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Client Story: The Right Move for Every Part of Our Real Estate Transaction
We recently sold our home, bought a new one and used the benefits of a technology offered by the listing agents of both homes. iGUIDE made our real estate journey memorable and easy while making the moving process smooth for everyone involved. Here are just a few reasons I will always insist on my real estate agent using an iGUIDE when selling or buying a home. Using 3D tours for virtual showings when marketing a home helps to attract higher offers and reduce days on the market. However, using accurate property information like interactive floor plans extends far beyond the marketing stage. The iGUIDE can be used as a tool to help the home buyer understand the fit and flow of the property and also facilitate accurate estimates from multiple service providers, including movers, painters, and renovation contractors. The easily navigated floor plans are also convenient when sharing property information with appraisers or insurance companies. Our mortgage lender sent out an appraiser who needed all kinds of information about the interior of our new home, like accurate square footage, finishing details, and the layout of each level. However, due to Covid restrictions, only the exterior of the property could be viewed in person. Thankfully, all the information the appraiser required was available on the iGUIDE and we were able to send a link to share every detail of our new home. Next, our insurance company wanted not only the same information as the appraiser, but also needed details about all the fireplaces, mechanical room, and the pool size. iGUIDE to the rescue again. One distinctive feature of the iGUIDE is that it can be downloaded and stored on your computer's hard drive or USB drive for future reference. This offered a handy way to get our insurance in place before the closing date. We wanted to freshen up the paint in our new home before moving in and reached out to several local painting companies for quotes. iGUIDE was immensely helpful here too, as we could not arrange for all the contractors to visit the new property before the closing day. Using iGUIDE, we could indicate which rooms we wanted to be painted and used the tagging feature to describe which paint colour we wanted for each wall within the same room. This allowed us to get all the painters to provide an estimate of the work based on the same well-documented project description. When the painters needed the dimensions for walls, ceiling height, and window size on each level, we showed them how to use the 3D measurements feature in the iGUIDE to get that information. This was a huge help for them when estimating how much paint was required. The first thing we did after signing the final paperwork for both homes was hiring a moving company. Our move was scheduled for the end of a month when moving companies are extremely busy. We heavily leveraged Google Maps and iGUIDE for this task. We looked at moving companies that had pins on Google Maps in our area and created a shortlist of candidates based on good reviews. Each moving company has their own way of estimating the cost of the move. Some movers wanted to come out to see our old home, which would have been pretty disruptive for us. Instead, we sent them links to the iGUIDEs of our old and new homes along with the desired moving dates. This allowed us to obtain quotes from a few companies further out from our town and one was able to provide a very competitive quote, so we ultimately chose them. The highlight of this story is how we used iGUIDE to facilitate the move itself. We first used the iGUIDE integration with Floorplanner.com. We easily exported iGUIDE floor plans of our new home into the Floorplanner web application with one click of a button. Using Floorplanner, we were excited to plan where all of our furniture would go in our new home. After a few rounds of discussions and trials, we settled on where we wanted to place couches, tables, chairs, and accessories. It is so much easier to move a couch a dozen times on a computer screen than to do the same in real life! Floorplanner has hundreds of models for all kinds of furniture pieces, and you can easily find close enough matches to your furniture's style and size. You also can adjust the dimensions of those models to exactly match your existing pieces or any new furniture you want to add to your home. That capability, plus the accuracy of iGUIDE floor plans, allows for really good space planning to avoid any nasty surprises later, like, "I told you this couch was not going to fit in that corner!" After the planning was done, the time to pack and prepare for the move came quickly. We purchased sets of moving labels from Amazon and labelled all the rooms in the Floorplanner to match using the same font and background colours. We also got labels in the form of coloured dots to designate each floor of our new home. We affixed labels to every box and piece of furniture indicating its destination room and floor within the house. What we found during the move, however, was that we should have waited for the movers to wrap the furniture first and then let them place the labels on the outside of the wrapping. Lesson learned for any future moves! When moving day came and the movers showed up, we quickly explained our labelling system and how to use it together with the floor plans. We gave them half a dozen floor plans printed out in color. Of course, they managed to forget their stack of floor plans at the old home, which they discovered only after arriving at the new place. I had a hunch that might happen, so it was a good thing I kept a set of spare floor plans at the new home as well. We taped them at every entrance and on each floor so the movers did not have to ask where we wanted each piece to go. All in all, the move went extremely smoothly. The boxes and furniture were placed by the movers in the correct locations which made unpacking and finding things so much easier over the next few days. We were able to avoid any heavy lifting or moving stuff placed in the wrong rooms. My back thanked me, the movers, and the iGUIDE for lightening the load! The movers were very impressed with the efficiency of the new unloading process, which also saved us time and money. We spent more time doing our thing instead of directing movers where to place every box and piece of furniture. To sum it up, we used iGUIDE in several different ways – for selling and buying, for getting home insurance, getting a mortgage lender appraisal, and for painting and moving contractors. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Realtor Creates RPR Reports to Help Sellers and Relocating Buyers
We're always on the lookout for helpful RPR user success stories. Our latest Q&A comes from Wendy Kaprelian, a REALTOR from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wendy sent us this email: I always use RPR! I use it for market analysis with both buyers and sellers. This shows a range value that is very helpful for sellers and buyers. The statistics are very helpful for them. I also use it as a tool when a client is relocating to an area. I work with a lot of corporate relocation. I also like the reports feature to use as a share tool on my social media. -Wendy We wanted to hear more about how Wendy utilizes RPR reports for all her clients… Q. How long have you been a REALTOR® and what area do you specialize in? I've been a REALTOR® for 15 years, and my area of expertise is residential, although I do a few commercial deals here and there. Q. How do you use RPR in your business? Oh, I use it so much. Anytime I go on a listing appointment, I bring my RPR market analysis and reports with me. One of the features I really like is specific community statistics and information. I can bring up the demographics, school ratings, average age, I love that. Corporate relocation is a big thing I do and out of the area buyers always need info on schools! They really appreciate that community info. Once a week, I post RPR reports on my Facebook page and I always make sure to include all the school info. Q. You mentioned using RPR for market analysis, tell me more about that. I create a market analysis using RPR because I can provide a range value. I go out on listing appointments, and clients are shocked to see the value of their house from three years ago. So I make sure I fall right into the range value, and then I back it up with CMA. I use the Seller's Report with sellers, and with buyers I use the Property Report. The Seller Report is nice because if I'm competing against another agent, I can figure out what the clients owe on their mortgage. Then I show up with a net sheet, and the people are shocked because you show them the numbers, and you essentially have their mortgage information. You present those stats and it makes them feel better about you as an agent. Most of the time they're really impressed and sort of shocked. It often puts me over the top versus another agent. Q. How are you handling the current market? There's a lack of inventory in my market, it's definitely still a seller's market. It doesn't appear to be cooling off yet. The RPR reports really help with that. Having all this data and charts and history, it helps justify the pricing, to both buyers and sellers. Overall, RPR helps agents make better presentations, especially to sellers. I do a Property Report in RPR, then I go to my MLS and do a CMA, and then I combine them. I deliver both in my listing presentation packet, which I bind together to make it really look sharp. Q. You also mentioned using RPR as a tool to help relocating buyers. How so? Well, when someone is coming into an area blind, they need guidance. They know almost nothing about the schools, the traffic, the population, all that stuff. I can pull all that info in RPR for a property or municipality and it gives them everything. The best part is, it's not just me, it's in print and it's backed up by data and studies and research. It comes from a reputable source and that really puts a relocation buyer's mind at ease. Q. What are some of your favorite, "go-to" features of RPR? I like that you can instantly see who owns a property. I also like the "My Listings" area on the homepage. When I list a property, it gets pinned into the "My Listings" area and it's so easy to access. Q. Any stories about how you've used RPR to "wow" a client? I do! I was at a listing appointment in an area where I had sold a property down the street. The couple asked me about another property in the area, saying "Do you know about such and such address?" So I pulled out my phone and popped the address into RPR, and pulled up the info just like that. They were kind of blown away by that. So then they asked "Can you check to see if the owner of this place we're looking to rent is the actual owner? It feels like a scam. Could you look that up with that fancy thing on your phone?" (Wendy laughs). RPR puts a lot of property power in my hands! Indeed! Great story Wendy, and thanks for sharing your tips on RPR reports for market analysis and relocation. If you want to learn how to put RPR reports to use for you and your business, be sure to attend RPR's featured webinar, titled: "RPR Reports–How to Stand Out in a Crowded Market." Our trained experts and webinar guests will show you how to create and deliver reports that are sure to impress. Sign up for this free webinar today! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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6 Ways Agents Use Elevate CRM for Business Success
