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Answering Your Questions About SEO and Your Real Estate Website
I have spent over 20 years helping a wide variety of companies grow their businesses on the Internet. Here are two of the most frequently asked questions I receive and their answers: What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Why does SEO need to be approached differently within the real estate industry? What Is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? First, let me define what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is from my perspective. SEO techniques are used on and off websites to make a site more appealing to search engines. The more search engines like a website, the more they visit to index its pages. The result of SEO work done correctly--search engines push your website higher in search results for specific key phrases associated with your products and/services. Traffic generated from SEO is called "organic traffic." SEO in the Early Days Over the years, SEO has evolved, but I'd argue the core fundamentals have not changed that much. Early on in the infancy stage of SEO, it was the Wild West (late 1990s). Many people resorted to keyword stuffing or paying link farms to create thousands of links back to a site. While this process resulted in short term gains for these companies, any advancement made was quickly replaced with penalties once search engines caught on to their spammy techniques. Even during these Wild West days, savvy developers and online marketers understood it was all about designing sites for the end user. Eventually, search engines started publishing best practices, many of which still apply today. SEO Best Practices You need to build a site that is easy to use and navigate. The website needs to be technically sound. It needs to perform well speed-wise. The website needs designing with the end-user in mind, not the search engines. It needs to have unique and engaging content. You need to research high authority 'complementary' sites and obtain links back to your site. It needs to be trustworthy Add on-page optimization and internal linking throughout your website to help search engines better understand what the site is about and to navigate it easier. This last point is evolving a bit as the search engines are becoming smarter and don't need as much assistance. There are different approaches to SEO if you are a B2B or B2C company, but at the end of the day, the goals for any SEO campaign should be to increase traffic and leads/sales. Why Is SEO for the Real Estate Industry Approached Differently? Within most other industries, whether you are B2B or B2C, you are dealing with information that does not change often. For example, if you are a carpet cleaning company, your services will not change much over time. Or if you have an online store, products are added or discontinued over time, but generally speaking, your offerings stay pretty consistent. The consistency in these two examples allows the marketer to focus more intently on specific products and/or services, building out valuable content and links over time around the core services or products. The most significant difference with a real estate website is the lack of consistency with the products: homes, buildings, land, etc. Each property has a unique SKU number, so to speak, so it makes things even more challenging; the properties are only online until they sell. In major markets, we are talking thousands of property listings turning over quickly. Instead of trying to optimize each listing individually, many marketers in the real estate industry will focus on areas--states, counties, cities, neighborhoods, school districts, subdivisions, etc. For example, if you are a real estate firm in Sarasota, Fla., you may create a landing page with listings for Sarasota. And from that page, you'll drill down and create additional pages for neighborhoods within Sarasota. Consequently, you would use SEO tactics on all of those pages. This process is a fairly common practice within the real estate industry. The downside to this approach is that you will be missing out on visitors searching for a specific home for sale. Surprisingly, we have found that single address property searches equate to a significant amount of monthly traffic. Some of our clients see nearly 50 percent of their traffic originating from single address property search--i.e., 123 Main Street, Sarasota. Moreover, when it comes to recruiting and retaining, a firm with real estate listings displayed on the first page of Google has a distinct advantage over local competitors who cannot. To stay ahead of the curve, you should review your current website from two different aspects. 1. Technical Aspect of SEO The technical aspects of SEO (the how and why behind search engines crawling and indexing a site) are even more important with real estate sites than other industries because of the sheer amount of data processed daily. Clear paths for search engines need to be created to crawl from page-to-page, gathering pertinent information throughout your site. I have found that many real estate websites struggle in this area. To determine if your site has technical issues, look at how many pages you have indexed in Google (example: type site: www.hpw.com into Google search). Based on the number of listings and other content throughout your site, if the number of indexed pages seems low, there may be underlying issues. 2. Content Aspect of SEO Within the real estate industry, content is essential given the industry's competitive nature and some of the previously mentioned challenges. Blogging is a popular way to grow your site's visibility in search engines. As a rule of thumb, blogs should support the site's overall SEO strategy. However, in many cases, blogs are the only area where SEO is leveraged. For example, if your website is not ranking for the markets you serve, a blog may be your only avenue to publish optimized content for better visibility. Unless you are willing to invest significantly in time and money to make an impact, this option may not be ideal for you. Some companies do it and are successful, but having a better understanding of the website's shortfalls and correcting them will save you time and money in the long run. Taking a Look at the Competition I also wanted to touch on the industry's competitive nature and attempt to set proper expectations if you are a local firm engaging in SEO. The real estate industry is competitive, REALLY competitive. You have portals led by Zillow, corporate franchises, and then all of the local firms all competing for the number one position within the search results. The more competitive the market is in general (e.g., Dallas or San Francisco), the bigger the hill is to climb because there are even more online competitors. Realistically speaking, most local firms are not going to outrank the portals or even corporate franchises for phrases like "Dallas real estate," for example. These sites have an enormous amount of content because they have a national presence and all of the listings and associated content to go along with it. That is a big deal and one that is tough to beat. It's not impossible to outrank bigger players because many of our clients do. The clients that do tend to be very large and have spent years investing in SEO and content strategies. A realistic approach is to focus on less competitive phrases and ensure that your listing shows up on the first page of results. Less competitive phrases revolve around neighborhoods, subdivisions, and school districts. If you are successful and climb to the top for these phrases, it generally produces better quality traffic and leads. Also, visitors using these types of search phrases have narrowed their focus and are a bit more qualified. With SEO, Patience Is a Virtue... Really! A word to the wise: SEO is a long-term play, meaning don't expect immediate results. My rule of thumb is that if you don't at least stick it out for a year, look to invest your marketing dollars elsewhere. We are fortunate that we can move the needle fairly quickly for most of our clients. However, we run into some cases where it takes a bit longer, and that requires patience. Many factors determine SEO success. Every market and every company is different even though we are all in the real estate industry. So be patient and look at it as a long term investment. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is Be cautious of companies making wild guarantees like: "We will get your site to the first position in Google for 'real estate.'" This sounds great to someone that is not too familiar with SEO, but realistically, most have no shot. When communicating with a potential partner, you need to feel like you can trust them, know what they are doing, and have your best interest at heart. If it doesn't seem logical or feel realistic, you should probably be concerned. Finally, just because a company claims "to do" SEO, be highly skeptical, especially in the real estate space. It's vital to understand precisely how these companies "do" SEO, and what success looks like based on data they have collected over time. Remember, SEO is about increasing traffic and leads. If they cannot provide you data on how they have helped other firms–run! It's also essential to understand the retention rate for the clients they currently serve. If they cannot retain clients, they are not providing value. So do your homework. Aaron Geh is a featured content contributor for Delta Media Group's industry magazine, Real Estate Marketing & Technology. Sign up today to receive your free subscription to Real Estate Marketing & Technology. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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17 of the Best Public Sources of Real Estate Data
Real estate is one of the most data-consuming businesses in our world today. From demographics data to statistics and market reports, there is a myriad of information to be analyzed and processed. There are several public sources of real estate data in the US, most of which are free. These sources of data are essential to the success of real estate marketing and development strategies. Let's dive in.
