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An Agent's 2022 Marketing Guide (Free Download)
Planning your 2022 goals and overarching marketing strategy can feel like daunting work, but it's a crucial part of running a successful real estate business. Every year, we encourage the brokers, agents and teams with whom we work to set aside a block of time to focus on defining their "why" for the coming year, and then developing an actionable plan to crush goals, establish good habits, and focus on what's truly important to grow professionally (and personally). The last few years have been a struggle for many, and have forever changed the landscape of how we do business. A strong online presence has become more valuable than ever before, but it's easy to get lost in the latest "gadgets" and lose focus of why we spend time marketing our business in the first place. At its most basic, the purpose of marketing is to reach your target audience and communicate the benefits of your product or service in order to acquire, nurture and grow your customer base. Yet time and time again, we see professionals creating online content that does anything BUT that and then become frustrated with the lack of response, engagement and growth. So, the marketing minds at Elm Street have created a quick, down-n-dirty 2022 Marketing Guide to help real estate professionals focus on what's truly important with their marketing initiatives. [ DOWNLOAD GUIDE NOW ] In this guide, real estate professionals can expect ACTIONABLE items around such topics as: IDX websites Improving SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Emails (with a focus on automation and tracking the important stuff) Blogging and creating good content Video (don't be scared—the camera loves you being yourself!) Pay-per-click advertising In-person marketing (making the most of the moment) Inviting referrals (people love you—leverage that!) And more! [ DOWNLOAD GUIDE NOW ] Use this guide as a baseline check to make sure that you have the foundational elements in place to kickstart your 2022 marketing—and then build upon it! Remember, your audience is spending a lot of time online (more than ever before), and making sure that you are creating meaningful, relevant conversations across your marketing channels is a MUST. Here are a few other quick resources for you if you are looking for help with your online marketing: MORE Free Marketing Guides Check out all of the free guides that are available from Elm Street to dig deep into the topics you need help with the most. Receive Daily Marketing Tips Direct to Your Inbox Start your day with a dose of inspiration. Subscribe for your free tips today! Schedule a 15-minute Online Marketing Review Tap into the success coaches at Elm Street to look at what you are doing well, what needs improvement, and how we can help.
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Building a 'Rinse-Repeat' Real Estate Business
Real estate is all about being in the moment -- being in the right place at the right time.  As you're focused on landing that next big win, your business can easily become fragmented. However, the best real estate businesses are able to establish an organized strategy for generating, engaging, and converting leads. This is achieved by repeating productive actions that push a business forward, ensuring success in both the "right now" moment and the long-term future. Ultimately, this sets an organization up for a continual stream of business. Optimizing your sales funnel through proper lead generation, engagement, and follow up: Builds brand recognition and a loyal customer base Improves the experience your clients have from first impression to closing Opens the door to opportunities for repeat business Invites referrals from past clients If you're interested in accessing these benefits, the first step is to create a seamless operations protocol for communicating with — and converting — your leads. Here are strategies for building consistency and establishing a "rinse and repeat" model for sustainable success. #1. Understand the Lead Funnel (and Work It Appropriately) How well are you working with your lead funnel? If you're only investing attention and outreach into the leads in your database that are conversion-ready, you're missing out on the chance to warm up colder leads. One of the best ways to keep your sales funnel running smoothly is to have a strategy in place to nurture the leads that are further out from buying. Even if a lead is not ready for business, you can become a pillar of support by sharing valuable information and relevant real estate advice. By doing so, you'll be building trust and staying top-of-mind — so that when the lead is ready to buy, they will choose you instead of a competitor. Pro Tip: Stay in touch with your leads by adding them to your email marketing campaign. If you tag your leads based on how far along they are on the conversion timeline, you'll be able to send targeted outreach emails for buyers in their position. Real estate teams who tag all of their cold and lukewarm leads will be able to curate bulk emails to engage buyers until they're hot. 8 Types of Content to Send Cold and Lukewarm Leads: Market reports Home buying guides Mortgage preparation packets Glossary of real estate terms Tips to prepare for a stress-free move Strategies for navigating a buyer or seller market Things to do in your community Small business shoutouts #2. Leverage Automated Marketing To save time, automate your email marketing outreach. Working with automated email campaigns allows agents to work closely with their current clients while still warming up their colder leads. This builds a cycle of momentum that can prevent "dry seasons" in your business — as deals close, other leads convert into business. BoomTown's SmartDrip reimagines traditional email marketing campaigns by: Creating more personable messages Optimizing email open rates Eliminating awkward experiences Grading effectiveness of the campaign Creating a "cheat sheet" for success based on your community of leads SmartDrip is efficient, allowing agents to engage their leads even if they're on vacation!  BoomTown's eAlerts introduce added value to your buyer leads by sharing instant updates anytime pertinent changes are made to listing data based on their customized search criteria. Your leads will receive emails on your behalf, alerting them to the most current listing updates relevant to their home search. This gives your clients a competitive advantage over other buyers in the market! #3. Train Your Team to Seamlessly Repeat the Process One of the biggest challenges to developing a true "rinse and repeat" real estate business can be adopting the new processes and technologies required to keep the flow going. Adopting new technologies and committing time to their use is the only way to activate the full potential of the tools you're investing in. As you're building the model that will result in noteworthy wins, make sure that you're training your team members and spending time working with the assistance teams from your new tools. The more your team masters the technology, the more seamlessly it can be integrated into your real estate workflow to generate the best results. Pro Tip: When it comes to engaging with leads and reaching out to your database contacts, consistency is the key to success. Agents and teams need to commit the time and effort required to warm up new leads until they're ready to convert, as well as stay in contact with past clients to gain repeat business and referrals. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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Homesnap PRO+: Unlock the Potential
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10 Ways to Pump up Your Prospecting Pipeline
New year, new you! And a new chance to increase lead generation to build up your business. After referrals and repeats, prospecting is the most effective way of generating leads and turning those leads into prospects. It's not necessarily easy: it takes patience, persistence and proficiency. These ten tips from RPR (Realtors Property Resource) will help you get started, stay on track and prospect like a pro in 2022. 1. Get your hands on RPR's prospecting eBook There are many ways to go about prospecting. You can create geographic farms, implement drip email campaigns, leverage your social media sphere, knock on doors, use targeted direct mail, and the list goes on. To get some ideas on where to start and for step-by-step instructions on how to do it, make sure to download How to Farm and Prospect for New Clients. This exclusive REALTOR® download is yours for the taking and will show you how to identify and market yourself to potential new clients. 2. Make prospecting a priority and a daily task Prospecting is not a "set it and forget it" method. Yes, you can automate email sends and replies, implement auto dialing systems, and even use AI through a digital CRM. And each one of those examples can be a successful tactic. But to really prime the prospect pipeline, you need to be consistent and constant in your attention and your action. Make it a priority by putting a specific task or general goal into your daily, weekly and monthly calendar. (Those little e-notifications can be annoying, but they can also be the perfect nudge!) Carve out time, each day or week, for prospecting activities such as networking, community outreach, blog posts, social posts and shares, phone calls, emails, using RPR maps to search for homeowners that are ripe to sell, touch base with friends, family and previous clients, and any other strategy you see fit. The main point is to stick to it and make it a new habit. 3. Embrace your inner data nerd It's no secret that real estate numbers are big. It's most likely the biggest financial transaction your client will experience in their life. With this many zeroes and commas involved, it's no wonder why consumers relish property data. RPR (Realtors Property Resource) offers REALTORS® vast amounts of property data in one central hub. You have exclusive access to property reports, maps and tools that make RPR an indispensable asset. By exploring and learning more about RPR, you'll find that you can easily package up data and offer it to potential clients. In fact, they want it! Charts, graphs, stats and info from expert sources is something home buyers and sellers crave. And if you put it out there in an easy to digest format, you will get reactions and responses. 4. Communicate market activity and home values The most basic way to get your name and face in front of potential new clients is to share local market statistics, and in some cases, specific home sales data. For example, if you have a neighborhood or community Facebook page, make sure you regularly post home sales activity for that area. Doing this once or twice a month gives homeowners an idea of what their home is worth, and how "hot" the local market is. While not everyone is in the position to buy or sell, when they do think about it, chances are they'll remember where they get their information from and the name associated with it. And if you think you have a really hot prospect, don't hesitate to send them an RPR property report on THEIR home. Run a modified Seller's Report by choosing what pages and info you want to include, and then customize it with your info and a personal message. Print it, then mail it or drop it off and use it as a conversation starter. Homeowners have been known to keep these around for years! 5. Take advantage of RPR Mailing Labels Mailing labels or mailing lists can play a crucial role in prospecting outreach in competitive markets. REALTORS® can create them or export owner information from RPR search results. And you can create up to 2,000 each month for free! These ready-to-print mailing labels are perfect for farming, prospecting or direct mail marketing within custom geographies: Conduct an area search, then use filters to narrow it down or use a previously saved area, such as a farm area Sort your results using the "List View" or from the "Map View," and click "Mailing Labels" once you have the right number of addresses A pop up window appears; then choose your label type or a CSV file Hit "print" and remember that you have 2,000 EACH MONTH to use Watch this one-minute video to see all of the above in action or follow these step-by-step instructions. 6. Make 12-24 prospecting touchpoints throughout the year A prospecting campaign can take some time to build; it doesn't happen overnight. Frequency, or how many times a target is exposed to your message, is a long play. Once you've identified a target, whether it's one single address or an entire geographical area, you've got to pepper that contact with your marketing message. One to two times per month is a good pattern. You don't want to overload them, and you also don't want to fall off their radar. That means don't send one postcard once a month and call it a day. Start with a postcard that calls out recent market activity. Then, follow up two weeks later with an email, and ask about whether they saw the postcard or if they have any questions. Then call, drop off a flyer, knock on a door, email a personal video, send another direct mail piece, send a text or Facebook message, etc. It's not called a marketing mix for nothing! Mix up your contacts and touch points, and change up your content to keep things fresh. Another great tip is to "read the room." If they complain that you're sending too much or too often, back off and deliver quarterly. 7. Be a ninja nurturer to past clients This article from Homes.com offers up several ways for agents to stealthily keep tabs on their former customers in an effort to drum up leads and listings. Unlike targeting areas or owners you have no relationship with (yet!), the basic premise is to maintain and foster relationships you do have. For example, a phone call or an email or text to a past client to discuss their real estate goals or to let them know how much their home value has risen is much better than a "Are you ready to sell? The market is hot!" type of pitch. Frame the discussion or "interview" as an FYI to the owner, or call it an annual real estate check-up. A softer approach such as this will help you set up the chat and you'll most likely get some good information out of it. And make sure to keep notes in your digital Rolodex so you can schedule a time to reconnect. You can also follow former clients on social media to see if any life-changing events have occurred: new job, newborn on the way, older kids moving out? Anything that might affect their lives is a potential reason to move and their need for a REALTOR®. One last tip: you can also use Facebook neighborhood pages or Nextdoor sites to offer up help when homeowners ask, "Anybody know a good handyman?" If you see a post like this, reply right away! Chances are you do know a good (fill in the blank) in the area and your suggestion will be appreciated by the owner and seen by others. But don't call or text them right afterwards; just keep a note and add them to your prospecting list. Neighborly, nurturing moves such as this are a great, semi-sly way to get your name top-of-mind with homeowners. 8. Take a free prospecting webinar Wouldn't you know it, RPR offers a live webinar to help you get started. That's right, we're here to help you get going and succeed. There's no better way to learn and get familiar with a process than to have an expert walk you through it. Save your seat for Keep That Pipeline Pumping. This one-hour session will show you how to use RPR's data, tools and features to your advantage. It's easy, it's free and it's highly informative. Sign up today! 9. Take part in or create your own community events When it comes to being involved with your local community or neighborhood, you can't just talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. You need to have real passion, know the area and its residents, and be active in making it a better place to live. Here's just a few ideas to get you started and thinking: Start a neighborhood Facebook and/or Nextdoor page Sponsor a youth sports team and show up to a couple of their games with snacks or drinks Get a booth at a school fair or at a farmer's market Send out HOA meeting summaries, if applicable Volunteer for school and sports team fundraisers Send out a monthly or quarterly eNewsletter that focuses on community events and issues Organize an annual community garage sale day, where you handle all the signs, promotion, etc. Keep in touch with local police and fire departments and give safety updates to your neighbors Take a walk! Simply strolling through your neighborhood will help keep you in the loop on local happenings This is just a thought starter, we're sure you can brainstorm a great list of your own, based on your interests and your community's needs. Most of these suggestions will only cost you time, but do plan for earmarking some of your marketing budget towards community involvement costs as they arise. Making these meaningful connections is a keen way to organically grow your network of prospects. It's also a truly great way to meet and form relationships with your neighbors. 10. Take a tour of the tools So you haven't downloaded the free eBook or signed up for the free webinar. Perhaps you're the "dive right in and get started for yourself" type? We can respect that and we've got you covered! Go directly to the RPR site and start prospecting. This guided tour will take you through the steps of how to prospect for buyer and seller residential clients. You can also start prospecting for commercial clients as well. These guided tours, the magenta colored boxes, are sprinkled through the RPR website. Each one is designed to help you learn about powerful RPR features by helping you navigate your way through the process. The wrap Prospecting for new clients is equal parts hustle, discipline and persistence (read this case study for an example). You've got to make a plan, make the time, and make sure you stick to it. Use these ten tips to get started and to start sparking some new client meetings in 2022. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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8 Rookie Real Estate Agent Mistakes You Should Avoid
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Dotloop Basic Training for Agents
Multiple dates Whether you just got started with dotloop or need a refresher, our basic training will help you navigate your account and efficiently close deals. Account overview How to create a transaction How to edit, share and eSign documents How to create tasks How to submit for review Register now! Other versions of this training: in Spanish, for California agents.
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A Successful Virtual Open House and 3D Tours for Your Clients
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Will Housing Prices Ever Stop Rising?
Ask people about how real estate was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they tend to give the same answer: buying a house got way more expensive. Now, after nearly two years of soaring prices, buyers, sellers, and agents all may be wondering whether the price of homes will ever drop or even level off. There are signs that the market is cooling, but also broad economic trends indicating that the price of homes, along with the price of everything else, isn't likely to plunge anytime soon. Here, we take a look at some of the factors affecting housing prices. Agents can use this guide to plan for this year and to answer inevitable client questions about how expensive buying a home will be in 2022. Why Are Homes So Expensive? It's natural for clients to wonder: Why have home prices risen sharply over the past two years? In short, the answer is classic supply and demand. Demand for buying was turbocharged by lower mortgage rates that incentivized buyers to borrow and COVID-related changes to how we live and work that left people yearning for more space. Supply was constrained by a slowdown that made it hard for home builders to get the materials necessary to build new homes. This glut of eager homebuyers and a limited supply of homes led to the hottest housing market on record, with the average American home price increasing by 25% since March 2020. Add in burgeoning iBuying technology and the trend of real estate investors snapping up homes, and it's no wonder that many would-be first-time home buyers have found themselves priced out of the market. Conversely, high prices have been a boon to home sellers, who have been able to sell their homes quickly and often above the original listing price. What Factors Will Affect Home Prices in 2022? Clearly, the high price of homes affects your clients, whether they're buyers or sellers. As you counsel your clients about home prices this year, keep an eye on these three market factors. 1. Mortgage rates Ultralow mortgage interest rates fueled much of the recent housing boom. For people who kept their jobs throughout the pandemic and saved money, low interest rates meant low borrowing costs, which helped drive up the price of homes. These ultralow rates appear to be coming to an end. The average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan is now 3.22%, up from a year ago, when the rate was at 2.65%. Plus, the Federal Reserve plans to raise short-term interest rates this year, which will likely cause mortgage rates to rise further. In January 2020, the average mortgage rate was 3.7%, and the National Association of Realtors expects that rate to return by the end of 2022. While that rate is unlikely to crater the housing market, it would likely result in a slower rise in home prices. Overall, you should keep an eye on mortgage rates. If the 30-year fixed mortgage rate approaches 4%, it's a sign that the market is cooling, and that home prices are likely to stabilize. 2. Inflation If you've shopped for groceries or tried to buy a car, it's been obvious: things are getting more expensive. In 2021, the U.S. inflation rate rose the fastest it has in 40 years, to 6.8%. Whether inflation is likely to be temporary or persistent is unclear, but if history serves as a guide, inflation will affect the price of homes and the real estate strategies of buyers and sellers. Traditionally, real estate has been a "safe haven" for investors, because home prices rise relative to the size of the economy. When inflation surges, homeowners are in a stronger position because the cost of homes rises alongside everything else. For home buyers, especially first-time buyers, high inflation is bad news because it's more expensive to buy a home and harder to save for a down payment. The opposite is true for sellers, who can jack up their asking price and still receive offers. We recommend that you monitor the rate of inflation. If inflation rises, your clients should expect higher home prices. If, as some economists predict, inflation falls, the price of homes is less likely to rise, making for a more buyer-friendly market. 3. New home construction Among the most influential accelerants of home prices in 2020 and 2021 was a dearth of available homes. During the past two years, home building suffered alongside many other industries, as pandemic-induced manufacturing shutdowns and slowdowns made it hard for builders to get the materials necessary to build a home. Those issues haven't entirely gone away, but new housing permits and construction starts have recently risen above pre-pandemic levels. Monitor the rate of new home construction in your region. If new home construction skyrockets, the price of homes will likely be held in check. If there is minimal new construction and development, expect more buyers than available homes, and a rise in prices. As an agent, giving clients an honest and accurate perspective about trends in the housing markets is important. Overall, signs point to home prices that will continue to rise in 2022, but not as rapidly as in the two preceding years. But indications are only that, and the best way to give clients the best perspective on their market is to follow it closely. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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RPR Works Everywhere, Just Like You
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Real Estate CRM Basics
What Is a CRM? CRM stands for customer relationship management and is used to describe a category of tools used by businesses to manage interaction with current and potential customers. There are many types of CRMs, but they generally share the same common goals to benefit any kind of business:
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20 Engaging Content Ideas for Your Real Estate Facebook Page
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How to Become a Neighborhood Expert
Your neighborhood is at the heart of your business and at the heart of each buyer's decision-making process when they're considering where to purchase a home. Whether the buyer is part of a family looking for excellent schools, a retired couple looking for the ideal place to spend their golden years, or a younger buyer who wants to be close to the best local attractions, every one of your clients is looking for specific things from their neighborhood. Becoming a neighborhood expert is ultimately key to your success as a real estate agent. It's a great place to focus your energy and put yourself in a position for success in 2022. Become a Neighborhood Expert Why become a neighborhood expert? It starts with smart business. If you work in a big city, then focusing on one neighborhood can help you become the go-to, most recognized resource for real estate needs in that area. If you're in a smaller community where you cover multiple neighborhoods, then knowing the ins and outs of each makes it easier to help buyers find the perfect neighborhood to live, while allowing you to market homes for sellers more effectively by showcasing the perks of the neighborhood where each home is located. Becoming a neighborhood expert also makes it easier to develop and focus your marketing. Integrate local SEO based on your neighborhoods to help your brand stand out where it matters most, send newsletters concentrated on specific aspects of the community, showcase your expertise on social media, build connections with local businesses, and become the face of real estate in the area. And that's just the start! When you're ready to become a neighborhood expert, here's how to get the job done. Learn Everything You Can About the Neighborhood The first step to becoming an expert is learning everything you can about the neighborhood. Some of that will come from online research, which helps you form an overview of the neighborhood. The rest comes from visiting in-person to learn all about the people and places that make the neighborhood special. MLS Data and Demographic Research Start with the basics: learning all about the types of homes in the neighborhood, the value of local homes, and how long properties spend on the market. Then move on to learning all about the demographic data of the neighborhood to discover who lives there, who might like to move there, and how to shape your marketing. Exploring the Neighborhood and Connecting with Residents There's no substitute for exploring the neighborhood on your own, starting conversations with residents, learning about the neighborhood from people who live there, and letting them know what you do for a living. Listen carefully to what residents have to say, and learn what they love about the neighborhood. Building Relationships with Local Businesses Connecting with local business owners is a great way to learn more about what the neighborhood has to offer, build mutually beneficial relationships, establish your real estate expertise, and eventually earn referrals from key members of the community. Getting to Know Local Attractions and Key Services Buyers will want to know what they can do for fun in the neighborhood and where they can find all of the critical services that they'll need. Learn all about the local amenities, along with school districts, parks, and other locations that will be of interest to clients. HOA and Town Council Meetings Suppose you're focused on selling homes in specific housing developments. In that case, attending HOA meetings can be a powerful way to build relationships and learn more about the things that matter most to each development. However, if your eyes are set on a larger neighborhood, then attending town council meetings can help you accomplish the same goals. How to Showcase Your Neighborhood Expertise and Boost Your Marketing Now that you've got a handle on what makes your neighborhood special, it's time to put all of that knowledge to good use! Your real estate website, social media, and online marketing are all places where you'll want to show off your neighborhood expertise. Neighborhood Pages on Your Real Estate Website Your real estate website should be a one-stop-shop for anyone who wants to learn more about the neighborhoods where you sell homes. Creating neighborhood pages is an excellent way to share your local knowledge and help people who are searching for homes fall in love with each neighborhood. Joining Groups on Social Media Joining neighborhood-focused groups on social media – especially Facebook groups – can help you both learn more about the neighborhood and share the knowledge that you have built with new residents. Be helpful, answer questions, and become a resource for the community. Content for Your Real Estate Blog Does your neighborhood have a big event coming up, or would you like to showcase some of the local businesses that make the neighborhood special? Then your real estate blog is the perfect place for doing just that. As long as you get creative, your neighborhood should supply nearly an endless source of content ideas. Email Newsletters with Neighborhood Info Keep your clients up to date on all of the latest neighborhood news by sending regular email newsletters. These newsletters can cover the latest real estate trends in the area, provide advice for local homeowners, or feature fun and lighthearted content focused on the latest neighborhood happenings. Giving Back to the Community Becoming part of the neighborhood also means giving back to the community. Hosting local events like barbecues or block parties is a great way to show your love while presenting plenty of opportunities to demonstrate your real estate expertise to residents. You can also set up food drives, toy drives, or other events to give back to community members in need. Take the Plunge and Live in the Neighborhood Yourself While you can undoubtedly learn tons about a neighborhood and make yourself a known, trusted face in the community even if you don't live there, calling that neighborhood home can really help you take things to the next level. Becoming part of the community is all about building relationships and making yourself recognizable, which is much easier to accomplish when people see your face every day. For new agents, this might be as simple as focusing on the neighborhood that you already call home. If you're an experienced agent and you have your eye on a neighborhood that you want to "own" for your real estate business, then it might be time to move there full-time. When you live in a neighborhood, wear branded gear, start conversations, and make sure everyone knows what you do for a living, you can become the resource that everyone in the community trusts when they have real estate needs. Set Yourself Up for Success in 2022 with Neighborhood Expertise New year, new you... new neighborhood? Whether you're starting fresh with a new neighborhood where you'll focus your energy or redoubling your efforts in your current location, now is the time to formulate your plan for a successful 2022. With so many ways to become a neighborhood expert and so many benefits to doing so, the only thing left to decide is where you'll plant your flag this year. Start 2022 off strong with a free 30-day trial of DeltaNET 6. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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5 Essentials for an Agent to Have a Great Morning
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How to Generate, Nurture and Close Like a Boss
Tuesday, January 19, 2022 at 11:00 AM PST Come along for a deep dive into real estate leads! We're covering the nitty gritty details of lead generation, lead conversion, and smart prospecting. Expert lead converter and top producer, Mahala Landin (Broker, The Rachel Kendall Team) joins Tim Male from the BoomTown team to share her top strategies for getting more out of your database. No opportunities left behind, no wasted lead gen dollars, no excuses! The how-tos you'll learn: How to generate higher quality leads How to work the lead funnel How to Smart Prospect How to leverage success metrics How to maximize your database for lead conversions Register now!