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RPR Announces Data Refresh for Its AARP Livability Scores Integration
Last year, RPR (Realtors Property Resource) announced an important data integration with AARP. This year, we're pleased to announce that the AARP Livability Index scores have been updated and refreshed with brand new data. If you're not familiar with the AARP Livability Index scores, here's how they're described on the AARP website: "The most comprehensive, web-based tool of its kind that scores every neighborhood and community in the United States—in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—for the services and amenities that affect people's lives the most as they age." This data integration with RPR and The National Association of REALTORS® arms REALTORS® with another data set to help their clients make better informed decisions. It really comes in handy when assisting seniors gauge how "livable" an area is if they're making a move. Besides the home itself, seniors are particularly focused on community and neighborhood amenities, including medical services, public transportation, entertainment, etc. A Q&A With Laura Kovacs To gain some insight on how agents can use this valuable data, we spoke with Laura Kovacs, the owner of REVIVE-Learning Real Estate School in Phoenix, Arizona. Along with 46 years of experience in the real estate business as a REALTOR® and broker, Laura is also a full-time real estate instructor and a fully accredited and approved real estate education instructor for NAR. As part of her SRES (Senior Real Estate Specialist) designation class, Laura helps promote the AARP Livability scores to her students so they can better understand and advise their clients. Laura speaks volumes to the value that this data-based tool can offer, and how easy it is for agents to access it through RPR. Hi Laura, thanks for joining us. How did you find out about the AARP Livability scores and why did you decide to incorporate them into your classes? Well, I've been a long-time proponent of using local information when teaching a national class. Nationwide class content is well done, but because it's a national scope, it might not always be relevant to local situations. When teaching at a local level, you need to make an effort to be inclusive about local information. All real estate is local! So I always seek out information and resources that local REALTORS® can use for my classes. When the AARP Livability Index first appeared, I really liked it. I had used AARP information for my "Senior Living" class way before it was put into the "Scores" format. And now that it's packaged together and easily available to REALTORS® via RPR, it's just this "a-ha" type of moment. This is cool! I can get a score for any community, ZIP code or specific property. And I can either market this home differently thanks to this info, or I can sell this home to this buyer based on this data. It's a real enhancement to the process. What do you suggest agents do with all this great information? I use my personal address as an example. I pop in my address and walk my students through the index. We discuss how to use this valuable info, such as the fact that you can pinpoint the approximate age of a community. Which is important because someone in their late 50s doesn't necessarily want to live with folks in their 80s or 90s. There are generations of difference amongst seniors and not everybody thinks about those things! Then we get to the real, tangible benefits for the customers: how far is the library, can they take a bus to a theater, how close is medical care and services, what options are there for community transportation, where is the nearest grocery store? Everyday necessities in life that directly affect how a senior lives. That information is powerful when you are talking to someone about where they want to live and stay. This is a very practical and useful way to address the concept of "aging in place." For seniors, it's often much more than just the home or the space. It's about what surrounds them: the neighborhood, the community, the support. Interesting, and makes a lot of sense. Any closing thoughts? Having the AARP Livability Index available through RPR is a tremendous opportunity for REALTORS®. Having all this information and data aggregated in one place makes it so much easier. I tell my students: "Be the source of the source." You have this tool, this risk management tool, it's yours for the taking. Be resourceful and share this with your clients. They don't care where you get it, they just know they're getting it from YOU. Also, it's truly a good tool no matter what niche you specialize in. Handling a job relocation? Buying and selling? First-time buyer? It really touches every phase of real estate sales. Use RPR, use AARP and enhance the information you're offering your buyers and sellers. Great points, Laura! The AARP Livability™ Index is now displayed on the RPR website and mobile app through its Property Details pages as well as within the Neighborhood page. It's also featured in four RPR reports, including the Property Report, Mini Property Report, Neighborhood Report and Seller's Report. Make sure to access it in RPR and apply these valuable data points and statistics when working with clients of all ages and backgrounds. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Agent with a Can-do Attitude Uses RPR to Build Skills and Crush Goals
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Agent Uses RPR to Build Trust, Relationships and Her CMAs
RPR (Realtors Property Resource) user success stories continue to roll in! This month's Q&A is with REALTOR Darlene Dresch. Darlene recently attended a KW Ann Arbor Brokerage team meeting where she had nothing but good things to say about the value RPR provides to its users--especially the CMA builder tools, which she uses almost exclusively to create her CMAs. And according to Darlene, "To build trust and relationships." We definitely want to hear how she does that! Hi Darlene, how long have you been a REALTOR® and what area do you specialize in? I've been a REALTOR® for six years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And I work in residential real estate, both buying and listing. How were you first introduced to RPR? Three to four years ago I worked with a different team, and one of my coworkers showed me RPR and how to use it to create CMAs. Then someone from our board held a class and showed it to us in action. It was impressive! I realized that RPR was good for relaying and presenting statistical data to my clients. CMAs can be a little intimidating at first, and can take a long time to grasp. Since then, I've never looked back, and now I use RPR to create all my CMAs. At a meeting late last year, we heard you were raving about the value RPR offers, specifically our CMA. Tell me about that. The market right now, it's just so crazy and really hot for sellers. However, buyers are wary. They hear and see a lot out there and they have a lot of hesitancy. And honestly, they're also a little scared. RPR does a good job of keeping their data up to date and extremely accurate. Those other websites (they know who they are!) are not accurate. From week to week and month to month, RPR has everything I need to make my sellers smile and my buyers breathe a sigh. And that's because RPR lets me deliver data and stats and info in so many different ways. RPR has graphs and charts, summaries, maps, reports, top lines and bottom lines. No matter how someone likes to learn or process information, RPR has something for them. Providing my buyers and sellers this information is how my clients make decisions. They feel informed, educated and empowered! RPR gives them the data and education to make those decisions. Why other agents don't use it blows my mind. It would take weeks to compile all that info… I can do five in an hour in RPR. And not to brag, but I've never missed an appraisal after using the RPR CMA builder. Humble brag! And pretty impressive. What's one of your favorite features of the RPR CMA? With the CMA builder, I can find properties that are close by, or I can pull from other comparable areas if there aren't enough nearby properties. The client can see what we picked, what properties are close to theirs, etc. I show them the value in RPR, I don't make it up. I also like to use CMAs for buyers too, to help them on how to craft an offer. To show them recent sales activity, so they don't come in too high or too low. I also really like to use the Refine Value Tool. I can easily make adjustments on renos that have been done and need to be done, I can change it like an appraiser. This type of statistical data gives us so much credibility to what we do and it shows people that we truly have their best interests at heart. And we want them to understand the market as much as we do. Any pain points that RPR helps or alleviates for you? I think a lot of everything in there does. It makes you look differently at your job. I thought I needed an assistant. But now I do everything so quickly, RPR is my assistant! I prove the value of homes, I don't go anywhere else for that. Just use RPR. But sometimes I use my MLS too, for tricky ones. Using RPR and my MLS together is a great hack for difficult-to-price properties. Great tip. Any stories about how you've used RPR to "wow" a client? Almost every time! I show them everything, all bundled up in these pretty report packages. And of course, it's all branded with my photo, my info, my philosophy, my awards, all that stuff. And before the appointment, when they get this package from me, they're like, "Wow!" I get that all the time. I also like to keep up with past clients, so I do a property analysis once a quarter so they know how much equity they have. I do it for my clients as a service, when they're not even thinking about buying or selling. And I think they really appreciate that. I don't hound them or call them, I just send the report that I create in RPR. This helps build relationships and trust. And I think that's what this business is all about. Thanks for sharing your story, Darlene! She's certainly getting the most out of her NAR Member Benefit by using RPR for home valuations, pricing strategies, expert guidance and earning her clients' trust. But don't just take her word for it, put RPR to work for you and your business. Learn more about RPR's CMA builder by signing up for our new webinar: The RPR CMA: Your Spot-on Pricing Tool. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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New Agent Stands Out and Finds Real Estate Success with RPR
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How Are Agents Laying the Groundwork for a Successful Year?
