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Low Inventory Won't Last Forever. Two Reasons to Be Optimistic
By now, you've probably seen the report in the Wall Street Journal that there were more active real agents than homes for sale in January. It's certainly a sobering statistic, and it plainly and succinctly illustrates the unprecedented level of competitiveness facing professionals in today's housing market. But it's not all doom and gloom. Yes, a lack of inventory is anxiety-inducing—without a doubt. And yes, you're right to wonder if things will settle down anytime in the near future. But we believe there are two reasons why agents should be optimistic for the coming months. Reason for Optimism Number One First, we expect the number of active real estate agents to decrease. Back in September, we wrote about the surge of newly registered agents. We pointed to a depressed job market and rising home values as the two central factors driving soaring interest in a real estate career. At the time, though, we didn't know whether this was a temporary response to a once-in-a-century pandemic or the first warning sign of an industry teetering on oversaturation. Now, in April, we have some more clarity. As the vaccine rollout continues and the job market bounces back, we believe that the majority of new agents will exit the industry as quickly as they came. Many were likely never as interested in a long-term real estate career so much as they were an alternative income stream, and now, facing one of the roughest-ever markets for rookie agents, the allure of a secure paycheck elsewhere will almost certainly be too strong for many. Furthermore, we believe the pace of licensed real estate agents exiting the market will far exceed those entering it. Last year, record-setting home prices offered the potential of a quick buck. This year, the sentiment has flipped—and the entire world knows depressed inventory means a new agent is more likely to be eking out a living than striking gold. Compounded, these two factors should bring market competitiveness back to pre-pandemic levels (or close to it) in the coming few months. Reason for Optimism Number Two Lost in the sensationalism of the Wall Street Journal article is the fact that the number of agents outpaced listings in January. It's unusual for that to happen, sure. That's why it made headlines. But is it really as much a cause for concern as it seems? According to Homesnap internal data, in a typical year, January marks the first time the volume of listings increases after falling from October to December. This year, the rate of growth was about half of last year—but it still reflected the same predictable pattern; listings did trend in a positive direction. Of course, in 2021, listings flatlined in February compared to January, which is atypical—but not altogether unexplainable. Many would-be sellers have been riding out the winter months, waiting for vaccinations and repealed mandates just around the corner, and the flat trajectory points just as much to the rate at which homes are going under contract as it does to the lack of new properties brought to market. Wouldn't it be reasonable, then, to predict that we've simply extended the normally depressed winter months into the spring? Aren't we seeing something akin to slightly more busy November and December? Only this time, instead of people waiting for after the holidays to go to market, they're waiting until they're vaccinated? It's no guarantee, for sure. Inventory may stay sub-normal for the whole year. But would-be sellers can only hold out against record-setting home prices for too long before they're tempted to capitalize. Simple supply and demand, right? That's reason enough for optimism for us. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Discovering Neighborhood Data for Your Clients
Finding the right neighborhood for your buyer is easy thanks to the housing, demographic and economic data found within RPR. Here, we'll run you through the basics on how to help your clients zero in on the ideal neighborhood. Then, we'll show you how to create an RPR Neighborhood Report that will "wow" your clients and, hopefully, help you close some deals. Let's get started with what you'll find in RPR's Neighborhood section: Summary The Summary tab offers an overview of the area: the Median Estimated Home Value, including the estimated change over a one-month and 12-month period. You can also see the Median Sales Price vs. Sales Volume, Median Listing Price vs. Listing Volume, Population of Children by Age Group, and Population of Adults by Age Group. Housing The Housing tab highlights the neighborhood's housing characteristics compared to the county, state and nation, including comparisons for home ownership, rent, and information about permits and buildings. You'll also find easy-to-read graphs on the price, size, age, and number of bedrooms on homes sold in the area. People The People tab gets to the heart of who lives in the neighborhood. Here you will find a side-by-side comparison chart that measures population counts, densities and changes; median age, gender, and education levels. You'll also find breakdowns of population of children and adults by age group, the number of households with children, income brackets, occupations and even voting patterns. Economy Look to the Economy tab for a clear picture of per capita and median household incomes, as well as employment figures. Quality of Life This tab is particularly helpful when working with relocations. Look to Quality of Life for weather, commute times, transportation options, and water quality. It even includes the number of Superfund and Brownfield sites. Again, all in a side-by-side, neighborhood/county/state/country comparison. How to Search a Neighborhood and Create a RPR Neighborhood Report? The RPR Neighborhood Report summarizes economic, housing, demographic and quality of life information about an area. It's an in-depth portrait of the people who live in a target area, in addition to key indicators such as job growth, unemployment, cost of living, quality of life, commute times and climate. The report also includes median list and sales prices, listing and sales volumes, and per square foot pricing on sold homes. Run your RPR Neighborhood Report: To begin, visit narrpr.com. Select Research from the homepage top navigation, and then choose Neighborhood Search. Enter a neighborhood, zip, city, or county. Select Exact, Within, or Nearby from the dropdown. Exact will take you directly to the searched area. You'll see five Neighborhood tabs: People, Housing, Economy, and Quality of life. Within allows you to choose from several neighborhoods. Nearby expands your results further. From the Neighborhood overview page, select Create Report. From the Reports page, confirm the Neighborhood Report is selected. Choose the specific elements to include or omit in the report by opening the below the name of the report type on the generation page. Choose the specific elements to include or omit on the report cover. These options are displayed in the right-hand sidebar, below the image of the report cover. Display your contact information, photo, logo and more. Show or hide page numbers. Personalize your report with a message. Choose a delivery method. Display the report as a PDF or email it to yourself or a client (or both). From the RPR app even text the report to your recipient. Press Run Report. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Discussing Flood Risk With Your Client Is More Important Than Ever. Here's How to Do It.
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How to Blog: Getting Started
Contacting a real estate agent is rarely the first step someone takes when they decide to buy or sell a home. Usually, they do a bit of research first, searching online to find out how much it will cost, how long it will take, and what it will entail. They use the internet to figure out as much about the process as they can so that when they're ready to make a decision, they will feel confident about it. Only then will they use the internet to find or contact an agent. That's why blog content is so important. It's an SEO magnet and an opportunity to build trust with future buyers and sellers. Rich with keywords and helpful information about buying or selling a home, a blog is one of the best places potential leads can go to get the answers they're looking for.
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Step Out of Zillow's Shadow and Back Into the Showings Spotlight!
