You are viewing our site as an Agent, Switch Your View:

Agent | Broker     Reset Filters to Default
Friday Freebie: Mortgage Calculator and Amortization Schedule Tool
"How much?" is a question you'll hear a lot when helping a client buy a home. How much is the asking price? How much should we offer? How much can I afford? While we can't help you with the first two questions here today, we can help you help your clients understand how much they'll be paying every month. In this week's Friday Freebie, get two tools to help your clients compare the mortgage costs of up to five homes that they're interested in purchasing. Free Mortgage Payment Calculator + Amortization Schedule Tool, courtesy of Zurple The listing price of a home is one thing, but the monthly costs of a mortgage plus property tax, insurance, and HOA fees are quite another. Whether you need to help buyers understand which properties fit into their monthly budget or you want to lure prospects, these free tools from Zurple can help you out. The mortgage payment calculator and amortization tool is a downloadable spreadsheet that lets you: Compare up to five properties side by side See the estimated monthly cost of each property Review a variety of different loan options See a full amortization schedule Calculate the owner equity based on a specific year Leverage this tool by sharing it with clients or using it to walk them through their options before placing an offer on a home. The spreadsheet can also be uploaded to your website or a place like Google Drive to attract leads. Download your FREE copy of the Mortgage Payment Calculator + Amortization Schedule Tool now!
MORE >
Turning Renters to Buyers: Dispelling 5 Key Myths
More so than ever, misconceptions about the buying process keep renters from exploring the possibility of buying a home. Still, seasoned Realtors know that knowledge is power -- a gentle, educational nudge can go a long way in turning would-be renters into first-time homebuyers. Many highly qualified renters see homeownership as out of reach, citing barriers like a minimum 20% down payment, economic uncertainty, or a shortage of inventory as barriers to entry. At the same time, historically low mortgage rates make buying a home more attractive than ever. Renters need not sit on the sidelines and wait out today's uncertain housing market. Realtors can help them navigate the home buying process, establishing long-lasting relationships by pointing them to the right resources and helping them navigate both the decision to buy and a resale transaction. Millennials Making the Move According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials have surpassed boomers as the largest segment of today's homebuyers. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Green Street Advisors – Advisory & Consulting Group At the same time, millennials represent roughly 65% of all renters. As the consumer segment hardest hit by macro-economic events, including the Great Recession and the global pandemic, Millennials had been significantly behind both baby boomers and Gen Xers in their rate of homeownership. However, Millennial earnings are on the rise. In a recent study, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing recorded a 157% increase in rental households making more than $150,000 per year, meaning more millennials are ready to buy homes today. Three out of eight millennial renters believe they'll rent for life. Yet millennials are aware of the drawbacks of renting, including missed tax break opportunities, the inevitability of rent hikes, and the inability to build equity. As such, 62% of younger millennials and 68% of older millennials plan to buy within five years. As a Realtor, you can help turn renters into home buyers by dispelling these five common myths: Dispelling Five Common Myths Among Renters 1. "I done make enough money." Income is necessary, but the amount of money someone earns plays a less significant role in getting a mortgage than many might think. Lenders consider much more than just a paycheck when evaluating would-be homebuyers. Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratios and one's ability to make mortgage payments are more heavily considered than how much one makes. Lenders look at the whole picture, including credit scores and and the amount a borrower has for a down payment. First-time homebuyers may need to pay down debt and organize their spending before entering the market. Realtors working in this segment take their time with these clients, placing them in rentals (and earning commissions) while helping them address these factors. Additionally, rates for 30-year loans, 15-year loans, and 5-year ARMs are historically cheap, lowering the monthly cost of owning a home. 2. "I don't have enough for a down payment." / "I don't think I'll get approved." Most renters believe you need 20% down to purchase a house. To buy a $300,000 home, you'd need $60,000 on hand—an overwhelming amount for most renters. Many first-time buyers close on a house with almost nothing down. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a 100% financing mortgage. The program, formerly known as a Section 502 mortgage, but more commonly referred to as a "Rural Housing Loan" or "USDA loan," is not just a rural loan—it's available to buyers in suburban neighborhoods, too. With a USDA loan, there's no down payment requirement, no maximum home purchase price, and eligible home repairs and improvements can be included Additionally, the upfront guarantee fee can be an add-on to the loan balance at closing. FHA-insured loans allow for down payments as low as 3.5% in all U.S. markets and come with guidelines with a liberal approach to both down payments and credit scores. The FHA will insure home loans for borrowers with low credit scores, provided there is a reasonable explanation. Additionally, a down payment on an FHA-insured loan can come entirely from down payment assistance, including gifted funds. Low-down payments are also available from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac via the Conventional 97 program. Down payments are 3%, and it's less expensive for many buyers than an FHA-insured mortgage. Loans are currently capped at $548,250 and can only be used for fixed-rate mortgages on single-unit dwellings. In addition, the Conventional 97 program doesn't enforce a specific minimum credit score beyond those for a conventional home loan, and the entire 3% down payment can come from gifted funds from a spouse, partner, guardian, or family member. The Veteran's Administration administers a no-money-down program available to members of the U.S. military and surviving spouses, with straightforward qualifications; and local municipalities often offer various levels of down payment assistance, 3. "There's nothing in my price range." Once your rental client is pre-approved, they have a good sense of their target price range. However, in today's resale inventory-constrained environment, they often find themselves up against an increasingly competitive market. Here's where Realtors can demonstrate their value. Experienced Realtors can leverage their hyper-local expertise to guide first-time homebuyers into neighborhoods with homes in their target range and find hidden gems—properties not quite move-in ready yet in a preferred neighborhood and within their client's price range. 4. "I might move in a few years." Renting rather than buying is prudent over a short term—say a few months to a year, but it makes more sense to buy when staying for at least five years, and, in some cases, buying can even offer value when planning to stay for as few as two years. It boils down to math. Renters considering buying should calculate how long they need to live in a purchased home before the cost of buying outweighs the costs of renting. The New YorkTimes provides a Rent vs. Buy Calculator that takes the most important costs associated with buying a house, including mortgage details, growth rates, taxes, and closing costs, with computing equivalent monthly rents. 5. "I'll wait until I find the perfect house." Renters new to the home buying market may have unrealistic expectations about the inevitable pros and cons proffered by every property. No resale home is perfect, and a first-time purchase will likely require a few concessions. Good houses go fast! Renters looking to buy should be ready to act. Would-be buyers often need to make an offer right after a showing, so have reasonable criteria in mind beforehand. Closing a deal will involve some trade-offs, but the accomplishment of homeownership almost certainly offset them. More so than ever, there's value in working with renters, and while converting renters to buyers takes a little strategy and a lot of chutzpah, it's one of the most proven and cost-effective ways for Realtors to grow their book of business. To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast blog.