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Is Now a Good Time to List? 5 Reasons to Give Concerned Sellers
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Video Testimonials for Your Real Estate Business
Maintaining a good reputation can be one of the most lucrative tasks you accomplish for your real estate business. Once you have a good stash of online reviews and build up a large fanbase on social media, the next step you should take is creating video testimonials. How Can Video Testimonials Help?
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EasyKnock: A New Way to Serve Clients and Earn Commission
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Use RPR to Create CMAs that Amaze
Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1:00 PM PDT RPR's powerful analysis tools are helping REALTORS across the country educate and impress clients. We'll show you how to use RPR's Refine Value tool as well as both of RPR's CMA tools: the Comparative Analysis and the Sales Comparison Analysis. Starting with the AVM or RVM for a property, we'll show you how to: Apply your local market intelligence to refine this starting point with adjustments Subtract value for needed home improvements Use RPR 'slider bars' to further adjust a property's value based on market and home conditions Adjust the 'weight' of comps so you can judge which should be considered more Demonstrate how to lead clients through the intricacies of market realities with easy-to-understand facts and graphics Create an RPR Seller's Report that shows off your market expertise Register now!
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Open House Attendance Down? 6 Ways to Attract Interested Homebuyers
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How to Get Your Real Estate Business Working for You and Not the Other Way
Getting a real estate CRM is easy. In fact, it is so easy, that it is just a few clicks away. The steps following that are simple, too, especially with a good real estate CRM. With the help of an easy set-up wizard, concierge call, and webinars, you are well on your way to getting your real estate business working for you. But what if you just don't do anything after you've followed all these steps? What if it's been months and you still haven't taken advantage of all of the benefits a robust CRM has to offer? Well, it's never too late to start getting your real estate business working for you and not the other way around. Here's how:
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Transactions (zipForm Edition) Fundamentals
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Friday Freebie: Lead Generation and Marketing Budget Calculator Tool
Has your real estate sales funnel been derailed by COVID-19? How about your budget? Everyone's been thrown a bit off by the pandemic, and most of us need to reevaluate the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. If you need help getting back on track, this week's Friday Freebie is for you! Free Lead Generation + Marketing Budget Calculator tool, courtesy of Zurple We've said it before, and we'll repeat it again: A goal without a plan is just a wish. And to create a solid plan, you need to crunch some numbers. Or, in this case of today's Friday Freebie, let this free budget and lead generation calculator do it for you. Zurple is offering RE Technology readers a free tool that lets you set your desired gross commission income goal, and then see how many leads and closings you'll need to reach that goal. This tool also calculates the marketing budget you'll need to meet your goal, factoring in various individual lead generation sources, like your website, digital ads, referrals, email, social media, and more. Zurple's Lead Generation and Marketing Budget tool helps you: Estimate the amount of leads and closing required to hit your Gross Commission Income (GCI) goal based on the national average and your historical conversion rates. Projects your marketing expenses based on your conversion rates so you can budget appropriately. Track your lead generation results so you can compare them to your goals. Ready to get your 2020 goals back on track? Download Zurple's FREE Lead Generation + Marketing Budget Calculator tool now!
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How to Use Real Estate CRM to Maximize Your Outcome
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Tips to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sued as an Agent
Lawsuits are a concern for many professionals, and real estate agents are no expectation. Lawsuits quickly become very costly, and even if you are found to have not committed any fault, they can still harm your business. So taking some tips to reduce your chances of getting sued as an agent could end up saving your reputation, as well as thousands of dollars.
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5 Steps to Build Out Your Real Estate Mobile and Text Message Marketing Strategy
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How to Use Video to Increase Conversions: 4 Templates for Real Estate Agents
According to Cisco, 82% of internet traffic will be video by 2022 and 90% of consumers state that video helped them make purchasing decisions. In fact, people watch one billion hours of YouTube videos every day, which is more than Netflix and Facebook video combined. If we take this into consideration when talking video marketing, YouTube videos are the best thing for your real estate business. The next big question is how to produce the kind of content that will not only drive your leads to action, but help you generate new leads. There are a few tested and approved methods for video marketing that could be freely used for real estate services.
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Are Electronic Signatures Safe?
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Social Media Marketing 101 Guide [FREE Download]
It's no secret: human beings crave connection and collaboration, and these "COVID times" are creating a distinct void when it comes to personal interaction and a sense of community. More than ever, people are turning to social media to help fill that void. Digital social interaction allows friends, family and business colleagues to stay entertained, connected and informed. Netflix is reporting record streams. Facebook is reporting record engagement times and logins, and more and more business is being won in the "virtual" world than the "real" one at this moment. As a real estate professional, it's critical for you to consistently interact with a large number of people, but if you are one of the many that struggles with how exactly to use social media for your business, you might be feeling more overwhelmed than ever before. No worries. No worries. We're here to help! The marketing professionals at Elevate have created an all-inclusive guide to all things "social media," including a four-month content marketing calendar to help you give your online marketing the kickstart it needs! Ever wonder what are the best days of the week and times of day to post on different social media channels? This guide tells you! Looking for ideas about the different types of content that your online audience wants to view? This guide tells you! Tips from pros in the industry? Yep. How many times a week you should post on a social channel? We cover that, too. And, at the end of your guide, you'll receive some special offers for additional marketing assistance, including a FREE review of your current social media with an Elevate Success Coach, where to register to receive FREE daily marketing tips direct to your inbox, and how brokers can request a FREE gap analysis to look at what's missing in their marketing and technology offering. ------------------------------------------- CLICK HERE to download your FREE Social Media Marketing 101 Guide. ------------------------------------------- Why is social media so important for your real estate business? Four out of 5 U.S. homebuyers use an online resource at some point in their search. (Zillow) 90% of Millennials, 78% of Gen-X, and 48% of Baby Boomers are active on social media (NAR) 65% of homebuyers say they are influenced by friends' home buying posts on Facebook or Instagram (Inman) 73% of homebuyers say they're more likely to list with an agent offering to do listing videos (NAR) Facebook. The cure for the COVID blues? Over 70% of Facebook users login a minimum of six to ten times per day, and those numbers have only climbed during the past several months. Don't think of Facebook as something that's only designed for arguing politics, looking at cute sloth videos, and connecting with old friends from high school. Business professionals are networking, sharing and collaborating more than ever before using a channel that already draws such a large audience every day. So how often should YOU be posting on Facebook alone? Our guide recommends a minimum of two to three posts per week, and provides ideas for the types of content you should be sharing. YouTube. A billion users and counting! It's time to stop being intimidated by creating video! Online audiences are more likely to engage with a video than most any other form of content, and YouTube is the "King Daddy" of them all. YouTube offers you the opportunity to present virtual listing tours, showcase client testimonials, demonstrate your expertise with educational Vlogs (video blogs), and more. Looking for ideas on the types of content you can create for YouTube? Download our guide! Instagram. Perfect for real estate. Instagram is all about keeping it short, sweet and very visual. On this platform, photos and videos rule—with text taking a backseat. Great content ideas for real estate are showcasing your day-to-day activities around communities you represent, virtual house tours, happy clients, and featuring local businesses, people and feel-good stories. Want more great social media tips, tricks and strategies? Of course you do! That's why you should download your FREE Social Media Marketing 101 Guide. You'll receive 17 pages of awesome content to help you and your real estate business. All you need to do is stop binging on Netflix long enough to read it!