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5 Tips [and a Freebie] to Up Your Social Media Marketing
We all know that social media is a necessary part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, but with its ever-evolving algorithms and "cancel culture" mentality, if you make a misstep, keeping up can prove challenging and overwhelming to many real estate professionals. When it comes to social media marketing, we believe in QUALITY over QUANTITY. Read on for our easy-to-implement marketing tips that even the busiest real estate professional can put into play! 1. Take the "Mixed Bag" Approach to Creating Content Creating good social content can be time consuming, but it doesn't have to be if you take a "mixed bag" approach. Some of the highest engagement content is nothing more than capturing a moment in your life and sharing it, or taking a shot of the hottest new coffee shop in your neighborhood and giving a shout-out regarding the most delicious latte that's walking distance from that hot new listing you just landed. Other types of content require more thought and effort, like a video interview with your favorite mortgage lender, writing a detailed blog post about a residential community, or editing a video tour of your latest listing. 2. Focus on Quality Over Quantity Posting for the sake of posting isn't necessary. Although we DO recommend that you create some sort of consistent posting schedule in order to train your followers (and yourself) to look for and engage with your content, you want to ask yourself two important questions for creating awesome content: Does my content provide VALUE to my audience (information, interest, local, relatable)? Does my content ENGAGE my audience (shares, clicks, comments, likes, etc.)? Always keep in mind the reason that you create content in the first place is to provide value to your audience, initiate conversations, and ultimately build and nurture your sphere to lead to business (and personal) opportunities in your life. 3. Focus on the Platforms that Support Your Audience (and Opportunities) There are a lot of great social media channels, but some are more popular than others with certain segments of your audience—and some are going to feel more natural and intuitive for you as well! The average American spends three hours per day on social networks and online messaging and the numbers are impressive: 90% of Millennials, 78% of Gen-X and 48% of Baby Boomers all are active social consumers, and the numbers have continued to grow over the past year of "COVID living." Millennial audiences are going to prefer highly visual, short form channels like Instagram, YouTube and TikTok, while Gen Xers and Boomers are more open to platforms such as Facebook, email marketing and long-form blog content. 4. Different Channels = Different Content Be sure that you adjust your content to fit the channel, even if it's the same content being repurposed. For example, you've got a hot new listing to showcase, Instagram and Facebook are where you are going to be very visual with big, gorgeous graphics and expanded description. YouTube is going to promote that listing with a gorgeous walk-through video, and your blog is going to be all of the above, along with an SEO-friendly long-form description of the listing and the surrounding community. 5. Be Yourself One of the things that's made social media so popular is that it's a way for people to easily tap into other's day-to-day without the "invasiveness" of a telephone call or text. In its best sense, social media gives us the opportunity to cheer on each other's successes, explore lives and stories that interest us, and support people and initiatives that we care about. The most important thing to do is be yourself. Being authentically you is what makes following your story online interesting to your audience. All the rest will fall into place! Schedule Your FREE Social Media Review Spend 15-minute with an Elevate Success Coach to take a look at your current social media marketing strategy and receive tips, tricks and insight into what you are doing well and what you can improve. We'll review your current website, blog and social channels—no strings attached! [ SCHEDULE SOCIAL MEDIA REVIEW ]
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How to Become a Real Estate Coach
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Using Data to Identify Opportunities
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:00 AM PDT Data is critical for understanding local real estate market conditions and building a market-responsive revitalization strategy. When designing a strategy to address emerging challenges, help stabilize neighborhoods, fulfill a community's goals, draw responsible investment, or foster equitable revitalization – quality data matters. During this session participants will learn: The role of data in determining market conditions and identifying problem properties Where to find critical data at national and local levels How to gather, analyze, and use local data to determine community challenges Developing and using parcel or windshield surveys to identify problem properties and plan for future interventions Register now!
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Facebook Turns the Table on Lead Gen: You don't go after leads -- leads come to you
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Get Smart: Making the Most of Smart Homes in 2021
What's the difference between going home and going to work? For many of us in 2020, the answer was "not much." Most of us have spent more time at home this past year than ever before, so it's only natural to be looking for ways to make that time at home more enjoyable and efficient. Smart home devices offer so many options for making life easier, more convenient, and more sustainable at home. Buyers, sellers, and owners are embracing smart home products like never before, and that trend is unlikely to slow down anytime soon. Now is the time to learn what your clients want in a smart home, beginning with our Smart Home 101 guide. Who Is Embracing Smart Home Products? Like with many types of technology, you will see the highest adoption of smart home products among the younger demographics of home buyers and owners. But Millennials and Gen Z are definitely not the only ones embracing the convenience and connectivity of smart homes. Anyone who owns a smartphone can download apps to connect with their smart home products, and buyers of all ages are doing just that. Most smart home devices are designed to be user friendly, easy to install, and easy to connect with the rest of the home. Add it all up, and you have a very diverse group of clients who are embracing the smart home trend. The Internet of Things Grows Every Year The Internet of things (IoT) is comprised of all the devices in the home that have online connectivity, and it's growing rapidly every year. Everything from light bulbs to toasters, TVs, and larger appliances can be part of the IoT. These devices often have their own software that allows them to be controlled remotely and have WiFi connectivity to exchange data. For people who already love smart features, IoT devices are a natural fit. These devices can also provide an easy entry point for anyone who is dipping their toes into the waters of smart home items for the first time. Voice Control and Smart Hubs Are Popular with Every Demographic There are so many smart home devices that every client is likely to want their own unique mix, but there are also a few devices that you're likely to find in every smart home. A smart hub with voice control, like Amazon's Echo with Alexa, is a must-have because it functions as a hub for so many other devices. A smartphone with the right apps is also a must for maximizing smart devices' convenience and utility. In addition to improved connectivity, smart hubs offer voice control, allowing clients to seamlessly control their homes without scrolling through menus or taking time away from whatever they're busy doing around the house. How Smart Home Devices in the Kitchen Save Time and Make Life Easier The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in any home and a very popular place for smart devices. Nearly any powered item found in a kitchen is now available with connectivity to the IoT, among other smart features. For larger appliances, smart versions are easily programmable and can even tell you when it's time for maintenance. Smart refrigerators have some especially advanced features, including some that help you automatically keep a shopping list or even look into the fridge without opening the door. Buyers will love the convenience of a smart kitchen, and sellers will love how much a smart kitchen appeals to those potential buyers. Why Going Green and Going Smart Go Hand in Hand Today, many real estate clients are focused on sustainability, and a smart home makes it easier than ever to go green. Start with one of the most popular features, the smart thermostat, which saves energy by keeping your home comfortable when you're there while not wasting energy on heating/cooling while you're away from the house. You can even program it so that your home will be just the right temperature when you come back from work. Really, any smart home device that can be controlled remotely allows you to save energy because you can simply turn it off with your smartphone apps when you're out of the house. There are also affordable devices like smart plugs, which allow you to put lights on a schedule so that you never have to worry about wasting energy on lighting when you're not home. Buyers interested in green living – and sellers who want to attract those buyers – will definitely be interested in smart, sustainable devices. Smart Security Systems for Peace of Mind Security systems are one smart home feature that's popular with every demographic, and clients won't have to break the bank to have a high-quality security system that offers smart features. These security systems can be controlled remotely and allow clients to keep a close eye on their home even when they're at work or on vacation. Going with a monitored security system adds an extra layer of protection because security experts can check on the home when security sensors are tripped and send help if anything goes wrong. Smart security systems also offer convenient features like video doorbells, so you can easily see who's at the door before you answer. A Connected Home for Convenience and Entertainment Last but certainly not least, there are the smart home devices that are just plain fun and make it easier to enjoy your leisure time. Smart TVs allow you to watch your favorite shows and movies on the most popular streaming services without worrying about a cable bill. Smart speakers are ideal for music lovers because they allow you to listen to your favorite tunes throughout the home and control everything with your voice. Modern gaming consoles aren't always listed among smart home devices but also fit the bill because they offer many of the same perks as a smart TV. Smart homes are here to stay, and the start of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to begin embracing the trend. As the last few years have shown, you can expect new smart products to emerge regularly and change how we interact with our homes. However, unlike some design trends, smart home features also have extensive appeal, with options to suit buyers from every background. The home of the future is a place where every important device is connected, and clients have an unmatched level of control over the many devices in their home. With how quickly smart homes are progressing, that future is very much within view. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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Top Real Estate Negotiation Strategies for Agents
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How Long Does It Take to Convert Online Real Estate Leads?
