mortgage companies for a potential partnership,” says Harris. “Winning the Agent Transformation Sweepstakes helped motivate me to determine what real estate niche I wanted to focus on and helped me be a more successful agent.”

For Vicki Rainwater—a real estate professional from RE/MAX Professional Advantage in Monroe Center, Ill.—the Agent Transformation Sweepstakes not only provided an opportunity to reinvent herself, but to recharge her batteries as well.

“Winning the Agent Transformation Sweepstakes impacted my business because it motivated me to realize why I love working in real estate,” says Rainwater. “It’s not just about making sales, but to meet new people and help them find a home. Not only was the Agent Makeover a fun experience, it was a retreat from my everyday life.”

“The best advice I received was during our one-on-one sessions with business coach Mike Lindstrom, social media expert Marki Lemons and the HomeFinder.com team,” Calvario says. “They moved me in a positive way that will benefit my business, and that is something I will always treasure.”

Calvario goes on to say that updating her online presence has also worked wonders when it comes to connecting with prospective clients. “I’ve grown my skills to create a new identity online and know that my blogs, tweets and other online activity will set me apart from my competition. I would advise other agents to make sure they are active on all their social media sites—and anywhere they can grow their brand online.”

In addition to learning the ins and outs of social media and how to truly leverage various social channels for real estate success, Harris notes that winning the Agent Transformation Sweepstakes has helped her focus her efforts to truly be successful in today’s competitive market.

“In 2013 and 2014, I was the selling agent on five properties and the listing agent for one property. Since December 2014, I have closed eight properties and currently have seven active listings,” says Harris, who explains that the first step toward revamping one’s professional brand is to step out of your comfort zone.

“Research different areas of real estate that work for you and make it work for your business,” says Harris. “I would also encourage any agent to enter the HomeFinder.com Agent Transformation Sweepstakes, as it will be an experience you will never forget.”

For more information, visit http://agenttransformation.homefinder.com.

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