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Buyer's Cheat Sheet to Winning in Low Inventory Markets
MORE >
A High Offer Isn't Everything: How Buyers Can Sweeten the Deal in Other Ways
Palm Beach County, Florida remains one of the strongest real estate markets in the country due to great weather, lack of income tax, low inventory, and reasonable home prices. Jeff Lichtenstein of Echo Fine Properties says that buyers need to think beyond price when they find themselves in a bidding war. Lichtenstein says that the highest offer doesn't always win, and offers some tips on being prepared in competitive situations: Educate buyers on the market, and stay in control of the situation. Agents must have a plan and a schedule. Find out what the seller wants. Sellers hold most of the cards right now, so it's critical to understand what their wants and needs are, and act accordingly. Speed is a major factor. Clients can't sleep on it overnight and think about whether or not they want to buy it. Include short periods of acceptance. If your clients see a house at 10 am, write up the offer and give the sellers until 5 pm to respond. Try to get the earliest appointment possible to view a home. Use an escalation clause. Include in the contract that if someone matches the buyer's offer in 24 hours, your buyer will match it and go up by $1,000. Escalation clauses can be used for other things besides money. Agree to be flexible if the seller wants to shift the closing date or lease the property back. Make a big deposit. In the past, 10% was always a good deposit, but offers with larger deposits (25%+) are being taken more seriously. Use a local lender. Local banks can usually close more quickly than a big national bank. Having good communication and always acting/looking professional is also key, and Lichtenstein uses HighNote (a smart presentation platform) as a cornerstone of his communications efforts. He and his brokerage use the tool in multiple ways—introducing their agents and brokerage, showcasing their home selling process, agent onboarding and recruiting, etc. Several of his agents use it to send out a schedule of activities to their clients that includes links to developments and homes they'll be viewing on a particular day. "We can communicate better with HighNote than if we just write and send a generic email without the pretty pictures. People absorb the information faster that way, by seeing the photos and the writing that's next to it—whether you're putting in a .pdf, video, link, a picture, or even a Word document," Lichtenstein explains. "Plus, the analytics lets us know if they've opened it up—if they're looking at it for a long time, we know they're an interested party. Or if they haven't opened it, then we can call and ask if they've seen what we've sent. We love that feature," he says. You can follow Jeff and the entire ECHO Fine Properties team on Facebook and Instagram, and learn more about HighNote at highnote.io.