Feeling frustrated that your online real estate leads aren't converting? Or does it seem like they're taking forever? Here's the truth: online real estate leads take longer to convert than other sources and may convert at a lower rate than other sources like referrals, call-ins, etc. The average incubation rate for online real estate leads is anywhere from six to 24 months. The national average conversion rate for online real estate leads is usually reported to be between 2-3%. However, The National Association of Realtors® disclosed that the rate is actually closer to 0.4% – 1.2%. So, that means for every 100 leads you generate and work, you may convert two or three, and it may take a while to see it happen. I know what you're thinking—but don't be discouraged! With a seamless system in place designed to work and convert those leads, online leads can still be a lucrative part of your business. The name of the game is to leverage automation tools and technology services that allow you to work these leads without investing too much of your own valuable time. Build a Seamless Online Lead System First, make sure you have all of the necessary elements in place to turn those leads into closed deals. We recommend focusing on these three things: Speed to Lead It's critical to reach out within five to 15 minutes of the lead registering on your site. This is your best opportunity to make an impression! However, this is where many agents drop the ball. At BoomTown, we conducted a study of 40k+ agents and found that the average response time for an online lead was nearly 90 minutes. Yikes! That's enough time to lose an opportunity. It's impossible to stay glued to your desk all day. It's simply not the best use of your time! Plus, some leads might register on your site during the middle of the night or while you're on vacation. So this is a good area to rely on technology or a new hire in order to give focused attention to reaching out to leads. With BoomTown's Lead Concierge Service, Success Assurance, we generate and qualify your leads on your behalf (24/7 in as little as 90 seconds) and nurture them for up to one year. This way, no lead gets left behind. Qualification Have a plan for qualifying your leads and tagging/categorizing them appropriately within your CRM. The goal is to get as much useful information as you can as soon as possible. Like, LPMAMA: Location, Price Range, Motivation, Agent (are they working with one?), Mortgage (are they pre-approved?), and Appointment. (Note: If you're leveraging a Lead Concierge Service or an ISA, this should be a part of what they handle for you!) Pro Tip! Leverage your technology partner to embed qualifying questions within your IDX website. For example, when they're sharing their contact information with you, including the questions, "Are you pre-approved?" and "Do you have a house to sell?"  Follow-Up and Long Term Nurture Plug your leads into the right nurture plan to continue delivering timely soft touches with helpful information. You should be able to automate this within your CRM! Trust the Process If those three strategies are in place, the next thing you should do—be patient and trust the process. Yes, yes, I know it's not the sexy answer but it's the right answer. Online leads are "top-of-funnel," which means many of them are just beginning their search. They may be months away from being ready to transact. In fact, the average is six to 24 months. So you need to understand the lead funnel and the process of slowly moving leads through it, nurturing them so that when they are ready—you are their go-to agent! Remember: Your database is a powerful tool. Keep fueling it, keep working your pipeline. Stay on top of your systems and trust the process. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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6 Lessons Real Estate Professionals Learned from the Pandemic
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Accurate Property Pricing with RPR
Coupled with strong market knowledge, a keen REALTOR knows that employing certain tools in the valuation process can help land on the right price, right out of the gate. This is especially helpful when it comes to determining value based on improvements made to the property and its condition. Here, RPR shares four tools that will help an agent refine the value of a property, use the platform's flexible CMA tool, create a Sales Comparative Analysis and Valuation Workbook for harder-to-price properties, and run a real-time analysis for investment properties.
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Improve Your Networking Skills: Follow These Tips and Watch Your Network Grow
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2-Minute Read: Changes Coming to NFIP Flood Rates + 2021 Hurricane Season Projections
In case you missed it, two major news items are making 'waves': 1. Changes to NFIP Flood Insurance Pricing Starting October 1, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) risk rating is changing to a new methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The government is seeking to modernize NFIP to match private flood insurance pricing models so that we have one, consistent manner of pricing flood insurance from coast to coast. We wrote this article surveying NFIP flood insurance compared to the emerging private insurance market. Key Dates: Phase IBeginning October 1, all new policies will be subject to the new rating methodology. Also beginning the same date, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of an immediate decrease in their premiums (to the extent applicable). Phase II All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology. State-by-State NFIP Cost Impact: FEMA has posted individual PDF analysis of what Risk Rating 2.0 will mean for each state. Please click here to research your state. 2. 2021 Hurricane Season Projections Two reputable sources have made their predictions for the upcoming 2021 Hurricane Season, and both anticipate an active summer for the Atlantic States and the Gulf Coast. AccuWeather Issues 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast Colorado State University: Forecast for 2021 Hurricane Season: Another Busy Year If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) Or, Join our weekly, free REALTOR® training on Tuesdays at noon EDT. Sign Up Here. Note: Tuesday, April 27 Training in Spanish. Sign Up Here (Spanish) CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS®, their clients, and insurance agents.
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7 Fresh TikTok Video Ideas from TikTok Influencers
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Will the Great Urban Flight Last?
As COVID-19 has ravaged across the country, millions of people have faced lockdowns and home quarantines. Homes have become classrooms, offices, recreational spaces, and countless other identities. Especially in urban areas, walls have increasingly felt like cages, leaving residents craving open spaces, more square footage, and greenery. What has since transpired is nothing short of a phenomenon we're calling "The Great Urban Flight."
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Onward and Upward! 8 Tips for Growing a Thriving Real Estate Team
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What to Include in Your Open House Sign-in Sheet
An open house sign-in sheet is quite an important tool for listing agents. For one, it's proof to your seller that there's interest in their home. This is important, of course, because impressing your seller is a must in order to keep them feeling positive about the work you're doing for them. Secondly, but technically most important, is that it's a list of mostly warm leads. Some of them are active in their home-buying journey, while others may be local homeowners viewing comparable properties as they consider whether to sell. The more foot traffic you can get to your open house, the more leads you'll accrue. But you need to be prepared to have a productive conversation with these leads when you reach out later. That's where the information you collect on your open house sign-in sheet becomes important.