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Free Time? Grow Your Real Estate Business with These Best Practices
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Want More Listings? Call Your Database and Ask These 4 Questions
Why do some agents get all the listing clients, while others have to settle for buyers? It all boils to one simple truth. "The people that get all the listings talk to more people," says real estate coach Tom Ferry. "Period. End of story." That's pretty unequivocal advice. But if you're not used to cold calling, you may not know where to start. That's okay, because in the video above, Tom offers four simple questions you can ask your database to spark a conversation that gets homeowners thinking about selling: Are you living in your ideal or dream home right now? Have you had any thoughts on selling? At what price would you be motivated to sell? Do you know anyone who's thinking about selling? Watch the video above to learn how to expand on these questions... and turn your conversations into commissions!
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75% of Real Estate Agents Optimistic About the Market Despite Pandemic
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How to Master Local SEO for Real Estate Success
Local SEO has long been a key ingredient of a successful online marketing mix for real estate agents, and it has only become more important with COVID-19 precautions changing the way that the industry does business. When someone is interested in buying or selling a home in your market areas, they will typically trust their favorite search engine. They might be looking for an agent, searching for listings, or seeking virtual open houses to tour properties from a distance. No matter what local real estate topic they're searching for, local SEO helps your personal brand stand out from the pack.
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Why Real Estate Agent Websites Need a Privacy Policy
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5 Ways to Lose a Lead Real Quick
Leads are the lifeblood of any business. Period. Whether you are communicating to a lead or client, both should be given the same amount of attention. If a prospect was recommended to you, found you online or heard about you by way of word of mouth, the clock has started for you to make them feel comfortable in helping them with this major transition in their life. You might think that mishandling a new lead is a short term problem, but if it's consistent, putting a band-aid on it will only make the same issues persist down the road – damaging your reputation and your business referrals.
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Think Inside the Box: Visualizing Inside a Home with Floorplanner
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Foreign Real Estate Investing: How Much Do You Know?
I hear so much about foreign investors in the real estate industry; some agents run scared, some agents embrace foreign investors and most just don't have a clue and don't understand that part of the business. I am one of those who had no clue about foreign investors, visas, the IRS and many other questions. Where I live in Central Florida is apparently a hot bed for foreign investors, so I decided to look around for help so all of us understand more about foreign investors and what opportunities a Realtor might have.
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The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Lead Ads for Realtors
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What I Wish I Knew Then: Top Agents Share Their Advice on Making It in Real Estate
Recently, Homesnap asked several top-performing agents to reflect on the early years of their career and to share advice, wisdom and lessons learned with those who may just be starting out or who might need a dash of inspiration. Here's what they had to say.
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How to Draw a Floor Plan without a Laser Measure
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6 Real Estate Video Production Resources for Agents
It's true you can spend a lot on video production if you have the budget for it, but many real estate businesses are producing their own video content cost effectively without hiring professionals. Some of the services discussed below cost less per month than a daily cup of coffee! These services are also very easy to use and you will quickly discover you don't have to have a background in design or video to produce effective videos.
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5 Shocking Yet True Real Estate Statistics
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Social Media Ideas Certain to Bring Love to Your Website
Social media marketing is one of the leading ways to connect with your community as a sales associate. Studies have shown that experts in real estate are consistently among the most active professionals on most social media platforms. Used correctly, social media is an unbeatable tool for driving traffic to your website and turning those visitors into leads. It also helps you cultivate long-term relationships with current clients, past clients, and future referrals within their network. The right social media can show people to your website right when they need you.
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The Importance of Down Payment Assistance Programs in a Pandemic
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Are Your Listing Photos Costing You Leads?
NAR reports that, in 2019, a whopping 93% of home buyers and sellers turned to the internet to help with their home search. With so many potential prospects looking at your listings and digital ads, there's no room for error in how you present properties. Above all else, consumers are taking a critical eye to each property photo. Buyers are determining whether your listing is worth their next step, while sellers are assessing your marketing abilities based on how you present your active listings and how attractive your listing ads are.
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Get Your Calendar Under Control: Time Management Strategies to Reclaim Your Day
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How to Choose the Best CRM for Your Real Estate Business
Today, we are being bombarded by so many tools and information that it can be a bit overwhelming. Many offer free trials, and you may think about trying each one before deciding. That may make you even more crazy. Instead, write down those features that are most important to you right now and for the vision you have for your business. Don't get caught up with all the bells and whistles if you don't have the time to use the majority of them. To be conservative, consider looking for a CRM where you will be utilizing at least 60% of the features.
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Why the Census Counts: RPR and REALTORS Rely on Accurate Data
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Friday Freebie: Voicemail Scripts that Convert
You're a proactive agent--when a new lead comes in, you call them ASAP. But what if that hot lead sends you right to voicemail? The message you leave is the first impression you give a prospect. You've got to make it count in order to convert that lead into a new client. That's why in this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a new guide with sample voicemail scripts you can use to make you the Realtor that lead will want to work with. Free download of Voicemail Scripts that Convert, courtesy of Zurple The way you communicate with leads and clients is one crucial aspect of building your sales pipeline. Don't give up on leads just because they send you to voicemail. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to demonstrate your value via an effective message—and then by consistent follow-up. In this new guide from Zurple, you'll discover the basics of crafting voicemails for lead conversions, including: How body language can affect your message (yes, really!) The structure of outgoing and incoming voicemail messages A sample script for leaving a new lead a voicemail A sample script for incoming voicemail messages that convert (i.e., your phone's voicemail greeting) Download Voicemail Scripts that Convert and start winning conversations with hot real estate leads now! P.S. Learn all the components of building a thriving sales pipeline in this FREE upcoming webinar, Building a Growth Focused Pipeline, on July 21.
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NAR 2020 Member Profile: Realtors Used More Technology, Cited Inventory Constraints
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How Is Your Business Doing During COVID-19? Share Your Thoughts to Win $100
What's happening in the real estate market? If someone wants to know, it's best to ask a real estate agent. That's exactly what Homes.com is doing a new, nationwide survey of real estate agents. And they want YOUR opinion—and in exchange, you could win a $100 Amazon gift card! It's been four months since the start of the COVID-19 shutdowns. How has the pandemic affected your real estate business? Take the survey to to share your experiences and opinions on: New listings and listing cancellations Changing buyer wants, needs, and budgets The impact of low mortgage rates on buyers Using real estate tech during the pandemic Your feelings on the current and future housing markets And more! Take the Business Sentiment Survey for Real Estate Professionals from Homes.com today for the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card!
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What Is Reputation Management and Why Does It Matter?
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5 Things Every Real Estate Website Should Have
There are a lot of elements that must be in place for your real estate website to generate leads. Your SEO needs to be on point. Your site should be easy to use, but above all else, you need to have the right content.
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Real Estate Technology to the Rescue: iGUIDE Virtual Showing is a Free Tool to Assist with Physical Distancing
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Zoom for Real Estate: 4 Hacks You Need to Know
More than 300 million people have participated in Zoom, the live video conference technology. Zoom has become a new real estate go-to tool for communications with millions of Americans working from home and attending online classes. As with all new technology, the more you become familiar with it, the more features you uncover. Once turned on, some hidden features give real estate professionals more ways to use this communication platform to engage clients and prospects.