Traditionally, the winter is a slower time for real estate sales. But top agents don't sit on their hands during January and February. Instead, high-performing agents spend the winter laying the groundwork necessary to achieve a spring and summer full of sales and satisfied clients. We asked three top agents what they are doing to ensure they have a productive and successful 2022. In general, the agents told us that they are using real estate technology and marketing strategies to educate prospective clients about the market, earn leads, and close the best deals possible. 1. Helping Homeowners Understand the Value of Their Home Hugo Quintanilla, an agent at Long and Foster in Rockville, MD, has focused his early year efforts on ensuring that homeowners understand their property's value. "Many people don't realize how much home values have gone up over the last two years," Quintanilla said. "For a successful 2022, my groundwork has consisted of calling, emailing, and setting up appointments to talk to more homeowners about the equity in their homes." Quintanilla is aware that prospecting for clients means more than just generally marketing his brand – targeting specific areas, neighborhoods, and individual homes raises the odds of finding new clients. As a Homesnap Pro+ agent, Quintanilla has access to heatmaps and filters that make it easier to identify which homeowners are likely to sell, based on factors such as home equity, whether a property is owner-occupied, or if a property is distressed. By identifying and targeting these leads, Quintanilla believes he is executing both a short- and long-term strategy, simultaneously identifying more immediate clients who want to sell their home and establishing a broader base of credibility and visibility in his local area. "Letting people know you're in the real estate business is the best way to have a successful year," Quintanilla said. 2. Connecting with Clients in Real Time For Ramal Jenkins, the goal for 2022 is to be efficient. "I've integrated fresh technology into my everyday routine," said Jenkins, an agent with Douglas Realty in Annapolis, MD. "Becoming more efficient with my business is a priority so that I can spend as much time as possible connecting with clients in real-time." So far, Jenkins has practiced efficiency by buying listing ads through Homesnap, which automates a marketing process other agents perform manually. Jenkins says that the features included in his Pro+ membership are a significant boon to his efficiency – verifying his Google Business Profile, helping him build a personally branded website, and making soliciting reviews as simple as one click. So far, integrating listing ads and Pro+ into his routine has served Jenkins well. He's already closed on the sale of one home and has two other offers he expects to ratify in the next week. 3. Optimizing Social Media, Video, and Agent Website Sometimes, the most prudent way for agents to lay the groundwork for a successful year involves taking the time to invest in their overall business. Robert Blase of LUX Realty in Denver, CO, has started the year by working on videos, his social media presence, and an updated agent website. Blase believes that by optimizing his digital presence, he will be more likely to reach potential clients who want to learn more about the real estate market. "Educating individuals about all facets of real estate is extremely important," Blase said. "So many people have questions about real estate, and a strong digital presence allows me to hear those questions and answer them." As a Homesnap Pro+ member, Blase has advantages in building his digital presence. Like all Pro+ agents, his membership comes with a complimentary, professional, personalized website. Plus, every time he has a new listing, Pro+ will create a custom listing page for him to post on social media profiles such as Facebook and Twitter. As Blase continues to optimize his online presence in early 2022, he will be able to answer more questions from consumers, turn those consumers into leads, and convert those leads into clients. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Mother/Daughter Real Estate Team Lean on RPR to Build Their Business
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Spot-on Commercial Site Selection Is How the Cookie 'Crumbls'
In one of our recent articles, Find the Right Site for Your Clients' Customers, we used a hypothetical client and situation to explain and demonstrate how the RPR Commercial Site Selection tool works. We hope you found it useful and visited the RPR site (Realtors Property Resource) to try it out for yourself. As fate would have it, days after we published the Site Selection step-by-step post, a "real world" example came by our desks. And after checking it out, we just had to share it with our loyal readers/users. Because, well, that's just how the cookie crumbles... Fresh, hot franchise taps into RPR site selection to make the most dough Cynthia Lee, a REALTOR® and Broker/Associate with KW Commercial in San Antonio, Texas recently helped a franchisor find the perfect retail location for their trendy, up and coming specialty sweet shop. Was it cinnamon rolls? Cupcakes? Bundt cakes? Doughnuts? Cookies (insert Cookie Monster frenzied munching sound effects)! Cynthia's client, Crumbl Cookies, is a fast-growing, popular brand in the dessert category, with retail locations popping up all over the country. Their concept? To make the greatest chocolate chip cookie ever. Of course, they've taken things a bit further by offering four specialty cookies each week, a rotating menu of one-of-a-kind cookie flavors such as Biscoff Lava, Coconut Lime, Funfetti, Key Lime Pie, Midnight Mint, Muddy Buddy and Snickerdoodle, to name a few. Rotating recipes such as these, plus their staples of chocolate chip and frosted sugar cookies, have really put them on the munchie map. Each store features an open-kitchen design where customers can see all the fresh, high quality ingredients that go into each batch. The scooping, the baking, the topping and the boxing all happens out in the open, which creates a fun environment and experience for customers. And Cynthia's client needed to know, "Where are the customers in San Antonio who would appreciate and pay for these top shelf baked goods?" Are those cookies baking... or is it the sweet smell of success? Fortunately for Cynthia, Crumbl knows exactly where their customers' sweet spot is, as far as marketing targets and demographics. They indicated that their target customer is: "Soccer Moms," mid 30s-40s Family Female $90K+ income Area with Population Growth Housing Growth Identified several possibilities, but then requested placement in a larger center with a few large stores. Armed with this target customer information, Cynthia was able to use her local knowledge and insight as a commercial real estate specialist, and use RPR's Commercial Site Selection tools to pinpoint Crumbl's ideal location. "I was a regular user of RPR when I was a residential agent, but never really utilized the Site Selection tool for commercial until recently," explained Cynthia. "I had no idea how great of a resource and tool it is! It's so easy to just assume anything with NAR is only residential focused, when in reality, RPR offers just as many commercial features. I had no idea what we were missing out on." RPR's Site Selection tool enabled Cynthia to crunch some data and turn that info around to her client in no time. "The best part about the RPR Site Selection tool is how quickly I can get a detailed and useful report about a trade area to our clients. It just makes the site selection process so much more efficient and is of tremendous value, especially when dealing with some of our more analytical clients." And of course, when she delivered the final package, her commercial client was more than impressed. "They were shocked at how fast I was able to get them what they were looking for. Thanks to the target customer information they provided me with, I was able to present a ranked list of different market segments, and the people who make up these areas, including their spending habits and other relevant socio-economic traits. My client was blown away by all the statistics and data, and how it was all packaged together in the report I delivered." RPR Commercial delivers the goods Well, two things probably happened after reading this article: you're curious about the RPR Commercial Site Selection tool and how you can use it for your next client. And... you really want a cookie! (The author feels your pang.) Visit RPR today to see how much RPR Commercial offers, including free access to one million active listings and 57 million off-market properties, plus prospecting, site selection and tools to enhance your business. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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4 New Year's Marketing Resolutions from Top Real Estate Agents
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Houston REALTOR Uses RPR to Deliver Reports and Results
Consider yourself an RPR "power user"? You may have to reconsider after you read about Bruce Inman and his dedication to creating and sending out RPR Seller's Reports as a way to prospect for new clients. "Every day, seven days a week, I mail out five RPR Seller's Reports to prospective clients. I've been doing this for four years, and I know for a fact that it works," says Bruce. If you're keeping score at home, that's just over 7,000 reports generated! Is Bruce reluctant to share his winning strategy and process for finding leads? "Not one bit," he says. "Because I know that most people will find it to be too much work." Take 5 RPR Reports and Call Me in the Morning Bruce Inman is a Broker-Associate with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene Memorial Office out of Houston, Texas. In real estate for 20 years, he describes himself as a "land guy" that specializes in ranch and farm properties, including land that investors want to develop. Growing up, his parents owned four ranches, so Bruce knows a thing or two about Texas-sized plots of land and how to develop them. He also knows his way around easements, mineral and oil rights, and flood zones. And he certainly knows his way around RPR! Read on to learn how he farms an area and uses RPR reports as mailing deliverables to drum up business. Here's a Q&A with super productive RPR user Bruce Inman. Hi Bruce, thanks for joining us. How did you get started using RPR? Four years ago, I started sending out RPR Seller's Reports to my family and friends about their homes. I got feedback from them on what they liked to see, how many pages it should be, etc. I wanted to create something that they would keep and not throw away. How did you come up with the idea? I got the idea one day when reading an old Motor Trend magazine. My wife asked, "Why do you keep that magazine around, it's three years old!" And I replied, "Because it has my car in it." And that's when it hit me! It was like that Back to the Future a-ha moment when Doc Brown hits his head on the toilet. And this works? Oh yeah, it works, people keep them around. One time, a couple called me two years after I sent them a Seller's Report. I walked into their living room, and they had the report on their coffee table, next to all their magazines. It feels special to them when I send it. Great story! How does a typical report-sending day look for you? In the morning I get my coffee, and get on the computer. It takes time, but I'm dedicated. First I check for expired and terminated listings, but there's not too many of those nowadays. Then, using the RPR maps, I look at properties near properties where I've had listings. I systematically go around, in a radius, and look for properties that meet my criteria. Basically, I check tax records to see how long they've owned it. If they've owned the property 10-20 years, and it's not upside down, I go for it. Do you have a name for your method? I call it "target specific marketing." Choose a home near a listing, research it, then create and send the report. No mass mailers or recently sold stuff. Just one report on their property and how much it's worth. I use the RPR current market analysis for that. How do you deliver the reports? I get the first page customized with all my brand info, my picture, contact info, and I usually deliver a custom message. I go into my office to print the pages and I use the binding machine to put it together. I handwrite the address on the envelope, put on the stamps, drop in the 10-page report, and toss in two business cards. It costs $1.61 per mailer, and yes, I'm on a first name basis with all the folks at my local post office. Of course! Why not get an assistant or hire someone to fulfill the mailers? I have found that the personal touch of handwriting the address has a huge emotional impact. I had one client tell me how much they were impressed by the report and that my staff hand wrote the envelope. I told her that I did not have a staff and I addressed the envelope. That blew her away! She was the first listing I got using an RPR report and she still refers clients to me. It made me stand out from the crowd. Any words of advice for someone who wants to try this approach out in their area? You've gotta be consistent, and stick to doing it every day. And don't get frustrated if you don't see immediate results. It took me six months until I got a response, and then they just kept coming. There's over 26,000 agents in Houston that I'm working against, so you have to hustle and think outside the box. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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New Agent Makes RPR Her 'One-Stop-Shop' for Success
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One Agent's Simple, Effective Strategy for Finding Sellers