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Spring Cleaning to Grow Your Success
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Building Your Real Estate Brand for the Long Run
The real estate market is hot right now with year-over-year sales setting records, but what do you do when there is a downward shift in sales? How do you stay at the forefront of the consumer's mind? Real estate sales across the nation have jumped to highs not seen in years. Low-interest rates paired are pushing the demand for single-family houses. With supplies dwindling, home buyers are grabbing up new residences quickly. But there will be an adjustment coming to normalize the markets and you need to be prepared in advance before the bubble pops. More Than a Business Card Now is the time for you to start building your brand and provide the best consumer experience regardless of the sales statistics. Your brand is not just the logo of your brokerage affixed to your business card and credentials. It's you, your services, your knowledge, and the value you bring. It is your connection to the consumer in the market you work in. Don't Be One-and-Done Homes sell in all economic situations. In a bull market when buyers are competing for properties, it's easy to jump on board that train and grab a listing or two that will sell within a matter of days (or hours). But you don't want to be in the category of "one and done" or "two and through." What happens when your list of friends and family customers runs out? You need more clients and you need them often. How do you get the leads and referrals to continue growing your business? You need real estate marketing. Show Value Show the consumer value by offering a consistent method of real estate marketing for all your listed properties to help buyers make quick informed decisions. One of the best marketing tools you can use is an all-in-one package of photos, 3D virtual tours, and advanced floor plans with accurate measurements. Show the seller a proven way to attract more interest in their properties backed by proven results. Tangible numbers both from statistics and positive reviews will help your brand stand out even in a bear market. Think Like the Consumer Think past the current real estate hype and consider the long term when it comes to buyers and sellers. If you want to stay in business, you have to find a way to offer the most value to the consumer. Think like a home buyer or seller: what is it that you want out of a real estate agent? You want accurate information, and an easy process both selling and buying. As a seller, you want to get the best dollar for your home, and as a buyer, you want the best value for the purchase price. Trust and Understanding Marketing concepts range from old-school advertising to bombarding social media with memes (think Bernie Sanders in a recent Realtor.com article), 3D videos and eye-catching real estate photography. But there is more to it than that. Create a marketing plan that offers value to the consumer. Show the seller you are presenting every square foot of their home with the ability to share it all via the MLS platform, directly through email or text messaging, or your social media channels. The buyer's journey does not begin and end with writing an offer and taking possession of a home. It begins with understanding the process before the aesthetics and the purchase price. It begins with trusting you. When consumers understand the living space, you have given them one of the most valuable tools possible: the knowledge they can trust delivered in a format they can use to map out the living space of a possible new home. Elevate your brand and foster trust by introducing easily navigated floor plans to help the buyer understand the fit and flow of a property. Focus on your brand to capture new leads and keep the proverbial ball rolling long after the market has softened. Staying in the game for the long run requires building your brand like building a home—start with a good foundation, measure the results and reap the rewards.
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9 Reasons Why It's So Important to Have Your Own Domain
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A Home and Its History: RPR's Property Details Page
When you land on an RPR Property Details page, you'll find a wealth of data that details a home and its history. Use this page to get an overview of basic facts about the property including current and historical photos, the property description, interior and exterior features, schools, homeowner info and location details, mortgage, deed and distressed info; side-by-side comparisons of MLS vs. public records information; sales, tax and mortgage histories; interactive maps and more.
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Friday Freebie: Prospect List of Empty Nesters Likely to Downsize
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Coming October 1 to a Property Near You: FEMA Implementing NFIP Risk Rating 2.0
On April 1, FEMA issued a press release announcing that it is updating the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) risk rating methodology through the implementation of a new pricing methodology called Risk Rating 2.0. The new methodology leverages industry best practices and cutting-edge technology to enable FEMA to deliver rates that are actuarially sound, equitable, easier to understand and better reflect a property’s flood risk. In short, the government is seeking to modernize NFIP to match private flood insurance pricing models so that we have one, consistent manner of pricing flood insurance from coast to coast. We wrote this article comparing NFIP flood insurance compared to the emerging private insurance market. From the press release, a few key headlines: FEMA is conscious of the far-reaching economic impacts COVID-19 has had on the nation and existing policyholders and is taking a phased approach to rolling out the new rates. FEMA and NFIP are preparing U.S. homeowners with the reality that flood insurance pricing will be accurate based on intended risk, taking federal subsidy out of pricing over the next several years. Key dates: Phase I New policies beginning Oct. 1 will be subject to the new rating methodology. Also beginning Oct. 1, existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decrease in their premiums (to the extent applicable). Phase II All remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology. Given that this is a federal program, FEMA continues to engage with Congress, its industry partners and state, local, tribal and territorial agencies to ensure clear understanding of these changes. As written prior, Risk Rating 2.0 is going to cause necessary changes in the pricing of NFIP flood policies, with a recent study of Floridians in flood zones potentially underpaying for flood insurance by as much as 379%. Study: Floridians in Flood Zones Underpaying for Flood Insurance by Average of 379% And with this important coming change, and potential impact on total cost of home ownership, it is strongly urged that all REALTORS® integrate flood insurance into every client conversation. If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) Or, Join our weekly, free REALTOR® training on Tuesdays at noon EST. Sign Up Here. Note: Tuesday, April 27 Training in Spanish. Sign Up Here (Spanish) CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS®, their clients, and insurance agents.
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Simple Ways to Provide a VIP Client Experience (Even Virtually)
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Tips from 4 Top-Performing Women Real Estate Agents
March is National Women's History Month. Throughout the month, companies and individuals across the country focus on the important contributions women have made to our history and culture. In celebration of these contributions, we invited Marki Lemons-Ryhal, Wendy Papasan, Sue Adler, and Shannon King to share how they grew their real estate career into the success that they have today. These dynamic and inspirational women offer sustainable and positive solutions to those looking to keep their business moving forward in 2021.
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Multiply Your Sales by Going After Empty Nesters
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5 Benefits of YouTube for Real Estate
Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet? It is only slightly less popular than Google, who happens to own YouTube. This is a platform that unfortunately not all real estate agents are utilizing to their full potential. If you aren't on YouTube yet, we have a few reasons why you should reconsider. Here are five benefits to having a YouTube for real estate:
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3 Apps Guaranteed to Save You Time
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Questions About Google's Local Services Ads? We Have Answers
Recently, Homesnap announced the addition of Google's Local Services Ads to Homesnap Concierge. In this post, we'd like to answer some of the most common questions we've received from our member agents. What are Google's Local Services Ads? A brand-new advertising product from Google, Local Services Ads are prioritized at the top of the Google search page, above traditional paid search advertisements, and enable prospects to live call an agent directly from the ad unit. These ads can also feature an agent's photo, Google reviews, hours of operation, and a "Google Screened" badge.
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How Drones Can Help Drive Interest in Today's Real Estate World
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RPR's Mapping: Get the Big Picture
If you're looking for help with RPR Maps, you're in the right spot! In this article, we'll cover how to use the RPR Map to visually search for properties and uncover market trends. The map layers offer various views and ways to "zone in" on areas, neighborhoods and properties themselves. From aerial, road, and overhead views, to schools, estimated values, heat maps, and geographic overlays, we're going to walk through how easy it is to draw or designate your map in ways that will help you and your clients. Let's get started.