MORE >
Top Negotiation Tactics for Buyers in a Red-Hot Market
MORE >
How to Use HighNote to Make Your Buyer's Offer Stand Out From the Crowd
In today's real estate world, the offer is everything. Bidding wars are commonplace, properties are receiving multiple offers as soon as they hit the market, and agents are having to find creative ways to make sure their buyers stand out from the crowd. One of the most important things to remember is that offers are about more than just money. Sellers want to know their needs will be met and there will be no surprises during escrow. That's why agents need an easy, organized, and simple way to show a seller that their buyer means business – and sending a HighNote offer presentation is a fabulous way to do exactly that. Here are the things that most sellers are looking for when they review an offer: Highest possible price Confidence that their needs will be met (for instance, maybe they need to rent back from the buyer or rush the closing date) A feeling of security that the deal will close without any problems Photo by Sean Dreilinger When these points aren't met, it's generally a recipe for rejection. However, there are exceptions to every rule. The highest offer doesn't always win. Sometimes the offer with the quickest closing time, the biggest deposit, or an escalation clause wins. It's important to speak with the listing agent before you submit an offer to understand the seller's needs and expectations so that you can meet them (for more information, check out our interview with Jeff Lichtenstein!). Sellers today are inundated with multiple offers, which is why it's important to stand out. When you send a HighNote, you're sending a professional presentation that sets your buyer apart from the rest. It's not handwritten or sloppy; it's organized and aesthetically pleasing. It reflects well on you and your buyer, and helps you get noticed in a sea of other offers. Sending a HighNote offer presentation allows agents to include pertinent information that many other agents aren't sending at all (such as lending pre-approval information and other relevant documentation), or might be sending in a series of messy email attachments which get overlooked. HighNote provides agents with analytics, letting them see what was opened and for how long. This knowledge is critical, and makes it easy for the buyer's agent to follow up with the listing agent. It also allows an agent to inform their buyers that their offer is being reviewed, which keeps them in the loop during the anxious waiting period following an offer submission. HighNote is a beautiful way to send that important information, thereby increasing the likelihood that your buyer's offer will be accepted. Here are some great things to include in your HighNote offer presentation: Summary: A letter or overview sheet that includes the highlights of the offer Buyer notes: What the buyer specifically likes about the house (this is not to be confused with a "love letter," which is frowned upon by the National Association of REALTORS®) Agent notes: What you think about the listing (well staged, how the property blends in nicely with the neighborhood). This is your opportunity to showcase your market knowledge and expertise Signed purchase agreement Proof of funds Lender/mortgage broker overview letter Loan approval letter Signed agent inspection disclosure If you're a real estate agent who wants to give your buyers the best chance possible at getting their offer accepted, then it's time to check out HighNote. Click here to take your business to the next level! To view the original article, visit the HightNote.io blog.
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Homebuyer Packet Template
MORE >
Time is of the Essence for First-Time Home Buyers and Fresh Listings
Working with first-time buyers is rewarding and often very challenging, but as a real estate professional, you know how to guide them through every step of the process. First-time homebuyers want it all. Like seasoned buyers, they want to have a home suited to their lifestyle and needs, in the ideal location, and for the best price. But the question is, what are new homebuyers looking for when it comes to taking the plunge into today's real estate market? The vast majority of first-time homebuyers want a variety of features in their new home. High on the list of wants are garages, finished basements, yard, the ideal size of the home, and an open floor plan. It is your job to help the buyer navigate their maiden voyage and arrive at their "home sweet home" destination in the least amount of time. The shortlist Ideal floor plan Location Price and affordability Size – accurate square footage Who are first-time buyers? According to NAR, 31% of all buyers in 2020 were first-time buyers. More than 80% of buyers between the ages of 22-30 purchased a home for the first time. This demographic is followed closely by older millennials between the ages of 31-40, making up 48% of their age group. Twenty-two percent of buyers between 40-54 years of age were also buying their first residence. So how do you attract first-time homebuyers? Why buy a home? The reasons for purchasing a home range from the need for larger or smaller square footage to the desire to accommodate multi-generational family members under the same roof. Moving from a rental or moving out of the family home are also motivating factors. But the biggest reason first-time homebuyers are getting into the real estate market is the desire to own their home. Forty-two percent of those buyers want to live in their new home for at least five years subject to any unforeseen changes to their employment, family or geographic variations. What are new homebuyers looking for? Provide information. You will find that the majority of first-time homebuyers are familiar with scouring Realtor websites and MLS listings on the web. User-friendly sites with virtual tours are like eye magnets to the curious buyer. Your online listings fulfill the need for instant gratification when a buyer wants to know how the property fits and flows. A simple click here and there on the virtual tour provides a satisfying user experience as they engage and interact with a property. The buyer builds a strong connection while examining the details of a home. Reinforcing the buyer's memory after an in-person viewing is just one of the benefits of 3D tours and interactive floorplans. It is difficult for anyone to retain every bit of information about a property from a 15-30 minute showing. When there is no time to physically see the property, buying a home based on 3D tours is not a scary proposition for the first-time buyer. Their comfort level is heightened by the opportunity to examine a home's features multiple times through virtual tours then write an offer sight unseen. Buy them time – here today, gone tomorrow With record home sales still hitting year over year highs, the decision to buy a property has to be made quickly. Buyers have very little time to view, process, and make a decision before signing the purchase contract for one of the biggest acquisitions of their life. Often a new listing is sold within days and sometimes within hours of it hitting the market. How can you help? You can attract first-time homebuyers and buy them more time by providing floor plans and virtual tours with your listing information. The buyer can check off all their requirements and review the home multiple times online so when they arrive at an in-person showing, they'll be ready to have you write up the purchase contract on the spot. Regrets, they've had a few Buying a home for the first time can come with a few regrets. One of the main things that trigger buyer's remorse is the size of the home. Living with a house too small or too big for the desired lifestyle can really throw a curve into the buyer's journey. You can help minimize the anguish by providing floor plans and accurate measurements so your buyer can easily map out the property before the FOMO (fear of missing out) sets in and they buy the wrong home. Sure, they may have to compromise on a few things they want like solar panels or updated bathrooms and kitchen, but the size is something that needs to be taken seriously. Size matters and the best way to judge it is with a virtual tour and accurate square footage from a floor plan. As an added value, a floor plan will certainly come in handy when that compromised kitchen renovation becomes affordable. Any time someone does something new or outside of their comfort zone, they look to someone with experience who can offer advice and give insight. The same is true when buying a home. First-time homebuyers in 2021 are certainly more tech-savvy and computer literate than their home buying predecessors, but they still need the tools and guidance you can provide them like virtual tours and 3D tours. Remembering the entire layout of a potential new home is difficult, but saving time and reinforcing memory is the key to attraction. What are new homebuyers looking for? They want accurate, easy-to-follow information available day or night at the click of their mouse.