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Google for Real Estate: Leveraging Google Analytics
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Achieve Omnipresence and Master Your Hyperlocal Branding
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 9:00 AM PST Does your personal brand resonate across your online presence? Utilize your Local Expert solution to help you stand out in a sea of other agents--achieving online omnipresence. Make local buyers and sellers think of YOU when they think real estate. What's covered in this session: How to take your hyperlocal branding to the next level Brand consistency tips to boost your business Social media and tech tips to help increase your reach Register now!
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Clients Concerned About Omicron? 4 Digital Tools for Their Home Search
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6 Valuable Tips for Creating Memes that Could Go Viral
Memes have been a popular go-to for fostering online humor. The term "meme" was introduced into our lexicon 35 years ago by Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist. Dawkins suggested "that ideas could replicate, evolve, and enter popular culture" in the same way genes spread! A meme typically combines an image, photo, or video with a tagline and is usually funny or ironic. Its small file size makes it easy to share and post on social media sites. The prevalence of memes is astounding; Instagram reports that 1 million users share memes every day. Can real estate professionals use memes to share branded content? From Gucci to Jet Blue and Uber, many major companies have used professionally developed memes to promote their brands. And you could, too. However, always remember that humor and irony can be a slippery slope, as what is funny to some can sometimes offend others. That said, memes can be used by real estate professionals to engage your audience and compliment your other marketing and promotional activities. By nature, memes are intended to go viral – or be widely shared. However, a meme's success depends on how well it connects to your sphere of influence: your clients, friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and prospective customers. In addition, it needs to be meaningful enough to earn attention. Therefore, when you create a meme, you need to think first about your target audiences and what would compel them to share your meme with others. Here are 6 ways to create memes that have the potential to go viral. Make your memes relatable A vital component to a meme's success is that your audience should instantly understand it. Take the time to review what your friends and family are posting and sharing on their social channels. Do you see a repetitive theme or subject? Is what they are mainly sharing related to popular culture? Do they share humor? Do they share memes? What can you discern about their core values? What content do they appear to be passionate about, and what themes resonate with them? This understanding can help you create ideas that are more relatable to your audience. Evoke an emotional response A meme should generate an emotional reaction, whether it provokes their curiosity, makes them feel elated or even gets a chuckle out of them. When creating a meme as part of your marketing efforts, think about the kind of emotion you want to appeal to with your meme content. It takes an instant and significant emotional response for a meme to be widely shared. Therefore, playing to your audience's emotions is needed to compel them to share your content digitally with others. Use powerful visuals Memes are essentially rooted in visuals. The memes that are shared the most are the ones that make a powerful first impression. Therefore, it's essential to keep the visual image you use simple and contain a healthy balance of information, offering hope or humor. Super short videos or animated gifs also help earn consumer attention if you pick the right content. For ideas on memes, check out KnowYourMeme, a searchable internet meme database. Take advantage of online tools While you can use software programs such as Adobe Photoshop to create your memes, other online tools are available that simplify the process of creating a meme. For example, Imgflip is a popular online meme generator that offers a variety of images to use and allows you to add text to the photos. You can also customize the text's font, which is often a significant component of a viral meme. Canva offers free and paid accounts and is another popular online image editing tool that provides plenty of templates to make memes in just a few clicks. It also allows you to download memes for uploading in various file formats, including PNG and JPEG. Share memes at the right times A critical part of viral marketing is timing. That means you must be up to date with the latest trends that currently are engaging your audience. If you find a locally relatable hot topic, you should strike while the iron is hot and create a meme that relates to that topic. Your network is more likely to share your meme broadly when the subject is topical. Over-posting – creating too many memes in a short of a period – can work against you and reflect poorly on your brand. That's because it's not easy to create memes that go viral. Branding your meme This can be tricky, as most real estate marketing tends to brand its content aggressively. For a meme to go viral, however, subtlety is the key to acceptance. You can build in a small source line and sometimes even a tiny logo, but it can't take away from the meme, or that will defeat its purpose. Remember that even when you create and share unbranded memes, being known for creating and sharing positive memes reflects positively on your personal brand. Creating ironic or humourous memes that promote a positive idea related to the real estate business can be an excellent fit for your marketing strategy. Whenever you need assistance with any digital difficulty you are experiencing, remember that the experts at Tech Helpline are only a click, call or email away. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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New HomeJab Real Estate Photo Study: NFTs, Unprepared Sellers, Drones and Automation
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6 Reasons to Accept Offers Before an Open House
Ruth Lerner, a Massachusetts agent with Compass, shares her thoughts on whether it's acceptable to take offers prior to an open house and talks about how today's buyer-hungry market has impacted her business. Here's Ruth: It's been the same story with every listing I've had in Brighton and Brookline recently: I put a condo on the market, and one of the first questions I get from brokers is, "What is the offer schedule?" The market is so tight here right now, multiple offers are the norm, rather than the exception—and most listing agents choose to have a set schedule of reviewing and accepting offers—for example, "Offers are reviewed on Mondays at 4PM." Having a schedule has many benefits. In addition to providing order and organization, buyers know what to expect and having a schedule gives them time to prepare their offer. Conventional wisdom says the traffic at the open house will generate more offers, so it's best wait for the crowd. But I'm not one to accept conventional wisdom. In some situations, I prefer to review offers as they come in so I can get things done before the open house. But why forgo the open house traffic? Here are my reasons for accepting offers before the open house: 1. Serious buyers are ready to buy. They have been ready since before I put the condo on the market, so I like to give them a chance to be first. 2. Savvy agents with serious buyers don't wait for the open house. The call me and say, "Get me in there!" I believe it is in the best interest of my client to work with a savvy agent who will have a cleaner offer and will provide an easier transaction. 3. Tons of offers don't necessarily mean more money. Buyers will pay a premium to avoid the open house and compete against more offers. In today's market, where buyers have been getting squeezed out by the number of offers and outbid by cash buyers, it is often in their best interest to come in early and high. 4. Too many offers can be a big fat mess. My job as a listing agent is to sell properties for the highest amount of money and with as few conditions as possible. Experience has shown me that five offers can get me there just as well as 17. At some point, all the added offers become noise, paperwork and headache and confusion to the seller. Also, when tons of offers roll in, some of the best buyers may decide not to compete. 5. Sometimes sellers prefer to avoid an open house. This past year, I've had several sellers say the idea of having a stampede through their home is unappealing. When given the option to skip having an open house, many will happily take it. 6. When you wait to take offers, they don't come in until the last minute. Everyone wants to submit their offer last—so the seller sits, waiting in anticipation for much longer. In the meantime, buyers may be less enthusiastic days later, when they finally write an offer. The best time to get an offer is early on, when you can capture the excitement of a buyer who doesn't want to risk losing the property. Yesterday, I received five offers for a property I put on market on Thursday and showed to a dozen people on Friday. One of the agents asked me if I would be hosting an open house. My reply was, "If I have five offers now, what exactly will I be doing at an open house?" Today my client chose to sign one of the offers. I am writing this post in anticipation of the angry buyers and agents calling me from the lobby where I've posted a note: "Open House Cancelled." Sorry. Serving the Boston area real estate market since 2002, Ruth is an experienced full-time real estate agent dedicated to helping home buyers, investors and home sellers make the best real estate decisions. To learn more about Ruth, visit her website at www.ruthmalkinlerner.com. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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RPR Releases Its Social Media and Digital Marketing Survey
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What Does a Contract to Close Coordinator Do?
You know better than anyone that real estate involves a ton of intricate paperwork. All that paperwork can become overwhelming and exhausting quickly. Not to mention that doing hours upon hours of paperwork was not the reason you became a real estate agent. That is why many real estate agents have invested in the help of a contract-to-close coordinator. A contract-to-close coordinator takes all that paperwork off your plate in a timely and efficient manner. These individuals are prepared for any paperwork nightmare that may come along during your transactions so you can always count on them to get the job done. What Exactly Does a Contract-to-Close Coordinator Do? This may be surprising given how much is involved in the process, but a transaction coordinator handles everything from contract to close when you make a new deal. That includes, but is not limited to: Opening escrow Verifying all title work is complete Scheduling all inspections Ensuring all documents are submitted correctly and on time Coordinating the closing process Keeping the buyer and seller informed on the progress of the transaction As you can see, contract-to-close coordinators handle a wide variety of tasks. These team members essentially take over all the administrative duties involved in a real estate transaction. Check out our transaction coordinator checklist to truly get a comprehensive idea of what these assistants can do for you. Signs You Need a Contract-to-Close Coordinator You're drowning in mundane paperwork. You just want to get back to the work you love doing. Well, you may have just found the solution to your problems. Contract-to-close coordinators do all the work you don't want to, so you can focus on the aspects of being a real estate agent that you love. If any of these signs sound like you, it may be time to consider how hiring a transaction coordinator could change the way you do business for the better. Small Details Have Slipped Past You Here and There Everyone makes mistakes. We are all human, and it is completely expected for one or two details to have slipped your mind. Maybe you were doing 12 things at once and one tedious form wasn't filled out completely correct. Or maybe you forgot Mrs. Smith's home inspection time when you were prospecting for new clients. While these scenarios are likely to happen, they easily upset you and your clients. The good news is that they can be entirely avoided with the help of a transaction coordinator. You Don't Have a Foolproof Closing System Having and maintaining a foolproof closing system can be challenging for any Realtor. Yet it is entirely necessary to have in the real estate industry. Without a well equipped and efficient closing system, you will be faced with unnecessary paperwork stress. This negatively affects you and your client at the end of an already long real estate process. A transaction coordinator can ensure that closing will run smoothly even if complications arise. So if you may not have the most solid closing system, or maybe you want to dedicate your time to other tasks instead of closing duties, then a transaction coordinator is definitely someone you want to invest in. You Haven't Taken a Vacation in Years You are probably thinking, Real estate agents don't get to take vacations. Well, you might be pleased to find out then that you do, in fact, have time to vacation when you have the help of a contract-to-close coordinator. Our transaction coordinators, on average, save you about 16 hours of work per deal. That is a lot of time that you could have back on your hands. While you may be excited to dedicate that time back to revenue generating tasks, it is also a good to use it for some much needed rest and relaxation. Getting Back to the Things You Love At the end of the day, a contract-to-close coordinator is simply just someone that is able to help you out in the complicated real estate process without stepping on your toes. You are still running the show, just with a little backstage help now. When you hire a transaction coordinator, you will always have someone on your side. You will be able to trust in the fact that someone with valued experience will constantly be looking out for you, your business and your clients. Investing in a transaction coordinator allows you to spend more time doing the work you love and spend more time with the people you love. So what do you have to lose? To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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Top 5 Real Estate YouTubers to Follow This Year
The internet made everything easier and available for everyone. Just imagine, with several clicks you are able to have access to thousands of blogs/videos related to your subject of interest. If you know how to use the internet, you can achieve success and gain a huge range of knowledge. YouTube, which is a huge platform for videos, connects people around the world. This is the best opportunity for any influencer around the world, especially for those who are already professionals in the industry. Real estate professionals are no exception; they actively use YouTube to promote their ideas and to help others on the road to success. Today, we are going to talk about five real estate influencers and their channels on YouTube. We will discuss their videos and how they can help new real estate agents, brokers or anyone else interested in the industry. Grant Cardone According to Forbes, Grant Cardone is one of the top social media business influencers in the world. He is the author of eight books written about business, and he is the CEO of seven privately held companies. He is very active on social media, especially on YouTube, which he joined in 2007, and now he has more than 1.9 million subscribers/followers. He is an "undercover billionaire," which is mentioned in almost all of his video titles. His YouTube videos include different topics for discussion: Roleplay and sales scripts for sales people Pitfalls to avoid — real estate investing Ryan Serhant Ryan Serhant is one of the best known YouTubers in the industry. He joined YouTube in 2013, and he has more than 1 million subscribers. Ryan is an American producer, TV personality and real estate mogul who tries his best to express his success and visions in his videos. He speaks about different subjects in his videos and covers everything that real estate agents should know while being in the industry. The titles of his videos on YouTube include: How much do real estate agents actually make? How to find real estate leads using social media ads What $4.5 million gets in Manhattan vs. Brooklyn Inside a $16 million massive NYC apartment with private pool Enes Yilmazer Enes Yilmazer is a YouTuber who shows his subscribers' stunning houses in California and what they have to offer. His videos mostly consist of house tours. To have a better idea, let's have a look at his video titles: Inside an affordable Los Angeles mid-century modern home Touring a $44,000,000 Lake Tahoe waterfront mansion Inside a Los Angeles modern home with a secret room He joined YouTube in 2010, and as of 2022, he has over over 1.6 million subscribers. His community is mainly interested in households as Enes mostly shows property interiors in his videos. He lives in Los Angeles, but his area of activity is broader. Kris Krohn Kris Krohn is one of the successful real estate influencers on YouTube. He started uploading videos in 2014. To know more about what he offers to his subscribers, let's check some of the video titles: How much does it cost to invest in real estate? How to perform financial analysis Why you should sell your house over the holidays He has 764,000 subscribers, so his community is very big. As he mentions in his description, his main goal is to make his followers wealthy and to acknowledge what it feels like to be a part of the real estate industry. After watching some of his videos, you will definitely have a general idea of how this industry works and how you can become successful in the real estate industry. Graham Stephan Graham Stephen is one of the most influential people in the real estate industry. He has over 3 million subscribers on his YouTube channel despite the fact that he only joined the YouTube platform in 2016. He is also active on different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He also has his own website where he shares his experiences. If someone wants to be a professional in the real estate industry, then this is definitely the right person to follow. On his YouTube channel, he stresses his success, failure and, most importantly, his experience in the real estate industry. Some of his video titles include: The next market crash—7 ways to make money Real estate is about to drop—again Millionaire TikTok entrepreneurs must be stopped The ultimate guide to investing in real estate step-by-step As you can see, he is open to speaking about his way of success, his career, what you need to have in order to achieve your success and much more. He is also very open to stressing his own ideas. While he is making videos on what he thinks about TikTok influencers, you can easily see how his subscribers love his vision and thoughts. Last Few Words YouTube marketing has become the main tool for influencers and for beginners. Influencers share their experiences and newcomers get information about the industry they are interested in. Choosing the right YouTubers to subscribe to can be considered a first step towards your success. To view the original article, visit the Realtyna blog.
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Why You Should Hire a Social Media Manager
Social media is one of the best ways to find new customers and keep past customers coming back. Having social media accounts is a great first step, but having someone who knows how to run those accounts and platforms to optimize your results is the best way to ensure the success of your business through social media. Most large companies have a social media expert working around the clock, monitoring social media for new trends and opportunities. As a real estate professional running your own business, you need to ask yourself if this is something you can do yourself or would you be better served finding someone to help. Here are a few things that your social media manager should be able to handle, whether that is you or someone else.
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5 Tips to Be a Succcessful Agent in 2022
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The 2021 Real Estate Give-Back Guide
BoomTown recently wrapped up the second annual BoomTown Give Back Awards, a very special initiative designed to celebrate the real estate professionals that are paying it forward and creating positive change in their communities. Three deserving recipients are awarded with The Walk-the-Talk Award, The Creative Changemaker Award, and The Helping Hand Award, and $1,000 each to help them continue to make an impact. With so many incredible nominations, we're able to learn about dozens of organizations and initiatives that are near and dear to our real estate community. If you are feeling motivated to pay it forward this year and make giving back an integral part of your business, you can leverage this Give-Back Guide to get started! GiveBack Homes Giveback Homes is a community of real estate professionals who are committed to creating social change by helping build homes for deserving families around the globe. We work together to organize fundraising events, mobilize teams of volunteer homebuilders, and we inspire others to take action for social good. Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps families build and improve places to call home. We believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. The Realtors Relief Foundation The REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF) is a charitable organization dedicated to providing housing-related assistance to victims of disasters. Created as a REALTOR®-driven response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, RRF continues to restore and rebuild communities effected by disasters such as wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes thanks to the generosity of individual REALTORS®, REALTOR® associations, and affiliated organizations. Together, through the RRF, our community has helped over 17,000 families remain in their homes. Salvation Army's "Real Estate Wednesdays" It began in the Spring of 2013 as many great things do, unexpectedly over a quiet lunch between friends. Super volunteer and member of the Salvation Army's National Advisory Board, Marlene Klotz-Collins, was welcoming Joseph and JoAnn Callaway to the organization's Phoenix Advisory Board. JoAnn told Marlene how dedicated she and Joseph were to the red kettles at Christmas. Marlene explained to JoAnn that Wednesdays were a challenge when getting volunteers. "The Army actually has to hire paid workers to ring bells at many of the kettle locations," Marlene said. JoAnn immediately volunteered herself and Joseph, and by dessert she had volunteered the whole home ownership industry. After months of planning, more than 1,000 real estate agents, title company officers, lenders, and affiliates came together to ring the bells at more than 180 kettle locations throughout Maricopa County. Real Estate Wednesdays was born. Realty Gift Fund Realty Gift Fund is a group of nonprofit and real estate professionals who recognize the unique problem of real estate donations, and who established Realty Gift Fund to make a meaningful impact on charitable giving through gifts of real estate. Opportunity Starts at Home Opportunity Starts at Home is a long-term, multi-sector campaign to meet the rental housing needs of the nation's low-income people. Housing affordability is central to other national priorities, like health care, food security, education and more. Yet the gap between rents and incomes is growing, and this is compounded by unprecedented threats to federal housing assistance. Proven solutions to ending homelessness and housing instability exist – what's missing is the political will to provide resources that will put these solutions into practice in communities across the nation. Homes for Heroes Homes for Heroes provides heroes with more savings than any other national program. When heroes buy or sell a home using Homes for Heroes, they also help other heroes in need because Homes for Heroes, Inc. donates a portion of its earnings to the Homes for Heroes Foundation. This Circle of Giving strengthens American communities by putting more money into the hands of our American heroes, and benefits American community programs, organizations and businesses. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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What's the Best Way to Contact Expired Listings without Being Intrusive and Rude?