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Friday Freebie: Empty Nester Flyer
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Virtual Networking Ideas for Real Estate Agents
Networking with your clients and community safely can be a challenge these days. As community leaders, real estate agents can help safely connect members of their communities through online networking events. Consider what your specific community is interested in to come up with networking opportunities that would work for your. For inspiration, check out the ideas below.
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Give Your Online Listing a Virtual Advantage by Using Reliable Property Data
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What's This I Hear About the Government Raising the Rates of Flood Insurance?
You may have seen two news stories in the last month regarding flood insurance: The first turned many heads -- it was a study of Floridians in flood zones underpaying for flood insurance by as much as 379%. The second centered on objections to FEMA's modernization program, Risk Rating 2.0, by Senator Chuck Schumer -- prompting speculation about possible delays to the program's implementation. Let's take a few minutes to explain what is happening … in plain English. From our previous articles, flood insurance is very $#@!&^% confusing, sold separately from homeowners insurance, and has two pricing systems: Public (The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP) and an emerging Private Market (offered by for-profit insurance carriers). Since the beginning, NFIP has based their entire flood insurance program on flood zones. Pricing has been by what "ZONE" a property is designated in, and there is a standard price for that zone. It is a blanket approach, and is considered very "black and white" in its price and administration. And for the highest risk zones, the government has knowingly subsidized the pricing to make the insurance affordable to all Americans. As of December 2019, NFIP owes $20.25 billion to the US. For private insurance carriers, they price each property based on proprietary data, weather mapping, historical claims data, and their own price-risk ratio. Private insurers have shown that there is wide discrepancy between stated "flood zones" and their proprietary pricing -- which is what they are willing to underwrite for actual property risk. Risk Rating 2.0, which has been in development for several years, is FEMA's effort to modernize the National Flood Insurance Program, so that they apply data and technology to appropriately price every property in America -- essentially matching the private insurance carrier approach to price-risk pricing. So, when an independent research study comes out comparing the historical zone-based pricing versus current pricing with technology and data, you get headlines of possible 379% increases. Some of this is very accurate, and some of this is sensationalized for newspaper consumption. Objections to Risk Rating 2.0 by Chuck Schumer, New York senator and Democratic Majority Leader, have prompted speculation about further delays to the rollout of FEMA's modernization program -- the implementation of which has already been pushed back a year to October 1, 2021 from its original date of October 1, 2020. It is not yet clear if there will be further delays beyond this date. In any case, the next step will be a full review of FEMA's plans through the checks and balances that is our U.S. Government, where committees will review the accuracy, fairness and rollout of the FEMA/NFIP plan. And it is an urgently needed step. "Risk Rating 2.0 is long overdue," Carolyn Kousky, Director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania, has said. Kousky is correct, yet NFIP, FEMA and the US Congress learned a difficult lesson the last time they tried to enact significant pricing change. In 2012, Congress enacted the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform act to change NFIP insurance rates to match actual pricing for actual risk -- only to then pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act two years later in 2014 to grandfather in much of the increased insurance rates. (source) So that history does not repeat itself, FEMA and Congress must re-imagine the National Flood Insurance Program so that it is sustainable for the future. In the last decade, climate change has advanced and is impacting livability across the U.S., as well as causing economic distress on our public and private sectors. Now is the time to make a long range plan that integrates climate and socioeconomic factors to account for our future flood needs. If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS®, their clients, and insurance agents.     **Image credit: Insurance Journal, March 15
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Ride the 'Silver Tsunami' of Baby Boomers
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The Golden Rule for Your Real Estate Social Media Strategy
In 2021, your digital presence is more important than ever. Consumers begin (and often end) their search process online and if they're going to choose to work with you as their real estate agent, your social media, website, and business pages need to be executed flawlessly. You have to build trust, respect, brand recognition, and rapport with your leads. So, as you're building your brand following on your website, social media, and business pages, remember the following – content is king, but consistency is key. When you're building and executing your social strategy, remember to be consistent in these three specific ways:
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5 Ways to Improve Cold Calling Real Estate Prospects
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Top 5 Real Estate Lead Magnets
Many real estate agents are unsure of the best way to capture leads. The secret actually isn't much of a secret. Across industries, marketing professionals use what's called a lead magnet to entice consumers to willingly provide their contact information. We'll explain what this tactic is and share the best real estate lead magnets that will help you grow your business.
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Top Five Features Agents Want in a Transaction Management Solution: How does Form Simplicity stack up?
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4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Real Estate Facebook Page
Experts estimate an astonishing 87.1% of marketers in the U.S. used Facebook marketing features in 2020. Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly active users, including some 255 million in the United States and Canada. As Facebook loses its cachet among the college students it was originally created for, it's still growing among the under-36 cohort most likely to be active homebuyers. No matter who your target demographic is, Facebook has them. And the most vital resource for reaching those potential leads is your Facebook business page. Even if you already have one, there are exciting ways to make it more effective. Real Estate Agents, It's Time to Renovate Your Facebook Business Page If you've been in the real estate industry more than a month, odds are you have a Facebook business page for your practice. But Facebook is constantly providing new tools to apply to your lead generation efforts. Just like an old home, your page may need a fresh coat of paint. Luckily, your business page is under your control. It's up to you to make the most of it. By keeping your Facebook page modern, you're adding extra authority and interest to your posts. That helps you stand out from the crowd and get recognized as an authentic local real estate expert. Here are four ways to do it: 1. Update Your Facebook Cover Image With a Call-to-Action You already know your cover image is the most important visual element on your Facebook page, right? It serves as the masthead, taking up more space than anything else. A good cover is 820x360 pixels, so it shows up brilliantly on both smartphones and desktops. Text is kept to the middle, where it can't be cut off. The image shows a compelling real estate photo, your face, or both. And, of course, it includes your brand name or logo! But did you know you can add interactivity to your cover? One of the more recent quirks of business pages is the "call-to-action" button. Just like a CTA on your blog posts, this tells visitors what to do next — a step they often won't take unless it's made explicit. The CTA appears in a prominent position on your cover, and it can be styled in many different ways. Some relevant options for real estate include: Contact Us Learn More Watch Video Request Time Here's how to set one up. 2. Add Property Search to Your Facebook Page Although you can't display MLS listings directly on your Facebook page without using third-party software, there's another way to give your properties more reach. Submit your listings to Facebook Marketplace in the Real Estate category, and you'll have many more options for promoting them, such as using Facebook Ads or sharing them with your active Groups. You can also communicate with prospective buyers right on Facebook. 3. Encourage Former Clients to Visit Your Review Section When your business page is filled out with your website URL and address, Facebook reviews can boost your local SEO — getting you more traffic from searches relevant to your business within 20 miles of you. That means even if you already showcase reviews on your website, Facebook still has something to offer. To get more reviews, follow up with satisfied clients within a week of closing day. Also, reach out to clients who've already submitted positive reviews on Google My Business or Yelp. Eighty-one percent of 12,000 respondents said their friends' recommendations influenced their buying behavior, so this can create a snowball effect. 