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Close More Deals with These Email Marketing Tips
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Use Public Records to Find Commercial Prospects
To be a successful commercial real estate practitioner, you obviously need clients and listings. And you probably get quite a few through repeat and referral business. However, some signs are pointing to the commercial market tightening up in the near future, which means now might be a great time to brush up on your prospecting skills. Lead generation can play a key role in having a strong year versus a weak one.
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Busy Season Is Busier Than Ever
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Your Guide to Hosting Virtual Open Houses
Real estate agents have successfully been throwing open houses for decades, but virtual open houses are a different ball game. The freedom of the internet allows you to be more flexible and creative with your showing, which can lead to amazing results without inconveniencing your clients. It can be hard to know where exactly to start, though. So we have prepared some easy guidelines for you to follow. Who knows? With some practice, virtual open houses could become your new favorite marketing tactic.
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How to Electronically Sign a Word Document
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How to Make a Flyer in Google Slides
If you're looking for ways to add value, reach a larger audience, attract more visitors to your website, or capture more leads, downloadable guides, flyers, and checklists may be the tool you're looking for. Here's how to make your own for free in Google Slides.
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Your Real Estate Blog: How to Turn It into a Lead Magnet
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How to Run Instagram Ads for Your Real Estate Business
Promoting your real estate business on social media is a solid part of online marketing campaigns. The abundance of platforms, however, creates a paradox of choice for real estate professionals. They often have to spend a lot of money advertising on various social media until they can find the most efficient one. Despite the fact that, ultimately, there are no perfect options, Facebook and Instagram are viable choices since they have a huge amount of ad features and a great audience. In this guide, we will take a look at how we can run Instagram ads for real estate. But first, let's talk about why we should post ads on Instagram.
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The Power of a High Functioning Website
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5 Fun and Easy Video Content Ideas to Try Today
With stay-at-home orders back in place in many places and a rocky road to re-opening ahead, real estate agents are adapting to the conditions and working with tech to keep business and cash-flow consistent. The video sharing platform YouTube was launched only 15 years ago, but with over 2 billion users, it's already one of the most popular social media sites and can be a powerful weapon for a real estate agent to add to their arsenal. In a highly visual world, watching a short video can communicate much about your brand. However, we're not all digital natives. Before you pull out the camera, get started by creating a content calendar filled with content that your potential clients will actually want to watch. Here are some video content ideas that real estate agents can use right now to build your credibility and get leads. Before you start, don't forget these super important ground rules! Practice, Practice, Practice - Try to temper your nerves by doing a couple of practice runs. Rehearse in front of a mirror first for a few times before getting in front of a lens. It's all right if your first tries don't go exactly the way you want. Don't stress—consider them as just more practice runs! The more video content you film, the more comfortable you become. We promise. Have Fun! - Of course you're a friendly, amiable person—you're a real estate agent! But it might be a struggle to convey all of this in front of the camera. Here's a quick secret: try to have fun. Your viewers will respond to your energy. If you can keep up a good level of enthusiasm, your potential clients will respond in kind. We don't have to tell you that the real estate business is the business of relationship, so show what entering into a professional relationship with you would look like. Get to Know Your Equipment - Cameras and video editing suites like iMovie can be easy to operate, but if you have no knowledge of them, it's easy to feel out of your depth. YouTube has a lot of easy-to-follow tutorials that will get you up to speed on the latest best practices. iMovie is not difficult to pick up and watching 20 minutes of tutorials is time well spent. Keep it Quick - Think short and sweet. Just like you, your clients are busy and won't have time to sit through hours of content. Incorporate a few longer pieces—a conversation between you and a another real estate agent where you break down market conditions, for example—but don't push yourself to extend content. A few minutes to show off your neighborhood or do a listing walkthrough is enough. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 1: Neighborhood explorations The goal of neighborhood explorations is to show yourself as a neighborhood and area expert ready to guide a newcomer to an area that they'll love. You can still make this content if your neighborhood is under lockdown orders—you'll just have to take increased safety precautions. Sell your area as well as your listing. Let the viewer follow you around as you soak up the local atmosphere, get a cup of coffee, or do some shopping so they can envision themselves doing the same. It'll be like Google Street View, only better. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Begin in your car or at your home, speak about the benefits of the neighborhood. Show the viewer your journey to the neighborhood spot. If you're able to safely enter and purchase something from the store, go ahead and buy something you love. If you can't, spend a little bit of time letting your client know the store's offerings. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 2: Listings walkthroughs Listing walkthroughs are a great way to show your listings and generate more interest. In typical market conditions, videos can help a viewer envision themselves in the space and can provide a refreshing variation from the usual slew of social media photos. With COVID, virtual walkthroughs are often the only way a potential client can see a listing. So take this content seriously. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Walk through your listings Show the home's or building's amenities End by encouraging your viewers to contact you if they think this listing is right for them. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 3: Q&A Solicit questions from your clients and answer them in detail. Is no one asking you questions? Don't wait for adoring fans to flood your mailbox. Ask yourself questions. What would you want to know the answer to? What questions do you get asked on showings? Challenge yourself to come up with a brief, helpful answer on film. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 4: Connect with other pros Two heads (or more!) are better than one. Join forces with another real estate agent for a collaborative video where the two of you can discuss real estate trends, the life of a real estate agent, tips for renting or buying, or major red flags to watch out for. The goal of this is to simultaneously create partnerships with other real estate agents and generate leads with your deep insight and knowledge of the real estate market. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Introduce your guest on the channel. Choose two talking points that the two of you can discuss. Have a natural discussion. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 5: Real estate forecast and report Right now, uncertainty is pervasive and scary. Real estate agents have the power to become a powerful source of calm. What do you see in cards for the market? What amenities are becoming increasingly popular? Share your expertise on the real estate market to position yourself as a knowledgeable thought leader and a reliable source of information. Also, think about the type of information you present. How are you collecting your news? Who is your target audience and what do they want to know from you? If your client base seems to consist of young renters, perhaps a report of rental prices in your neighborhood might be beneficial. To view the original article, visit the RentalBeast blog.
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Do You Know How to Communicate with Gen Y?