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Under 1-Minute Lesson in Printer-friendly Views in RPR
Have you ever wanted to just print what was on your screen in RPR? Perhaps a list of properties that you'd like to share with a client and you certainly don't want to run a report for each one? You can! RPR has printer-friendly views, which allow you to: Simply print what's on your page to save time Check boxes from a list or from the Photo List to select properties you want to print Make your selections, then hit the print icon (it's between Mailing Labels and Create Report) Also perform this print page option from the Property Summary pages and the RVM® Details page Watch this under one-minute video to see all of the above in action: To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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5 Key Ways to Create Buyer Loyalty
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7 Advanced Strategies to Turbocharge Your Real Estate Business
When it comes to advice on how to grow your real estate business, there's no shortage of suggested strategies and how-tos out there. The problem? A lot of it can be pretty basic. If you've been in real estate for a while, do you really need someone to tell you to "know your target market" or "work on perfecting your sales script"? Of course not. If you're successful, you've had that down for years now. That kind of advice cluttering the internet is more suitable for an agent just starting out. Instead, in this blog, we'll focus on some more advanced strategies for growing your real estate business in the coming year that might not be so obvious—and can give you an extra edge in winning clients and dominating your sphere in 2022. 1. Audit your brand for consistency across digital channels Look, the reality of today's real estate landscape is that word-of-mouth just isn't as important as it used to be. Yes, clients still recommend agents they like to friends and relatives, but now, when search engines like Google make researching on your own so easy, homebuyers and sellers are turning online to vet real estate agents—even if they've received a recommendation from a trusted party. It's not just in real estate either; it's happening in every industry: How often do you Google a restaurant before ordering dinner, even if your colleague swore by it? So, you must ask yourself: what happens if a prospect searches for you? Are you presenting yourself as a trustable, professional agent across all corners of the web? Or does your Facebook profile offer a completely different picture of your competency than your Google business profile? Do you even have a Google business profile? The simple truth is this: Clients have no shortage of real estate agents available to them, so any sort of discrepancy online is only going to give them pause in hiring you. So, why give them an opportunity? Make sure prospects can find you on various platforms; your reviews are consistent from review site to site; your contact information is consistent across profiles; and you're conveying a sense of professionalism at every turn. 2. Invest in the power of content marketing You're probably no stranger to the idea of content marketing, but maybe you don't know how important it is, or maybe you didn't think it was as applicable to the real estate industry as it is in others. But it is, and we'll explain why: As we established, Google is really important for real estate agents in finding clients, as prospects regularly use the search engine to research who they hire. But how do you make sure you appear high enough on a Google results page to make sure these clients see and choose you? Well, Google puts a heavy emphasis on responsiveness—that is businesses who appear active and engaged, not those that throw up a website and passively hope leads find them. And, as you've probably guessed, one of the best ways to demonstrate responsiveness is by the regular posting of worthwhile content. That means listing photos, market research, your thoughts and analysis, etc. So, make sure you're regularly posting content across channels. Pro Tip: Don't forget Google as a channel for your content distribution. While it may not be as obvious as your website, blog or Facebook profile, Google places an incredible amount of value on responsiveness on its platform when it comes to rankings. Makes sense, right? Regularly use Google's products, and Google will shuffle you up the rankings. 3. Modernize your website with prospect-friendly digital tools In the wake of Covid-19, more and more prospects are looking for digitally adept agents—ones that can help them market their property online or host virtual tours and walkthroughs. Even when the pandemic is over, it's likely to stay the reality; innovation rarely goes backward. So, take a good, hard look at your website. Does it convey that you're a modern, up-on-their-tech agent? Or does it look like your nephew hastily threw it together 10 years ago? It goes back to our first tip: conveying a sense of professionalism and expertise wherever a prospect may discover you. But modern isn't just limited to aesthetics. Today, you're much more likely to entice a prospect online if you can offer something for free. It's just the way the world works—after all, you're getting free advice in exchange for visiting this blog. The best agent websites have some sort of give and take. You can offer a free market analysis or home valuation in exchange for a client's email address or phone number. They're much more likely to connect with you if you give them something to make it worth their while. 4. Prioritize reputation management by soliciting and maintaining reviews Yes, reviews are important for your reputation. But that's not what this tip is about. Did you know that the more positive reviews you have, the more likely you are to appear in search rankings? At Homesnap, we looked at the profiles of thousands of agents across the country to try to correlate the number and overall rating of reviews against an agent's search rankings on Google. You can read the full report here on getting more positive reviews here, but here's what we found: Agents with an average review rating of 4.0 or better on Google appear in 350% more Google searches than agents with an average review rating of 0-3. Agents with a 4.0 average review rating on Google received 300% more actions (calls, texts, website views, and direction requests) than those with a review rating of 0-3. The more reviews an agent has, the better they perform in search, views, and actions. The only problem? The impact of positive reviews tends to diminish over time—after about 90 days or so. So, make sure you're always encouraging new positive reviews from clients, friends, family, as well as responding to negative reviews politely and respectfully. 5. Use social media to nurture long-term prospects A lot of real estate agents turn to social media for lead generation, and when they don't find high-intent buyers or sellers after running their first few ads, they're disillusioned with the results. Many (mistakenly) believe social media doesn't work for them. But the simple truth is, it does—if you're patient. Many would-be homebuyers and sellers are at the onset of their real estate journey, poking around on an agent's social media profiles and ads in anticipation of the day they'll be ready to transact. If you pull the ripcord too early and ignore anyone who isn't ready to buy or sell in the next 30 days, you're going to miss valuable opportunities to attract new clients at a later date. Instead, you should consider social media a long-term volume play—in which you capture and nurture a sizable number of potential leads as they grow to be higher intent. That way, when users are ready to buy or sell, you're the agent they're most familiar with—you've been with them the whole time. 6. Leverage the power of video In the weeks following initial social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines, virtual tours and open houses proved both popular and effective. Now, though, as in-person open houses return, some agents have abandoned the tactic, viewing it more as a stopgap than a viable marketing strategy. But, in fact, videos have proven very effective as a marketing tactic, even if they don't lead to direct sales. Virtual tours and open houses provide a more immersive, holistic experience to homebuyers, making it more likely that their initial interest will result in a serious buyer. Additionally, videos are perfectly suited to social media advertising, particularly on Instagram, where video content is more native and less intrusive than on other social networks. Here's a complete guide to real estate marketing on Instagram, including marketing your video content, if you're interested in learning more. 7. Measure your progress against realistic digital benchmarks Growing your real estate business isn't easy and takes time. Do not expect immediate results, even if you follow all these steps. But if you're patient and strategic, you will see significant results in growing your real estate business. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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3 Dumb Tech Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2022
I don't know about you, but this time of year my article feeds are FULL of lists about how to improve myself going into 2022. I have to admit, some of them are really good, others just want to sell me a product. I am always looking for ways to grow and improve myself, both at work and in my personal life. What I have found is the most impactful changes to my life are not focused on doing good things, but instead focused on getting rid of the bad stuff. That's where this list comes in. Here are three dumb tech mistakes to avoid going into 2022 that will help grow your real estate business. Not Using Your Technology Tools Our first dumb mistake is not using your technology tools. Just like a piece of paper and a pen, they are tools to help you. If you don't use them, they cannot help you. For example, your CRM. Ideally, your database has at least 250 people in it. There is NO reasonable way that you can keep track of the notes, tasks and follow-ups for 250 people. Your brain is not built to handle that much information. So you must enter notes and tasks into your CRM to help you keep track of your clients' needs and wants. If you don't, you will miss things and your clients will find someone who does keep track of their needs and wants. That's why the most successful real estate agents and teams use a CRM. Avoid this dumb mistake, use your technology tools. It will grow your business. Overpaying for Technology Our second dumb mistake is paying for technology tools that you can already get for FREE! In most cases, both your brokerage and your MLS offer technology tools. It is the best time of the year to review your tech stack and see what you are paying for that your brokerage and your MLS already offer to you for free. Read this article for more information. Avoid this dumb mistake—don't pay for tech you can get for free. Being Lazy on Your Tech Skills Our third and final dumb mistake is being lazy with your tech skills. As Tony Robbins (and many other people for that matter), says, "If you are not growing, you are dying." This 110% applies to your technology skills. If you are not growing your technology skills, then your business will eventually decline. You might not see it today because of this crazy hot market we are in, but it will happen. Avoid these mistakes while there is still time to fix it. Read this article for more information. Now It's Your Turn Take the next 15 minutes and think, "How does this apply to me? What tech mistakes can I avoid going into 2022?" If you have any questions about tech mistakes to avoid or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
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How to Understand Your Clients' Emotional Needs to Serve Them Better
Every decision starts with an emotion, then gets a helping hand from logic. And while there's plenty to look forward to when buying or selling a home, the entire process can be one of the most stressful anyone will face in their life. When stress runs high, emotions tend to as well. Ambiguity – about things like financing, the logistics of the move, and whether it will be worth it in the end – triggers heightened states of tension. There's no way to know in advance how everything will play out, so these feelings can't be resolved completely. But the emotional component of real estate isn't just about distress. The full spectrum of emotions plays into decision-making. Let's look at it from the buyer perspective: There can be a great deal of excitement about the potential to become a homeowner There can be apprehension and emotional conflict about whether one is "really ready" They may be getting supportive or not-so-supportive feedback within their social circle And now, from the seller perspective: Depending on their relationship with their existing property, they may need to mourn They may be moving under positive (new job) or negative (death in the family) circumstances They might feel a strong attraction toward some future options, but not know what to pick All these possibilities and more swirl around every transaction. It's up to each real estate agent to get a fix on the emotional tone of the transaction their clients hope to have within the first few conversations, if not the very first one. The better you understand your clients' emotions, the better you can serve their needs. Should a Real Estate Agent Be a Therapist? In many customer care roles, representatives feel like they must "be a therapist" to those they're working with. Please do not, in your role as a real estate professional, try to be a therapist. If early conversations leave you feeling that there are intense emotions or highly charged circumstances you are unprepared to deal with, you can choose to pass or refer that client elsewhere. You aren't obligated to take on any client, no matter their story. Outside of those situations, what are real estate agents called on to do? What are some of the best ways to help your clients work through the myriad of emotions they'll inevitably feel when buying or selling a home? The answer is simple: Be empathetic, but stay grounded. Clients don't need someone to ride out all the highs and lows of their emotions with them. Instead, they need a trusted guide – someone who understands what they're going through but will focus on keeping them steady throughout their journey. That's where you come in, and this mindset gives you a much more focused set of goals with which to work! Providing the Right Level of Emotional Support to Real Estate Clients What "emotional support" looks like varies based on the stage of your transaction. While not all clients need lots of support, all should have the chance to use that support should they require it. Your initial investment of time in putting the right resources in place might be formidable. Still, the work is worth it. Once those assets are in place and optimized, you: Spend only modest time fine-tuning processes and will rarely rebuild them from scratch Deliver a consistent, high-quality customer experience to everyone who works with you This begins with the basic "DNA" of your business. Then, individual client interactions deepen it. Start with Clarity in Your Real Estate Website The vast majority of your future clients will find you on the internet. They often visit your site at a time when they haven't made a commitment to buy or sell. It's likely they do not know any real estate agents or brokers personally. At this stage, there is a lot they don't know, and they're not sure who can help. Ambiguity is the name of the game here, and that's true for both buyers and sellers. Reducing ambiguity is a valuable emotional service that guides leads to contact you. Since your website reflects your authentic voice, it has the potential to do much of the work. Here's how: Provide Helpful and Informative Content Aimed at Your Ideal Clients - Buyers and sellers have common questions and issues they struggle with. It may seem you're writing the millionth article on specific topics, but infuse them all with local knowledge and insight into your customers, and you'll create helpful resources that make life easier for them. Make It Simple to Contact You and to Schedule an Appointment - Understanding others' communication preferences is a vital part of being emotionally present. Not all clients want Facetime to pop up and start a call when they click "Contact us." It's wise to be available in several forms, including phone, email, text, and social media. Introduce Yourself, What You Do, and Who You Do It For - It's not always easy for people outside the industry to differentiate one real estate agent from the other. A dry list of credentials won't do it. One of the fastest, most powerful ways to make a human connection is to record a video that introduces you and answers questions in a relatable way. Once a lead becomes a customer, leverage that early trust with further support: Practice Active Listening - At its core, "active listening" means listening closely to what others say rather than waiting for your turn to speak. Clients will often give you all you need to know about their motivations, perceived limitations, and hot-button emotional issues. Prompt them with open-ended questions, then really hear them. Set Expectations for Each Stage of the Process - Each step in a transaction asks something different of your client. They'll need to align themselves with those requirements emotionally. Get used to explaining each fork in the road in a clear, calm way—as well as "why" things are done that way. Many people need this piece to feel confident. Provide a Logical Basis for Decision-Making - Emotions can drive clients to act in hasty, sometimes self-defeating ways. Bring data into decision-making whenever possible so clients have a factual basis for their choices. This is especially crucial in helping sellers set their asking price. A thorough comparative analysis is indispensable! Check in on Clients' Feelings at Key Junctures - It's rarely inappropriate to ask, "How are you feeling about this?" when talking to a client. That's extra true when unexpected news (good or bad!) has just presented itself. Sometimes, negative emotions can be nipped in the bud by "giving permission" for clients to be open and forthright. At its heart, real estate is about relationships. Relationships can't exist without emotions, and rapport is created when the other person feels heard and understood. By watching for opportunities to respect and validate clients' feelings, you can help them manage their buying or selling odyssey without feeling like they are trapped in a pressure cooker. That brings you both peace of mind. Serve your clients better with technology. RE Technology readers can try DeltaNET 6 free for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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[Best of 2021] When Will U.S. Buyers See Relief from Skyrocketing Home Prices?
Here it is--our top article of the year! This article was originally published back in June and is the most read article of 2021. See #2 here, or read the full list of our Top 10 articles from 2021 here. Home prices usually follow the laws of supply and demand: when demand is strong, supply diminishes, and prices rise, creating an incentive for owners to sell and builders to build. As the supply of homes for sale increases, those high prices moderate or decline. But, on a year-over-year basis, U.S. home prices have increased for an astounding 110 months straight; and since the pandemic began, they've risen at an extraordinary pace. Just this past April, the median home sales price in the U.S. was $341,600, nearly 20% higher than the year before. So when can buyers expect to see some much-needed home price relief? Too Much Demand, Not Enough Supply The issue with the law of supply and demand lately has been…well…not enough supply and too much demand, especially surrounding new home builds. Builders can't keep up with new home demand due to shortages of materials and appliances, along with skilled labor. Lumber prices alone are more than 250% higher than last year, and are adding nearly $36,000 to the average cost of a new build. The extreme supply shortages have driven up the median price of new homes to $372,400, the most substantial annual gain since 1988, when prices rose 87% in one year. New home builds aside, we're also seeing two of the largest generations in history — millennials, and Generation Zers, reach homebuying age and ability. More than 80% of millennials plan to buy a home at some point in their lives, and last year, 39% of all homebuyers were younger than 40. Mortgage rates below 3% ignited the generational pressure to purchase, and home sales surged to the highest level since 2006, despite pandemic challenges. Record sales quickly drained available inventories, and by the end of 2020, supplies of homes for sale were the lowest since 1999, when the National Association of Realtors first kept inventory records Now, inventory is so low and prices so high that sales are finally starting to slow, falling for the third straight month in April. (READ MORE: How Are Sellers in the Current Market REALLY Doing?) Can the Drought Get Any Worse? Even though record numbers of millennials are entering the market, it's not a journey some want to take with seemingly no home price relief in sight. Buying a first home is so expensive today that nearly one out of five prospective millennial buyers say they are giving up on homeownership and plan to rent for the rest of their lives. Will their sitting out the market help ease inventories? Not likely, at least not right now. There's no sign that the laws of supply and demand can restore balance to the real estate economy any time soon, and it may be just a matter of time until the inventory drought shuts sales down to a trickle. Still, there are some positive signs that demand will decrease and supplies will increase enough to bring some home price relief: Mortgage Rates Should Increase, Tempering Demand-driven Price Hikes Home price relief won't happen until mortgage interest rates rise and home supplies improve. For two years, forecasters and mortgage companies have said that higher rates are just around the corner. This year, they may be right. Inflation is suddenly surging for the first time in decades, and Fannie Mae's economists predict housing could contribute more than two percentage points to inflation by the end of 2022. The forecasted rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage will reach 3% by mid-year and stay above 3% through 2022. The Mortgage Bankers Association sees rates reaching 3.5% by the end of 2021, and 4% in the second quarter next year. New Home Starts Are Up The inventory of previously owned homes reached record lows in April, but on a year-over-year basis, housing starts (new homes being built) in March surged to a nearly a 15-year high, and April starts were 67.3% higher than they were in April 2020. Fannie Mae forecasts an aggressive 16.3% increase in single-family home construction this year over 2020, but that increase in new homes amounts to about 2.4% of demand — far below what is needed to meet it. As Price Appreciation Slows, Sellers Will Become More Motivated Just as the fear of higher mortgage rates motivated buyers in 2020, the fear of falling prices driven by rising rates will motivate sellers. As a result, listings may begin to increase on a year-over-year basis in the first quarter of 2022, when sellers prepare for the spring sales season. Baby Boomers, who own 41% of the nation's homes, have been much slower than earlier generations to downsize as they age. Millions of Boomer homeowners lost more than a decade of appreciated equity after the housing crash in 2007, and many are waiting until prices peak to sell and regain as much equity as possible. In last year's price boom, older Baby Boomers sold their homes at a higher rate than any other age group. When it's clear that the current boom has run its course, more Boomers will be listing their homes for sale. The Experts Forecast Significant Changes in Prices by 2022 Economists at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and several of the best real estate data and analytics firms forecast changes in market trends two years in advance. As of May, Fannie Mae forecasted that the median national price will rise 9.5% for new homes this year but only 4.4% in 2022. Home prices will continue to grow at 12.2% this year and 3.9% next year for existing homes. As of April, Freddie Mac forecasted that the price boom would end this year. Freddie's experts forecasted that all home prices, new and existing, will increase only 6.6% this year―a decline from 11.3% in 2020―and 4.4% in 2022. The respected real estate analytics firm CoreLogic agrees that home price increases will slow down this year, reporting that median year-over-year national price increase will fall to 2.8% by April 2022. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, also agrees. "We'll see more inventory come to the market later this year as further COVID-19 vaccinations are administered and potential home sellers become more comfortable listing and showing their homes," said Yun. "In addition, the falling number of homeowners in mortgage forbearance will also bring about more inventory." "Despite the decline, housing demand is still strong compared to one year ago, evidenced by home sales from this January to April, which are up 20% compared to 2020. Moreover, the additional supply projected for the market should cool down the torrid pace of price appreciation later in the year," Yun said. The Bottom Line Mortgage interest rates are the critical factor driving housing demand. It's more than likely that by the end of this year, rates could drive upwards of 4% or higher. Sellers, led by Boomers eager not to miss the price peak, will bring a modicum of relief to the inventory shortage. In 12 months, the rate of price appreciation for single-family homes will be half its current rate of 19.1%, if not lower. By then, inventories will improve but won't return to healthy levels until pent-up demand is met and new home construction makes a more significant contribution. So while we can't expect to see home prices fall, we can expect their increases to slow down significantly. Steve Cook is the editor of the Down Payment Report and provides public relations consulting services to leading companies and non-profits in residential real estate and housing finance. He has been vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors, senior vice president of Edelman Worldwide and press secretary to two members of Congress. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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[Best of 2021] What Salary Can You Expect to Make as a Real Estate Agent?