4. Set Up Facebook Messenger to Communicate with Contacts Facebook has big plans to expand Facebook Messenger and make it the customer service solution of choice for as many businesses as possible. In this case, however, they're simply responding to how people are using the software already. This ubiquitous app makes it easier than ever to start a conversation at any time. Real estate is all about relationships, so it's a natural fit. To get all the benefits of Facebook Messenger, you need to be set up. On your page's General Settings, be sure "People can contact my page privately" is enabled. Verify your Messenger username, also under General Settings. The username is automatically generated based on your page name and can be changed. Next, consider updating your page's call to action to the "Send Message" button. As you get more comfortable with Messenger, you can use its automation features to provide seamless service for common customer needs. Write a greeting for Facebook Messenger to introduce yourself and use Instant Reply to send an automatic response to each user's first message to you. DeltaNET customers can take Facebook to the next level with automatic social media updates, including new listings, closings, and open house announcements. See it for yourself—RE Technology readers can try DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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RPR Search: Your Launching Point for Property Facts and Info
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Friday Freebie: Prospect List of High-income Renters
If you tuned in to last week's Friday Freebie, you downloaded a free Rent vs. Own report to send to or share with qualified renters who may be hesitant to become homeowners. Notice we said "send to" -- unless you already have a list on hand, where are you going to find a targeted list to mail your report to? That's where this week's Friday Freebie comes in. We're following up with a free prospect list of up to 100 high-income renters that you can target to build your first-time homebuyer business. Read on to find out how to claim your list today! Free High-income Renter Prospect List, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! You already know that targeting renters that have a high income is a potentially lucrative source of new business. So let's just dive straight into the good stuff: how to create and download your prospect list. Start by going to this page. And then: Click the Build Your List button under Step 1 Select a targeting method: via street address, zip code, or county Select the button next to High Income Renters (Alternatively, select Custom to create a list of renters with an income level of your choice) Click the Search button Under the Choose Quantity section, type in 100 or a smaller number Name your list Click Add to Cart Click Checkout on the next page Add promo code FREERENTERLIST (important!) Click Place Your Order Once you've finished building your list, a receipt will be emailed to you instantly, followed within minutes by a link to download your list. The list is in .CSV format, making it easy to import wherever you'd like! Get started targeting high-income renters and create your FREE prospect list today!
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Asking: the Secret to Getting More Reviews
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The Big Lie: 'The House Is Not in a Flood Zone'
We've ALL been here, right?!? You find your clients their "Dream Home" and pull a flood zone report. You find that they are NOT in a flood zone, and you go ... "PHEW." Done. One less hassle to contend with, one less issue to have to deal with in negotiations, securing a mortgage, and getting from contract to close. Check the box, and move on. When flood insurance is so $#@!&^% confusing, why would you spend more time on it than you have to? Yet, when your clients are committing much of their life savings to a 30-year investment, they want to feel confident they're doing everything they can to protect that investment. Following these three steps to simplify flood insurance places you in a position to confidently lead the conversation: 1. Reframe the Flood Question As they say, "If it can rain, you have the potential of flood risk." So, instead of asking a simple "Yes / No" question, reframe the question to "How much risk is your client willing to take on" to live in a specific property. This opens up the dialogue. And in this super tight market, a world of possibilities. Fact: Many flood policies are less than $600. For under $50 a month, your customer could secure peace of mind in case of a flooding event. Yet many REALTORS® avoid the topic, understandably. It's just one more unnecessary complication… right? 2. Understand the Basics of Flood Zones As a REALTOR® it is increasingly important that you can "speak the language" of flood. This chart simplifies many of the NFIP Flood Zones: NFIP bases all of their pricing on these flood zone maps. Moreover, they take a blanketed view of flood risk, across entire communities. What this means: two properties may be in X Flood Zones -- where there is low to medium risk -- yet one may have greater risk than the other, even if they are next to each other. A key fact: a home may have a Zone X designation, but that does not guarantee it will never encounter a flood event. 25-30% of all flood insurance claims are paid in these "less hazardous" areas and that only reflects the homes that purchased flood insurance deemed "optional" by their lenders. Many more uninsured homes located in X zones experience damage from floods every year. Knowing the flood zone for a property is an important piece of information, yet this is just a starting point for the discussion with your homebuying client. We're here to simplify the rest. 3. Create an Apples-to-Apples Total Cost of Ownership Comparison There are currently two sources for flood insurance in the US, and BOTH need to be fully investigated for every property. Unfortunately, these two sources are the no. 1 reason for most of the confusion for REALTORS® and their homebuying clients. They are: The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, run by FEMA The emerging Private Flood Insurance market, offered by over 150 private insurance carriers It is good practice to get both a NFIP and private insurance quote for each property your home buyer is seriously interested in, and include these quotes in an apples-to-apples comparison of total cost of ownership -- both at closing and over the lifetime of owning the property. Since you have reframed the flood insurance conversation upfront, you now can confidently guide your buyer to an educated, well informed choice. CartoFront provides free estimated flood insurance quotes as well as access to licensed insurance agents who can help with getting flood insurance in place. We're simplifying flood insurance -- equipping you with the tools you need, to help your customer make informed choices to properly protect their dream home. If CartoFront is included in your MLS, simply click the raindrop in the listing icon bar to access this valuable service. If CartoFront is not yet included in your MLS and you are interested in learning how CartoFront can be added to your MLS for free, please contact [email protected] Summary: Flood is confusing, time-consuming, yet important to research. Three Steps: Reframe the Flood Question: What is a Property's Risk? Know the basics of FEMA's Flood Zones Include Flood Insurance Quotes in Total Cost of Ownership If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)         CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS®, their clients, and insurance agents.
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Supercharge Your Real Estate Lead Generation with Landing Pages
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3 Ways to Beat iBuyers and Win More Business
With the market hot and the pandemic still restricting showing capacity, more and more sellers are considering using iBuyers to sell their homes. The benefits of doing so, proponents claim, are obvious: a guaranteed offer, little to no interaction with strangers, a fast and easy process. So, what can an agent do? Are they doomed to permanently lose ground to these tech behemoths muscling their way into the real estate space? Must they hope for them to go away once the pandemic and social distancing ends? Or can they differentiate themselves in such a way as to win more business?
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Building Your Brand in 2021
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Top 8 Things to Make You the Realtor of Choice for Sellers and Buyers
What makes a consumer choose you as their real estate agent when there are literally thousands of options? Is it because you work for a large international firm or have your name plastered on every bus stop? The real reason is that you are the one who can provide the most benefit to both the seller and the buyer on their real estate journey. With over 5 million homes selling annually, what is it that makes you the Realtor of choice? Here are the top eight things that make you stand out. Do you have all these qualities?
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Hosting a Virtual Open House? Here's a Checklist
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New Learning Resources to Help You Learn the New RPR
You may have noticed that things look, well, a little different in RPR. Along with launching a completely revamped RPR website, we've also published a new RPR blog, Learning Center and Knowledge Base. And much like the RPR website, these new learning resources are cleaner, simpler, and easier to navigate. These new learning resources can help you train, learn and get up to speed in no time.