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Real Estate App Makes Open House Profitable
Twenty minutes before Nicole Nicolay heads to her open house, she logs onto RPR, prints one Mini Property Report and one Neighborhood Report, puts them into her bag and hits the road. At the open house, "A woman with two kids in tow appears in the doorway and within seconds exclaims she loves the house but wasn't ready to buy," said Nicole. "She said she'd have to sell her house first and find temporary accommodations while searching for her next home so that she could make a firm offer. The market is that competitive here. "The woman also admitted that she was feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of uprooting her family twice, as anyone would be. I knew at that moment I could ease her fears and set her on the right path, ensuring her that the process can be streamlined by an agent with the right tools at her disposal––and, secretly, I knew I was that agent. "So I made a simple suggestion: 'Let's check out what your house is worth. Give me your address and while you look around, I'll see what I can come up with.' She looked at me with a quizzical expression but decided to play along. "My soon-to-be new client said she thought her house could sell for about $500,000, so as she turned the corner toward the dining room, I jumped into RPR, entered her address, created a property report complete with RPR's Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®), and texted it to before she finished touring the second floor. "Ding! I heard her phone's notification system go off. She came down the stairs, phone in hand, smiling. 'Wow, I just got a report from you,' she exclaimed. 'It says my house is worth $525,000. Is that true?' she asked. "'Well, we can find out,' I said. 'Let's get together at your place to talk more. I'll get an idea of what you've done to the property and we'll rerun the numbers to confirm.' "Days later, I listed her beautiful home for the RVM valuation of $550,000. From there, we found her new house without having to move her and her family into a temporary place. And she was so impressed by my spot-on analysis and responsiveness that she referred me to a family relative, who also bought and sold through me." Sure, Nicole recognizes that this, in all, was an incredible experience. Yet, what's important is that she had the wherewithal to listen to an open house visitor who thought she wasn't ready to buy and took the bull by the horns to bring forth a deal. And the common thread? Realtors Property Resource. "It may seem as if I didn't put a lot of effort into my open house, but rest assured, I'm backed by a powerful and seamless system that does all of the work for me," said the veteran real estate pro working out of Pleasanton, Calif. That and—as anyone who knows her will tell you—her cheery disposition and shrewd business acumen are the trifecta of successful open house strategies. Learn more about what RPR can do for your next open house. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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As Listings Increase, So Too Has Agent Confidence
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Warm Up Cold Real Estate Leads with SMS Texting
The real estate industry is changing, and so are the needs of clients. These days, people want speed and convenience. Providing rapid, responsive service is crucial for top-notch customer service. One of the best tools for growing rapport is something you probably use daily but might not have applied to your business just yet. It's SMS texting.
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Relocate and Reinvent Your Business in Five Steps
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Is TikTok a Good Social Media Platform for Realtors?
TikTok is a social media channel that has become very popular recently. Many business owners who want to take their business to the next level are on TikTok now. Even Realtors have started using the social media platform to get noticed and target certain market segments. But how and why should you use TikTok for real estate? In this article, we will provide you with some examples and arguments.
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The Importance of Google Reviews and Ratings and How to Get Them
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Waze Is the Hottest Trend in Real Estate Marketing. Here's Why
According to the latest Homesnap data, Waze advertisements have experienced a 173% surge in usage among agents when compared to this time last June. The year-over-year jump is the largest we've seen from any digital real estate marketing channel--including stalwarts like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. So, we asked ourselves: What's driving this trend?
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Are You Ready to Deal with Gen Y First-time Home Buyers?
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Home Buyers: What do they want? What do they really, really want
We have all spent a lot more time in our homes over the past several months. Our homes have gone from being where we eat, sleep, and store our stuff to also becoming our schools, offices, and gyms. Surprisingly, surveys indicate that most of us rather like being in our homes, and if given the choice, more than 75% of office workers would prefer to telecommute more often. That number is even higher among parents, where nearly 80% say more work-from-home time would be their preference. Unsurprisingly, this time at home has changed not only the way buyers are shopping for homes, it has impacted the features they are looking for in their next home. Search social media and you'll find plenty of comments about the things they wished their home offered right now. In a survey by the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans, potential home buyers identified eight features they consider a priority in a new home, post-COVID19. These features included more light and space, space for cooking, more privacy, more energy efficiency, a space for working out, outdoor space, a home office, and less of a focus on common area amenities. According to the National Home Builder's Association, laundry spaces, outdoor space, and more pantry storage rank in the top ten must-haves for home buyers who are searching right now. It's safe to say that this experience has made the idea of home even more important. As a Realtor, what does this mean for you? We've seen swift changes to the way that we show homes and meet with customers in the past months. Virtual showings are safe, easier and more readily available. Face-to-face is more commonly screen-to-screen these days, and it's becoming more likely that some of these new habits and business practices will be the norm going forward. Buyers will always want to see homes in person. But more so now than ever before, they are using photos, videos, virtual tours, floor plans, and 3D tour experiences to shortlist those homes. They know what they want, and they want to see those features online before they see them in person. A decade ago, marketers were told they had approximately a minute's worth of attention span in which to capture a potential buyer's attention. Today, that time span has been decreased to less than 10 seconds. A first impression is everything these days. Buyers are making decisions faster, and with limitations on open houses and in-person showings, the competition is fierce for those precious seconds. There is a silver lining in all of this data. There is a huge opportunity for Realtors who understand the realities of today, and are aware of what buyers want. The savvy Realtor will ensure that the marketing for each and every home they list follows this recipe: Stage it. The wow factor has to be big enough to stop a buyer from scrolling and invite them to virtually come inside. Physical staging can help give a property a modern look and feel, while virtual staging can help declutter and decorate, all without a stager having to physically be in the home. Use virtual staging to show how a bedroom or family room could be used as a home office or a gym. (You can even virtually stage a backyard!) Show it off. Smartphone photos won't cut it anymore. A well-presenting listing now includes drone footage, 30 or more magazine-quality photos, a 3D tour, a floor plan, and a property tour video. Tech savvy buyers may especially appreciate a more immersive experience using VR. Buyers expect to fully see the property before they visit it in person. Don't skimp. It's no longer the time to hold back hoping to tease buyers into wanting more info. Buyers know what they want, and they are increasingly marketing savvy. Include photos of the HVAC, the water heater, the pantry, and the laundry. Include information on energy efficiency and utility bills. Make sure the square footage is accurate and not exaggerated. Buyers expect Realtors to be professionals, which means the more you can educate them on the home, the better. We are all likely to spend a lot more time in our homes for the foreseeable future, and this new reality will continue to shape how buyers shop. Knowing what buyers want will help you to create a marketing package that will not only capture attention, but ensure that your listing makes the short list. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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How to Use RPR and Canva to Make Shareable Market Charts for Social Media
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Tech Challenge: Try Tech Helpline just once in the next 30 days