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[Best of 2021] The 4 Biggest Mistakes Agents Make When Working with Buyers
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in April and is #3 in our countdown. See #4 here. A buyer lead arrives in your inbox. The potential buyer asks if you could please send them properties. When you ask them the price range of the property they are looking for, they say between $500-$600,000. Your eyes light up as this is a great potential commission to earn on that selling price. Once you send them the properties for their consideration, they pick several and ask if you can show them right away. You ask them if they are prequalified for a mortgage, and they say they are paying CASH. Do you keep moving forward or ask, "Show me the money" in the form of a letter from their financial institution? Sound familiar? Yes, you may have heard what you should do a million times, yet every day real estate agents keep making exceptions instead of making good business judgements. Here are four recent examples from frustrated real estate agents that could have been avoided: Mistake #1: Taking buyers to see property when they are not pre-qualified or pre-approved yet. Real Life Example: A buyer's agent took out a couple interested in seeing a $10 million dollar property on the market. The buyer was big in the entertainment business and boasted about working with many of the famous musicians we know of today. Did the agent ask to see whether he was pre-qualified or had the funds to buy a home at this price? No. They were thinking that no one would go look at a $10 million dollar home and not be able to afford it. Turns out that the buyer did make an offer on the property. After the offer was made and the lender checked his financials, there was no way that this buyer could get approved for a loan at the current time. Solution: Work with a lender to speak with your buyers. Never take a buyer out that is not pre-qualified or pre-approved. Lean towards the pre-approved, which shows more of a commitment and is a better tool when you want an offer to be accepted by the seller. Mistake #2: Taking buyers to see properties in a price range they don't want to spend. Real Life Example: Buyer's agent takes out a couple to see properties that are valued around $200,000. It is currently a sellers' market in their area. The buyers make an offer for $150,000, which gets turned down. Then they go see another property and make another low offer, which also gets turned down. The buyers had just sold their home and did have the funds to buy in cash at the listed prices. Their reason for making low offers was that was there was a limit to what they wanted to spend. Solution: Make sure you know what the buyers really want to spend before you take them out to view properties. Even in a buyer's market, most sellers will not go down $50,000 unless the listing is way overpriced, and the seller gets realistic or is highly motivated. Sit down with them before you go out and spend time making offers that will not be accepted. Mistake #3: Taking loyalty for granted and not getting a buyer's agreement. This is one of the biggest mistakes agents spoke about when asked. Real Life Example 1: An agent was working with a couple showing them properties with the promise that when she found them a new home, they would list their property for sale with her. She drove them around for months and finally found them a property that they loved. Then she never heard back from them after reaching out to them numerous times. They ended up buying the property she showed them with a "friend" of theirs that has their real estate license. This couple also listed their home for sale with their friend. The agent thought that since she found them the property that they loved that she was procuring cause and would be entitled to the commission. It turns out that that unless she has an agreement with the buyers, among other stipulations as defined through NAR, she was not considered procuring cause. Real Life Example 2: Jennifer made showing appointments to fit her buyers' schedule. The buyers expected her to be available to them at a moment's notice to see a property. She had a family and a life and was not available 24 hours a day. The buyers were working with many agents, which Jennifer did not know. The buyers were also calling the listing agent when doing a home search on their own, thinking they would get a better deal. When the buyers purchased a home with another agent, she felt devastated since she had put so much time and energy working with them. Solution: Have the buyers sign a buyer broker agreement or, at the very least, sign an agreement for each property that you take them to see. Your time is valuable, as well as your expertise. If someone does not value your time, then move on. If you use Form Simplicity, review the library of blank forms to see the contracts and agreements your association, board or brokerage has made available to protect all parties. Mistake #4: Not taking precautions to ensure your safety. Real Life Example: Sue gets a call and retrieves the message a few minutes later. It is from a gentleman who found her online through her website. He was interested in seeing penthouse homes in a neighborhood she specializes in. He wanted to go out the next day. Seems legitimage, right? He told her where he currently lived. Sue thought she was taking the appropriate precautions by looking up his property through the tax appraiser website along with the MLS. She checked to confirm that he did indeed own the property, for how long, as well as the price paid, and current value. He said he needed a building that allowed him enough parking spaces for his three cars. She carefully researched the information, called each listing agent, and then made appointments to see the penthouse condos. Sue met him at the first property and was going to drive to the second property when he suddenly got into her car. He said that he walked to the first property she showed him, and that they could go together to the next property. She was a bit surprised as he owns three cars and lives over a mile away. That should have been alarm No. 1. Then the buyer takes off his face mask, and this is during the COVID pandemic. She asks him to please put his mask back on, and he refuses to, saying that he does not have the virus. That should have been alarm No. 2. Sue takes the buyer to see the next property. When done, she drives the buyer to the entrance of his condo building. He asks her if she wants to come up to see it since it is highly upgraded and she may be selling it when he finds a new place. She says no. Then he asked her if he could kiss her goodnight. No more alarms needed. Stalker or buyer? Was this guy really interested in buying a property or did he see her photo on the internet and view it as an opportunity to meet her? You never know these days what is in people's minds. Caution: Please do not go and show any property or meet anyone at a property that you have not met in your office, and who is not pre-qualified or pre-approved first! Solution: Ask for a copy of their driver's license and leave a copy with your broker. This applies to everyone that you take out to show property. If you use Form Simplicity, upload documents including drivers licenses and photos so the information is in a safe portal should you or your broker need to access the files. Make sure someone at all times knows who you are going to meet. In the event something happens, at the very least, there is a paper trail. There are also safety apps that you can have installed on your phone. Consider safety to be one of your first priorities. Life is so important and something to be grateful for, especially now. Here is to being safe and to working with buyers who are loyal, honest and pre-approved! Janice Zaltman is a Realtor, LEED AP, marketing coach and writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields. To view the original article, visit the Form Simplicity blog.
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[Best of 2021] Friday Freebie: Absentee Owner Prospect List
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[Best of 2021] The Big Lie: 'The House Is Not in a Flood Zone'
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in March and is #5 in our countdown. See #6 here. We've ALL been here, right?!? You find your clients their "Dream Home" and pull a flood zone report. You find that they are NOT in a flood zone, and you go ... "PHEW." Done. One less hassle to contend with, one less issue to have to deal with in negotiations, securing a mortgage, and getting from contract to close. Check the box, and move on. When flood insurance is so $#@!&^% confusing, why would you spend more time on it than you have to? Yet, when your clients are committing much of their life savings to a 30-year investment, they want to feel confident they're doing everything they can to protect that investment. Following these three steps to simplify flood insurance places you in a position to confidently lead the conversation: 1. Reframe the Flood Question As they say, "If it can rain, you have the potential of flood risk." So, instead of asking a simple "Yes / No" question, reframe the question to "How much risk is your client willing to take on" to live in a specific property. This opens up the dialogue. And in this super tight market, a world of possibilities. Fact: Many flood policies are less than $600. For under $50 a month, your customer could secure peace of mind in case of a flooding event. Yet many REALTORS® avoid the topic, understandably. It's just one more unnecessary complication… right? 2. Understand the Basics of Flood Zones As a REALTOR® it is increasingly important that you can "speak the language" of flood. This chart simplifies many of the NFIP Flood Zones: NFIP bases all of their pricing on these flood zone maps. Moreover, they take a blanketed view of flood risk, across entire communities. What this means: two properties may be in X Flood Zones -- where there is low to medium risk -- yet one may have greater risk than the other, even if they are next to each other. A key fact: a home may have a Zone X designation, but that does not guarantee it will never encounter a flood event. 25-30% of all flood insurance claims are paid in these "less hazardous" areas and that only reflects the homes that purchased flood insurance deemed "optional" by their lenders. Many more uninsured homes located in X zones experience damage from floods every year. Knowing the flood zone for a property is an important piece of information, yet this is just a starting point for the discussion with your homebuying client. We're here to simplify the rest. 3. Create an Apples-to-Apples Total Cost of Ownership Comparison There are currently two sources for flood insurance in the US, and BOTH need to be fully investigated for every property. Unfortunately, these two sources are the no. 1 reason for most of the confusion for REALTORS® and their homebuying clients. They are: The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, run by FEMA The emerging Private Flood Insurance market, offered by over 150 private insurance carriers It is good practice to get both a NFIP and private insurance quote for each property your home buyer is seriously interested in, and include these quotes in an apples-to-apples comparison of total cost of ownership -- both at closing and over the lifetime of owning the property. Since you have reframed the flood insurance conversation upfront, you now can confidently guide your buyer to an educated, well informed choice. CartoFront provides free estimated flood insurance quotes as well as access to licensed insurance agents who can help with getting flood insurance in place. We're simplifying flood insurance -- equipping you with the tools you need, to help your customer make informed choices to properly protect their dream home. If CartoFront is included in your MLS, simply click the raindrop in the listing icon bar to access this valuable service. If CartoFront is not yet included in your MLS and you are interested in learning how CartoFront can be added to your MLS for free, please contact [email protected] Summary: Flood is confusing, time-consuming, yet important to research. Three Steps: Reframe the Flood Question: What is a Property's Risk? Know the basics of FEMA's Flood Zones Include Flood Insurance Quotes in Total Cost of Ownership If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)         CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS®, their clients, and insurance agents.
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[Best of 2021] 4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures
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[Best of 2021] Friday Freebie: Homebuyer Packet Template
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in June and is #7 in our countdown. See #8 here. It's a tough time to be a home buyer--and a buyer's agent. While you can't fix today's inventory problems, you can make the home buying process as smooth as possible for both your clients and yourself. In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a homebuyer packet that you can use to educate buyers, qualify buyer leads, and more. Read on to learn how to claim your free download. 2021 Homebuyer Packet Templates, courtesy of Zurple Between record high home prices, cash buyers, and competition for scarce homes, you and your real estate buyers are going to need whatever advantage you can get. That's why Zurple is offering RE Technology readers a free homebuyer packet. Download it and share it with your clients and leads so everyone is as prepared as possible to face today's intense market. The packet consists of four editable documents, including: Homebuyer Timeline - Educate your buyers on the process of buying a home, all the way from mortgage pre-approval to the final walkthrough and beyond. Homebuyer Terminology - Buying a home involves a lot of legalese and jargon new buyers likely haven't heard before. Help them understand important concepts with this real estate glossary. Homebuyer Questionnaire - Your time is precious. Don't waste it on buyers who aren't a good fit. Give this questionnaire to buyer leads to qualify them before moving forward. Homebuyer Checklist - What does your buyer want in a home? Learn the particulars of their needs to save time on the home search process. Remember, information is power. By educating your buyers—and by learning as much as possible about their wants and circumstances—you place both of you in a position of strength. Download the 2021 Homebuyer Packet today!
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How to Qualify Leads the Easy Way
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[Best of 2021] The Top 5 Reasons Real Estate Agents Get Sued
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in October and is #8 in our countdown. See #9 here. As a real estate agent, making a mistake can lead to legal trouble if you aren't careful. Being an agent requires you to keep track of sensitive client information and meet deadlines for those clients without letting anything slip through the cracks. Even the slightest mistake can cost you your career. While accidents are inevitable, it is important to know what real estate mistakes you should try to avoid. 1. Failing to disclose a defect If you know that there is a defect on a house that you are selling, you MUST disclose that to your client or the buyer's agent. Sometimes disclosing a defect can deter the buyer, but in some cases, the buyer decides that the defect can be fixed. It is your job as a real estate agent to disclose any piece of information involving the property so the buyers can make an educated decision about the purchase. Buyers backing out of a sale based on a defect is much less harmful to your career than a lawsuit because you failed to disclose an issue. 2. Misleading Be honest with your clients. Providing accurate information about the property and the neighborhood is very important so your clients can make an educated decision and to ensure that all parties involved are satisfied. While the goal of any real estate agent is to sell a home, if it requires you to mislead or lie in order to close the deal, then think again. Is closing a deal really worth your career and reputation? I think not. 3. Breach of contract When you enter a contract with a client, it is incredibly important that you abide by the contract and act in the best interest of the client. Breaking even the slightest rule, whether you do so intentionally or by accident, can be costly. 4. Bodily injury If someone gets injured while you are hosting an open house, you could be held liable. Before you open the doors of the showing, make sure that you have looked around for any possible dangers in the home. In order to prevent injury, post warning signs or verbally communicate the danger with whomever could be hurt. It is very important that you do whatever you can to avoid injury so that you are can avoid being blamed. 5. Selling in unfamiliar territory If you are selling in an unfamiliar territory, do your research! It is your job to be an expert in whatever market that you are conducting work in. If you fail to inform your clients about something regarding the location of the home or facts about the surrounding areas, you could be found at fault if there is an issue. By no means should this deter you from selling in a new area—just make sure that you have done your homework and inform your clients of any potential issues that you learn about. Unfortunately, any one of these mistakes can destroy your reputation and cost you your career. Remembering these tips can not only help you avoid being sued by an unhappy client, but they can also keep you on track to being a great real estate agent with a thriving career. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Friday Freebie: Educate Buyers and Attract Leads with this Homebuying Guide
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[Best of 2021] Best Closing Gifts Under $100
We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published in August and is #9 in our countdown. See #10 here. It's no secret that referrals are the bread and butter of our business. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, more than 42% of new clients came to agents by referrals, including renters and buyers. Giving your clients a small token of appreciation at closing is a thoughtful and effective way to complete your transaction on a high note while teeing up a referral ask. Closing gifts are a meaningful gesture that go a long way in maintaining a long-lasting client relationship and generating referrals. Closing gifts don't need to break the bank to be valued and appreciated. Whether you are looking for a gift card, treat basket, or anything else to give your clients as a housewarming gift, we got you covered. Here are a few affordable options that are big hits with clients. Personalized Cheese Board or Throw Blanket Cheese boards and throw blankets are long-lasting, memorable gifts that, especially if personalized, show that there was a great deal of thought put into the purchase. Options: Personalized Cheese Board with Name Watercolor House A custom watercolor house portrait is a digital painting that can be the perfect housewarming gift for a new homeowner. It's simple to order and will leave a lasting memory for your client. Options: Watercolor House Paintings A Welcome Plant or Tree If your client has a knack for nature, a potted plant or fruit tree could be the perfect gift. Placed in pots for indoor use, or planted outdoors, these inexpensive gifts are a living reminder of the service you provide. Options: Small Plants Small Trees Pet Gift Basket and Treat Subscription Box Gifts for a furry family member are always appreciated by pet lovers. Small gift baskets with toys and treats show pet owners you care by helping them pamper their fur babies! Options: Pet Lover Gifts Here are some tips when choosing the best gift for your client: Avoid cookie-cutter gifts or perishables like fruit baskets. Instead, find lasting, usable objects or art with a hint of personalization. Monogramming and engraving are easy to order and relatively inexpensive and can elevate even the most simple gift. Assume every client will close, keeping a mind's eye to identifying a meaningful closing gift. Ask questions about their hobbies and after-work activities. Pro tip: Don't spend money adding your brand to closing gifts. Most people do not want brand-based products in their brand new homes and will often throw them away. Make it about your client, not you. To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast blog.
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An Open House Is a Great Idea During the Holiday Season
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[Best of 2021] Low Inventory Won't Last Forever. Two Reasons to Be Optimistic
There are just 10 publishing days left in 2021, and we're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in April and is #10 in our countdown. Stay tuned tomorrow for #9! By now, you've probably seen the report in the Wall Street Journal that there were more active real agents than homes for sale in January. It's certainly a sobering statistic, and it plainly and succinctly illustrates the unprecedented level of competitiveness facing professionals in today's housing market. But it's not all doom and gloom. Yes, a lack of inventory is anxiety-inducing—without a doubt. And yes, you're right to wonder if things will settle down anytime in the near future. But we believe there are two reasons why agents should be optimistic for the coming months. Reason for Optimism Number One First, we expect the number of active real estate agents to decrease. Back in September, we wrote about the surge of newly registered agents. We pointed to a depressed job market and rising home values as the two central factors driving soaring interest in a real estate career. At the time, though, we didn't know whether this was a temporary response to a once-in-a-century pandemic or the first warning sign of an industry teetering on oversaturation. Now, in April, we have some more clarity. As the vaccine rollout continues and the job market bounces back, we believe that the majority of new agents will exit the industry as quickly as they came. Many were likely never as interested in a long-term real estate career so much as they were an alternative income stream, and now, facing one of the roughest-ever markets for rookie agents, the allure of a secure paycheck elsewhere will almost certainly be too strong for many. Furthermore, we believe the pace of licensed real estate agents exiting the market will far exceed those entering it. Last year, record-setting home prices offered the potential of a quick buck. This year, the sentiment has flipped—and the entire world knows depressed inventory means a new agent is more likely to be eking out a living than striking gold. Compounded, these two factors should bring market competitiveness back to pre-pandemic levels (or close to it) in the coming few months. Reason for Optimism Number Two Lost in the sensationalism of the Wall Street Journal article is the fact that the number of agents outpaced listings in January. It's unusual for that to happen, sure. That's why it made headlines. But is it really as much a cause for concern as it seems? According to Homesnap internal data, in a typical year, January marks the first time the volume of listings increases after falling from October to December. This year, the rate of growth was about half of last year—but it still reflected the same predictable pattern; listings did trend in a positive direction. Of course, in 2021, listings flatlined in February compared to January, which is atypical—but not altogether unexplainable. Many would-be sellers have been riding out the winter months, waiting for vaccinations and repealed mandates just around the corner, and the flat trajectory points just as much to the rate at which homes are going under contract as it does to the lack of new properties brought to market. Wouldn't it be reasonable, then, to predict that we've simply extended the normally depressed winter months into the spring? Aren't we seeing something akin to slightly more busy November and December? Only this time, instead of people waiting for after the holidays to go to market, they're waiting until they're vaccinated? It's no guarantee, for sure. Inventory may stay sub-normal for the whole year. But would-be sellers can only hold out against record-setting home prices for too long before they're tempted to capitalize. Simple supply and demand, right? That's reason enough for optimism for us. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Are You Ready For Real Estate Investing?
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Using Facebook Live for Your Real Estate Open House
The idea of using Facebook Live for a real estate open house is nothing new. Marketing-savvy agents have been using Facebook Live for some time to promote listings, create brand awareness, and attract business. It helps them reach busy potential buyers who can't attend many open house events, as well as those who are out-of-town and planning to relocate. Facebook Live brings your narrated property tour directly to their screen, at home or while they're on-the-go. They don't have to make any time commitment other than setting aside time to watch your property tour. Agents are even finding it can help them close some clients. This article will show you how to get started taking advantage of this powerful marketing tool which will continue to serve you into the future. Creating a Facebook Business Page If you don't have a business page on Facebook, you'll want to set that up first. This guide from Facebook will help you set it up. You'll need a personal Facebook page to do this, so set that up first if you don't have one. It's really important to put your best foot forward on your business page. Much more than just an online brochure, you need to maximize opportunities for capturing new leads, engage your visitors, and have a solid platform for advertising. You'll find some tips and recommendations here for putting together a real estate business page that has the right professional polish. Preparing Your Online Real Estate Open House Promotional Posts In the days leading up to your live event, you'll want to publish posts on your business page to get the word out. These posts will need a quality photo of the property which could be anything that will make a good impression on potential buyers – interior or exterior. Once you've chosen a photo for your promotional posts, you need to use a graphic editor to add the date and time to the image. Canva is a free tool that's perfect for this task. Canva even offers free templates for creating social media graphics. With your graphic ready, you just need to write a quick blurb for your posts that will get potential buyers excited to see more about the property and attend your online open house. If you want to reach more people in your area outside of your followers on Facebook, you can try using Facebook ads to promote the virtual open house to a much wider audience. Since you can spend whatever you want on Facebook ads, there's very little risk in experimenting and Facebook ads are simple to set up. Planning the Property Tour Preparing for your tour of a property is very important. You don't want to just improvise on the spot. Plan the flow of the property tour and identify the important points and features you want to speak to and share in your broadcast. You might even want to write a script for yourself to make sure you don't leave anything out and do a practice run or two before the event. In your narration, make sure you include the same information that you normally would in an in-person open house, such as insights about the community and local schools. You'll get better at doing these over time, but the important thing is to start! Get (yourself) in your videos. It allows us to showcase who we are as people and build a "know, like and trust" and that's what clients are looking for. I always do 30 minutes because 30 minutes will allow you to give a 15-minute walk-through and 15 minutes to answer any questions. Typically, I'm getting 600-900 views. I'm engaging the audience. Jesse PetersSales AssociateRE/MAX Executive RealtyWinnipeg, Manitoba, CanadaUsing Facebook Live for an Open House – REALTOR® Magazine Go Live Using Facebook Live is very easy. Start with learning the basic features and controls on your phone or tablet, then do some practice sessions to get comfortable with it. Having the confidence in operating the features will make your first online open house go much more smoothly and you'll be less nervous. After the event, you'll even have a link in Facebook for sharing the recorded video to your website or social channels. The biggest hurdle is building the confidence in yourself that you can do this. Pretend it's just like a normal real estate open house. After you have done a few, you'll wonder what you were so nervous about. You'll be really excited about the added exposure as you watch your audience size start to grow over time. Practice makes perfect! To view the original article, visit the iHomeFinder blog.