MORE >
Real Estate Leads Exposed: Inside the Mind of Today's Home Shopper
MORE >
Friday Freebie: 5 Real Estate Checklists to Share with Clients and Prospects
You're organized, strategic, and all your processes are streamlined… and then there's your clients. A disorderly client can throw a wrench into the sale of a home no matter how cool, calm and collected you are as a real estate agent. Let's not blame your clients, though—the sale or purchase of a home is such an infrequent event in a person's life that you can't expect them to be on top of all the details that are important to the process. You can, however, prepare them for what to expect. That's where this week's Friday Freebie comes in. We're sharing five checklists you can share with your clients to help keep them on track all the way through moving day. 5 Real Estate Checklist Templates, courtesy of Zurple We have a saying around the RE Technology office: "Plan your work and work your plan." Having a roadmap for success makes achieving your goals far simpler. It's the same with buying or selling a home—when your clients know what to expect and what to do, they can sail through the home sales process with maximum ease. These five checklists from Zurple break down what your client needs to do in each of five situations. They'll see the steps involved in preparing a home for sale, decluttering before an open house, how to prepare to buy a home, what to do before moving, and more. Home Buyer's Checklist Home Seller's Checklist Prepare Your Home for Market Checklist Open House Checklist Moving Checklist You can also use these lists as a lead magnet on your website or on social media. For example, you can target prospects who are researching what to do to prepare to buy or sell a home, and offer these checklists to them in exchange for their contact information. All five checklists can easily be edited with your name and contact info so leads know who to reach out to when they're ready to transact. Download these five FREE real estate checklists now!
MORE >
What Are Home Buyers Looking for in 2021?
MORE >
The 4 Biggest Mistakes Agents Make When Working with Buyers
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.
MORE >
What's in a Home Buyer's Packet? (Plus, a Complimentary Template)
MORE >
First-Time Homebuyers Are Dangerous: Fact or Fiction?
First-time home buyers have historically been a large niche for real estate agents. As each generation enters the workforce, their desire to own a home logically follows right after. This trend has been hotly debated as the rise of the millennial homebuyer has spurred some interesting opinions. Conversations in recent years have resulted in many agents believing the millennial generation is the first group to break the status quo of homeownership. Are you a real estate agent that feels as though first-time homebuyers are not worthwhile? In this post, we get into whether or not first-time homebuyers are an asset to your real estate career.
MORE >
Home Buyers: What do they want? What do they really, really want
MORE >
Find Homes for Your Buyers that Other Agents Won't with Likelihood to List
With the All-New Homesnap Pro, you can offer your clients something that sets you apart from the competition: You can unlock buying opportunities beyond the active listings in your MLS. Now, you can combine search filters with Homesnap's new Likelihood to List scores to identify off-market properties that are most likely to list in the next 12 months and match your clients' list of must-haves. Our predictive algorithm is based on hundreds of data points, so you can connect your clients with off-market properties before anyone else. Why does this matter? When your clients are looking for something specific and none of the houses on the market meet their search criteria, having access to houses that aren't yet on the market gives you a huge leg up on your competition. Your client's dream home might be nestled in their target neighborhood and owned by a set of empty nesters who have been thinking about downsizing. Or it might be owned by a married couple who is looking for more space. With our Likelihood to List score, you don't have to guess who those people are — they get a spotlight on our new property heatmaps and off-market search filters. If you find a house that's most likely to list, you also have the luxury of being able to easily reach out to them because we give you unlimited homeowner contact information. Let them know your client is willing to buy and ask if they're looking to sell. You can now tell your clients to favorite any off-market properties, in addition to active listings. Then, when they favorite any property, you'll receive notifications so you can take a deeper dive. Want a primer on how to use Likelihood to List? Click here to see how it works. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
MORE >
Top 10 Seller Objections to Staging and How to Overcome Them!
MORE >
First-Time Home Buyers Are Dangerous: Fact or Fiction?
First-time home buyers have historically been a large niche for real estate agents. As each generation enters the workforce, their desire to own a home logically follows right after. This trend has been hotly debated as the rise of the millennial home buyer has spurred some interesting opinions. Conversations in recent years have resulted in many agents believing the millennial generation is the first group to break the status quo of homeownership. Are you a real estate agent that feels as though first-time home buyers are not worthwhile? In this post, we get into whether or not first-time home buyers are an asset to your real estate career.
MORE >
Will Buyer's Agents Survive?
MORE >
Why Is Home Buying Emotional? It Should Be Logical Too!