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Friday Freebie: Get the 'Rent vs. Own Report' to Move Renters Off the Fence
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Real Estate Agents Eligible for PPP Loans Until May 31
The second wave of federal loan funding includes $250 billion earmarked to small businesses. As of right now, about $128 billion of that money is still available. Last week, the federal government extended the benefit to independent contractors, including real estate agents. Capital Plus Bank is an SBA lender who partnered with Blue Acorn to develop an online tool for real estate agents to apply for these loans. The marketing for the program is being handled by MooveGuru. Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP loans, cover independent contractors in real estate. About 90% of 1099 agents will qualify for the forgivable government PPP loan. The loan amount is likely to be around $5,000 on the low end and up to $25,000 on the high end, according to information provided by Capital Plus, Blue Acorn, and MooveGuru. Approval rates are currently at 90%. The website to to apply for the loan is mooveguru.blueppp.com. The deadline for applying is May 31. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog. Editor's Note: Since this article was originally published, the application deadline was extended to May 31 (previously, it was March 31). The article has been updated to reflect the new date.
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Why is flood insurance so $#@!&^% confusing?! We break down the facts.
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How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use of Smart Home Products?
A year into COVID-19, and it's safe to say we've changed how we live, work, play, learn and, well, just about everything. But we've also changed how we operate -- literally! A recent Homes.com survey found that almost 65% of homeowners and renters bought smart home products for their homes in response to the pandemic, with almost half of them (49%) buying smart home technology for the first time ever.
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Renters Earning in Excess of $70k: The Ideal Target Market
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How to Generate More Leads with Google's Local Services Ads
By now, you're probably familiar with Google's Local Services Ads. But, if you're not, here's a quick summary: A brand-new advertising product from Google, Local Services Ads seamlessly facilitate contact from homebuyers and sellers to real estate agents in their market. They're prioritized at the top of the Google search page, above traditional paid search advertisements, and, most notably, enable prospective buyers and sellers to call an agent (via their desktop or mobile device) directly from the ad unit. As you can imagine, the premium on-page location and lack of form fills make Google Local Services Ads a game-changing addition to any agent's digital marketing repertoire. Yet, it's important to note that these ads, like all advertisements, are not a guaranteed set-it-and-forget-it lead generation product. An agent's actions can—and will—have a significant impact on performance. We'll explore what you can do to boost the efficacy of your Google's Local Services Ads below.
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Tech Fatigue Is Real: What You Can Do to Combat Zoom Gloom
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5 Strategies To Grow Your Real Estate Business
If you have the goal of increasing your revenue every year, investing the time and energy to grow your real estate business is crucial. Growth is in your hands. There are several strategies you can implement to help you reach more clients and close more deals--you just must commit to them.
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Craft Great Email Subject Lines
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The RPR Homepage: Where to Land for Real Estate Results
When you log in and land on the RPR homepage, you're at home on the industry's largest property database. It's your digital hub to data, tools and reports that will help you "wow" your clients and close more deals. The site is spaced out with large font types and large images. The "roomy" and effective use of white space in the overall design and feel provides a clean user experience and a more inviting interface. When you view RPR on different devices such as laptop and tablet, you'll see RPR naturally responds and adjusts to the screen sizes—all in the name of making you more productive and more efficient!
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Targeted Mailing Lists and Campaigns
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Where to Post Social Video for Real Estate Agents
So you've discovered that the camera on your phone isn't just for still photos. It takes decent quality video, too! Some agents might not be taking advantage of this as they should. Video is a great way to show off your personality and build likability before meeting your future clients. But where on social media should you post your videos? Here are the social networks that real estate agents should post video to:
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Prepare Your Business for a Post-Covid Market with These Tips
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Integrating 'The Flood Discussion' into Your Real Estate Practice
Recent studies indicate that 41 million homes across the US are at risk of flooding -- a number significantly higher than is indicated by FEMA flood maps. This new data highlights a nationwide cause for concern for homeowners, including many in areas previously thought to be at low risk. In South Florida, as many as 1 in 3 residential properties are in danger of sustaining flood damage. Leading Realtors are getting ahead of the curve by integrating "The Flood Discussion" into their real estate practice. Here are five takeaways to integrate flood into your work with your customers, to make you the most knowledgeable, confident, and profitable Realtor in your market. 1. On the Buyer Side, include flood as a housing criteria We are used to setting criteria based on location, pricing, number of bedrooms, etc. Flooding, for example, has historically been an afterthought. With a 30-year investment — typically the biggest investment of our customer's life — it's critical to put flooding on the list of criteria, especially with the frequency of storms all across the country. Note: while flood has historically been a 'coastal' issue, flooding is occurring more frequently across the interior of the US. 2. On the Seller Side, do your research on the listing property More and more, the question of flooding and impact of weather is going to come up regarding the listing. So get out in front and ask your owners the 'tough questions' about the history of flooding and other climate-related issues. It will be better to know the facts, so you can present them professionally, accurately, and appropriately in the marketing of the property. 3. Understand the 'total cost of flood ownership' As we evaluate properties with the customer — listing price, taxes, utilities, homeowners insurance — it's important to integrate new terms like Flood Zone, Flood Risk and Flood Insurance. Note: It's important to remember that flood insurance is NOT included in homeowners insurance, and it is a separate insurance policy. Yes, no one likes to add costs. Yet, given that one storm can cause $$$$$ of damage in the blink of an eye, it's critical to evaluate a property's risk profile with your customer's risk tolerance. Across much of South Florida and the United States, home buyers can secure 'peace of mind' flood insurance for reasonable rates. 4. Investigate the two flood insurance options: NFIP and Private Insurance Most Americans are aware of NFIP — which stands for National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA. Based on a flood mapping system, NFIP has standard coverage limits of $250,000 for buildings and $100,000 for personal property based on the flood zone where the property is located. In the South Florida market, for example, more than 30 private insurance companies have begun to offer flood insurance over the last several years. Private insurance companies generally price flood insurance based on a property's latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as over 200 data points to calculate the exact price-risk profile per property. To better understand these differences and the options available for a property, consider getting one NFIP and one Private Flood Insurance Quote. 5. From Contract-to-Close, engage a licensed flood insurance expert Let's be honest, Flood Insurance is confusing and is best left to the experts who practice it each and every day. Most importantly, engaging a licensed flood insurance professional separates any potential issue of Errors and Omissions from the REALTOR® and their customer's real estate transaction. Acadian Insurance offers a free consultation for all Miami REALTORS® and their customers. In 15 minutes, the Acadian Team can provide you with all the knowledge you and your customers need to make smart, informed, confident decisions. If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS(R), their clients, and insurance agents. If you are interested in learning how you can bring CartoFront to your MLS for free, please contact [email protected]
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4 Ways You Can Digitally 'Hand-hold' Clients and Why You Should
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PropTech: What Does It Mean for the Real Estate Agent?