This message hit the RPR inbox a few weeks back, and it definitely got our attention. It's from REALTOR and RPR user Julie Toy and it explains how she's currently prospecting for clients: Hi RPR! A few weeks ago I began using the RPR Sellers Reports to send to past buyer clients and in most cases, to congratulate them on their awesome investment in real estate. Here is the basic gist of what I say in an email to them, and then I follow up with a phone call or text a few days later: Hi Mr. & Mrs. Homeowner! Attached is a property report for your home at 123 Main Street. What a difference a year makes! I don't know if anyone could have predicted the seismic shifts our real estate market has seen - even in the last 8 months - but I sure am happy for homeowners like you. You may not be thinking about selling, but if you were, now could well be one of the best times to pull it off. Here's a fun fact for you: homes listed up to $350,000 in your county are averaging $14,000 above list price. That's no small potatoes any way you slice it. Anyway, if you need anything or know anyone thinking of buying or selling, please let me know. This one thing has led to four listing appointments in the last two weeks that I would not have had otherwise. I'm definitely a fan of RPR and appreciate all that you do. This easy to implement way of using RPR Sellers Reports to prospect for leads and clients is really working wonders for Julie. We were so impressed, we decided to pick her brain and get some more details... Q. Hi Julie, how long have you been a REALTOR® and what type of agent are you? It will be five years this coming November. I work primarily in residential sales. I started out as a REALTOR® by working with buyers. The market was different then! Over the last two years, it's balanced out to buyers and sellers. Now I have more of a listing agent focus, which is a goal I set for myself. Q. We were really impressed and inspired by the note you sent us. Tell us more about how you use RPR Seller's Reports as follow up prospecting tools: So I have a database of my past buyer clients, and when a "house-aversary" comes up, I reach out to them with an RPR Sellers Report on their property. Then I follow up with a text to see if they received it. But sometimes they'll call me first and go, "Oh my gosh!" They're just blown away by the info and how much their home has appreciated. People certainly love getting those market activity details. Q. And this method is getting you in the door with potential sellers? Absolutely, even if they're just entertaining the idea of selling. It's a real conversation starter. I send it on an annual basis to anyone who's ever bought a home from me in the past, because the people who bought homes with me four years ago might be ripe for moving. Q. What sparked this method? I started using this Sellers Report technique right around the RPR "refresh" (Julie's talking about when RPR unveiled a new platform redesign in February of 2021). I looked at the new website, ran a Sellers Report and thought to myself, "OMG, I have to do this for everyone in my database. I need to reach out and share this with my past buyer clients and my sphere." I didn't know what to say before, but now I've got a real reason to share something with them. This "house-aversary" message gives me a reason to reach and stay top of mind with them. Q. How do you deliver the reports? I usually send my report by email and then follow up with a text the next day. I also have had some success by dropping them off on the front porch for a face-to-face. Human touch is powerful, especially right now… but of course, at a distance and whatever they are comfortable with. A chat on the front porch is perfect. Q. What's your overall takeaway and experience using RPR? Well, I am always just surprised at how much accurate info is available at my fingertips as part of my NAR membership. I can't believe I don't have to pay for this! It's fantastic. And it's user friendly. I'm not the youngest agent, and I'm not super techy, you know? But I find it so easy to use. One time I did get a little stuck, so I called the RPR Help Desk, and I tell you what, they helped me tremendously! I hung up the phone and went "Wow!" I can't believe how helpful that was. You don't see customer service like that. I truly appreciate it. Q. That's great to hear! Our Customer Support staff is available 24/7 and they go above and beyond to help REALTORS® solve their problems or assist in any way. What other reports are your go tos? For listing appointments, I often bring RPR reports as a leave behind. It helps me present myself as a market expert. I also like to use the Market Activity Reports to offer my clients a 10,000 foot view of their market. Q. Can you recall an instance or a story where you really "wowed" one of your clients? My wow moments have come in the form of running a Sellers Report for someone. I accompany it with a note that says, "Hey, do you know your home is worth this much money?" Using this approach the last couple of months with RPR lets me show them a real number so they have a real understanding of what that means. It's an "ah-ha" moment for them. They say, "Oh my gosh, since I bought my home, its value has gone up 150K." And that's a wow moment for them! With RPR, I have the data and reports to back it up; it's not just some number I came up with off the top of my head. Sometimes people think the number is inflated. But I say, "Here you go, here's this report from RPR," and with the data and stats, I can demonstrate how real it is. I love that and I know people appreciate it. Well put Julie, and thanks for sharing your story with us. What a great, simple strategy for positioning yourself as a market expert and maybe even for nudging a few fence-sitting sellers into action. Here's how you can get started creating RPR Seller Reports for your clients and hopeful prospects. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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5 Agents Share Tips for Finding Success in a Seller's Market
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From an MBA to RPR: A Realtor Success Story
At RPR, we relish getting feedback from our users. Your comments and success stories fuel our efforts to keep improving the RPR experience. When you reach out and tell us how you're "wowing" clients and closing more deals, it helps us make adjustments and enhancements to lead to more future success. So you can imagine how impressed we were when we received this email from Cesar Umanzor, a REALTOR® from Houston, Texas: Good morning! RPR has been one of the best resources available to my business today. The accessibility to detailed data, analytics, and customized reporting allows me the opportunity to provide high-level value to current or prospective clients. Also, I have been using RPR lately for analyzing residential investment strategies and prospecting new markets. This process is seamless, and I don't have to use any other software to gather detailed information. Thanks! Nice! And after a well-worded message like that, we knew we had to speak to Cesar to learn more. The following is a Q&A with a real estate industry vet who recently earned his MBA. He's more focused than ever to succeed in real estate and he's using RPR to reach those goals. RPR: the "game-changing" property and market research tool Q: Hello Cesar and thanks for your note. When you mentioned that using RPR is "seamless," what did you mean? Cesar: The latest version of RPR is giving me a great experience. It's very interactive and I love it the more I get used to it. It really paints a picture for you and the client. By seamless, I mean that it's easy to find the data I want and to let it work for me. When I was working corporately and on my MBA, I used Excel quite a bit for things such as breaking down an analysis on an income statement sheet, or looking at the return on an investment (ROI). Now, I use Valuate in RPR to take care of it all so easily and automatically. I put in the numbers and the program takes the manual work out. I mean, to use a tool where the system does it automatically for you? I've never seen something like that in real estate. Q: How has RPR been one of the "best resources available to your business today"? Cesar: Working with existing and new investors is where it comes in handy most. The investor analysis tool, how I can refine the values, the snapshot of local changes in the market, the interactive map, narrowing down the visibility. I could go on and on—so many helpful features! Once you create the analysis, it allows you to evaluate the property with details, home improvement, long and short term holds, etc. Plus, it's free! I'm not sure how many REALTORS® know about this, but it's a game-changer for me. Q: How did you get so knowledgeable about RPR? Cesar: The Learning Center and the training webinars are key, and they're available for no cost. My mantra is: "Knowledge is your best asset." So I take 45 minutes each day to educate myself and I use RPR's materials for that all the time. You have to use it to your advantage. It's empowering and you'll be ahead of thousands of other REALTORS®. Q: Which RPR classes have you attended? Cesar: I recently took the Multi-family webinar. I like taking the commercial classes and then using those tools to present to my residential investors, such as flippers. Presenting fresh data to the customer is crucial in today's real estate world. Q: Any good "Wow Moment" stories to share? Cesar: I recently held an open house, and a couple walking through asked me a question about the area. On the spot, I created a Market Activity Report for the area, a property report and a CMA. I shared it with them in minutes, and they were like "Wow, you did that in five mintues?!" I use the RVM all the time. That RVM is critical. I get asked on the spot, "What's the value?" I can give an overview right then and there. That's huge. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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It's All in the Details: Florida Agent Kaisen Mitchell on Standing Out in Today's Hot Market
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What Are the Most Requested Home Qualities that Buyers and Sellers Are Looking for?
Welcome to the latest installment of "Ask the Industry," where we ask real estate professionals their thoughts about timely topics related to the real estate industry. Today's post features: Marian Cooper, Realtor with Comey & Shepherd Randall Graham, Chief Marketing Officer with Michael Saunders & Company Stacey Burnett, Agent with RE/MAX Crossroads Properties What are the most frequently requested qualities that buyers and sellers are looking for in a home right now? Buyers want updated homes and turnkey properties Marian Cooper, Realtor, Comey & Shepherd, Greater Cincinnati, OH The most requested qualities my homebuyers are looking for right now include: 2+ bathrooms Finished basement Open floor plan Garage Swimming pool or enough space for a pool to eventually be added Also, overwhelmingly my buyers seem to prefer updated homes at the moment. They seem to be OK with some small cosmetic changes, but most of my clients right now want a turnkey property. Buyers are looking for homes with great outdoor spaces Randall Graham, Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, FL At Michael Saunders & Company, we are seeing buyers on Southwest Florida's Gulf Coast looking for homes with great outdoor spaces and water views, which is the unique beauty of our area. We've also seen a shift from wanting turnkey properties to buyers returning to the idea of making updates as lumber and other building materials are becoming more available. Newer construction, privacy and safety remain our top requests as well. It's all about the location – Buyers are starting to look at areas that they may not normally look Stacey Burnett, Agent, RE/MAX Crossroads Properties, Cleveland, OH I would have to say that in the current market, the qualities a buyer is searching for most include an updated kitchen and bathroom, an open floor plan, and flex/bonus space for a possible office. Outdoor space is a plus as well for those fur babies. Since our inventory is so low, buyers are starting to look into areas that they may not normally look at but are just as nice. It's about the location! Last, but not least, is a garage! We are in Cleveland and this is a must-have for some buyers. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Beg, Borrow and Ditch the Rent: Why Today's Sellers' Market Is Also Good for Buyers
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I Wrote a Song and Won the Offer and More: Whissel Realty Rockstars Share their Deal-Closing Secrets
Real estate is a competitive environment and the best agents are intuitive and personable when connecting with sellers, and do all they can to give their buyers a fair shot at their dream homes. Two such agents, Kyle Whissel of Whissel Realty and his team member Clayton Connolly from San Diego, CA both use video and the smart presentation platform, HighNote, to help them stand tall above the rest. Kyle says HighNote made the difference in helping him win a $3.5 million listing – even though he was competing against the No. 1 luxury agent in San Diego. The platform enables agents to send a variety of videos, links, and documents in a single link and displays everything in a beautiful presentation format. Agents get real-time analytics on what is being opened and viewed. "I sent the seller a HighNote with about 10 different pieces in it," says Whissel. "He only watched the videos, nothing else. That helped me a lot, because I knew going into our meeting that he really cared about video. And when I got to the house, he started telling me how he's an engineer for video studios for schools. I knew to focus on video in my conversation with him, and that was a big differentiator between me and the other agents I was up against. I won the listing, which was really cool." Connolly helped his buyers craft the winning bid that had 16 other offers. He sent the offer as a HighNote presentation that included a video introducing himself and his team, and information about the buyer's offer, lender, prequalification, and proof of funds. "Using the analytics, I realized that the agent hadn't forwarded the offer to the sellers, so I followed up and asked them to do so," says Connolly. "I could see that both the agent and the sellers looked at the presentation for quite a while. At that point, I knew we'd made an impression." He next found out that the sellers had narrowed their decision down to his clients and someone else, so decided to get creative. Connolly, a talented musician, decided to write a song. "It was called 'Pick Us' and it was super kooky and fun, and was all about how the buyers loved the house and the neighborhood," he adds. He recorded it and sent it to the listing agent. Twenty minutes later, he found out that the sellers had selected his client – even though the offer was $40,000 lower than the other bid. "We were able to make that personal connection with them through the power of video," says Connolly. Whissel, Connolly and the rest of his team primarily use HighNote for pre-listing/buyer presentations and offer submissions. "The analytics with HighNote are also so great, just being able to see what people click on can tell you so much. If you go into a meeting and know that all someone watched was the videos of me and my team, they're 'people people.' If they just looked at the comps and market data, then I'm dealing with an analytical person. That's the magic of it," Whissel says.