Moving is listed as one of the top three most stressful life events. As one of the largest financial transactions in life, it can be hard to remove the emotion from the transaction. Neuroscientists have determined that emotions such as love, vanity, and pride can play a central role in this entire process. The way we feel can help determine what decision we make and why. Part of the role of a Realtor is to help your clients navigate the big emotions that come along with buying or selling, whether it be love or hate. While emotions will always play a part, rational decisions must also factor in. Realtors work hard to balance both the emotional and rational thought processes. We know that when making rational decisions, we often consider things like profit, security, and health. Rational purchases require extensive research based on concrete information like property dimensions, home inspections, and pre-qualification that can help to manage and mitigate emotional responses. In 2017, NAR did a survey of homebuyers and sellers to determine which features they found most helpful when doing real estate research. This survey gives us insight into the areas where emotion and rationale meet. Further, it gives insight into the tools that may help your clients focus on the rational side of the transaction. Source: http://goiguide.com/iguide-showcase Photography Photos continue to be the most useful and requested items during a home search. The importance of quality, professional photos can't be understated. Often these will be the buyer's true first impression and determine whether they will request an in-person showing. While photos can evoke emotion, they can also assist buyers with quickly eliminating spaces that don't work for them. Floor Plans One of the most underutilized real estate marketing features of all, properties with floor plans, see an increase in click-throughs by 52 percent. They're a true differentiator in the industry and make your listings stand out from the crowd by supplying new and interesting information in an easily understandable format. When a floor plan is included in a listing, it helps potential buyers to better visualize the layout of the house, especially if it is interactive. Property Details While floor plans are the best tool for emotionally moving into the home before ever buying it, they provide a very real and rational value – room dimensions. Room dimensions and overall square footage should be considered in terms of comparing recently sold prices in the market, as well as current comparable listings. Virtual Tours Coming in fourth on the list are virtual tours. While 3D virtual tours are often produced to create an emotional response, they also allow a buyer to judge the utility of the space for their needs. It's not just about how the room looks, it's about how usable the rooms really are. Being able to virtually look out a window, stand in a doorway, or walk down a hallway personalizes the experience in a way that is both emotional and rational. As humans, emotion will always play a role in major purchases. But with the right tools, data, and expertise, you can help your clients base their biggest financial decisions rationally and confidently as well. Brought to you by Sara Penny, Communications and Marketing Manager at Planitar Inc., the makers of iGUIDE, and the iGUIDE® Team. Follow the link for more information on how iGUIDE 3D Virtual Tours can help you save time and connect more with your clients.  
MORE >
Neighborhood Profile Pages for More Real Estate Buyer Leads
MORE >
What Traits Home Buyers Look for Most in Real Estate Agents
While every consumer out there has their own taste, personality and priorities, there are certain things all home buyers look for when it comes to choosing their real estate agent. If you're looking for more ways to attract more clients, make sure you're working on improving these essential traits. And if you've ever wondered what made a client pick you over someone else, these could very well be why.
MORE >
How to Narrow Your Buyer's Choices and Reduce Showings Before Even Leaving the Office
MORE >
Finding the Right Neighborhood for Your Buyer
Finding the right neighborhood for your buyer is easy thanks to the housing, demographic and economic data found within RPR. Here, we'll run you through the basics on how to help your clients find a home near desired amenities and within commutable distances. Then, we'll show you how to create an RPR Neighborhood Report that will create a wow factor for your clients.
MORE >
6 Apps to Close Buyer Clients Faster
MORE >
First-time Home Buyers Flock to Realtors Who Provide Answers
To get a clear picture of what many first time home buyers consider important in their home search and purchase, we need to step into their shoes and see the process from their point of view. We can't see into their minds, but there are some facts that can help us to understand their concerns and motivations: This purchase will most likely be the largest they have ever made in the past and will make in the near future. They are often in their first job or early in their careers, possibly somewhat unsure of the stability of their employment. A lot of online research has already been done before they ever meet you in person. After the crash in 2006 forward, they've seen relatives lose their homes or suffer through equity loss, so they want to buy something that will gain value over time. If buying an existing home, there are concerns about buying a home with condition or structural problems. How much a first offer should be, as everyone wants a bargain, but they do not want to make an offer mistake. They want to avoid making an affordability mistake, wanting to understand the costs of ownership as well as purchase. Many will be hesitant about working with a real estate professional at first, fearing that they are being "sold to" instead of helped in the process. What will help first-time home buyers trust their Realtor? How do we attract them with marketing to get in touch? Even more targeted, how to work with first-time home buyers is what we need to know.
MORE >
A National Homeowner's Association Database for Agents: Fact or Fiction?
MORE >
4 Ways to Enhance the Home Search Process and Help Buyers Find Their Dream Home
House-hunters are always in search of a simplified process. Real estate technology, including search websites and apps, have made house hunting much easier and more accessible in recent years. Real estate pros can harness the power of technology to help their clients find their dream home. Here are four enhancements to help you win over buyers and get them into the home of their dreams.
MORE >
Friday Freebie: Brandable Property Showing Checklist for Your Buyers
MORE >
How to Deal with Buyers Who Love Property Portals
Ask any agent, and they're likely to agree: the Realtor-client relationship became more complicated when property search portals came onto the scene. Rather than relying on agents to find a home, today 51 percent of consumers find the home they buy online themselves, typically on search portals. And once consumers start using a home search platform, they seldom switch to another, even if their agent recommends it. This worries many Realtors, as their clients are exposed to competing agents while browsing property portals. But it's clear that property search portals are here to stay—and that consumers love them—so what's an agent to do? For veteran Realtor and broker Jesse Zagorsky, the answer is threefold: Understand client behavior Adapt to client behavior, don't change it Educate Zagorsky has years of experience in advertising on sites like Realtor.com® and managing portal leads. Here's his practical advice for dealing with portal loving clients. The First Step to Success: Understanding Client Behavior Realtors have a new role in the digital age, according to Zagorsky. "The value proposition has changed," he says. "Our role as an agent is not as much just to find the house as it is in executing all of the other elements of the process." In fact, you may have experienced, as Zagorsky has, a client that came to you with a listing from their property app or portal of choice—even though you know you already sent that to them in an MLS alert. "Once a buyer starts a pattern of search, they prefer to go back and look on their own again on the first site they tried," he says. "They still like to find it themselves. So we don't fight that."