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5 Practical Marketing Ideas for the Holidays
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How Does Real Estate Privacy Law Protect You?
When we think about privacy law, our minds tend to direct us to things like healthcare HIPPA pamphlets and cybersecurity, with all those little checkboxes that we agree to but never read. Now consumers are starting to question real estate privacy law. Eyes and Ears Chances are you or someone you know has jumped on the trend of video doorbells, such as Ring, where the homeowners are "always home." These are great security measures to protect the homeowner's family and assets while you they in the home. However, they can also become an invasion of privacy when trying to sell the home. In the age where cameras are everywhere, even as you drive down the road, you may be thinking, why would someone's home be any different than the corner store's "Smile, you're on camera" posters? Real estate privacy law is making a fuss because things discussed during home showings could affect the agents' ability to negotiate. If a seller were to hear conversations between the buyer and their agent regarding offer strategy, it could literally cost them. Real estate privacy lawmakers are now recognizing the risk of surveillance during home sales. This is why they are educating Realtors on how to protect buyers and sellers. Home surveillance now needs to be disclosed by the sellers. Home surveillance doesn't stop at video doorbells, but also security cameras. This includes baby monitors, nanny cams, smart thermostats, and home assistants with listening features, such as Amazon Alexa's "drop-in" ability. Public or Private Another branch of real estate privacy law to consider is which information is out there for Tom, Dick, and Harry to see about a homeowner and/or their property. In turn, what information can Realtors legally (and ethically) give out? When buying a home, there are certain pieces of information that are a matter of public record and make sense. These items include: Property Sales History Tax Records Facts and Features of the property Construction Details Utility information HOA information School district boundaries Areas that real estate privacy law protects are the more personal pieces that are not relevant to the purchase of a property. These items are covered under The Fair Housing Act, as found in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) guidelines. This real estate privacy law states that The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of: Race Color National Origin Religion Sex Familial Status Money (Shouldn't) Talk The number of hands touching the deal does not stop at the Realtor. Consumers are making one of the largest investments of their life. Where you hear purchase, you hear money, and that brings us to yet another branch of real estate privacy law: financial institutions. This includes banks, mortgage loan originators and real estate settlement providers, to name a few. Unless otherwise noted, these real estate privacy laws are on a federal level. Real estate privacy law limits the consumer information these institutions are allowed to share. Some items that lenders will need but should never be shared with other parties in the transaction: Salary Credit Score Pay Stubs Tax returns Financial statements The National Association of Realtors (NAR) adds another layer of education for Realtors. NAR aims to help agents protect their clients and contains comprehensive information on how real estate associations, agents and brokers can prioritize data security and privacy to protect client information and comply with legal responsibilities. Protecting Your Private Information Your financial and personal information is especially sensitive. Ensuring the safekeeping of your private information should be priority No. 1. Your private information is just that, your information. It is important to know the ins and outs of protecting your data. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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Facebook Tips for Real Estate Agents: Just Say No to Buyer Photos
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How to Make an Impact with Personalized Marketing
The most successful marketing and sales strategies no longer revolve around broad demographic populations. Today, smart marketers supplement their mass marketing with relevant, personalized messaging that is hyper targeted to the individual. Why personalized marketing works for real estate agents Personalized marketing fits hand-in-hand with the in-person sales effort real estate agents make with their clients every day. The most effective marketers and sales professionals use customer insights and data to build deeper relationships with their clients. They do this by tapping into their specific interests and needs. In the business of buying and selling homes, understanding the unique needs and personal stories of your clients is key. Building trust and maintaining relationships is not only at the foundation of business success, but is also vital to creating a lasting personal brand that easily attracts referrals. How personalized marketing works Contacts are much more likely to pay attention when emails and messages are relevant to them. Broad marketing efforts are a turn-off to today's consumers, causing them to stop their journey down the sales funnel. Personalized information is at the heart of a customer's true interests. Therefore, delivering that information is how you keep them engaged. So how is it possible for an agent to personalize communication for each of their contacts? Personalized marketing is made easy for agents through the use of a web-based real estate CRM. Using data like a contact's name, preferred communication channels, their history and needs, a CRM can automatically create individualized messages and call reminders that are tailored to each unique contact's needs. Increase conversations and deepen loyalty When agents use a CRM, their database captures rich contact profiles for each of their contacts. This makes it easy to keep track of important contact information including birthdays, move-in anniversaries, communication history, and more. Nothing makes a client feel more special than a note, well wishes or celebratory message that acknowledges a special day. A CRM can send automated, personalized birthday and anniversary reminders that make it easier than ever to reach out to clients on special days. To keep these touch points authentic and fresh, it's important that agents use a CRM that adds new greeting card templates to its library regularly to ensure your contacts don't receive the same card twice. It's also important to ensure that all email templates and cards are mobile friendly. This way, contacts can open them on any device. Keep in touch and stay top of mind In addition to building relationships through personalized email marketing, it's also vital that agents stay on top of their call history. Keeping track of email correspondence and contact history through a CRM is crucial. Using a CRM helps to keep your conversations with clients seamless from call to call. When making the call, agents can use the data in their CRM history for that client to easily recall their client's current status and interests so that the call is relevant and meaningful to their client's needs. Making it personal doesn't have to be time consuming Efficient time management is necessary to running a busy real estate business, and the less time spent writing emails and keeping up with task lists, the more time spent directly with clients, making a sale. Personalized marketing is quick and easy for agents that put their contact database to work for them. While you're on the go, your real estate CRM acts as your own personal marketing assistant, automatically keeping track of each of your contact's needs and special occasions – an approach that applies to hundreds of contacts at the click of a button. When looking for a CRM, make sure there is functionality that enables you to easily manage your entire contact database through mass assignments. For example, IXACT Contact saves its users hours of time with functionality that enables agents to mass assign keep-in-touch call reminders across hundreds of clients. Key takeaway: Clients prefer a personalized buying experience, but that doesn't mean you have to double your efforts to keep track of each specific client's needs. By using your client data in a CRM, you can create high-impact, individualized touch points that keep your clients engaged and let them know they're at the top of your mind, and your to-do list. To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blog.
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Friday Freebie: 2022 Real Estate Marketing Planner
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Know Your Numbers: What do you really know about the software you use?
Tony Robbins is arguably one of the biggest names ever in coaching and self-development. Both Marilyn Wilson, President of RE Technology, and I have attended two of his seminars. The last one was in August of this year. I'm going to let you in on a little secret, the most impactful idea we learned from Tony: Know your numbers. That's it. Know your numbers. Before you can determine if you have improved, made more money, or grown your business, you need to know where you started from and where you are at now. This article will be about knowing your numbers for your software. The average broker offers 12 different pieces of software to their agents; the average MLS offers anywhere between three and 10 pieces of software, and then there is whatever the agent decides to buy for themselves. Because the end of the year is approaching fast, I thought now would be a good time to consider what we use, how often we use it, and what other options are available to use. What Software Do We Use? Let's start with the what. To really understand what we use, we must start a list. I recommend creating this list in Excel or Google Sheets, so other columns can be easily added when we get to steps 2 and 3. As an example, I am going to do this exercise with you! The list below covers software I use with my work at both WAV Group and RE Technology. It is not a complete list of everything I use, but it is a good example for you. You might have noticed the same thing that I did. I am using some of the same types of software (e.g., using both Microsoft Word and Google Docs), but that is definitely a reason to do this exercise. This will help determine if you are paying for two different pieces of software that do the same thing. How Often Do You Use the Software You Listed? The next step is pretty simple. How often do you use each of the tools listed? As an agent, you will probably find that the bulk of your time is spent on only 20% of the software. See my answers below! As you can see from my list, about 25% of the software I use multiple times a day. Once we have completed step 3, then we can consider any changes that need to be made going into 2022. What Other Options Do We Have? This step you will have to do on your own as I am not with a brokerage or in an MLS. Compile a list of all of the software that your brokerage and MLS offer (free or paid). Just like our list from steps 1 and 2, add what type of software it is. Questions to Ask Yourself Now you should have two lists—one list of software you use and one list of software offered by your brokerage and MLS. Now ask yourself the following questions: What software do I already use from the brokerage and MLS? Of the software that I don't already use that my brokerage and MLS offer, am I paying for a comparable piece of software? Spend a lot of time on this question. If there are comparable pieces of software, what should I consider getting rid of in favor of the software provided by my brokerage or MLS? Additional questions if you are running a team or brokerage: When was the last time you determined what your agents are using? Could you save money by offering less software? Once you go through each of these questions, you will probably find that you are already paying for something you can get free from your brokerage or MLS. This will help you bring down the cost of running your real estate business. It's Your Turn Normally, this is where I challenge you to take 15 minutes to do what is mentioned above, but my hope is that you will do the challenge as you read the article—and it will definitely take you more than 15 minutes. If you haven't done this yet, schedule time on your calendar in the next day or two. This can really help you bring down the cost of doing business. I often speak with agents that tell me they didn't know their MLS offered a piece of software they are already paying for! If you have any questions about knowing your numbers or have suggestions for other articles, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
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10 Gifts for Real Estate Agents
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How to Accentuate the Positive in Your Real Estate Career
Achieving what you dream of in real estate takes more than believing you can do it. But if you believe you can't do it, you might well never reach your goals. No matter what your background, your unique perspective can help you succeed in real estate. And given the diversity of interactions and skills you'll need to practice, it's not unusual to find some aspects of real estate fit you better than others. Of course, you want to build your skills and address your weak points over time. It's also important to remember that few people achieve rock star status overnight. That means being ready for plenty of learning experiences and relatively few "mastery" experiences. Understanding that can be intimidating, especially when it seems like you are doing all that learning in the public eye, in the highly visible position of marketing yourself as a local real estate expert. When it seems like too much to handle, that's when it's time to look at what you're telling yourself: "Maybe I'm not cut out to be a real estate agent." "If I try this approach, I'll just embarrass myself." "I don't know how I'm going to close this deal." Negative thoughts like these will change your center of gravity. Instead of looking for all the useful and effective things you can do out in your world, they will run you in circles. And while hyping yourself up with positivity you don't believe generally won't help, neither will dwelling on these thoughts. They have nothing new to tell you – and they won't help move you forward, either. At the end of a year, real estate agents need to be particularly alert to what narrative their thoughts are spinning. If you had goals for the last 12 months that didn't pan out the way you wished, you could get knocked off track by that thought – or recognize that January 1 is a new day and keep pursuing them. The key is getting out of your own head. Let's explore how to do it. Motivation Means Focusing on What You Want, Not What You Don't Want Each of us only has so much time, energy, and focus in a day. Negative thoughts are tiring and disempowering. But what, exactly, do you replace them with? In effect, you need to focus your attention on what you want. This can take some imagination. The key skill of staying motivated is to direct your thoughts from what you don't want to what you do any time you find yourself worrying, complaining, or criticizing your own performance. That can be tricky, and it takes practice. So, set up your environment to be conducive to it. Here are some ways to do that: Make Plenty of Time for Yourself to Recharge The first year of a real estate agent's career can be hectic, and it's not unusual to lose sight of what a healthy set of work hours looks like. As time goes on, you define repeatable processes and win back time using technology. But you can – and should – start that process at any moment. Set boundaries so you aren't answering client questions at 2 a.m., and be sure you are getting full weekends off! Foster Human Connections Every Week Scheduling real face-time is getting harder, both in business and among the people you care about. If you're working from home, it's extra important to make sure you aren't isolated. Networking groups can be a big help here, especially if the members share a compatible vision. If you're at the right stage, also consider how you might delegate more tasks by bringing on a virtual assistant or another staff member. Understand What Keeps You Inspired "Inspiration" can seem like something that's hard to gauge or define, but it can be simple. It's a positive emotional experience that makes you feel the power and potential of your ideas. You don't have to wait for inspiration to strike on its own: You can think about what inspires you and get a burst of energy by listening to podcasts, watching videos, or partaking in any other content that aligns with those desires. Define Your Deeper Mission Many of the most successful and long-lasting businesses are defined by a mission with values that go beyond making money. This works especially well for real estate professionals. In everything you do, you are helping someone reach one of their biggest goals in life. So give yourself credit for all the ways you make a positive difference in the lives of others, and it will help you get through the tough days. Three Big Excuses You Can Get Rid of Right Now to Achieve More in Your Business Sometimes, getting stuck in your own head comes from certain habits of thought. These habits arise from preconceptions about how much you need to know and what you need to do to be a valuable partner to your customers. They are particularly challenging for perfectionists. Even the best real estate expert doesn't know everything, and everyone makes mistakes. "What if?" thoughts are especially burdensome. They always represent a place where your knowledge is necessarily imperfect. There's really no way to answer a "what if?" in advance, and trying to is a waste of energy – you have to get out there and work through it as it happens. Those are learning moments. Here are some examples of excuses you can drop in order to do more: "What if I don't know the answers to customers' questions?"One of the biggest pieces of the puzzle when it comes to a real estate agent's brand is their knowledge of the local area and communities. But no matter how hard you work, you will still get questions you don't know the answer to – including those you never thought of before. Learn to take those in stride, get the information, and follow up promptly. Everyone does it, even the biggest successes out there. "That [method, software, whatever] won't work for my people." Many new real estate agents shy away from things like email marketing, social media, and even basics like following up because they believe the people they know are (or aren't) a certain way. But all of these techniques have been used effectively by thousands of real estate agents. They exist because, on average, they do work. Trust in the process, and you will find yourself moving forward. It's that simple. "I don't want to put myself out there like that." Unfortunately, Google and antiquated rules about what constitutes "public information" have already put just about everything there is to know a few clicks away – address, age, and much more. If this feels like a nightmare to you, you're not alone. But you still have plenty of control over what you post on social media. If you don't want to share what you had for breakfast, you don't have to. The good thing about being in your head is that you can get out whenever you wish. After all, you can only do one thing at a time, and that includes thinking. Commit to focusing your attention where you want it to be. That will influence your day-to-day, then your strategy, and ultimately your career. Get a positive start on your goals with a free 30-day trial of DeltaNET 6. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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The Best Email Subject Lines: 11 Formulas to Use in Real Estate
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Boosting Your Real Estate Business Productivity
Do you feel like you're losing ground in the battle against the clock? Do you wish you could extract more business productivity out of each day? Time management can be very challenging with all the distractions in our modern, connected lives. Because everyone is different and we all have different ways of working, there is no single time management prescription that works for everyone. There is, however, a common need to organize your responsibilities and their due dates. The book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen shares a concept that is helpful when taking this approach. In his book, Allen writes, "From a practical standpoint, here is the three-part drill that [makes up the Weekly Review]: get clear, get current, and get creative. Getting clear will ensure all your collected stuff is processed. Getting current will ensure that all your orienting 'maps' or lists are reviewed and up-to-date. The creative part happens to some degree automatically, as you get clear and current." When you're managing your time effectively, you're happier and you feel less overwhelmed and less stressed. We all need creative thinking in varying capacities to excel in our work, and the right mind space for productive, creative thinking comes naturally when you build the conditions for it through organization. "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." – Gustave Flaubert, French author Calendars: Friend or Foe for Business Productivity? It seems like calendars can be either superheros or evil villains, depending on how they're managed. Like any other tools, calendars can be misused, abused, or even ignored once you've decided they're actually working against you. Many people can probably claim they have started one or more calendars at different times in their lives to "get organized" and gave up using them not long after. Or they have used calendars intermittently and never developed a consistent routine with them. The overall structure of your time should allow for gaps because they're a necessary ingredient for your success. For example, you need time between meetings to prepare so that you're not wasting your time (and other people's time) because you were unprepared. Not providing yourself with adequate time between scheduled appointments and meetings will usually add stress to your life, which will likely snowball over the course of a day. Stress cuts into your focus, productivity and creativity. Streamline Your Time Cluttered calendars are probably one of the most common obstacles to overcome for people. No matter how many daily tasks you juggle, there is always room for thinning out your calendar. This is where good judgment comes in as to what to enter into your calendar in the first place. You may be surprised by some of the things you can remove or whittle down to create more breathing room in your daily schedules. The problem is few of us are rarely trained on practicing good calendar habits, so it's not the tool's fault that it is failing. And it's not your fault you may not get along well with calendars or feel like they interfere with your productivity. With the right calendar habits, calendars will increase your productivity. A good first step is to learn what to eliminate and reduce in your calendar, whether you're already using a calendar or starting one up. Divide and Conquer You may find your best time management solution includes using multiple calendars for different parts of your life. This works well for many people and it it's the reason why you can create multiple calendars in services like Google, all included with your free email account! The nice thing about using Google Calendar is it integrates with so many other online tools, including many real estate CRMs. And they have lots of tutorials to help you get the most from it – all for free. Automate Appointment Scheduling Another essential task that can eat up your valuable time is scheduling appointments. Most of us don't have a personal assistant and even if we did, they would probably suggest (and perhaps with some slight attitude) we think about automating our appointment scheduling! We are no longer in the dark ages, but some people tackle appointment scheduling with the same inefficiency they suffered from 20 years ago. You can end the time-wasting back and forth trying to schedule time with people by sharing your available time and allowing them to book time with you – all while you're doing something else. Online scheduling tools like Calendly will sync with many different calendars to give you all that time back that you used to spend making appointments through back and forth texts, emails, and calls. Just include your scheduling link in all your electronic communications and start reaping the benefits of more time in your pocket! Who's Your Goalie? It can take 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption, so your calendar should behave like a goaltender to prevent interruptions from eating up your valuable time. If you're unavailable, you are truly unavailable and unreachable in your professional world with the exceptions for responding to new leads, emergencies, critical matters with your family and loved ones, etc. In some cases, you may need to get better as saying "no" to meetings and invitations – personal or professional – and yes, even clients. If it's not essential and you know you have a time crunch in a given period, it should always get serious consideration before you commit and take a valuable time slot in your day. Tying Everything Together With a CRM Once you're in control of your responsibilities and you own your calendar (not the other way around), you can understand why so many real estate professionals rely on CRMs that integrate their daily, weekly and monthly schedules with their business tasks, their leads, and other business contacts. It only makes sense to adopt a CRM to keep the clarity you're maintaining with your calendar habits. It is truly liberating when you reduce the stress caused by an overcrowded calendar and you have the tools you need to take control over your time and stay on track with your business goals. To view the original article, visit the iHomeFinder blog.