Working from home presents a new challenge for real estate agents who are used to going into a brokerage office to work. Agents can no longer turn to their brokerage's resident tech expert or a tech-savvy college to get "unstuck" when they encounter a technical problem. What do you do when your laptop won't connect to Wi-Fi or hotspot, or you can't get your printer to print or you need to sync data between devices? And what happens if your computer starts working slower than usual or catches a virus? Fortunately for about three-in-five agents in North America, they are covered with free and unlimited access to general tech support from Tech Helpline. That's right — no additional cost to participating agents and brokers to use. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's No. 1 tech support firm. Provided to agents and brokers as an included member benefit from MLSs, associations, or brokerages throughout North America, Tech Helpline is known for its top team of friendly, experienced, and U.S-based analysts. Agents and brokers can connect to Tech Helpline by phone, email, or online chat. Have you used Tech Helpline? It's time you give it a try and discover how it can help you, as an agent or broker, spend less time dealing with technical glitches to spend more time with clients and potential clients. Fear is not an option with Tech Helpline If you have a fear of technology, particularly technology that you don't fully understand, you are not alone. According to the annual Survey of American Fears by Chapman University, a little more than half of Americans expressed fear about technology they don't understand. Remarkably, one-in-five people say they are "Afraid" or "Very Afraid." And that's the best part of reaching out to Tech Helpline for help. Our Orlando-based staff of technology professionals have earned a reputation for providing no-nonsense technical advice along with warm and friendly customer service. The tech analysts you can receive help from have 300+ years of combined IT experience. Most importantly, Tech Helpline was created for Realtors and our analysts work exclusively with agents and brokers, so they know the kind of support you need. Our staff is also bilingual, offering support in Spanish if that's your native language. We want everyone to get the tech support they need without any fear of contacting Tech Helpline. Take our Tech Challenge We want to show every agent and broker who has access to Tech Helpline today the value we offer. While thousands of agents have recently discovered the wide range of tech support services that Tech Helpline offers, not everyone has tested us out! We invite you, if you have never had a chance to engage with Tech Helpline, to discover how we can help you with even the little things that you continue to struggle with on your own. It could be as simple as learning how to set up your own mail merge for your newsletter, mailing labels, or tips to making your older laptop run faster. So, take our Tech Helpline challenge. In the next 30 days, when you come across a tech glitch or find yourself spending too much time fixing a persisting tech issue, call, email or go online and chat with us. The fastest way to reach us is through your computer by chat at chat.techhelpline.com. We think you'll encounter one of the best tech support experiences you'll ever have. Always remember, after the 30 days, you still have access to Tech Helpline. Our friendly and helpful analysts are ready to help you anytime with your tech questions. And if you don't have access to unlimited free support from Tech Helpline as a member benefit, tell your MLS, association or brokerage to check out techhelpline.com today! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Converting FSBOs to Clients: 4 Tips
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3 Tips to Show Your Clients Gratitude During this Time
During this unsettling time, there is no doubt that sales have been fluctuating. With that in mind, a best practice would be to ensure that you treat your prospects and past clients with a sense of value. Here are a few ways you can show your prospects and past clients your appreciation, but still respect social distancing rules:
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Let Listing Pictures and Video Do the Talking on Instagram
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It's Not About Luck: 6 Ways to Maximize Leads and Entice Buyers
"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." The above quote, credited to Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, posits that the most successful among us are responsible for making their own luck, not biding their time waiting upon some indeterminate stroke of good fortune or unexpected twist of fate. When it comes to success in real estate, we tend to agree. High-performing agents are no more lucky than their peers. Rather, in knowing the right tools and data to put to use, they prospect more effectively, get more eyeballs on their listings, entice buyers, and maximize leads. In other words, they're preparing. Then getting "lucky." So, it stands to reason: If you know what avenues to take, what tricks can put you ahead of your competitors, and what tech can help you work more efficiently, you can tap into the same knowledge and tactics that high-performing agents use—no luck required.
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COVID-19 Listing Cancellations: Don't Panic, Just Do This
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Top Real Estate Website Issues and How to Fix Them
Creating a real estate website nowadays can be easy, if you have the right set of tools. A specialized platform for real estate with IDX features helps pave the path toward a converting website. But once we have our website up and running, we might face some issues down the road. These issues can affect our marketing and lead generation. Some of these hurdles are very technical and can take some time to cope with on your own. Technical SEO issues can be outsourced, so the website admin can focus on the actual business of generating and converting leads to clients. Most common issues, however, can be taken care of on your own without the need to be tech savvy. Here are five common issues with real estate estate websites and how to fix them:
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Worth the Upgrade: How to go fully digital with the Ultimate Edition of Form Simplicity
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Back 2 Biz: Conducting Virtual Listing Presentations
The final piece of our "Back 2 Biz" series (see parts one, two and three) looks at how you can use RPR and virtual meeting tools in tandem to deliver stellar listing presentations to your sellers. While many businesses are ramping up or completely opened up, there's no doubt that things will take a bit of adjustment moving forward. Everyone's comfort level will be different, and as a REALTOR, you need to pivot and change speeds accordingly. Luckily, with RPR and a myriad of tech communication tools, you can prepare and present traditional things like your listing presentations with ease. Here's how.
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Shifting Population Due to Working Remotely
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How to Build an Income-Producing Referral Business
Imagine having a business where most of your income comes from people you know. That is the dream of many new and seasoned real estate agents. And it is not only possible, it is achievable. Real estate is an essential business built on relationships, and your database is your goldmine. By following the suggestions below, you can begin learning the skills to effectively communicate, network and grow your business. The incredible results will be a business that is built on referrals. This means increased revenue and a solid business that is continually expanding. Get ready to start mining. Your road map to success begins here. It all begins with who you know.
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Use Live Video to Communicate with Real Estate Clients
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Are Your Real Estate Photos Enticing Buyers?
You're well aware high-quality listing photographs are a key component to your success as a real estate agent. But here's a few stats, courtesy of RISMedia, that help quantify just how vital they are: Homes with high-quality photography sell 32 percent faster. Homes with more photos sell faster. A home with one photo spends an average of 70 days on the market, but a home with 20 photos spends 32 days on the market. For homes in the $200,000 to $1 million range, those that include high-quality photography in their listings sell for $3,000-$11,000 more. High-quality photographs have a great sway in determining whether or not a property transacts. So, if you're looking to move a current property, or if you want to take advantage of all-time cheap social media advertisements to generate interest in your coming soon listings, now's the time to seriously consider the quality of your images.
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How to Electronically Sign Documents in Google Docs
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Build Your Real Estate CRM Database with 4 Easy Steps
An agent's real estate CRM database is one of their most prized processions. It's the backbone of a sales professional's business, being the source of repeat and referral business. The more quality contacts in your real estate CRM database, the more repeat client transactions and referrals will likely come your way. No wonder most real estate agents are always interested in building their list as quickly as possible.
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I Can't Quite Picture It: Why virtual staging has taken the real estate world by storm
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8 Great Facebook and Instagram Hacks
Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are experiencing record volumes of visitors. A major benefit for real estate agents: the cost of advertising has fallen as these social media channels register record traffic. Nearly 70 percent of Americans use Facebook and 74 percent of them visit Facebook every day. To take advantage of the massive traffic on Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) to raise your local visibility now and when real estate begins to rebound, here are eight great hacks.
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[Free Download] What NOT to Do Before Closing
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Back 2 Biz: Working with Buyers Virtually
The third entry in our "Back 2 Biz" series (see parts one and two) looks at how you can use RPR to keep virtual buyers (or any buyers, for that matter) informed and in the loop on recently listed properties. We're also going to offer up some tips and strategies on how you can optimize the virtual showing experience for your clients.
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Smart Homes Need Smart REALTORS
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Ad Science: Ads with Faces Eleven Times More Likely to Get Noticed
Turn on your computer or grab your phone to read your email, browse the internet, or connect on social media, and what do you notice? Everywhere you look, someone is competing for your attention online. Buy this, download that, read these. In fact, the average person sees about 360 commercial messages daily. You might not think that's very many, but it's way more information than your brain can process, particularly because much of it is irrelevant. This has led us to minimally process online content that looks like an ad, a phenomenon called banner blindness, which is a widely recognized challenge in advertising. The average online ad receives only one-third of a second of someone's time. However, you likely see a lot of faces in advertising, and this is not a coincidence. There is science behind the phenomenon.