MORE >
Best of 2016: How to Educate Buyers to Make Good Offers
MORE >
Should your buyers send a buyer letter? (Here’s a template anyway)
It's a competitive real estate market out there right now. And when homes are selling the same weekend they go on the market, real estate agents need to employ every tactic they can to help their clients get their dream home. And sometimes it's not about the buyer's cash. It's about the buyer's character. Because even though it shouldn't matter who they are selling to, as long as the financial aspect of the transaction is sound, it does matter. And so real estate agents use Buyer Letters to help their clients sell themselves to the people who are selling them a house. So, are real estate buyer letters a good idea? In her article for REALTOR® Magazine, associate broker Christine Smith advised against them. "When issues arose after inspection, the seller was none too willing to negotiate, knowing how much my buyers wanted this house. Because of my buyers' disclosure of emotional attachment to the property in their letter, it put them in a weaker negotiating position. The seller was able to take advantage of that. But Time reported that Redfin found that writing a personal cover letter "tugging at the seller's heart strings" increases your chances of winning multiple offer situations by almost 10 percent.
MORE >
Listingbook Basics (9/6)
MORE >
Let’s Play 20 Questions: Creating the Perfect Buyer Profile
Buyer questionnaires can help you get to know your clients, find out what they're looking for, and determine if they're ready to make a move. The key to an effective questionnaire is to find the balance between keeping it short and simple, but still getting enough information so you can help your buyer find their perfect home. Here's a list of our top 20 question suggestions. Basic Information Full legal name? Get the name that will be going on the title to be sure you know whether you're working with the actual buyer or a representative. Contact Information? Address, phone numbers, emails, social media, and any other information you think you'll need. Children? Do your buyers currently have children or do they need room for future children? Find out if your buyers want to be near a certain school district or if they want a community playground nearby. Pets? Do they have any pets or plan on having any? If so, what kind? Motivation Why are they moving? Learning their main motivation can help you find the best property for them. What kind of purchase is the buyer making? Find out why your buyer is purchasing. Is this their first home, or is it an investment property they want to rent out on their own? Is this going to be a vacation home? Are they selling their current home? If this isn't your buyer's first purchase, find out if they're trying to sell their current home before purchasing a new one. Is it on the market? If so, for how long? Are they working with another brokerage or agent to sell the property? If they are, get the agent's contact information, too. What do they like and dislike about their current home? This can help you pinpoint homes that will fit your buyer's preferences.
MORE >
How to Help Home Buyers Without the Hassle (8/18)
MORE >
3 Places Today’s Buyers Are Getting Their Real Estate Information
As a busy agent, you don't just need leads — you need can't fail lead gen strategies. But do you know where to look? According to  the National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, there are three main places buyers are getting their real estate information. By making sure local buyers can find you in these three places, you're guaranteed to get more business this spring. 1. Online websites (89%) and mobile or tablet and mobile applications (57%) We hope it doesn't surprise you that 89% of buyers say they get information from online websites and 57% are leveraging tablets and mobile applications. Do you have a digital strategy for drawing in buyer leads? Here's how to optimize your online presence: Build a responsive website that incorporates an IDX feed and tells your brand story. Is your website mobile friendly? Google will tell you for free. Show off your niche or local market specialties in blog posts and leverage landing pages (or squeeze pages) to capture leads. Offer seller prospects the ability to check the value of their home — here's an example of what that might look like. Get testimonials everywhere — and we mean everywhere. Add them to your website, your real estate search portal profiles, your LinkedIn and Facebook pages and to Yelp or other local review sites. Copy and paste 10 or more existing testimonials as "recommendations" on Realtor.com to make the filter cuts! Advertise within consumer's real estate search sites and mobile apps so they see your face and brand as they're looking for new homes. Start boosting your social media posts to ensure your marketing messages are hitting interested, local buyers.
MORE >
5 Tips to Stop Wasting Your Time With Buyers
MORE >
Meeting Buyers’ Demands with RPR’s Search Tools (5/17)
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT Here's where it all begins: the hunt for knowledge. It's what sets a REALTOR® apart from the unrefined data gathered by consumers via national real estate portals. As an RPR® user with an expert understanding of the local market, you have the power to analyze and manage a platform of unparalleled data to the extent that no other search mechanism offers. In fact, no other real estate data sharing website offers side-by-side, listing vs. public record comparisons like RPR. And it's all at your disposal, as a member benefit. We'll review the array of search options in RPR to help you find just what you and your clients need! This class covers searching for Neighborhoods, Schools, and by recent Market Activity. We'll show you how to use Mapping Tools to hone in on an area and show you how to drill down using RPR's advanced search options. Register now!