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How One Email Generated $2 Million in New Business in One Day
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How to Sell Property 'Off the Plan' in 72 Hours... even if you've never done it before.
"We're selling circles around the other builders that are on the same street… both in terms of numbers and in dollars per transaction." The words of one very satisfied development marketing agent who used 3D renders to sell their builder's off-the-plan property, in less than 72 hours. When their online listing went live, it absolutely whomped similar developments on the same street in terms of views, Zillow saves, sale price, and the speed of sale. These other developments were using 2D black and white elevation images and half-finished build photos in their marketing, not holding a candle to the photo-realistic external renders, 360° internal renders and virtual tours used by this savvy agent. What exactly are renders? 3D renders are also known as architectural visualizations or real estate renderings. They are 3D visuals of building plans that virtually bring property designs to life. Property buyers are visual, which is why the display home has been a crucial sales tool for property developers and marketing agents in the past. To cement a sale you can't rely on a buyer's imagination to see what a property will look like beyond the plans. Renders showcase what a property will look like complete with photo-realistic furnishings, landscaping, lighting, façade, and room navigation. Like a display home, 360° render virtual tours allow buyers to walk through a home, but in this instance, they can do so from anywhere. They can integrate themselves into a property in their own space, at their own pace. Plus, using Additional Outputs in a virtual tour, buyers can toggle between different designs, colors, styles, and options. Here is an example of a 360° Render Virtual Tour: How can high quality renders benefit my real estate sales? As Solid Ground Home Builders and their marketing agent Charles Nitschke recently discovered, using renders to sell your property is a no-brainer. BoxBrownie.com's business expertise brought to renders has made them more affordable than before without compromising on quality. Plus, a quick turnaround means a quick to market strategy is available. Charged with selling a land and home package in Spokane, Wash., Nitschke ordered four internal 360° renders, and two static external renders to display the front and back elevations of the unbuilt home, plus a 3D floor plan with furnishings. This provided an affordable solution to "build” a quarter of the house, virtually giving the agent 90 percent of what they needed to go to market. They also received a virtual 360° tour link to embed and share on the listing—a speedier solution for display homes to allow potential buyers to walk through. With a two-week turnaround on the 3D renders, the online listings were up quickly and the builder had their first contract within 72 hours. To date, they have since contracted four more sales from their 3D render listing. Why should I use 360° renders? 3D renders provide a photo-realistic image of an unbuilt home, allowing you to market the intangible. By bringing the property to life with high quality imagery, BoxBrownie.com renders are an extra tool in your go-to-market strategy that are much more affordable than previously realised. Making the step up from static to 360° renders is a small increase pricewise, but a big step up for market interest. With complimentary 360° virtual tour creation and hosting thrown in, you'll be top of the class on MLS and listing sites who now offer a "search by virtual tour” filter. There is no need to create a 360° render of every room to take advantage of showcasing with a virtual tour. The use of 3D renders in development marketing is proving to be the most successful way to sell a property off the plan. If you want to learn more about BoxBrownie.com renders and how they can increase your property marketing capabilities, register here and our Expert Renders Team will be in touch. BoxBrownie.com is currently offering a free virtual staging edit (valued at $32) to every RE Technology member (new accounts only). This offer expires on November 30. Click here to claim your free virtual staging edit.
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REALTOR Uses RPR Commercial to Conduct Business and Break Down Barriers
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Top Producer Reveals Secret to Direct Response Farm Marketing with RPR
The following is an article from Trang Dunlap, a REALTOR from the San Francisco Bay Area. She uses RPR to market herself and to farm for new prospects, all while saving herself time and money. Read on to learn exactly how Trang leverages RPR to gain new clients. Systematic Farming Using RPR and Direct Response
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Applying RPR Learning to Today's Revamped Market
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3 for 3 Listings: What Makes This REALTOR Hit Home Runs
If Linda Fercodini played baseball, she'd be a top contender for the majors. Though, for now, she is one of the happiest and most productive REALTORS in western Connecticut. One week after taking her first swing at Realtors Property Resource (RPR), Linda hit it out of the park, scoring what we might call a perfect batting average in real estate--three for three listings in nearly seven days.
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Successful Realtor Uses RPR to 'Wow' Her Clients and Answer the 'Why'
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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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REALTORS Making a Difference in Their Neighborhood
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Red-blooded Passion Shown by Realtors and a Realtor Association
We all need to find ways to help in our local communities--and the more real estate professionals I speak with, the more hope I have for humanity. Earlier, I shared Melody Botting's story about volunteering at the San Antonio Food bank. This week, I had the chance to speak with Addie Owens, the President of the REALTORS Association of Lake and Sumter Counties in Florida (RALSC). I saw a notice that RALSC was co-sponsoring a blood drive. Before contacting her, I did a little research. The web is filled with stories from the American Red Cross about blood shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided it was a timely subject, so I reached out to Addie.
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New Social Advertising Tool Lets Realtor Expand Her Reach from Coast to Coast
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Case Study: How Quicken Loans Boosted this Agent's Closing and Retention Rates
If there's one thing Quicken Loans has, it's name recognition. You've probably seen their ads on TV or online, but have you ever wondered what the company can do for your business? We talked to Ari Prostak, a top-producing buyer's agent with the Jason Mitchell Group to find out just that. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the sheer size of America's largest mortgage lender, Ari found that Quicken offers both agents and consumers an easy, tech-driven experience that's user friendly and customer-centric. In this new, downloadable case study, Ari shares: How Quicken's Verified Approval program provides peace of mind, ensures more closings, and works as a strong negotiating tool. How Quicken's customer service team works faster than smaller lenders, leading to happier clients and quicker closings. Why Quicken's trusted name and brand recognition is a plus for consumers. Why, despite relationships with multiple lenders, his multi-state team does the majority of their business with Quicken Loans. How working with Quicken Loans results in more referrals and repeat business. Download this free case study now to find out how Quicken Loans can boost your closing and retention rates!
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2 Secrets to More Lead Conversions, Straight from a Top Team's Playbook
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1 Big RPR "Wow" Moment and 5 Closed Deals
For the REALTOR team of Nicole Nicolay and Robyn Annicherro, RPR is the real estate data tool that just keeps on "wowing" both them and their clients. Robyn says, "As a new REALTOR, I was 'wowed' by RPR when I found out it was included in my NAR membership and gave me access to over 160M properties. I literally use it every day." At the 2019 NAR Annual Convention and Expo in San Francisco, Nicole and Robyn were presenters at an RPR session titled "RPR In The Wild." Nicole says, "Our story is all about how one big RPR 'wow' moment snowballed into several more 'wow' moments, five transactions, three sets of satisfied clients, and one very proud real estate team."
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Success Story: "Nightmare" Breakup Leads to Happy Ending
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Winning More Listings through Teamwork and Technology
"We're just not into selling," isn't something you expect to hear from a real estate team. But that's exactly what Gabriel Dusharme and Brian Voigt of The Voigt Advantage team have to say about their approach to business. Instead, the pair prefers to focus on caring for their clients and guiding them through the home buying and selling process. That care extends to the technology they use to get their clients' homes in front of as many buyers as possible. In this interview, Dusharme and Voigt share how they leverage technology to drive a positive client experience.
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Success Story: How One Agent Knew It Was Time to 'Level Up'
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Success Story: San Diego Team Triples Their Transactions with Software Switch
We're back with the second entry in our "Success Story" series. This week: Scaling your business with the help of the right technology. The "right technology" is what made the difference for Kyle Whissel and his team. One year after changing software, the team nearly tripled their number of closed transactions. What caused the need for the tech change, and which platform did the Whissel Realty Group switch to? Read on to find out!