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7 Reasons Why Your Listing Presentation Should Be on Your Tablet
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6 Real Estate Coaching Programs to Level Up Your Real Estate Game
Nobody enters into real estate intending to fail. In reality, most agents begin their careers in real estate to make it a lifetime profession. However, the irony is that many novice agents give up after their first year in the industry. Adults may likely overlook the usefulness of a mentor or coach. However, agents who constantly learn new tactics to increase their efficiency and revenue are the most effective. In addition to seminars, networking activities, staff training, and on-the-job learning, real estate coaching services are another way for agents to expand their businesses and keep up with industry news, resources and procedures. If you're at a stage in your career where you'd like to devote more time to studying, but don't want to waste time looking for coaching programs online, here are six of the best real estate coaching programs available for real estate agents. 1. Mike Ferry Mike Ferry is a household name in the real estate industry. He was the first modern real estate coach who accepted teaching his peers and the entire industry in many respects. Whether he's laying down actionable lead generation strategies on YouTube, presenting at an event, or sharing inspiring quotes on Twitter, if you're an agent, you'll find it challenging to ignore Tom Ferry. Ferry has a variety of coaching options for agents. Ferry's counseling strategy is diversified, ranging from one-on-one sessions to complete retreats. There are three distinct real estate coaching packages available: Core+, Team+ and Elite+. Each package covers a range of subjects, including sales confidence, leadership skills and lead generation. 2. Brian Buffini Brian Buffini's coaching program is another well-known brand in the real estate industry. Brian Buffini, a former top-performing real estate agent and owner of Buffini & Company, North America's most extensive consulting, coaching, and growth firm, founded Buffini & Company Coaching Solutions. Buffini & Company has spent the last two decades helping agents in becoming more productive in lead generation. To date, over 3 million agents in 37 countries have completed the initiative and expanded their businesses. There are three coaching options available: One2One Coaching Group Coaching Referral Maker PRO These programs are made to assist agents in generating more leads, sales and streamline operations. It was developed to help agents generate more leads, generate sales and streamline processes. Additionally, each program includes Referral Maker CRM for generating leads and a monthly marketing kit. 3. The Real Estate Trainer The Real Estate Trainer was established by the real estate executive, speaker and mentor, Brian Icenhower, powered by Icenhower Coaching & Consulting (ICC). Brian is highly esteemed in the industry as the former CEO of Kansas City's Keller Williams realty company. Since June 2019, ICC has helped 500 real estate agents through coaching to achieve their goals. Agents experienced growth in average sale price, lead generation and gross commission income. 4. Tim and Julie Harris Tim and Julie Harris are expert coaches who used to be top-selling real estate agents. They're also best-selling authors who've collaborated with other experts to provide cutting-edge strategies and business expertise to help agents thrive. Five program choices are available. Each program provides considerable value and a comprehensive list of resources: Premier Premier Accountability Premier Plus Premier VIP Elite The major distinction between the programs is that the private and semi-private participants receive phone calls each month. Agents are eligible for one or four calls each month, depending on the package they select. 5. Tom Ferry Coaching Tom Ferry is one of the most influential real estate brokers in the country and a leading educator. He has over 30,000 hours of coaching experience and has matched his clients with their certified coach for private sessions. This company offers three separate coaching programs, including Core+, Team+, and Elite, concentrating on strategy, sales skills, and lead generation. Tom Ferry's services focus on real estate agents personally, empowering them to make meaningful changes, set goals, and provide them with tools to keep them accountable. 6. Floyd Wickman Finally, let's take a look at Floyd Wickman's coaching services. The Floyd Wickman Program is now led by Mike Pallin, who founded the organization with Floyd. Floyd has a legendary reputation as one of the most potent agents in history, and Mike is carrying on that tradition! The program's courses are designed for those who want to learn from a business pioneer with decades of experience. Their training focuses on selling techniques and marketing strategies. Final Thoughts Having gained some insight into the value of coaches, you might be curious about the ones who can help you. There are many excellent real estate coaching services available, but they are all different. The package you choose should be based on your budget and your personal goals. Consider your objectives and compare each program to find the one that best meets your needs. To view the original article, visit the Realtyna blog.
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4 New Year's Marketing Resolutions from Top Real Estate Agents
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Keeping the Human Element in the Emerging Age of the iBuyer
Despite some disruption during the early days of COVID-19 shutdowns, the iBuyer model represents a growing segment of the real estate market. In Q2 2021, iBuyers represented a one percent market share, with 15,000 homes sold for $5.3 billion, according to a recent report by Zillow. Like many other technological breakthroughs, the advent of the iBuyer model brought with it fears of industry disruption and a retreat from the human-centered service model that real estate agents strive to deliver. However, the reality is somewhat more complicated. While iBuyer services offer additional convenience to both buyers and sellers, these are generally outweighed by the benefits of a more personal, human approach. In many ways, the unique value proposition (UVP) offered by an iBuyer service is not new. Most promise a quick turnaround of 24-48 hours for an initial offer, removing much of the uncertainty and ambiguity associated with a traditional market sale. In addition, iBuyers generally buy without the need for extensive repair lists, home staging, and long waits for offers from interested buyers. This is a similar service to that provided by many traditional real estate investors, and the seller appeal and overall business model is similar for both. This suggests that iBuyers may not be taking a bite out of the traditional market for most listing agents. They're simply using their data-gathering capabilities to target those homeowners who would have likely sold to and through an investor. Here's how to make the potential of iBuyers work for you: 1. Know and define the service you offer While iBuyers offer some advantages, they are nothing compared to the advantages of working with a well-qualified, knowledgeable real estate agent. These include: Marketing expertise and a professional network that puts you in touch with scores of buyer agents in your area Professional insight and an awareness of home value potential based on real-world experience in transactions and in your local market Expertise in negotiations and in-depth buyer insight along with a fiduciary duty to provide the best possible service to your clients Experience in dozens or hundreds of transactions, so that you can guide clients through every step of the process Ability and willingness to follow up after the sale with home valuations and community information as needed to optimize the potential of the property. 2. Clearly communicate your value proposition It's not enough for you to know the value you bring to the real estate transaction. You must clearly communicate your UVP so that sellers in your market understand what you offer — and how it translates into a higher sale price for them. Whether you send out emails to your SOI, send mailers to your geographic farm, write a blog, host a podcast, or make videos about your local market, getting the word out is an important part of raising your profile in the communities you serve. In addition, by staying in touch with your past clients, you can nurture an important source of referrals and recommendations. Let them know that you are always there for their family and friends and let positive word of mouth help you grow your business. 3. Help clients crunch the numbers for themselves One of the reasons that iBuying isn't for everyone is the reduced sale price they generally offer. This price is normally well below that which could be captured on the open market. Don't be afraid to let your clients entertain an offer from an iBuyer, then show them the comparable values of properties in the area. They will probably find that a traditional sale makes far more financial sense and offers a much greater return on their home investment. 4. Know when working with an iBuyer makes sense By contrast, there are times when an iBuyer just makes sense for your sellers. Perhaps they need to relocate quickly for a new job. Maybe they need to settle an estate or finalize a divorce settlement. Perhaps they have significant equity in the home and are more interested in a quick transaction than in maximizing their profit. Listen to your sellers, and if an iBuyer makes sense in their specific situation, help them explore it as an option, comparing offers from several services if possible. While you probably won't earn your accustomed commission, you'll generally earn a fee provided by the iBuyer. In addition, you'll make a big and lasting impression on your clients by putting their needs before your own. 5. Leverage the power of iBuyers in your market Compare the iBuyers that are active in your market and find ways to connect with them, and use that to your advantage. You may be able to become a partner agent or you may find ways to receive referrals from homeowners who didn't get an offer from the iBuying service. Remember that every movement in the market offers an opportunity. Find the opportunity iBuyers are offering and figure out how to put it to work for you. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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Avoid These Mistakes as a New Real Estate Agent
Sales are your forte, so you decided on real estate as a profession where you can use your skills and charisma to earn a living. You've heard that top Realtors make six-figure salaries or more, so why not get a piece of the action? The educational requirements are a snap and, theoretically, you can apply everything you have learned to real-life situations. But after a few months of no sales, you start to wonder about all the rookie real estate agent mistakes you have made. The realization that real estate is more than merely selling has hit home, and perhaps you should have taken steps to create a marketing plan for your brand, considered a budget for unforeseen expenses, and thought about networking with more than just friends and relatives. As a beginner real estate agent, you can avoid making mistakes by understanding and implementing current proptech, choosing a mentor, and adopting the proper mindset. Mistakes 101 Mistakes will be made even though realistic goals for new real estate agents are your number one priority. When you start your career without proper planning, you are shooting in the dark. Take time to map out the direction you want to go and set realistic goals along the way. Don't forget that being a real estate professional means you will need to keep learning to improve your knowledge and to keep up with the changing landscape of the industry. You want to ensure you are using the current technology available to you, like having an online presence to showcase virtual tours and floor plans of your listings. Choose your brokerage wisely, not just based on the percentage of your commission split. Brokerages have a lot to offer in terms of training, mentoring, working with teams, and helping you get your footing in a very competitive industry. Make a plan Planning your real estate career is more than deciding which brokerage to work for and selling a few houses. Wise words from real estate expert Tom Ferry suggest you avoid real estate agent mistakes by treating your profession as a business venture. Every good business begins with a well thought-out plan. Think of building your career like building a house. Start with a good floor plan, make adjustments along the way, and build the structure with a good foundation. Don't rush the process. Take time to focus on marketing to reach potential leads. Innovative proptech tools from companies like iGUIDE can help you succeed in winning listings, analyze your success, and build your brand. Budgeting for the long haul You might be one of the lucky first-timers who get a sale or two within the first couple of months working in real estate. However, you need to focus on the long term and prepare a budget accordingly. Getting a big paycheck from your first sale doesn't mean you should go out and purchase that flashy new SUV you've had your eye on. It could be months before you make another sale. Focus on realistic goals for new real estate agents by creating a budget. Consider the costs of building a website, printing business cards and for sale signs, marketing fees for real estate photography and 3D tours, and the price you pay for gas to maneuver around your niche area. It would be wise to put some of that first commission payout away for the dry season. Networking, marketing, and communication Ah, networking—now that's an area you really need to work on and keep working on throughout your career. One of the biggest real estate agent mistakes, according to Inman, is lack of communication. Begin and end your day by staying in touch with your leads and clients. Respond to emails, text messages, social media posts, and inquiries in a timely manner. It takes time and effort to build your brand and fill your network with contacts that turn into clients. Communication helps you reach potential buyers and sellers by keeping the conversation going. When communicating value to the consumer, the use of great marketing tools like 3D tours, social media, and websites are vital to avoid common mistakes real estate agents make as highlighted in a recent Forbes article. Expectations and results Realistic goals for new real estate agents are to expect the unexpected. Acing the exam to get your licence with your local real estate association is just the beginning. Results will follow when you put your newly acquired knowledge into practice, but don't get discouraged when you don't meet your own expectations. There are many failures among your fellow Realtors; however, you can succeed with the right tools that allow access to property information fast. The consumer hires you with the expectation that you will help in the process of buying or selling a home. Use the resources available to you and leverage the services of other industry professionals who can provide valuable benefits and advice along the way. Don't go it alone. To achieve results, a positive mindset, a no-fail attitude and giving 100% effort to your new profession will keep you headed in the right direction. A mistake is just a learning experience if you move beyond it and avoid making it again. The biggest real estate agent mistakes you can make are thinking you won't make any.
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Can a Buyer Back Out of a Home Purchase Contract?
Ever have a buyer client that wanted to back out of their contract? Share the article below with them to help them understand the legal ramifications and what their options are: In an intense seller's market, it's not unusual to see buyers waive contingencies or place an offer on a house sight unseen -- both of which can lead to buyer's remorse. Once a buyer's offer is accepted by the seller, the buyer is contractually obligated to the home purchase. Or are they? When you're in the market to buy a home, it's important to know the options you have to get out of a contract without facing legal troubles. Not all options alleviate the risk though, so here's what could leave a buyer off the hook — and legally vulnerable — in the event you want to walk away. Inspection Contingencies One of the most common contingencies in real estate is known as an inspection contingency. A home inspection contingency essentially states that the purchase of a home is dependent on the results from the home inspection. The right to an inspection exists to protect buyers from purchasing a home with substantial (and potentially expensive) faults. However, the right to inspect must be specified in the purchase contract in order for a buyer to have the opportunity to inspect. This critical contingency often provides buyers with the opportunity to terminate a purchase if they are not satisfied with the inspection and condition of the property. In this intense seller's market with bidding wars becoming more common, some buyers have opted to forego inspection as a way to stand out from the crowd and maximize the chance theirs is the offer that's accepted. The risk in this strategy is that a buyer could purchase a home with several substantial problems and looming repairs. While it may help you win a bidding war, foregoing the inspection contingency will often offer more risk than reward. By keeping an inspection contingency in the offer, buyers could potentially back out of a contract. Appraisal Contingencies Without a doubt, the most common contingency that buyers are waiving right now is the appraisal contingency. In many markets, appraisal gaps have become a common tool buyers use to negate a low appraisal. And while including an appraisal gap can certainly help an offer compete against the crowd in a multiple offer scenario, it's a risky strategy for buyers. Appraisals exist to ensure buyers don't overpay for a home and also offer an "out" for buyers if the home appraised for less than the purchase price. Typically, when an appraisal comes in low, buyers have the opportunity to back out of the contract or negotiate a lower purchase price. However, if buyers include an appraisal gap in their offer, they could potentially lose the ability to terminate based on appraisal. Other Reasons a Buyer Might Back Out And while inspection and appraisals are the common reasons for backing out of a contract, there are certainly other scenarios that arise that cause a buyer to terminate: Time Is of the Essence – In every contract, there are typically deadlines for both the buyer and seller to meet. If a buyer has fulfilled their obligations but the seller has not and the transaction does not close on time, a buyer could potentially back out of the purchase. Death of the Buyer – In many states, if the buyer dies prior to closing, the purchase is terminated. It's important to consult an attorney if the estate has any obligation to complete the purchase. Loss of Job – Most contracts that involve the buyer obtaining a loan include a financing contingency. If a buyer is unable to obtain loan approval, then this contingency typically gives them the right to terminate since they are not able to financially purchase the home. Beyond credit issues, a common reason for loan denial is when the buyer loses a job during the course of the transaction prior to closing. Specific Contingencies – For example, if a buyer makes an offer sight unseen, they can include a contingency that the offer is subject to their viewing and approval of the property. If they aren't satisfied, they may be able to back out. Other specific contingencies can exist on a case-by-case basis, so consult your real estate agent. Things to Know BEFORE You Back Out of a Contract Keep in mind, as a buyer, you've signed a legally binding contract. It's critical to read the entire contract and all the fine print before signing and making an offer to the seller! While there are quite a few protected scenarios where a buyer can legally back out of contract, there is also an important legal term buyers should be aware of: specific performance. A simple change of heart about purchasing a home may not be legally protected and could subject a buyer to a specific performance lawsuit. If a buyer wishes to terminate a contract, it's critical to consult a licensed attorney about the legal ramifications of that decision before terminating. It's important to note that even if you're working with a buyer's agent, they are not allowed to give legal advice. If you or anyone you know is in the market for a new home, check out the Homes.com comprehensive How To guides that walk you through the home buying, selling, and financing process step by step. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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How to Get Real Estate Leads with No Upfront Costs
It sounds too good to be true, we know: But you can actually generate real estate leads with no upfront costs. It will take some effort and focus, but the leads you receive will be warmer and more likely to convert than those you'd buy from any number of companies offering supposed "quick, easy leads." The main activity you'll need to focus on to fill the top of your funnel is building a strong online presence and improving your online reputation. That, in combination with outreach and lead nurturing, is the recipe for generating and ultimately converting real estate leads with no upfront costs. Let's dive into the details. What Is a "Strong Online Presence"? A strong online presence means that it's easy for buyers and sellers to find information about you and your business on as many corners of the internet as possible. Being visible and easily findable online is table stakes for most transactions nowadays. Consumers look up every business they're considering working with, from dentists to real estate agents to restaurants. Inevitably, the first place they'll go to start that search is Google. If you don't have a Google business profile and well-maintained website, it'll be hard to find you online — leaving buyers and sellers wondering if you're a reputable agent or whether you're still practicing real estate at all. And that's just for the people who actively search for your name. Imagine all the buyers and sellers who Google terms like "real estate agents near me" and miss out on learning about you simply because you aren't there. Make Your Business Easy to Find on Google Being present on the world's most popular search engine is step one. The best thing you can do to start building your presence is to create a Google business profile, which is the large info box that appears to the right of Google Search results or at the top of Google Maps results. Like we mentioned earlier, doing this requires no upfront cost. You can go to Google and start the process of claiming and verifying your business right now. The key, though, is maintaining your profile by updating it with new content and new reviews on a weekly basis. Yes, weekly. This helps with SEO and building trust with Google so that the search giant will be more inclined to show your profile over competitors when a local buyer or seller searches for "real estate agents near me" or the like. After all, Google doesn't want to show its users defunct profiles or poorly reviewed businesses over active, well-reviewed businesses. Here are our top tips for optimizing your Google Business Profile for better ranking: Fill in all information fields, including contact details, business hours, and your bio. Publish photos, including a professional headshot and images of your recent listings and sales. Add new content weekly to show Google that you are keeping your profile active and up-to-date. Publish content posts with helpful tips, market insights, and information about your services. Show off your real estate knowledge to position yourself as an expert. Add new content weekly so Google knows you're keeping your profile active and up to date. Request reviews, and then request more reviews—often! Consumers need to read at least 10 positive reviews to begin to trust your business, and nearly three quarters of people only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. As with photos and content posts, adding new reviews to your profile on a regular basis is a positive signal to Google, too. Respond to all reviews, including negative ones. If you don't publicly acknowledge negative reviews, consumers are left with more questions than answers, and it also sends a negative signal to Google. Respond Quickly to Leads as They Come In We're living in a world where you can track your food delivery order from the oven to your door. Consumers' expectations are very high, and it's no different when they submit their contact details to receive more information about your listing or services. If you wait too long to respond, you're more likely to lose that lead to another agent or even just cold feet. We recommend responding in less than an hour — ideally in minutes — to catch them while their interest is still high. Nurture Leads Who Aren't Ready to Transact Although a potential buyer might reach out to you through your Google business profile, they may not be quite ready to jump into the real estate market. It's important to nurture every lead you receive. Nurturing leads means engaging with them regularly so you're top of mind when they are ready to buy or sell. You can do this by supporting leads in whatever ways they need, such as being available to answer questions or referring them to trusted lenders or other professionals in your network. You should also reinforce your market expertise whenever possible. This is easily achieved by including leads in your email workflows for e-newsletters, neighborhood spotlights, trend reports, and market updates. The more that potential buyers and sellers interact with you and your content — even digitally — the easier it is to build trust and ultimately be the agent they turn to when they're ready to buy or sell. Reinforce Your Expertise Through Marketing You can generate real estate leads with no upfront costs, but marketing isn't free. The cost of ads, direct mail, etc., shouldn't stop you from having and executing a marketing strategy. This is critical for any business, including real estate agents, in order to extend your reach, increase brand awareness, build trust, reinforce your expertise, and move leads down your funnel faster. Digital marketing is the perfect tool to use in conjunction with your lead generation tactics. That's because advertising platforms, such as Facebook and Google, allow you to add specific people to your custom audience. As long as these ad platforms are able to identify your leads on their network, they'll serve your digital ads to them. The more often these leads see you pop up in their newsfeed or around the internet, the more likely you are to make an impression of being a successful real estate agent. Although you don't need to pay a dime to generate leads in the way we described, it does take continuous work to maintain an online presence that builds trust with consumers and ranks high on Google. Learn how Homesnap Pro+ can do the hard work for you. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Houston REALTOR Uses RPR to Deliver Reports and Results
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Why You Should Use Drone Photography for Every Listing
Almost all real estate pros know that high-quality photography helps sell homes. But did you know that when a real estate listing uses aerial photography, they sell 68% faster than homes using traditional photography, according to multiple listing services statistics? It's never been easier to obtain drone footage for every listing than today. Like the emergence of immersive 3D interactive tours, aerial footage is becoming commonplace. Adding drone footage can boost your marketing success for every listing, win over sellers and attract more potential buyers. Moreover, aerial photography for every listing sets you apart from the competition and can wow your sellers. According to a study by HomeJab, while more than two out of three (67%) real estate agents have used aerial photography, currently, just 12% of all agents use drones for every listing. Fortunately, professional real estate photographers widely use today's cutting-edge drone technology, and they are licensed to fly drones and know the local rules and restrictions. Drone shoots are also more affordable than ever, allowing all agents to incorporate aerial footage into their marketing plans for every seller and every listing. Big city shots When you think about using aerial footage to help sell a property, you might envision using it to showcase a home on acreage. But today's smaller and more agile drones can shoot 4K quality video and images in just about any place, including for a big city listing. Whether you are trying to sell a coop in Brooklyn, a townhome in DC, or a condo in downtown Seattle or Miami, aerial footage is a great way to set your listing apart. A home located amid tall structures might get lost in the minds of a potential buyer, but drone footage can give them the proper context. Panned aerial shots allow someone to see the entire community as well as the setting of the home in relation to the neighborhood. Aerial footage will also impress your sellers with downtown listings, so make this part of your listing presentation and the marketing services you provide sellers. Suburban perspective One of the greatest challenges home buyers have when searching for a home on the internet is getting a feel for the area. Unfortunately, local content is often sparse as neighborhood images and videos do not commonly accompany most home listings. Adding drone footage for every suburban listing can change that. With a listing of a house located in the suburbs, aerial photos and video can tell a story about the entire area. You can showcase proximity to schools, parks, pet-friendly areas, and other local amenities buyers today say are essential. Moreover, aerial footage helps give people perspective on the lot and its boundaries as you can instantly see a property's outline from above. A drone shoot can provide a view of the roads that give access to the property, which is another unique benefit. The aesthetics of a neighborhood shine when shot by a drone as nearby playgrounds, lakes, rivers, and golf courses all stand out. Country homes and drones There may be no better way to showcase a country home than with drone photos and video. By capturing the acreage from above, you give your potential homeowner a view that will help them make a purchase decision quicker. Outbuildings and other property features become even more impressive when photographed from above. Access roads, driveways, and other paved areas also are easier to delineate with an aerial shoot. Perhaps most importantly, you will impress your sellers. Aerial footage even in a sellers' market? You might think that when you are in the middle of one of the most robust sellers' markets in history, you don't need to make the extra investment in drone photography. However, when you skimp on your marketing investment that supports your sellers, you may put future referral business at risk. How you market each listing – from what your listing materials look like to the marketing channels you use to promote each listing – says a lot about your brand and agent image in your local marketplace. The best and most successful agents use drone photography and video because it works and increases their brand's perceived value. Last step: hire a professional One of the best ways to elevate your brand as a real estate agent or broker is to hire a professional real estate photographer for every listing. High-quality real estate photos not only convey your listings in the best possible way but can create an emotional connection with potential buyers. It's a win-win because your sellers will be happy too. Most importantly, today, professional real estate photographers typically are a one-stop shop, allowing you to order photos, an immersive 3D tour with a floorplan, and aerial photography and video services as well. HomeJab is America's most popular and reliable on-demand professional real estate photography and video service for real estate pros. Lightning-fast high-end visual production offerings include immersive 3D interactive tours, floor plan creation, affordable virtual staging, and turnkey aerial services. To search for a local professional real estate photographer in your area who offers drone photography, go to HomeJab.com to find an affordable and complete listing package with a 24-hour turnaround and easy online scheduling. Learn more about drone photography and drone video shoots and samples at HomeJab.com. Joe Jesuele is the founder and CEO of HomeJab, America's most popular and reliable on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros, and one of the nation's top real estate visual content experts.