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Top 8 Eco-Friendly Home Features in Demand
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12 Tips for Marketing to Buyer's Agents
When an agent receives a listing, they use different marketing strategies to let the public know there is a property for sale. But before informing the public about a new listing, talk to your colleagues first! There are lots of buyer's agents who will be happy to hear there is a potential home for their clients available. Here are some tips to help you better market your listing to buyer's agents:
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More First-time Homebuyers Are Entering the Market
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Agent Advice: How to Ask Clients for Online Reviews
Today's real estate agents have a lot of new tools at their disposal to help their businesses grow. Blog content, social media, and other online marketing tools have become indispensable. Still, one thing has not changed: prospective clients will always want to know what your previous clients think about your services. Reviews and testimonials are essential for growing your business. But why are they so important, and how do you get them? We're here to offer up some answers.
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The 5 Best Real Estate Cold Calling Tips
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The Newest Tool for Your Virtual Real Estate Business: Facebook Messenger Rooms
Facebook, the leading social media platform in the world, has come out with a new video tool available to members of the Facebook community: Facebook Messenger Rooms. These "Rooms" were made to increase the usage of the Facebook platform and engage community video discussions. Available through Facebook Messenger, these "Rooms" can hold a maximum of 50 guests per chat. The best part is that this is a free tool that can be used directly on Facebook. Now, you are probably wondering how you can use it for your real estate business.
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Don't Be a "Me Too" Agent
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Back 2 Biz: Social Media and Online Communication Tools
Article #2 in our "Back 2 Biz" series (see #1 here) is all about how you can stay connected and do business in the current climate. Obviously, things have changed and the rules of the game will continue to evolve. Fortunately, as a REALTOR, you have access to RPR as part of your membership dues. This article will focus on how you can use RPR to improve your social media presence and how you can pull it off with just a few taps in the RPR Mobile app. It's the ultimate communication tool to help you better serve your clients during this challenging time.
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Friday Freebie: Handle Objections Better with These Brochures
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When Should You Use Instagram for Your Real Estate Marketing?
Note: The COVID-19 pandemic has made marketing on Instagram cheaper than ever. If you're considering advertising on the social media platform, now is an opportune time. More than one billion people use Instagram every month. However, the appeal of the network isn't so much its outsized user base, as impressive as it is, but rather how well the platform lends itself to marketing, and in particular, real estate marketing. Consider:
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3 Ways to Make Open Houses One of Your Most Valuable Marketing Tools
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4 Strategies for Smarter Virtual Selling with Your Property Tax Data Tools
We're in a moment of transition right now--some areas in the U.S. are coming out of quarantine, and some are still sheltering in place. While we're all dealing with uncertainty, one thing's for sure: how we buy and sell real estate has changed. The past two months have seen the real estate industry respond creatively to the pandemic's impacts, much of it driven by technology that enables Realtors to conduct business from a distance, from virtual open houses to virtual closings and beyond. Today, we're going to show you how to use your MLS's public records/property tax data tool to prospect and stay in touch with your sphere—both during quarantine and after. These ideas are courtesy of the property data experts at CRS Data, who are working to help agents stay proactive as they navigate this new market. For a more in-depth look at executing these ideas, check out the video webinar below and explore new webinars from CRS Data here. 1. Show that your market is still active One of the biggest quarantine myths that real estate agents are up against is that home sales have ground to a halt. While home sales have slowed (by 17.8% in April, according to NAR), the housing market is still active. The catch? Potential buyers and sellers may not know this. It's up to you to let your prospects and clients know that both you and the housing market are still open for business. You can do this by sending out a mailing that shows homes that have sold in the last month, current area listings, or pending listings. Use your property data tool to select the area you serve and pull a list of homes that meet your criteria. You can not only mail this information out via postcard or flyer, but you can also share it on social media, via email, or on your website. 2. Stay top-of-mind with personalized property reports It's always been important to brand any reports you give to clients with your headshot and contact information. But it's especially important now when you can't physically be in front of your buyers and sellers. "It shows who you are and it reminds your client that you're there with them through these tough times as you continue to look for the home of their dreams or sell a property that they intended on selling this year," says Nikki Morgan, Sales Executive for the MLS Tax Suite, in the webinar above. "We want to make sure that your client knows that you're still doing business and you're still providing them all of this great information." If your MLS provides CRS Data's MLS Tax Suite, you can also add a personalized note to any of your property reports. Nikki suggests adding a "positive, reinforcing statement" to let clients know you're with them through thick and thin. 3. Tap into mapping to show neighborhood features Different buyers have different needs. Some may want to live in a bustling neighborhood, while others may long for a quieter locale. With lockdown still in place in many areas, your clients may not feel comfortable touring a neighborhood. Fortunately, you can still convey important neighborhood information to your clients. Advanced property data tools like MLS Tax Suite have maps with multiple layers that show exactly what you need to help a buyer understand how well a particular home suits them. For example, is a listing close to a major road with restaurants or a shopping center? That may be perfect for your buyer who wants to live in an active area, but less so for the buyer who wants a quiet neighborhood. You can use map layers to zoom in and discover exactly what surrounds a listing. Even after quarantine is lifted, this strategy can still be an asset to your business. You can cut down on unnecessary showings by narrowing down which listings best fit your clients' needs before embarking on a tour. This new tutorial from CRS Data delves into all the functions you can leverage in their large map search. 4. Optimize your prospecting with simplified mailing and labeling tools Time is money, even in the middle of a pandemic, and you can save both by using the prospecting tools available in your property data platform. In CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite, for example, you can select an area you want to prospect in by radius, zip code, subdivision, county, and more—or even by drawing a target area on a map. But it's rare that you'll want to send a mailing to every address in an area, so tap into filters to remove properties that don't fit your criteria. You can refine your list by removing absentee owners, commercial properties, recently sold or currently listed homes, or narrow your list down. Once you have a list of desired prospects, CRS Data will let you export and print those addresses on mailing labels from the comfort of your home office. Then you can reach out to let clients and leads alike know that now is still a great time to buy or sell a home. To learn more about CRS Data’s MLS Tax Suite, visit CRSData.com. Want a demonstration of how to execute the strategies above? Watch CRS Data's recent webinars: Optimizing Your Realty Business in the Age of Coronavirus Property Report: Tips and Tricks for our Virtual World Results the Way You Want
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Simple, Proven Tips for Breaking through with Virtual Open Houses
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Selling a Property Online? Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Tours