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Success Story: Exploring How Agents Choose Real Estate Technology
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From New Listings to Referrals: The Marketing Secret that Helps this Realtor Win Every Time
If you're like most Realtors, you probably already have a plan in place for marketing your listings. But how well are you able to communicate that marketing plan to potential seller clients--especially if that plan includes digital strategies that may be confusing to homeowners? Randy Durham has it all figured out. A practicing Realtor since 1994, Chattanooga-based Durham uses realtor.com Local Expert to market both specific listings and his brand. The tool employs ad retargeting technology to display his listing and branding ads to real estate consumers as they browse around the web. But how does he explain that to sellers during his listing presentations to help them understand how it will benefit the sale of their home? We sat down with Durham to find out. Read on to learn how he talks about Local Expert in his listing presentations, and how the program also helps connect him to buyers and past clients. How persistent is your brand on national websites? When consumers search a particular city or zip code on realtor.com®, I'm always there and present with either a listing or information about me. Even if they go from page to page, I'm still there with them so I stay top of mind. I've been pre-introduced. Someone buying a home will be familiar with you before they make contact. Does this help you with home sellers? When I'm on a listing presentation, I'm able to show that they're going to be in at least 50% of the searches for a buyer in their area looking for a home. That home will follow that person around as they're looking within the specific area where that seller is. So I'm showing the seller that they're going to get exposure continuously. How do you let prospective sellers know you have this advantage? You can use this in neighborhood campaigns or in specific targeting listing promotions as far as trying to solicit for listings. This is particularly effective with expired listings. You're showing them you have a way that other agents typically would not have to get additional exposure for their home. It's very powerful for expireds because they've already been-there-done-that—but now many are looking for new things that can happen to actually get their property sold. What are the longer-term benefits of being persistent with your brand? You've got to have consistent impressions of yourself out there for the public to see. Research shows it takes eight to 10 impressions of some sort of marketing to actually get a buyer's attention and recognize who you are and have recall ability. You want to continuously have your name out there, particularly in targeted areas. You want to be the agent that owns that area. It works to get yourself top of mind with your past clients as well as new clients. I just really took on the Chattanooga market with this branding. I just think that it's going to have a powerful impact. This is one of those things you've got to be in it for the long haul. You can't go out there in one month and say, "Okay how many transactions did I get?" But this has some power to it, and I'm quite impressed with it. Does this work into your repeat and referral business plan? A home seller generally starts their search on the internet. Even if there are past clients, they don't always usually pick up the phone and call me first. They're out there looking to see what's available or what's sold in their neighborhood if they are a seller. If you're there with a branding product like realtor.com® Local Expert in those searches in their neighborhoods, when they see you they say, "Yeah, that's the guy that sold me my house—that's who we need to call."
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Digital Marketing Strategy Wins Agent 3 Transactions from 1 Inquiry
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Market Dominant Yet Still Marketing: One Agent's Secrets to Success
If we've said it once, we've said it a thousand times: the biggest ingredient for marketing success is consistency. That's the secret to Realtor Rosemary Allison's success as well. The luxury real estate veteran of 40+ years still diligently markets her brand across her market area. In this interview, she shares the online and offline methods she uses to become one of the most recognized names in her local real estate market. Your brand, your name and your image is associated with real estate all over Ventura County. Tell us what this does for you. I think it's very important to my success. I spend a lot of money to make sure that people know who I am. But at the point when they're thinking about who they're going to call for real estate, I think it's real important that they remember to call me. I believe that they go to the name that they recognize. Of course it is in support of the most important branding I have going, which is having good client relations. I make sure they're happy with my services because most of my business, honestly, is referrals. One thing I'm proud of is that at this point I've been selling real estate full-time since 1975. I am now selling the children of previous clients their homes. That's really neat to me. The fact that the parents are recommending me to their children really says that they did know that I gave them the best service and that they could trust me to handle their real estate needs. The branding reinforces these bonds and reminds them I am still serving the community. How are you directing your marketing to reach the consumers you will be most successful with? What I try to do is target market towards the buyers of the homes that I'm selling—the luxury market. I have a kiosk outside Nordstrom's, and advertise in Homes and Land, Society Magazine, and Westlake Magazine. Then, of course, I've got realtor.com, which is branding for a precise community. When you specialize in an area, you pay the money to get those additional imprints. You're getting attention from the potential buyers and sellers for your area. I find that realtor.com not only is a wonderful website, but it's one that brands you very well when you specialize like I do. I focus on an area of Ventura County, Calif. The mall kiosk is almost industrial branding, but it's not something that's specifically targeting real estate prospects. It's not going to give you return, which realtor.com can. When we have someone going to realtor.com, they're most likely either looking to sell a home (they want to see what the homes in their neighborhood are selling for), or they're interested in buying in a particular area. Are you able to track the success of your branding on realtor.com? Honestly one of the great things about realtor.com is that I see inquiries in my contact base. I can see people that are asking about properties and asking me questions. It's very easy to track, because with the realtor.com dashboard, you can see activity. I utilize that not only for potential buyers, but I think it's also a great tool to show sellers the tracking of the imprints of people interested in their home who have clicked or viewed their home. How are you using this on the seller / listing side? I now have the Local Expert city tool and I am so excited! I just did my ads and I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do with it. Basically, on a listing presentation, I can tell my clients their home will be featured first and it will not go down the scoreboard on realtor.com because I've paid for the Local Expert ad. You said that your primary business is referrals – has this had an impact on repeat business and referrals? People you know three, five years down the line. I got a call recently from someone from decades ago when I sold them their home. Although I hadn't spoken to them, they had seen the other branding I do and when they looked at properties online, they saw my picture pop up. Of course they said they were going to call, but reminding them to do so and making it easy to contact me helped make sure they did.
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How Kyle Whissel became the #1 Team in San Diego
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Secrets of a Top Listing Agent
Back in 2014, Chris and I took a trip to Mississauga, Canada for a real estate conference. It was there where we first met Chip Barkel. Today, Chip has a pipeline of over $36,000,000 of upcoming sales. But on that day we first met, he had just started his real estate career. Over the last five years, I've been able to follow Chip's career--and I've seen him go from $0 to over $15M in sales production.
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Mission Focused: Behind the Scenes of a Top Team
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Real Agent Story: Online Branding Key to Winning New and Past Clients
How are real estate agents building their business online? To find out, we've been speaking with successful Realtors. Today, Delaware-based agent Debbie Phipps shares how she reaches buyers, sellers, and past clients through lead generation and strategic branding on realtor.com. Your branding on realtor.com—is this a tool to secure listings? I use realtor.com® Local Expert as an important element in my listing presentations. I log them onto realtor.com® and I show all of the exposure and how it drives everything to my DebbiePhipps.com site. I have a 15-inch laptop I bring to the presentation. I talk about realtor.com®. I tell everyone that it's the only site that's affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS®. I recognized early on that this was where I should focus my marketing dollars because the site would be there over the years. The other sites don't have the same correctness and accuracy and the amount of people looking at them. Other sites come and go. But realtor.com® will always be there. I tell my potential listing clients that this particular program I use gives them maximum exposure that is better than you could ever get with any other agent. Of course, it's a tool to make sellers understand the exposure you are giving them; but it's also a presentation tool. While presenting, I show them an example of a listing. I put in the appropriate Zip codes, so they see that my listing and my links to my website where they are featured are coming up 50 percent of the time as they scroll through three or four pages. If I get an appointment where I don't have the Zip code, I will still be able put it in nearby areas. Usually they're very impressed when they see how their home will appear on realtor.com®. Does this help you on the buying side? I use the featured property piece of the Local Expert for listings and the other piece of it as a way to help us close our leads. When the realtor.com® leads come through, they recognize me as someone that's a local expert. I have worked primarily in New Castle County, Cecil County, Chester County area most of my life. I've been in this business 30+ years. I want past clients to know how to find me. So past customers are reminded by your branding? You can't imagine how many calls I get because people remember me from our past association. When it comes to selling their house, they're still calling me. I keep my brand out there so that they can see I'm strong in business. Most people say they would use their agent again. But although they were happy with the agent they used last time, most don't even know what their name is now. If they can't remember their agent, how could this help draw them to you? Are they seeing your branding? As an example, I recently went to a $550,000 listing in our average $250K marketplace. They didn't know me at all, but they were impressed with my marketing. I am always marketing my brand through my website, social media and print ads. It is not easy to measure, but you eventually can see the effect. My marketing appears in quite a few places, but the realtor.com® Local Expert really grabs their attention. Many of my listing leads say, "Oh, we saw you on the internet," and when I drill down, they saw me on realtor.com®.    
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Kendrick Realty Clones Business Model to New Locations
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Agent Builds Veteran Homebuyer Resources He Wishes He Had
After 10 years of service, three deployments and 500 missions in the U.S. Army, Austin-based REALTOR® Raoul Rowe transitioned to civilian life, earned an IT degree and became a licensed REALTOR®. Today, he's using his personal experience to help more veterans transition back home and succeed in their path to homeownership. "It felt like you finished your military service with a bag of benefits and a simple 'good luck.' There was no one to really fully guide you through critical next steps of transitioning, including buying a home," said Raoul.
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Boyenga Team Delivers Online Excellence through Chime
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Gratitude in action: How Bev Blume is building a business on a pay-it-forward philosophy
Operation: Impact Portland agent Bev Blume has always operated from a "Pay it Forward" philosophy. Whether in her personal or professional life, Bev tries to go one step further to provide value and a deep impact to everyone she meets. This isn't always easy in the lead-hungry world of real estate. After farming to a title-provided list for nearly three years and not making much headway, Bev worried that she wasn't building the lasting relationships she needed to succeed financially and feel personally fulfilled.
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20 Years of Staying in Touch Leads to Multiple Transactions
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Why Use the RPR app? Hear from These 7 REALTORS®
1. Impress clients with instant access to data Open houses present a prime opportunity for RPR users to demonstrate their ability to respond instantly to every type of inquiry. As guests express interest in nearby properties, a quick RPR search on your tablet or phone will yield current listings by list or map view. Use the buyer's preferences to email or text RPR Property Reports on potential properties, as well as an RPR Neighborhood Report, which presents an in-depth portrait of the people who live in a target area. Others may ask about area schools. Here, jump right back into RPR and offer to email or text them an RPR School Report, an in-depth portrait of student populations, testing outcomes, parental reviews, ratings, and contact information about a public or private school. For those interested in your listing, an RPR Comp Analysis will demonstrate your razor-like precision on how you determined the home's list price. "I downloaded the RPR app three days prior to my open house and played around with it for about 30 seconds," says Gregg Center, a REALTOR® from Sarasota, Florida. "I'm new to RPR, so I had honestly forgotten about it. The RPR app returned search results within seconds, instantly displaying every home for sale within a half mile radius of where we were standing ... including, of all places, a listing right across the street." Watch Now: Hail Mary Effort Proves Worthy of This Realtor's Strategic Open House Move
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Agent tried online leads and received a lead that closed on day one!