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6 Tasks Every Real Estate Agent Should Automate to Save Time
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3 Easy Holiday Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents
Somehow it's that time of year again! Before you know it, you'll be going full-speed ahead into 2022. While the holidays are a great time to slow down, enjoy family time, and focus on business planning, we all know there is always the opportunity to generate more business. So here are a few quick marketing ideas to capitalize on this holiday season! 1. Host a "Holiday Party" Open House If you have the right property for a great open house, this is a simple way to elevate the occasion. Here are a few tips for executing the perfect party: Plan ahead and create festive, holiday-themed invitations Encourage them to invite their spouse and bring the kids along Add some decorative touches to make the house feel cozy and welcoming Cater some seasonal hors d'oeuvres (or if you're on a tight budget, simply bake some festive desserts) Put together small swag bags with holiday treats, branded swag from your business, and contact information for setting up an appointment Not big on open houses? No worries, there are still ways to use a holiday party to boost your marketing efforts. Consider throwing a client appreciation party at your office space or partner with a bar to do an invite-only happy hour. 2. Give an Annual Gift (In Person!) There's no better time than RIGHT NOW to start a tradition! Set aside some of your marketing budget for annual gift-giving and get creative. If you can figure out a way to do it in person, even better. You get more face-time with past and future clients, and they feel more connected to you. Who should you give a gift to? Start with past clients (especially, recently sold!), hot leads, vendors, community members. Here are a few ideas for business-generating gifts: Consider partnering with a local bakery and invite clients to come get a pie or box of cookies, on you! Schedule an afternoon to be there giving out the goodies, and let your clients know they can pick up their gift between 3-6pm. This is a great way to get more conversations going, touch base with old clients who may have fallen out of touch, and establish a yearly tradition that everyone will love! Put together a special housewarming gift for every client that closed on a new home this past year. It could include gift cards to home improvement stores, a wine bottle with a custom housewarming label, etc. And don't forget a handwritten note! Create some unique holiday-related swag that is different every year. Socks, hats, mugs, candles, tree ornaments… get creative! 3. Create a Neighborhood Guide to the Holiday Season They say content is king, right? Use the holidays as an excuse for boosting your organic traffic! Schedule some time in November to put together a neighborhood "Who, What, Where?" Guide to the Holidays. Example: "Your Ultimate Guide to Nashville's Holiday Season!" Sprinkle in some information about the city, the neighborhood, and why you love serving it. You might even consider sponsoring some of the events and giving your readers a promo code for a discount to events and celebrations around town. This could be a blog post or downloadable PDF, but also be sure to share your insights on all of your social channels! (Pro Tip: This is a great topic for Facebook or Instagram Live.) Last, but not least, remember the holidays are all about personal touches! Make sure you take some time to show your genuine gratitude towards your clients, colleagues, employees, vendors, and community members that are all a part of the business you've built. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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Why Lee Woodward Recommends Virtual Tours for Real Estate
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The 5 Most Common Questions Agents Ask When They Call Tech Support
Do you remember the last time you reached out for tech support? Did you need help setting up your email to forward to another account? Or was your printer acting up, refusing to print? Tech Helpline, real estate's No. 1 tech support service, now serves more than 700,000 Realtors in North America. And the most common questions real estate agents ask when they call Tech Helpline focus on these five areas: email, printers, software/applications, other technology hardware, and operating systems. Let's look at the most frequent tech challenges agents experience and then turn to Tech Helpline to fix: 1. Email Agents know that most email programs, like Gmail and Outlook, give you the ability to set up rules to manage your email. However, creating an email rule, such as having an email route automatically to a specific folder or triggering an automated reply, can be tricky. Most email programs also offer the ability to add a signature. Yet, setting up your custom signature with an image or logo takes some skill, as does modifying a signature someone else set up for you. Another challenge agents have with email is making sure certain emails forward automatically to another email address. Setting up a Microsoft Exchange email account and resolving email synching issues can be particularly challenging to a tech novice. Fortunately, for every one of these issues, Tech Helpline can help. 2. Printer Another common tech problem is simply getting one's printer to print. Issues can be related to connectivity, particularly with Bluetooth-enabled printers. Getting an error message and not knowing how to resolve it can also slow down an agent's workflow. Using a multifunction printer with built-in scanners is great until it won't scan. Finally, installing a new printer or an old printer on a new computer can have its challenges, including what to do when you learn you are missing a printer driver. The good news is that tech Helpline's team is ready to help you resolve any of your printer issues. 3. Software/Applications As a modern real estate agent, you are probably using more technology today than ever before. That also means you are likely to use more types of software, but you are also looking for some help more often. Software that agents call into Tech Helpline for assistance in navigating includes QuickBooks, Zoom, Dropbox, and One Drive. The other software that commonly generates pleas for help is Adobe Flash. Agents should be pleased to hear that newer technology has primarily replaced Adobe Flash, and Adobe no longer supports Adobe Flash Player. But Tech Helpline's team can help agents resolve a wide range of software issues, including those related to Adobe Flash. 4. Problems with other hardware While agents and brokers often reach out to Tech Helpline to resolve laptop and desktop computer issues, this team of highly-experienced tech analysts supports a wide range of other hardware technology. For example, the use of Zoom and other video conference call tools escalated challenges with audio issues. Fortunately, Tech Helpline can assist in making sure you can hear others, and they can hear you on your video conference calls. Tech analysts also are willing to provide guidance on what other hardware you should consider when shopping for headphones, which type of microphone works best for your needs, and as well as external webcams that prove to be easy to connect and reliable. Another common challenge agents call tech support to get assistance with are hard drive related problems. For example, if your computer ever crashes, Tech Helpline's experts are ready to help you recover your lost files. And if your monitor starts glitching out, before you order a new one, reach out to Tech Helpline for troubleshooting steps to see if you can save the monitor that's not working right. 5. Operating Systems Has your computer ever updated its operating system, and when you turn it on, it's not the same layout as the day before? Do you feel lost? Or suddenly, a program you have been using won't open? Calls to Tech Helpline about OS or operating system challenges are common. Windows updates often make the phones ring at Tech Helpline, but the good news is you can reach out to get personal assistance to get you back on track. And it's not just computer operating systems that the tech analysts can support. So, for example, if you have an app on your iPhone or Android phone that keeps on crashing, they can help. Spring tech cleaning is another service Tech Helpline provides – and you don't have to wait until spring! If your phone is cluttered with apps you don't use, and you want to quickly clean up your screen, reaching out to Tech Helpline is all you need to do. Finally, one of the scariest tech experiences you can have is when you get a computer error that freezes your computer – or worse, when your laptop or desktop won't reboot. When this happens, thankfully, Tech Helpline is ready to help you, just like other calls they've fielded from agents and brokers to get you back up and running. Tech Helpline's Orlando, Florida-based technology advisors have 350+ years of combined IT experience. If your MLS or association does not offer Tech Helpline as a member benefit, encourage your leadership to check out TechHelpline.com to make sure that you can call, click or chat live to get access to the best tech support for real estate pros. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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3 Ways REALTORS Are Using RPR to Gain Clients
Yes, winter is coming. But there are still plenty of opportunities to gain clients and get deals done. A recent thread started in our RPR Connect Facebook group made us realize that agents don't have to screech to a halt in the last two "-ember" months. Here's a collection of the some of the best responses when a new agent asked how RPR could help her find clients and help her business grow: Look up a lead's address Sharing reports so owners can gauge recent home value appreciations Generate and crosscheck CMAs Check on approximate property values Create mailing lists for farms Create customizable presentations for clients Identify property values in neighborhoods Share reports that can be used for annual reviews Look up past sales records and mortgages Show a potential listing client a price range to determine initial asking price To conduct buyer tours (using the RPR mobile app) Open house mapping Investor reviews These are great! We love to see how our users are putting RPR to work to build their businesses. Here's a look at three of our favorite ways you can use RPR to find buyers and sellers right now… Dial up your social shares: Use Canva and RPR together In today's real estate marketing and self promotion world, having a strong social media presence is mandatory. Four generations of home buyers and sellers are active in all types of social channels and you can reach them with just a simple post. However, what you post is of the utmost importance. Typing out long-winded paragraphs of text or scanning an open house flyer aren't going to grab those eyeballs. You need graphics! Beautiful, well-designed graphics that engage the viewer/reader. You need images that you can easily create and customize with local market facts and figures. You need Canva and RPR working together and working for you! Canva is an online design and publishing tool that you can use with the data you pull from RPR reports. Give your friends, followers and soon to be clients market activity updates, new listing and open house announcements, testimonials, or even fun facts and trivia that pertains to their market or neighborhood. We've gone ahead and created six ready to use graphic templates for you to download and customize. For all the details and a step-by-step on how to pull it off, check out: How to Create Instagram Posts for Your Real Estate Business with Canva. Dig, mine and search for prospects with RPR Referrals and repeats are like gold—no question there. However, most agents need to actively look for leads to get to that next level. And that's where prospecting comes in—which is also where RPR comes in. RPR gives REALTORS® access to a slew of prospecting tools, including powerful and dynamic ways to geographically farm neighborhoods and ZIP codes. And after you get your farming list nailed down, you can also create mailing labels in RPR, up to 2,000 per month, for free. You can also take advantage of RPR's reports and data as ways to send your prospects marketing materials. For example, Bruce Inman from Houston, Texas sends out five RPR Seller's Reports directly to addresses he's identified using RPR Maps. And folks, he does this every day! His story and approach is a great way to personalize RPR deliverables to homeowners who hit the sweet spot in terms of listing potential. Another inspiring story comes from Julie Toy, from Garner, North Carolina. Julie also uses RPR Seller's Reports, and she sends them to her past buyer clients on their "house-aversary" (a year after the date they bought their home). Along with the report, Julie sends a note congratulating them on how much their home is now worth. This tactic is noteworthy because the recipient gets a personal note, a report specific to their home, and stats about their home home value. Instead of being a pushy salesperson, Julie comes off as an information ally, and it's led to a handful of her past sellers becoming "now" sellers. As you can see, there are many ways to prospect for new leads and customers. So many ways in fact, we decided to write a book on it! Download How to Farm and Prospect for New Clients today. This exclusive REALTOR® download is yours for the taking and will show you, page by page and step by step, how to identify and market yourself to potential new clients. CMAs that amaze Gaining clients isn't strictly about marketing and prospecting. When you reach the next stage, which might include face to face meetings and listing/capabilities presentations, you need to stand out and show off your strengths. Clients base their decision on: experience and expertise, educated guidance and advice, local market knowledge, and help guiding them through the process. One other big reason is your ability to price a property. This skill sets you apart from the competition and can go a long way in helping you get a contract after a listing presentation. That's where knowing how to put together a solid CMA comes in… A CMA (comparative market analysis) is a process agents use to establish home values and set listing prices. You create CMAs by looking at comps (short for comparable properties). These comps are similar properties, mostly in the same neighborhood, and tend to have the same square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, features, upgrades, etc. You want to compare things that are equal, or at least as equal as possible, to help price your listing. Creating a spot-on CMA is crucial to your skills and success, and your ability to bring clients to the table. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it in RPR. The CMA 180°: helping buyers CMAs are an essential tool for working with sellers; that's pretty standard. But RPR's Training team has figured out a way to turn CMAs on their heads and use them to help buyers prepare an offer. RPR CMA tools can help educate your buyers about market conditions, show them how to use pricing strategies to help formulate competitive offers, help them consider other details that can affect an offer such as days on market, financing concerns, appraisals, inspections and deposits. For details and to see how to put a CMA into play for buyer clients, check out this video tutorial: How a CMA Can Guide Buyers in a Tight Market. Use these tools and tactics to find customers now… and in the future Although November and December are looked at as "down" months in relation to housing sales, the fact is hundreds of thousands of sales will still take place. Sure, the pace ticks down a bit in the fall and winter months, but there are still buyers and sellers out there who need your expert guidance. We hope you can use these ideas and RPR to your advantage to find clients now and/or to start planting seeds to kick start the New Year. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Homesnap Officially Launches Showings Platform
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Market Like a Social Pro in 2022
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 11:00 AM PST Have you ever heard the saying "It's not WHAT you know, it’s not WHO you know, it's about WHO KNOWS YOU?" This is a fundamental truth when it comes to marketing your business and your brand - you have to ensure current and potential clients know who you are, what you do, and why you matter! In this one-hour session, top social media trainers Stephanie Alfonso and Dylan Handy will showcase the top trends for social media marketing as we head towards 2022. Walk away with actionable knowledge: The hottest social channels for building brand awareness. Effective blogging principles to drive website engagement. What you should (and should not) be including on your real estate website. Should you consider pay-per-click lead generation. And more... 2022 is the year to turn your social media from a toy into a powerful marketing tool! Register now!
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Friday Freebie: Scale and Grow Your Real Estate Business with This Step-by-Step Guide
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SentriKey Mobile App vs. SentriCard
Wondering about the benefits of using the SentriKey Real Estate mobile app versus using a SentriCard to access your properties? While the SentriCard gets the job done -- it opens SentriLock lockboxes -- it's not able to provide the robust experience that the SentriKey Real Estate mobile app does. Check out these benefits of using the mobile app, and you'll understand why over three-quarters of all SentriLock lockbox accesses are with the app! Benefits of the SentriKey® Real Estate Mobile App With the SentriKey® Real Estate app, you can: Open SentriLock lockboxes. Use your smartphone or tablet to open lockboxes. Learn how to open the key compartment on a SentriLock REALTOR® Bluetooth® Lockbox Learn how to open the key compartment on a non-Bluetooth® lockbox Access via Touch ID / facial recognition. Use Touch ID or facial recognition instead of your PIN to quickly and easily access your most-used functions. Learn how to enable Touch ID Release the shackle and assign/unassign a lockbox to a property. Release your lockbox shackle and assign and/or remove your lockbox from a property easily. Learn how to release the shackle on a SentriLock REALTOR® Bluetooth® Lockbox Learn how to release the shackle on a non-Bluetooth® lockbox Learn how to assign a Bluetooth® lockbox to a property Get property details. Upon opening the lockbox, you're presented with powerful features, including showing instructions, property details, listing agent information, and more. Learn about property details and how useful they can be Grant secure temporary access. Use the mobile app to generate One Day Codes or grant SentriConnect® access, which provides secure, trackable access to out-of-area agents, contractors, and more, and receive notification upon access use. Learn how to get a One Day Code Learn how to grant SentriConnect access Receive instant notifications. Get instant notifications via the Message Center to learn about missing keys, the beginning of a showing, the end of a showing, and more. Learn how to view access logs Keep track of showings. Use the My Schedule feature to schedule and stay on top of showing appointments. Learn how to schedule an appointment Learn how to edit an appointment Make your showings safer and more secure. When enabled, the Agent Safety feature automatically and discreetly alerts your designated emergency contact when you do not feel safe or cannot confirm you're safe. Learn how to enable the Agent Safety feature Access property data integration listings. Transition seamlessly into other apps to access all the detailed listing information you need from our integration partners. End a showing early. If you finish before the end of the allotted time, let the listing agent and sellers know. Learn how to manually end a showing And, best of all, there's no need for card renewals – ever! Worried that you won't have SentriKey® Real Estate mobile app access if you're outside of cell-service coverage? We can help make sure you stay connected. Here's how: For Bluetooth® boxes: A good practice is to update your SentriKey® Real Estate Mobile App credentials each day. Whether you're a listing agent, showing agent, or an affiliated user, before you leave home or the office, launch the app on your mobile device. By authenticating, your credentials are good for 24 hours. When interacting with the SentriLock REALTOR® Bluetooth® Lockbox, it requires only a Bluetooth® connection to open the key door, even if you're out of cell-service coverage. For non-Bluetooth® boxes: If you're going to a showing in a remote area and that listing isn't using a Bluetooth® lockbox, we have a solution for you, too. Success is achieved by using the My Schedule function in the SentriKey® Real Estate app. This is done either by the listing agent creating the appointment directly in the SentriKey® Real Estate system, or through leveraging our integrations with other third-party showing services. When the showing is scheduled, and the app detects low or no cellular coverage, you'll be presented with a Mobile Access Code in the app. No card needed, no Bluetooth® needed! You don't need to use a SentriCard® to open your SentriLock lockbox. Instead, always stay connected with the SentriKey® Real Estate mobile app! Get Started with the SentriKey® Real Estate App Want an overview on how to use the SentriKey® Real Estate app? Sign up for our App School, which will guide you through the process screen by screen. To view the original article, visit the SentriLock blog.
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Text Etiquette: What's a Faux Pas in Real Estate Text Marketing?
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Blockchain and Real Estate: What's All the Buzz About?