3D tour, virtual tour, 3D virtual tour, virtual walkthrough. We constantly see photographers and real estate agents juggling these terms and applying them to different solutions and technologies. The real estate industry is embracing technology and now is the best time to try and clearly define these terms to avoid confusion. "The difference between virtual tour, virtual walkthrough, 3D tour, 24/7 open house virtual tour, digital twin, true 3D, 360 tour is clear as mud!" says Dan Smigrod, the founder of We Get Around Network, a popular portal connecting the 3D/360º community worldwide. "One of the challenges in our 'space' – yet another name for a 3D tour – is that even those in the industry cannot agree on what to call the various iterations. Ask 10 people to describe 'it' and you are likely to get 15 different descriptions," says Dan. However, technology companies like iGUIDE, Matterport, or Asteroom and their users typically draw a clear line between a slideshow or a video call and a real 3D tour. So, what is the difference between all these terms? Let's try to "clear the mud." What Is a Virtual Tour? Over the years, the term "virtual tour" has been gradually evolving and changing its meaning. Before the emergence of the aforementioned innovative solutions, a slideshow or a series of panoramic images was legitimately called a "virtual tour." However, nowadays, the meaning of this term is rapidly shifting towards something much more sophisticated and advanced. Interestingly enough, the same thing happened to the term "virtual reality," which used to be widely applied to the same 360° photographs. "Even before there was virtual reality, the International Virtual Reality Photography Association (IVRPA) used the term 'virtual reality' to describe 360º photos," says Dan Smigrod. Simply put, you cannot use panoramic images and call them "virtual reality" anymore if you want to be properly understood because the meaning has changed drastically. We are witnessing the same process for the words "virtual tour" and "virtual walkthrough." So let's take a look at the most up-to-date meaning of these terms. Virtual tour is a general term used for a variety of tools and solutions ranging from slideshows, photos, and websites to 3D tours and virtual reality experiences. We can see that this is rather an umbrella term that might have multiple meanings due to the meaning of the words "virtual" and "tour," which basically may encompass any representation of the property done with some sort of computer device. At the same time, 3D tour (or 3D virtual tour) is a series of 360° images, also called photospheres, panoramas, or panos, where a user can navigate from one 360° image to another. This is a more specific term used for platforms like iGUIDE, Matterport, or Asteroom. More can be read about this definition in the white paper, prepared by Alexander Likholyot, CEO of Planitar Inc., the maker of iGUIDE. Slideshows and Live Video Tours We all know somebody who takes still pictures, delivers them in the form of a slideshow and calls it a "virtual tour." We see a growing number of people, lately, using FaceTime or other video call apps to show a house to homebuyers live and call this process a "virtual walkthrough." So after discussing the most up-to-date sense of what "virtual tour" actually is, let's define some other solutions which might be labeled in this way. A slideshow is "a presentation of photographic slides projected on a surface or displayed on a screen one after another." This definition is taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary and seems to be quite accurate. It can be added that, sometimes, these slides are shown one after another automatically. An example of a slideshow platform is Smilebox. Another solution that is widely used today is a live video stream (or live video tours) which means "to stream digital data (such as audio or video material) that is delivered continuously and is usually intended for immediate processing or playback," another W-M definition. Thus, whenever agents are using their smartphone apps like FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, etc. and are walking through the property showing the homebuyers the house and answering questions, they are doing a live video streaming or live video tour. The words and their meanings are in constant flux, especially if they are technology-related. 3D tours, slideshows, live video tours, and regular video are different solutions all of which can be rightfully called a "virtual tour." Even if the industry itself cannot agree on what each term means, using specific and consistent terminology when marketing to your own clients is a better approach for avoiding confusion, boosting efficiency and promoting your personal brand. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Selling Secrets from Top Sales Associates
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Get More Listings: Pursue Absentee Owners
As various states ease lockdown mandates and life starts to at least minimally resemble what it used to look like, the real estate market is on track to be far better than many had assumed. No, we probably won't see the fiery spring real estate markets of yesteryear, but the housing market may just prove to be the bright spot in the economy. Things have changed, however, from buyer preferences to how homes are shown. Have you vegged out enough on Netflix over the past few months or are you ready for the new world of real estate? We've found a couple of niches that we think will be especially worth your time and effort to pursue in a post-lockdown real estate market. One of these is landlords, aka "absentee owners." Who are they? "There are about 8 million individual landlords in the U.S., those who typically own between one and 10 properties," according to Diana Olick at CNBC.com. She goes on to state that these landlords "manage half the rental properties" in the U.S., with 48 million tenants. Many of these landlords bought their properties between 2012 and 2014. Sure, the big guns (institutional investors) bought then as well, but almost half of investment properties were purchased by the individual landlord – the "Mom and Pop" investor. Then, in 2018, the share of small investor activity in the housing market soared to 60%, according to Core Logic's "Home Investor Report." Most of the homes these smaller investors buy are starter homes, by the way – in huge demand in the current market, as you well know. These investors are prime targets, right now, for listing opportunities. Your audience, then, will be landlords who bought investment properties between 2012 and 2018. Their pain points The COVID-19 pandemic created a perfect storm of unemployment, closed businesses offering zero jobs to replace those lost and a government financial rescue program that isn't seeing cash flowing to landlords. Your audience of absentee owners doesn't include the REITs with numerous rental properties and quite deep pockets. Again, they're the small investors, many living paycheck-to-paycheck, just like the rest of us. Their biggest pain point right now is how, without rental income, they'll make their mortgage payments without begging for forbearance and facing a huge payment when it's all over. That is, if they qualify for forbearance. In California alone, it's estimated that 85% of tenants couldn't pay their rent in May, according to SpectrumNews1.com. The news site also claims that "… banks don't have an obligation to help landlords." Even if they are granted forbearance, there are other expenses involved in owning rental property, such as maintenance. Frighteningly, nearly 60% of small landlords "…said they did not have access to any lines of credit that might help them in an emergency," according to a March survey conducted by Avail, a rental platform software company. Ouch. Thankfully, you can help these people. What's in it for you? I think it's safe to say that those landlords who bought their property at the bottom of the market (after the Great Recession), and haven't borrowed against it, are sitting on a ton of equity right now. And the facts bear that out. Alcynna Lloyd at HousingWire.com claims that the average real estate investors who bought their properties in 2012 "… have seen their home equity climb by 261%." That pencils out to an average $141,000 in equity. Imagine being the one who delivers news like this to landlords who are going deeper and deeper into debt the longer the pandemic goes on. The best approach Other investors find the absentee owner niche quite lucrative. Because of this, there's a very good chance that your prospects will have received at least one "yellow letter" from an investor/flipper. The yellow letter is a direct mail piece that is either written by hand (or created to appear to be handwritten) on a sheet of that yellow, lined paper from what is often called a "legal pad." This technique supposedly brings results for these investors, which is why so many of them use it. Direct mail is the best approach to potential clients in this niche and a letter is a perfectly acceptable marketing piece – at least for the first touch. Do yourself a favor, however, and don't use yellow paper. Make your letter professional and valuable. The first step to take when approaching this niche, however, is to determine which area of town you'll farm. Then, order an absentee owner list. If you decide you don't want to use a letter to introduce yourself, there are several other approaches to consider: An Absentee Owner Series postcard (the easiest way). A CMA (include a photo of the home's exterior in the letterhead to make it super impressive). Our Absentee Owner Direct Response Report, Advice For Cash Strapped Landlords. After you've decided on the medium for your introduction, all of the above are well-suited as follow-up material. Which brings us to the next step: Schedule a direct mail stay-in-touch campaign. It doesn't matter if your "touches" are monthly or quarterly, as long as they are consistent. Don't give up if you don't hear back from these prospects after the first few mailings. Right now, many absentee owners are second-guessing their role as a landlord. Many are quite motivated to get out from under the financial burden. Their pain points are very real, very urgent and you offer the ideal analgesic: sell now. To view the original article, visit the ProspectsPLUS! blog.
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