MORE >
How RPR Covers Every Angle of Buyer-Realtor® Relationship
MORE >
The Hard Truth About Real Estate Buyers
There's an old saying about real estate buyers that needs to stop immediately. The saying is "buyers are liars." But here's the truth: buyers aren't liars, you just need to put more effort into actually listening to buyers to better understand their needs and wants. Many real estate professionals say this, especially rookies. They spend a lot of their time showing buyers homes and are very often frustrated by these people. They think these people are wishy washy, don't know what they want, won't sign a Buyer Rep agreement, and have no loyalty. So it's no wonder they call buyers liars. Buyers Aren't Liars In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Real estate buyers are not liars. The essential reason these reps perceive buyers to be liars is they're focusing too much on themselves and not enough on the buyer. To some extent, they're projecting their own feelings and desires onto the buyers. Projecting means they're seeing themselves in the homes they pick for their buyers. So these reps wind up showing their buyers properties with many aspects that appeal to them, but not necessarily to the client. The one thing I notice about most veteran agents is that they understood from the start where to put their focus: on the buyer. They ask lots of questions at the first meeting and really listen to the buyers to find out what they want. They then take lots of time to find them only the most suitable homes. The homes they show to buyers are usually very much in line with what the buyers are looking for.
MORE >
6 Game Changing Neighborhood Traits That Buyers Are Looking For
MORE >
First Look: HomeZada is the Antidote to Stale Closing Gifts
Agents looking for a new way to engage homeowners before, during, and after the sale need look no further than HomeZada. The "digital home management" platform lets agents upload important property documents and other information and then gift that trove of data to their clients upon the close of a transaction. The client then has free access to this information for a year, along with a home maintenance calendar and other features that are particularly helpful for first-time homeowners. Indeed, any agent wanting to connect with tech-savvy Millennials will find this a more effective closing gift than, say, a bottle of wine or a gift certificate. For listing agents, HomeZada serves as a marketing tool for offering exhaustive information about a property. The property profiles are so complete that agents may even want to consider replacing their single property websites with this service. As you may have guessed, HomeZada offers different features for buyer's agents and listing agents. Let's take a closer look at what each "flavor" of HomeZada offers. HomeZada for Buyer's Agents Sometimes called the "CARFAX of real estate," HomeZada offers a suite of features that allow the homeowner to manage and think about their home as a financial asset. Tools like record retention, asset inventory, and remodeling project management give owners a comprehensive overview of their property that's useful for insurance, estate planning, and even listing the home when the time comes to sell. HomeZada is easy for agents to set-up. Simply create a profile for the property and upload any documents, photos, or other information that may be useful to the homeowner.
MORE >
5 Tips for Nailing Your Next Buyer’s Tour
MORE >
Are Buyers Really Liars? Addressing a Common Agent Complaint
There's an old and odious real estate saying that "Buyers are liars." It's odious because it's not completely true and it's repulsive because lying – or withholding the entire truth – isn't endemic to real estate consumers. We all have the capacity to lie when we're expected to buy. Whether we're shopping for a pair of shoes or a used car, many of us are not completely honest with salespeople. Sorry, but to real estate consumers that's what you are, a salesperson. So, what do agents think homebuyers might "lie" about? The list is long and just about every agent has experienced at least one Pinocchio-esque situation. But are these, in fact, lies? We're not entirely convinced they are, so let's take a look at a few common cases. Case #1: They Don't Know What They Want Your clients wanted a two-story home on the east side of town and ended up falling in love with a one-story on the west side. That's the vanilla version of the story. Many agents have stories of showing exactly the type of homes their clients said they wanted, for months on end, only to have them eventually turn their backs on their "must haves" and decide to purchase the exact opposite. But did they lie about what they wanted? Chances are good they just really didn't know what they wanted until they were set loose in the candy store of available homes. In fact, chances are even better that buyers know more about what they don't want in a home than what they do. This is why it's so important you ask the right questions during your initial meeting, and keep asking them as you show potential homes. "When a buyer says one thing and does another, I see it as a shortcoming in my own qualification and rapport building with the buyer," says Daniel Beer of Windermere Real Estate in San Diego. "Perhaps I did a poor job of listening or maybe I didn't ask the right questions. It is my job to help them find what they want, and they don't always know exactly what that is."
MORE >
Product Review: Listingbook
MORE >
Ways to Win the Deal in a Multiple Bid Situation
In today's hot market, many homes are receiving multiple offers within hours of the listing going live. If you want to be the one that gets the deal for your buyer, you are going to need to be more responsive than anyone else. Here are five ways to be that agent and get the house your clients want. 1. Always pick up the phone When there's a home for sale that has multiple offers, time is of the essence. To be able to win the negotiation for your clients and get them the house of their dreams, always pick up the phone. You need to be extremely responsive to the seller's agent and to your client to make sure you answer everyone's questions quickly and tweak the offer as needed. Believe it or not, the number one complaint from consumers is that agents are not responsive enough, so be sure you go out of your way to answer your phone live whenever possible. 2. Answer emails/texts in real-time The same premise holds true for answering emails and texts. Consumers are anxious during multiple bidding situations and offers may need to change in minutes so be sure to stay "on deck" and stay close to all of the means by which the seller's agent and your client may contact you.