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Easy Icebreaker Ideas for Creating New Business
In supercharged real estate markets like the Denver metro area, every move counts. That's why Jickson Chacko never overlooks an opportunity to shop for new clients, literally. "Wherever I am, personally or professionally, it just comes naturally to talk to people about real estate," says Jickson, a REALTOR® with Cherry Creek Properties, Denver, Colorado. "And using the RPR app as my icebreaker, I'm able to transition a casual conversation into a working relationship with ease." At grocery store checkouts, a dentist's office, or while at the local playground with his young son, Elijah, Jickson is confident enough in his abilities and the tools at hand to spark conversations about the real estate market, knowing he can act upon any inquiry just by tapping into RPR's app on his mobile device. "It's always awkward for an agent to open with 'Hi, I'm a REALTOR®. Can I have your contact info for my marketing lists?' It's much easier to just start talking to them about the market or the value of their home and then instantly give them accurate information." Jickson's next "natural steps" include pulling up RPR on his phone the moment a potential new client demonstrates curiosity about the value of their home, or what another home in the neighborhood has sold for. "RPR's app is a great way to initialize conversation with a potential client without even seeing their property," he says.
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How Digital Ads Helped a Rookie Realtor Sell 100 Homes in 2 Years
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Hail Mary Effort Proves Worthy of This Realtor’s Strategic Open House Move
In real estate, you win some, you lose some. Yet for this REALTOR® from Florida, losing one turned into a trifecta of wins. All because of a very unusual set of circumstances at a very popular open house. As every real estate agent knows, open houses can be feast or famine. On this particular day, Gregg Center, a REALTOR® with Premier Sotheby's International Realty, Sarasota, FL, lucked out. His luxury property listing had quite the appeal for a number of discreet buyers. "I was somewhat surprised when six different couples entered the property at once," said Gregg. "It was a blessing and a curse because, obviously, I wanted to engage all of them equally." With questions about the property looming and little time to waste, Gregg turned to the app he traditionally relies on in similar circumstances. This time he wasn't so lucky. "I tried to engage each of my open house visitors by relying on data from my real estate app," he said. "But its unresponsiveness frustrated them. I felt frustrated as well. High-end buyers have high expectations, and my 'go-to' app didn't perform when they wanted more information." What makes Gregg a good agent? He's quick on his feet. "Right then and there, I remembered that I had downloaded the RPR app about three days prior to my open house and played around with it for about 30 seconds, with no real strategy in mind. I'm new to RPR so had honestly forgotten about it. But I had to do something and followed my instincts."
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How Technology Training Revolutionized One Realtor's Business
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Conversion is Key for this Open House Expert
When one-third of your annual sales in a single year stem from open houses, you pay attention. Something is working. For strategic-minded REALTORS®, open houses are an opportunity to convert market watchers, tire kickers, and fence sitters into clients. What sets apart a “showing” from a “client conversion and closing opportunity” can be attributed to a REALTOR’s style and RPR. That's according to this San Francisco based agent who was recently named Rookie of the Year by the Bayeast Association of REALTORS®. “I have a clearly defined strategy for planning and carrying out an open house,” said Nicole Nicolay, a REALTOR® with the Engel Group at J. Rockcliff Realtors, Pleasanton, California. “It’s a game plan that has consistently resulted in above-average performance.” Nicole, who has more than a decade’s worth of real estate marketing and technology expertise under her belt, said the data and reports found within RPR fulfill three vital components of her open house strategy: Using insightful, engaging icebreakers Providing credible, relevant information Ensuring a timely and consistent follow-up method
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How RPR Covers Every Angle of Buyer-Realtor® Relationship
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5 Best Practices for Advertising on Property Portals
Husband-and-wife team Eric and Janelle Boyenga were among the very first agents to start advertising with Zillow. A decade ago, portals were still new and agents were beginning their first tenuous steps into online marketing. "Years ago, and still even now, we'd spend money in different places and just see what sticks," says Janelle. "If something stuck, we'd spend more money." Zillow was one of the places that stuck. They joined the site in February of 2006 with an initial investment of $1000. In the 10 years since, Zillow has consistently been their best source of leads and business growth. "Zillow really catapulted our business," says Eric. "We get a lot of leads--somewhere between 100 to 200 leads a month. If we had Zillow 20 years ago, we would be where we are today 10 years earlier because you can really speed up your growth." Over the past decade, the Boyengas have perfected their Zillow game and they now share their knowledge with other agents as trainers in Zillow's Accelerate Program for Zillow Premier Agents. They shared their favorite best practices for leveraging Zillow during our interview. Best Practices for Leveraging Zillow Providing great customer service is the best way to make the most of your investment in advertising with Zillow, according to the Boyengas. "A lot of Realtors don't understand what clients are looking for and don't take online client contact seriously," says Janelle. "They're looking for a Realtor that's professional, and so many times agents don't even respond to clients when they email them or text them--and all they want is your help!"
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What's behind this agency's successful farming strategy? Relationship building
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How a 72-Year-Old Realtor Embraces Technology
Are your so-called selling tools behind the times? Afraid you're too old to jump on today's technological bandwagon? Even if you didn't grow up with a mouse in your hands, the technology to streamline your business is not out of reach. Just ask 72-year-old real estate agent Ed Robinson about his tips for Realtors®. Ditch the filing cabinets. Go digital. This Canadian agent has put together a simple mix of tips for Realtors, including devices and software to help you save a few trees – and a lot of time. How does he do it? An iPad - Command central. Scanner Pro - Transform paper documents into digital files for storage and editing. PDF Expert - Download, view, edit, annotate, and sign paperwork electronically. Dropbox - Cloud-based storage, accessible by any device, agent, or client. How does it work? A buyer makes an offer. You scan it into a digital version, then fire it off to the listing agent. Done. You download MLS listings for a client, easily add notes in PDF Expert Saving it for future reference... Emailing it... Share it via Dropbox You get a deposit check, scan it onto your iPad, import it into a receipt template, then send a digital receipt
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A New REALTOR® Shares 3 Ways RPR Helps Her Business Grow
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How One Realtor® Leverages RPR for Lead Generation
You're likely aware of the reports and other features of Realtors Property Resource® that can help drive the success of your business. But did you know that you can use RPR as a valuable lead generation tool, too? We didn't either until a recent chat with Dale Chumbley, a second generation Realtor® based in Vancouver, Washington. Don't be surprised if you recognize Chumbley; he's shared his real estate technology expertise with audiences at Inman Real Estate Connect, NAR Annual and Midyear, and beyond. Today, he's going to share a few tips for leveraging RPR's new mobile app in your marketing efforts. Responding to Leads from Anywhere For Chumbley, the mobile app is central to how he uses RPR with leads. "RPR came to life when the app was released," says Chumbley. "I'm such an on-the-go agent that the app has made RPR become part of my day-to-day world as opposed to a tool I use once in a while." "One of the cool things to me about the app is anytime I receive a lead inquiry, I have it set up so that I get a text message," he says. As soon as that text alert comes in, Chumbley pulls up either the property's MLS number or address. Then he goes into RPR Mobile, pulls up the data from RPR and generates a Mini Report and immediately emails it to the prospect. "What it's done is allow me, within just a couple of minutes, to be able to reply to the person that's inquiring on the property," says Chumbley. "I'm not just able to reply saying, 'Hey, I got your message. I'll get back to you later.' I'm able to reply to them immediately, 'I'm here. I'm happy to help. Here's a bunch of data for you to start looking through. Let me know when you are at a point where you want to be let in the house, talk to a lender, whatever it is that needs to happen.' It's just a very quick easy way for me to get some real value information to that consumer."
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Building Trust and Business with RPR®
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How a Top Agent Goes to the Next Level
A while back, I did an interview with Justin Havre, a top real estate agent in Calgary Alberta working at CIR Realty. CIR is the largest independent firm in Canada with about 650 agents. With his team, Justin Havre & Associates, he has been number one or two in his market for a number of years (number one team for 2011-2013). To put things in perspective, at the time of the first interview he and his team were doing nearly 200 transactions a year. I sat down with Justin in our original interview to understand some of the things he was doing successfully to reach this level as well as to see where he thought he could improve his business practices. In our original interview, Justin noted the significant investment he makes in technology every year. He operates multiple real estate websites and the leads generated from these sites form a significant piece of his business. At the time of the first interview, he had six people on his team. One of the problems he noted as needing improvement was the ability to respond effectively to the large number of leads he received every day. The second key area that needed to be improved was his communication and contact with customers he has already worked with. He realized that largely due to the huge new lead volume he was experiencing, he was neglecting the people that he had already done business with. I interviewed Justin recently to get an update on how things were going and to see what he had been able to do to address the specific business needs noted in the first interview. Most importantly, I wanted to see if whatever steps he took had the outcome that he desired.