Have you heard the term blockchain and immediately thought of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin? Perhaps you think, why should I care about blockchain? Blockchain technology and real estate are currently being considered for a variety of real-world transactions. Though the technology itself is not new, according to a recent NAR report, it will likely be years before you will see the effects in mainstream real estate transactions. But regardless of when blockchain becomes instrumental in your daily life, it is something to take notice of and form a basic understanding of. What are blockchain and cryptocurrency? Are blockchain and cryptocurrency the same thing? The simple answer is no. When you realize all these terms are not synonymous, you can ponder what the future benefits of real estate and blockchain are. Blockchain is a digitalized system of storing important coded data in specific "blocks." In real estate, that data might include information about property titles, specifics regarding accurate measurements, 3D tours, floor plans, financing and taxes. Once information is entered into a block, it is immutable, meaning it cannot be altered. Updating the particulars requires entering in additional information, but without removing the original data, thus forming a chain of information for every transaction. This essentially forms a digital trail of everything entered into the block or ledger in chronological order. Cryptocurrency is digital money that has no physical form, existing only on computer systems. It uses blockchain technology as a way to record, encrypt and transfer transactions controlled solely by its users and the algorithms of the computer. Though cryptocurrency may play a role in blockchain technology and real estate at some point, the industry will likely use blockchain initially for smart contracts, improving the liquidity of real estate assets and speeding up transactions. Accounting and blockchain How many times have you made a mistake on a contract or have noticed some discrepancy in a property's accurate measurements? To consider what the future benefits of real estate and blockchain are is to consider limiting errors for all future transactions. The technology exists to enable the entire real estate transaction, both past and current, to be held on a blockchain. Because blockchains are themselves immutable, every piece of information about a property is accounted for and can be verified by all users with access to the chain. This provides transparency, accountability, and the ability to audit the information quickly and easily. Access to titles and deeds can happen in an instant from anywhere in the world. You won't have to wait for a centralized government database to provide information or proof of ownership. Tokenization and liquidity Real estate investing is becoming more difficult due to the rising prices of both residential and commercial property. But tokenization may open the doors for investors to stay in the real estate market and possibly diversify their investments throughout a variety of sectors. This can be done through blockchain technology and real estate tokenization. Tokenization allows fractional ownership by the creation of tokens as a means of attracting investors like what this Aspen ski resort recently accomplished through "Aspencoin," thus making the entire property more liquid. An owner can sell all or part of the equity and allow a buyer immediate ownership all through the blockchain platform. Smart contracts What are the future benefits of real estate and blockchain when it comes to day-to-day transactions? The smart contract may be the answer to speeding up everything from due diligence to closing of a sale or lease. With all the property's information stored in a digital ledger within the block, verification of things like profit and loss, income statements, buyer and seller identity, and credit checks can all happen in real-time. This can lead to a reduction of time necessary to complete the deal, eliminate the likelihood of fraudulent transactions, and provide authentication every step of the way. The smart contract can, as a recent NAR article explains, have triggers to release the payment of funds when everything in the transaction is complete. Blockchain: What could go wrong? Though at its core, blockchain technology and real estate appear to go hand-in-hand as the next best technology to make transactions easier, faster and without issue. But although blockchain technology can provide the means for cryptocurrency investors to make or lose millions in an instant, it is not without some pause when it comes to implementation for real estate. You are comfortable using proptech like 3D tours in your daily schedule; however, blockchain technology is a whole different thing. For starters, the computers that run the blockchains require a substantial amount of electricity to operate smoothly, thus negatively impacting the environment as recently uncovered in an MSNBC article. Also, the use of blockchain in real estate would involve changing systems, rewriting laws, providing protection of privacy and, of course, jurisdictional rights. At some point in the blockchain, the information has to come in contact with human users and that can open up the data to security risks and hackers. Keeping an open mind helps to determine what the future benefits of real estate and blockchain are for you. The industry is evolving, technology is advancing, and the way you do business is changing. It is important to maintain a healthy interest in proptech and blockchain so you don't become the weakest link in your own profession.
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5 Ways Technology Is Impacting the Real Estate Industry
You've probably heard the old saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." While this may be true in regards to human nature and many aspects of working with buyers and sellers, there's no doubt that technology has been changing homes, the real estate industry, and the services that you provide as a real estate agent in significant ways — and promises to continue to do so in the years to come. From the ways we live in our homes today, to the ways that we market and sell listings, technology creates both challenges and opportunities. By better understanding the technology you use and embracing its potential, you can create low-cost leverage in your business that makes every day easier and more profitable. Here are five ways that technology is already contributing to greater productivity for you and your business. Improving home performance Home automation and smart home technology have never been more accessible and affordable. The internet of things (IoT) and a host of property technology (or PropTech) enhancements have made it possible to create a fully integrated smart home environment more affordable and more easily accessible than we ever thought possible. If you're looking for ways to follow up with past clients, providing information about smart home updates and enhancements can help you add value and stay top of mind. When you're working with potential listing clients, providing recommendations on smart home upgrades is a good way to help them implement marketable improvements, update their homes for modern buyers, and compete effectively with other listings in their market. Enhancing real estate marketing Think about the time and expense involved in marketing both your real estate business and your latest listing in decades past. Film photography, newspaper advertising, bus benches, billboards — there were so many moving parts and expensive platforms required to establish even the most basic presence in your local market. Now, you can develop an international reputation for little or no financial outlay using the power of Instagram and YouTube. You can obtain professional photography, copywriting, and graphic design for just a fraction of the cost you would have paid only a few years ago. You can exercise greater control over all of your marketing and generate leads from the comfort of your home with the help of your smartphone. Facilitating home showings With virtual reality and augmented reality platforms, you can virtually stage a home at little or no cost and provide a virtual walkthrough that rivals in-person tours. You can show your new listing to buyers anywhere in the world at any time of the day or night, easily and affordably. Want a targeted audience for your home showing? You can create one with the power of social media advertising platforms and analytics. You can even access service providers for targeted ads on streaming platforms, allowing eligible potential buyers to see your latest listing while watching TV with their family for far less cost than traditional broadcast television advertising. Streamlining business operations Imagine finding out a few years ago that accounting, document management, and other operational tasks would no longer require full-time support personnel and could, in many cases, be handled from a laptop computer or mobile application. Imagine learning that administrative support would be available around the clock through low-cost virtual assistants and a host of virtual helpers like interactive calendars, productivity platforms, and intuitive AI chatbots. Tasks ranging from the highly specialized to the broadly generalized can now be done easily, conveniently, and affordably through widely available freelancers. You can share documents, presentations, and information with the touch of a button, in the blink of an eye. What's more, we have so fully integrated these technical capabilities, it's hard to imagine living without them. Optimizing transaction management Real estate offices used to spend significant time and money on reams of paper, powerful copiers and printers, and support staff to maintain all of that paperwork for each transaction. Rooms full of file cabinets were needed to manage current and ongoing transactions, with warehouses of storage for document maintenance requirements that lasted for years after closing. For each of those documents, in-person signings were required by each of the stakeholders. That means hours of driving around just to get one document fully signed and executed. Multiply that time expenditure by all of the documents required for just one transaction and imagine the workforce hours and energy involved. Now, however, virtual transaction management platforms make every transaction easier and more streamlined than ever before. Documents, tasks, supporting information — all of these can be captured with a scanner or smartphone app, allowing agents and their clients to experience faster, more efficient, more convenient transactions. With expert support from a digital transaction coordinator, you'll free up valuable time and get back to the business of every day with family, friends, and clients. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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Fact vs. Fiction: 3 Myths of A.I. in Real Estate
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a technology buzzword in the real estate market for the past 18 months, and with good reason. While the technology itself has been around for some time, brokerages and agents alike are beginning to see just how valuable AI can be – especially as they optimize their business and embrace digital innovations as the pandemic wears on. AI is really good at synthesizing data insights and predicting behavior, which means it can save real estate pros a lot of time and money as it frees them up to focus elsewhere. The catch is that there is a lot of misinformation swirling about AI as well. How can you really use AI in your business? What will it deliver? Where does the technology end and an agent begin? Read on as we separate the hype from reality. Myth #1: AI will replace the need for agents This thought has likely crossed your mind before. Any technology that automates a process which is historically done manually creates fear and anxiety around the human element. While it's not unfounded, there is a twist. For most innovations, AI included, the benefit is that a process can be streamlined thus freeing up real estate professionals and brokerage team members to do high value tasks instead. For example, a 2020 report from Altus Group found that while three-quarters of commercial real estate executives believe automation will eliminate some jobs, nearly the same number believe it will also create new roles that focus on delivering value. Ask yourself, is it more valuable to spend time manually integrating your lead generation system with your social media content for the month, or is it more valuable to interface with clients and prospects directly? The latter delivers a better return each and every time. AI simply cannot replace the value agents create when engaging with leads and clients. Now more than ever, homebuyers and property owners are looking for real estate professionals to engage them with real market insight and a productive, genuine relationship. AI not only makes that a reality, but does so on a great scale, enabling agents to focus on high-value activities and not intensive data analysis or tedious processes. Myth #2: AI is incoming lead generation only AI definitely has a strong role to play in lead generation. For example, deploying AI-powered chatbots on your website can help you get in touch instantly with new leads as they come in. But those inbound leads are only the beginning. From property valuation to automating back-office operations, AI can play a major role. Our clients find lead conversion to be the biggest area of surprise. Once a prospect hits your website, AI can take over to nurture the lead. Integrating into your CRM system is where the opportunity exists to maximize conversion rates. For instance, an AI-driven automated property alert allows agents to set up parameters and flag opportunities whenever a home hits the market that fits a certain prospect's criteria. But the agent doesn't have to be involved when a home is flagged – they can be at another closing, at a T-ball game, or asleep while this is all happening. Taking that a step further, AI can continue to track properties with certain characteristics for any given lead even after that lead may have said, "No thanks." It essentially eliminates the terminology of "dead" lead – now it's simply an immediate lead and a longer-term lead. By better understanding what a given client is after through data insight and analysis, AI is the lever that can drive conversions, not just inbound leads. Myth #3: All AI capabilities are the same Not all AI capabilities are created equal. An AI system that tracks activity and gives real-time feedback, whether it be via a prospect "score" or a notification upon activity, generates a "propensity" for that prospect to act. But there is a difference between a third-party AI system that must be integrated and one that is native to the system. Likely they don't have the same functionality, and for the two to communicate, there must be a bridge which is not the same as a native integration. Inevitably, something is always lost in translation given the nature of how the two systems were developed. Leveraging AI tools native to an application speeds up the machine learning process (where AI gets its intelligence!), and is ultimately more efficient as data doesn't have to be shared outside an application. As Alexander Chandler, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Alexander Chandler Realty, noted in a recent Forbes story about technology innovation in real estate, "Those not harnessing AI are going to be left behind holding buggy whips." There is no better time to separate AI fact from fiction. Start by understanding specifically how AI technology can bolster your business, add to the value of your team, and drive the operational efficiencies you need to grow and scale in a white-hot residential real estate market. To view the original article, visit the Chime Technologies blog.
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Marketing a Hot Property 101
Home sales are trending down, home prices continue to rise, and home buyers are still trying to claw their way into the housing market. All this means that good homes are a hot commodity. Naturally, agents charged with selling a desirable property will want to do everything they can to market it effectively. But this doesn't mean that agents can rely entirely on the competitive market to sell a home. Instead, agents committed to delivering a great deal for their sellers should perform a thorough market analysis, advertise across multiple marketing channels, and stage strong open houses and virtual tours. Perform a Thorough Market Analysis Setting an attractive, competitive listing price will make it easier to market and sell a property. A property's value is most likely to be influenced by the surrounding neighborhood, the square footage and number of rooms, in-home amenities, and whether the property is in good condition and has received recent upgrades. Agents can use this information to perform a competitive market analysis (CMA), which produces an estimate of a home's overall value. With a CMA, agents can list the property at an appropriate price, which should increase visibility and attract more leads. Homesnap Pro — available to agents for free, courtesy of their MLS — includes a rapid CMA feature so agents can quickly create and customize these reports and print or email them to share with clients. Plus, since Pro agents have access to up-to-date MLS data, the market analyses they create and share are incredibly accurate. In addition, Homesnap Pro+ members have exclusive access to Sell Speed, a tool that aggregates and analyzes recent sales in your area to estimate how fast a listing will sell at a given listing price. Such information can streamline the market analysis process and help agents deliver clients a reasonable estimate of the time between listing and sale. Advertise on Multiple Channels After determining a listing price and putting their listing on the market, agents will be ready to begin their advertising efforts. Agents should create a marketing plan that enables digital advertising across multiple channels, because people spend hours at a time online, much of it toggling between sites such as Google, Facebook and Instagram. Consider a prospect's behavior: They search Google for information about real estate, interact with ads on Facebook and Instagram when scrolling through their feed, and use Waze to get from one place to another. Why wouldn't agents work to find people at all of these places? Fortunately, agents can and should advertise across all of these channels. With a hot property, agents can post the listing on their Facebook business profile and invest in Facebook ads to reach prospects as they scroll. Agents can also invest in Google's Local Services Ads and Instagram advertisements to reach potential buyers. Stage Strong Virtual Tours When it comes to closing deals, generating leads alone isn't enough. Agents should also prioritize staging open houses and virtual tours that highlight a property's strength and value. The in-person open house experience is a traditional tenet of the real agent playbook. In general, agents know that having a clean, well-staged home makes it easier to sell. But open houses are no longer the sole means of providing buyers a holistic tour of a property. Virtual tours exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will likely remain important for agents. Even with the return of in-person open houses, virtual touring has remained popular, so agents should create a strong virtual tour for every property they have listed. If your property has a virtual tour, people will be able to watch it before committing to an in-person open house, driving more interest in the property, increasing the number of leads, and likely leading to the people you tour in-person being the highest-quality, highest-intent leads. Agents can use Homesnap Stories to create and host their virtual showings. With Stories, agents can add a video tour of a property to their listing page on Homesnap. Homesnap Stories includes features such as emojis, augmented reality, and voice overs — all of which make a virtual tour more exciting and personalized. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Friday Freebie: $50 Gift Card to Redeem on Marketing Materials
Want $50 dollars for less than 30 seconds of your time? In this week's Friday Freebie, we've got an easy-peasy offer for you. All you have to do is sign up for a new account and you'll get $50 in free marketing from ProspectsPLUS! (And don't worry, no credit card is required.) Why would you want to create a new account? Well, we're highlighting more free goodies from ProspectsPLUS! next month, so you might as well get that $50 because there's a good chance you'll be signing up for a free account soon anyway. (Plus, who doesn't want $50?!) Free $50 Gift Card, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! When we said this will take less than 30 seconds of your time, we meant it. Claiming your $50 gift card is as easy as: Create an account (valid for new accounts only) Get a $50 gift certificate via email Boom! Done. So what kind of things can you get once you receive your gift card? ProspectsPLUS! is a "web-to-print platform" that lets real estate professionals create, ship, and track print marketing materials. Here's a sampling of what they offer: Postcards Flyers Door hangers Specialized marketing kits for FSBOs, expired listings, and more Downloadable reports Brochures Newsletters Business cards And more! Register now for an account and claim your $50 gift certificate! Then stay tuned for more free goodies coming your way next month.
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How to Successfully Attend a Trade Show
Attending a trade show can be one of the best things you can experience. With all of the networking and educational opportunities, you are sure to grow and have a lot of fun. However, if you go to a trade show without a game plan, it can be stressful and you can miss out on opportunities. Being prepared from pre-show all the way through to post-show follow-up will take the stress out of going to your next trade show. Pre-Show Planning Before going to the trade show, you should create a game plan that accounts for factors such as registration, where you are going to stay, and the dress code. When you choose to go to a trade show, you should register in advance. Generally you can save money if you pre-register for the show, rather than if you were to just show up at the door and register. Additionally, pre-registering also gives you the opportunity to register for any of the seminars that may be available to attend during the trade show. These do fill up quick, so the sooner you register, the better. Having a place to stay if you are traveling for the trade show should be a huge priority. The closer to the convention you can stay, the less time you will waste traveling each day. Larger shows will attract larger crowds and rooms fill up fast. Booking your hotel in advance will guarantee that you will have a place to stay. The correct dress code should be followed at the trade shows. Remember, you are going as a business professional, so make sure to look the part when deciding on what to wear for the trade show that you are attending. When attending, you will be networking and getting to know plenty of representatives from other companies. Dressing professionally can leave a lasting impression on those you get to know. What to Do While You're at the Trade Show While at the trade show, you should be prepared to have fun and learn. Here are a couple of things you can keep in mind while you are at the trade show. There is likely a very good keynote speaker, but don't miss out on the sideshows. When you pre-registered, you should have locked in at least a couple of these smaller classes on specific topics of interest. But sometimes the best classes and information are found out on the convention floor. While out on the floor, you should also take the time to explore at least three vendors you have never heard of or don't know much about. Keep your badge in plain sight. When walking around the show, there will be plenty of people to talk to and get to know. Keeping your badge in plain sight will make your name and the company you are from visible and more memorable. Additionally, your badge will allow you to walk in and out of the show as you choose. To be prepared to network, keep plenty of business cards on you – be sure your contact information is up to date. Handing out your business cards will help you look professional and prepared when networking with others. Lastly, it would be a shame to travel all the way to a new city and not look around a little while you are there. That can be hard with a tight learning schedule and meetings during the convention, so if you can, book an extra night or two before or after the show. If that is not an option, at least pick one local restaurant and attraction to take in that last night. After the Trade Show After you return, take some time to evaluate the success of your participation in the trade show. Take this time to save the contacts that you made into your contact list and send an email or phone call to thank those you met. Also, if this initiates your interest in attending trade shows, take some time to explore other trade shows in your area as well. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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How to Find the Best Transaction Management Solution
A transaction management platform is one of the most popular tech tools that real estate brokers and agents use daily. The adoption of transaction management solutions, like Form Simplicity, owned and operated by the Florida Realtors®, has surged over the last 18 months as real estate pros embraced going digital. (Note: You can visit Form Simplicity/Tech Helpline at NAR San Diego – Booth 2113) Transaction management helps real estate professionals connect remotely and allows both professionals and consumers to ditch a paper-intensive process. For example, going digital with a transaction management platform enables brokers and agents to manage, track, store and access all the information they need from contract to close. For consumers, digital transaction management means less paper – a lot less paper. If you or your brokerage have not fully embraced a transaction management platform, or you are thinking about switching, here's how to choose the best transaction management solution. 1. Is what you see what you get? Not all transaction management platforms offer the same features and benefits. Some valuable features like unlimited storage and unlimited eSigning are not always included. Often there is a hidden cost for these services. You need to know what the actual costs will be, so ask upfront. For example, with the highly affordable Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity, brokers and agents get unlimited eSigning and unlimited document storage at no extra cost. And Form Simplicity uses bank-grade security to protect you and your client's documents and all their confidential information. This feature is built-in to give everyone peace of mind. It's simply safer than paper documents. 2. How is the boarding and training process? If you are migrating from one transaction management solution to another, your tech migration can become a tech migraine if you don't choose the right one. A great place to start is to talk with the staff at other brokerages or associations currently using the transaction management platform you are considering. Find out how the boarding process went as they launched their transaction management solution. Ask about agents and their reactions – did they embrace it right away, or did adoption take time? How much heavy lifting did the transaction management provider do at launch versus how much you had to do? Was training in person, remote, or both? Were informational on-demand videos provided? Did they provide an available hands-on team to coordinate the launch and remain accessible afterward? Were there any additional outreach and training opportunities offered after the launch? Introducing a vital new technology to brokers and agents can be tricky. If you don't roll out a new tech solution properly, adoption can suffer, reducing the effectiveness of your investment. How a product is introduced is paramount as you only have one chance to make a first impression. The rollout must be received positively, which is one reason why Form Simplicity has often become the product of choice for so many. Form Simplicity is known for fielding a proven team that excels in the launch and follow-up to create long-term success with higher adoption rates. 3. How is their tech support? For many brokers and agents, particularly ones who are not tech-savvy, tech support can be the deal maker or breaker when selecting a transaction management platform. So again, a great place to start is to talk to the current users: when something goes wrong, is it easy to make it right? Many transaction management solutions tout that they are so easy to use, you don't need a lot of training or support. That sounds great. However, some brokers and agents won't find it as intuitive and easy to navigate as others. If there isn't the infrastructure in place to provide accessible and professional training and tech support when your agents need it, the best tech tools in the world can become worthless for those who need help. Form Simplicity excels in tech support as the industry leader. Its sister company, Tech Helpline, is the No. 1 real estate tech support service. Every Form Simplicity user has access directly to Tech Helpline – by phone, email, and live chat. Tech support is available in both English and Spanish, and its U.S.-based team of analysts in Orlando, Florida, has over 300 years of combined IT experience. The bottom line When choosing a transaction management platform, you don't want any surprises. That's why it's vital to deliver an experience that gives the best first impression, as it can be crucial for short-term adoption and long-term success. Finding a technology partner that understands your business and the needs of brokers and agents is the first step. Then you need to make sure that the transaction management provider can answer these questions to your satisfaction or keep on shopping. To learn more about Form Simplicity, go to formsimplicity.com. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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What Should a Buyer Look for During a Final Walk-Through?
Your client has officially signed off on her first home, and she couldn't be more excited, so you hand her the keys. Unfortunately, when she moves in, you find out several damages were not in the Agreement of Sale, and the lights don't work. Final walk-throughs give you a chance to take care of any matters before the closing. Most times, if you find something after the closing, it can be challenging to resolve, so you want to take your time when going through the place. Check List Here is a checklist you should have with you set you up for success on your final walk-through: Make sure everything that was supposed to be taken or left is there or not there Make sure all of the appliances work (lights, water, outlets, etc.) Check floors, ceilings and walls for any damages Check for any issues with plumbing (toilet, sink, drain, any water damages) House is in the same condition you agreed on in the AoS Are the windows and doors in good condition? Make sure nothing new is broken Confirm that all inspections have been completed. Too many homebuyers view final walk-throughs as an option, but it is not optional. Take your time with your buyers and be diligent in the final steps before signing the paperwork. We know your clients are excited to finally move into their new home, and they are itching to get to the final stage. Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of any issues during the final walk-through to help the process go smoothly. To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast blog.
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