MORE >
How to Leverage Facebook to Attract Buyers
MORE >
3 Final Down Payment Assistance Myths Debunked
This is the final installment in a series of articles that debunks common down payment assistance myths. Read the first and second articles here. Myths are hard to combat. They can be ingrained over a number of years and deeply held. Sometimes it's only out of necessity and changing times that the truth is embraced. Consider that the August REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey (released Sept. 23) weakened slightly due to concerns about the prospect of further increases in interest rates and the continued difficulties in accessing mortgage financing. We believe it's time to look at how down payment assistance can play a part in helping more buyers gain the mortgage financing they need. Drum roll please...we debunk our final three surprisingly common myths about down payment assistance. 8. Down payment assistance dollars are never forgiven In any given market, there are a variety of programs, including some that defer payments or interest and others that offer a grant or forgivable loan. First, it's important to understand how programs work. Nearly every down payment assistance program creates a lien on the financed property, just like the first mortgage. Homebuyer programs take a subordinate second or even third lien position. But not all programs – typically grants – have to be repaid, and those that do will back-load that obligation, waive interest, defer payments, and provide a unique upfront buying power and opportunity for homebuyers.
MORE >
5 Business-Building Tips for Buyer’s Representatives
MORE >
4 Ways to Help Your Buyer Find a Home When Inventory is Tight
It's interesting how the media – an industry that prides itself on presenting breaking news – lags so far behind our industry when it comes to reporting on housing trends. The almost nationwide shortage of homes for sale is one of those trends that they seemed to have missed completely – at a time when we really could have used their help. Big news about rising home prices was good, but there's nothing like the words "seller's market" to get homeowners off the sidelines and into the market. We are now sitting on a nationwide average of 5.1 months' worth of inventory supply, down from April's number and a little over 10 percent below what we saw one year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. In fact, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says to expect this current inventory to be the peak during 2013, and that about a five-month inventory figure will be the norm for the rest of the year. Of course, this is all preaching to the choir. It's the real estate agent boots on the ground in markets all over the country that can attest to bidding wars, houses selling for over list price, and clients being outbid by cash buyers. If you're as frustrated as your clients, let's take a look at some things you can do to help them find a house. Some of these methods include going after homes that aren't in the MLS, giving your clients a breather from the multiple-offer battle. Old Listing Presentations Remember all those listing presentations that didn't pan out? In desperate need for homes for her buyers, St. Paul, Minn. agent Teresa Boardman went through her database to find all the listing presentations she had done over the past three years and didn't get the listing. If the home didn't sell with another agent, she contacted them. It's working out well for her. Although her current clients didn't buy the homes, she listed one and had another strong possibility.
MORE >
The Arsenal of Apps Clients Need to Find a New Home
MORE >
Home Showing Best Practices for Buyer’s Agents
There are hundreds of articles dedicated to helping seller's agents ready their listings for home showings and open houses. Seller's agents can use these resources to learn how to stage a house, scent or un-scent a room and even serve the most appealing refreshments. But what about buyer's agents? Are they expected to hit the open road with a car full of strangers, a cheery disposition and a printout out of listings – with nothing else to guide them? Not anymore. We've compiled a list of home showing best practices for buyer's agents. Use these five simple tips to embrace your role as a home tour guide and make your clients feel at ease, ultimately translating into a smoother transaction. Do Your Homework Before you head out to look at homes with your clients, be sure you have selected homes that are at least in the ballpark. This refers not only to their budget – although you should definitely be mindful of price range – but also to their personal taste. You don't want to visit five places only to have them turn down three of them on sight. Talking with your prospects to get a feel for their taste and budget before showing them houses will save you both time in the long run. Another efficiency tip: gather all of the listings agents' contact info in advance so you can make a quick call or send a text message if any questions come up during the day.
MORE >
How to Make Loan Pre-approvals Work in Your Favor
MORE >
A ‘CMA’ for Buyers
While a CMA is traditionally a tool used for seller clients, it has potential for buyers as well. After all, one of the most valuable things a CMA provides is context, a clearer perspective on a single property based on the overall local housing market. Isn’t context just as valuable for buyers as it is for sellers? CMA BasicsBasically, a CMA (competitive market analysis) is prepared by a real estate agent and provides recent comparable sales and a recommendation for listing price. For a more thorough education on CMAs 101, we recommend you read the following: Choosing a Valuation Tool: CMA vs. AVM 2 Ways a CMA Can Generate Leads Buyer CMANow, the concept of leveraging a CMA for buyer clients removes one important component of a traditional CMA – the listing price recommendation (obviously, as the property has already been listed at a given price by the seller). However, just because you aren’t recommending a listing price, doesn’t mean you can’t give your two cents in terms of valuation. Calling upon your ample experience and leveraging your CMA tool, you can instead provide a recommendation on the price you would offer to the seller in order to buy the property. A buyer CMA could also retain the other key component: comparable recent sales. It’s incredibly helpful for buyers to understand other recent activity in the market. This can provide insight on: Pricing (“Is the property listed too high?”) Availability (“Are there going to be many more properties similar to this cropping up soon?”) Demand (“Is this property going to sell quickly? Should we put in an offer right away?”)
MORE >
Trulia Launches Crime Maps
MORE >