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Commercial Real Estate Success, Courtesy of RPR®
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An Appraiser’s Perspective on RPR®
We've been collecting stories about real estate professionals' use of RPR®. In October, we gave you an agent's perspective. Today, we're bringing you another side of the story: an appraiser's take on the technology. Francois "Frank" Gregoire is a REALTOR®, broker, and full-time real estate appraiser. As a member of RPR's® Appraiser Task Force from the very beginning, Frank has had a unique opportunity to observe and shape the growth of the tool. His insights can aid agents and appraisers in growing their business. Busy Agent Summary We understand that you're busy, so we're going to provide a quick summary here. In one minute or less, these are the things you can take away from Frank's success with RPR®: Take advantage of free resources available to you as a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Use RPR® to help gain a better understanding of an area that's new to you. Whether you're relocating to a new city or expanding outside the boundaries of your usual geographical area to help a client, RPR® can provide valuable insights. RPR® reports can help facilitate communication between agents and appraisers. Adjust the RVM® to ensure that it is accurate. Use RPR maps to overlay heat maps, flood zones, neighborhood boundaries and more. There are plenty more tips for success - read on for the full story. We also recommend getting better acquainted with RPR® in our product directory.
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A Brokerage Can’t Do for You What You Can
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Secrets to Success with RPR®
Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) is a free member benefit from the National Association of REALTORS®. The compelling cost-benefit ratio and impressive functionality create an appealing package, one that we were interested to see "in action." So, we've spoken with a variety of agents around the country to learn how they are using RPR® to be more successful. Our series of articles sharing what we discovered begins today. Ressie Wilson is an agent working with RE/MAX® Allegiance in Washington, D.C. Within just a few moments of speaking with her, it becomes obvious that she's an especially articulate communicator and someone with an excellent understanding of her local real estate market. Interestingly enough, these are two of the things she seems to use RPR® for the most: communication with clients and educating herself (as well as consumers) about real estate. Busy Agent Summary We understand that you're busy, so we're going to provide a quick summary here. In one minute or less, these are the things you can take away from Ressie's success with RPR®: RPR® helps build your clients' confidence in you and your own confidence in your decisions. Give your clients a choice about the kind of information they want to receive, and then deliver. (Spoiler alert: they'll probably ask for "more, more, more.") Use the RVM to guide uncomfortable pricing discussions with sellers. Take an active role in ensuring an accurate RVM. There are plenty more tips for success - read on for the full story. We also recommend getting better acquainted with RPR® in our product directory.
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Beyond Residential: Commercial Agents Can Use RPR, Too!
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RPR Success Stories. Are you next?
By now you've heard of RPR® (Realtors Property Resource®). We figured that while you've been hearing from us, you should also hear about RPR directly from your fellow REALTORS®. Each of these REALTORS® are successfully using RPR all over the country. While all different, each of these REALTORS® has found their own way to incorporate RPR into their business. Sit back, relax and prepare to be inspired. Have you ever gotten a listing appointment call at the worst moment possible? That happened to Gordon Corsie from California. Gordon was preparing to leave on vacation when he got a call for a new listing. Completely out of paper in his printer, Gordon decided to create an RPR Report and show it to his client on an iPad. Once he handed the potential client his iPad with a Property Report displayed, Gordon had a good feeling. And he was right...he secured the listing! See Gordon's RPR All Star video and learn more here. Looking for an impressive way to quickly respond to leads? Joanne Taranto from Massachusetts can help you with that. Joanne uses RPR to help her respond to cold leads she receives from her website, or other real estate portals. Providing a comprehensive report from RPR, Joanne turns these cold leads into face-to-face meetings and even clients. Check out Joanne's story here.
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Do you use a Client Relationship Management Product? Tell us all about it!
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What REALTORS® Can Learn from USAA.com
If you think of the "best" website you visit – what site do you think of? The answer is easy for me. I think of USAA.com. Although the USAA site is focused on financial services (not real estate), I believe there's quite a bit that REALTORS® could learn from USAA – online and offline. Who is USAA? USAA offers insurance, banking, investments, retirement solutions and advice to more than 8 million active duty military members, veterans who have honorably served, and their families. Twenty-five Army officers founded USAA in 1922 to insure each other's automobiles. Approach Your Website as a Consumer It is obvious that the designers of USAA.com approached their task by adopting the perspective of a consumer. You can see this in the details, things like: The exceptionally easy navigation. The text they've used for the different navigation elements make it simple to figure out which option to choose. For instance, from within a summary of accounts, you select the drop-down menu under "I want to" and choose the appropriate action. The clean design. Please don't overwhelm me with too many design elements or navigation options. USAA doesn't do this. They keep the design clean and simple, making it incredibly easy and inviting to use.
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7 Things I’ve Learned in a Year of Real Estate Technology
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A T-Mobile Royal Wedding Tribute
It takes a lot to make me watch a phone company's ad. I do not normally attribute humor to cell phone companies. When given the choice, I'd bypass a Verizon or AT&T ad as soon as possible. But with over 19 million views and enough posts to my Facebook, this T-Mobile ad made it to the desk of our CEO and into my inbox. It was unavoidable.  That's the power of viral social media marketing. If it's good, and enough people like it, it stalks you until you like it too. So now I'm dropping this into your world too! I hope you feel the love! To commemorate the Royal Wedding between Wills and Kate last week, T-Mobile's marketing team released a genuinely funny and staged "dance-off" between members of the royal family at the wedding. It just goes to show edutainment is a great way to market your services to your target audience. I may never have given T-Mobile the time of day before, but they made me laugh and now I'm more open to listening. Does this marketing video have the same effect on you? Watch and see!
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9 Easy Ways to Get Unfollowed on Twitter
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6 Reasons You Want an iPad 2
After seeing the beautiful iPad 2, my iPad appears sadly ordinary. It’s hard to think how advanced the original tablet, sitting off to the side of my desk, used to look. The original iPad now appears fatter, heavier and incredibly lacking, without a tiny camera on the front. 6 Reasons I want to trade my iPad in for an iPad 2:
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You Tweet, But Do You Know How to Measure Twitter Success?
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What Sells Homes - Agents or the Internet?
Technology Warrants a Return to Basics for Modern Realtors by Alan Shafran, President of The Alan Shafran Group What sells homes - agents or the Internet?  With the use of technology becoming increasingly more important to the real estate business, do consumers really need a Realtor?    We have all heard the statistics, which indicate that 90% of buyers have been researching homes online for a minimum of six months prior to contacting an agent.  A wide variety of information can easily be obtained with the click of a mouse: virtual tours, homeowner’s association fees and assessed values to square footage, neighborhood and community amenities and the reputation of local schools. Technology Warrants a Return to Basics for Modern Realtors Guest contributor Alan Shafran says: What sells homes - agents or the Internet? With the use of technology becoming increasingly more important to the real estate business, do consumers really need a Realtor? We have all heard the statistics, which indicate that 90% of buyers have been researching homes online for a minimum of six months prior to contacting an agent. A wide variety of information can easily be obtained with the click of a mouse: virtual tours, homeowner's association fees and assessed values to square footage, neighborhood and community amenities and the reputation of local schools.
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Want an Easy New Way to Share Your Expertise Online?
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Here Comes the Blackberry Tablet!
Many in real estate have taken great interest in the iPad. For many of us over 40, it is a great solution to mobile computing. The screen is big enough to read! The problem with the iPad for real estate is that most of the tools that agents and brokers use in real estate are not built to work on Apple OS. In real estate, Blackberry took major marketshare after the Palm Treo appeal melted. The Pre did not live up to the performance and usability of the Blackberry or the iPhone. Real Estate folks who needed a phone that worked with the MLS wireless products flocked over to Blackberry. Others that just wanted a cool phone choose the iPhone. Recently we have seen a variety of new companies emerge that are bringing real estate tool to all devices – iPhone, Blackberry and Android (Google). Here is a link to a pile of them on RE Technology.
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Ethel's First... What's the Word?... Online Video!
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Digital Addiction: Blurring the Lines of Reality
I never realized how much my ability to use my computer has taken over my life. Recently, severe storms caused a power outage that lasted for over six hours. Of course, I noticed the black clouds rolling in and had partially listened to the television warnings in the other room announcing possible tornado touch downs, but I had a deadline to meet as I busily typed away on my computer. Then everything went black as high velocity winds pummeled my office windows. My first thought was, “I wonder how long my battery will last?” and not, “Run for cover, we are going to die!” The sheer inconvenience of having to remove my computer from the docking station and reboot it into life drew a frustrated curse from me: “I don’t need this!” That’s when I looked out my office window and saw the eerily yellow and black clouds on the horizon and watched our mature maple trees bend at impossible angles as their leaves whipped about. My next thoughts were about gathering up my computers and backup batteries, cell phone, husband, pets, and flashlights. Notice the order in which I gathered up my most precious possessions. I assumed that my husband and pets could take care of themselves, but my electronics were helpless. As we sat in the darkened house I understood emotionally how much technology has become an intricate part of our lives. I began to fantasize as to what I would do if I didn’t have a computer to work with or a cell phone that I could use. I would have to watch movies from the 60s and 70s to remember what we used to do!
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A Customer Service Confluence
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Google Is Playing in the Twitter Sandbox
I came across a really interesting new Google user interface today called Follow Finder - followfinder.googlelabs.com. This is a new google application that helps link Twitter users with other Twitter users that share the same interests. I start by entering my Twitter user name—mmchone—and it quickly returned a list of people within our industry that I was absolutely interested in following. I was impressed with the results. I don't know if the list would be as useful for someone with a large number of followers, but since I am still in the beginnings of my account and learning the real estate industry, I found the results to be very useful. It did return multiple results of people or companies that I was already following, but it was interesting to see the mix. I was looking at an industry snapshot of Twitter users.
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Generate Leads with Texts!
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How to Make Use of Twitter Lists
Twitter has been rolling out their new Lists feature to tweeps over the last few weeks. If you’re still waiting, be patient (or whine about it in the public stream like I did). The feature was made available to me last week and unfortunately I was so busy I had to wait until the weekend to play with it. But now that I have, I’m excited to share my experience and suggestions with you.      
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Using Technology
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