Technology is advancing the way real estate agents communicate value to prospective clients. It plays a huge role in assisting in transactions and is changing the way you do business. From artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to virtual reality (VR) and new 3D tour technology, proptech trends are slowly but surely making their way into your daily routine. But the question remains for a lot of agents: is proptech spawning a new era or is it disrupting a legacy system? The Resistance Real estate has not always embraced property technology advancements quickly. The industry as a whole is resistant to change. It operates on a legacy method. As an agent, you do what you have always done. Why? Because it works. But what if you could work better? What if you could give more value to your client and continue to fill the shoes of your predecessors? Proptech can open virtual doors, build your brand, and provide valuable information to home buyers and sellers. 3D Tours: Use Them or Lose Them The past year has certainly seen a jump in terms of how virtual tours have played a huge role in your real estate marketing plan. This proptech has changed home buyers' behaviours dramatically. When you want to market a property and get it sold quickly, surveys indicate you need to incorporate a virtual tour for your buyer to view from the comfort and safety of their current residence. You could risk losing a deal before you even make a connection if your buyer can't connect with you online. Proptech and Communication Consumers are seeking information before they contact a real estate agent. Advancements in technology give the consumer multiple ways to contact you – email, social media, direct message, Zoom meetings and more. How can you get more leads and referrals? Offer potential clients as much useful information as possible. Use property technology to showcase floor plans, 3D tours, and interactive ways to cater to the clients' changes in behaviour. Buyers are searching online and according to NAR, several buyers are placing offers before visiting the property in person. Keeping Up with Drones in Real Estate A popular proptech addition to 360° tours is drone footage. What better way to have a great view of a listing than to get a bird's eye view? Using drones adds another level to your listing presentation. For your seller, you are offering added value to your marketing plans, and for your buyer, these additional virtual tours help build an emotional connection to a property. Though drones are readily available, they come with a few regulations, so it's best to have your professional real estate photography provider get your aerial photos. Stick to what you do best so you don't end up flying your newly purchased drone into the neighbour's open window. According to NAR, one of the biggest challenges real estate agents face is keeping up with technology. Big players in the real estate industry, like Zillow and Redfin, are using data to offer their services and give insight into current market trends. Don't miss out on some great opportunities by skipping out on information that can help you and your clients. Property Data and Analytics Use proptech to analyze data. Information offered by your MLS' property data/tax tool is a window into the future as well as a way to analyze past trends. Accuracy is key. Presenting the whole picture with data from the markets helps you provide the best service to the consumer. How do you know what is happening in the current market? By monitoring economic, geographic, and demographic data, real estate agents can use this information to predict sales and provide a more accurate valuation of a property. What if you could use data to target specifics by narrowing down precisely what a buyer wants? Advanced analytics will soon be able to get you up close and personal with all your buyer's desires. By inputting things from desired floor plans and room dimensions to distance to schools and Walk Scores, you will be able to narrow down the ideal property. Not only does this provide value to the consumer, it saves time. The Future is VR Virtual reality gives the consumer the ability to see before they buy and, in fact, can now let them see before the brick and mortar has time to set. Proptech advancements in VR can let the consumer walk through a property before it is even built. At the pre-construction stage, you can visualize various upgrade options, get a realistic view from every floor of a multi-level property and experience how an adjustment to the proposed floor plans would flow. The world is changing and every industry is adapting to technology. With the Internet of Things (IoT) giving you ways to access your home security camera while on vacation or to get a ride in a self-driving car, the future definitely looks tech-friendly. As one of the largest industries in the world, real estate and proptech go hand in hand. You don't have to give way to AI chatbots as the only form of communication with the consumer. Instead, embrace technology as a new partner in business. Keep your human connection, your coffee meetings, and your personal approach to your clients because as humans we all crave that bond. Use technology as a complement to your real estate marketing approach. The bottom line is, if the experience leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction, proptech is good.
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Get More Listings: Pursue Absentee Owners
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How to Build Your Real Estate CRM Database and Why You Want to
As a real estate agent, there are a lot of things you "should" do that you hear over and over again. You should keep in touch with past clients. You should have a responsive website. You should up your database. But that isn't very helpful if no one is telling you how or why. So we're going to help you with that last one.
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7 Ways to Get More Seller Leads in a Tight Market
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Friday Freebie: Absentee Owner Prospect List
Ready to shift your real estate marketing strategy to a potentially lucrative niche? Thanks to the pandemic and record low inventory, one group of homeowners is particularly ripe as a source of listing leads -- the absentee owner. In this week's Friday Freebie, we'll show you how to get a FREE mailing list of absentee owner prospects and let you know just why they're a perfect target for your current marketing efforts. Get a Free Absentee Owner Prospect List, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic—and its resulting record unemployment levels—evictions of tenants who cannot pay rent have been temporarily halted. This leaves many landlords in a precarious financial situation due to the inability to collect rent from many of their tenants. However, housing inventory is at record lows while home prices are at record highs, which means that many landlords stand to make a significant return on their property investment should they sell right now. Your mission? Be the agent that they reach out to when that time comes. When it comes to being top-of-mind with potential sellers, nothing beats being proactive. Start putting your name in front of these property owners now, and you can be the agent that moves them off the fence and helps them sell their property. To get started, first you need a list of absentee owners to target. ProspectsPLUS! to the rescue! They're offering RE Technology readers a FREE absentee owner prospect list (with promo code FREELIST at checkout) that you use to start marketing to this lucrative group of leads. Ready to get started? Get your FREE Absentee Owner Prospect List with promo code FREELIST.
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RPR Launches New Refreshed Look and Functionality
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Why Agents Love Form Simplicity: Transaction Management Any Time, Any Place, Any Device
Over the last year, few digital real estate tech tools have gained as much new attention from agents and brokers as transaction management software. Transaction management programs have become an essential "must-have" to work from home successfully. As an agent or broker, you can't go fully digital without a transaction management solution. Form Simplicity stands out from among the best solutions available for a couple of reasons. First, many transaction management companies have been gobbled up by tech giants. But not Form Simplicity. Owned and operated by Florida Realtors, it remains wholly owned by Realtors. Second, Form Simplicity offers the best tech support available industry-wide through its sister company Tech Helpline. The No. 1-rated tech support firm for real estate professionals, Form Simplicity users have access to a friendly staff of tech analysts who understand the needs of agents and brokers because they work with them every day. Now more than ever, agents and brokers working remotely depend on a transaction management solution that offers exceptional customer support. Here are what Form Simplicity agents and brokers shared when surveyed about seeking help: Shanmugam Parthiban is a fan of Form Simplicity because it provides "Five-star tech help." Kenneth Smith Jr. notes, "This benefit of FAR is awesome! It has saved me a lot of money." S. Bret Testerman says, "Every time I've called, the service has been excellent!" Santiago Wood gives props to a tech analyst, saying, "Alex was very patient, courteous, professional, and helpful." Eileen Spears also shares kudos, pointing out, "Eric was great, assisted me with my problem, and his knowledge was important to me and saved me so much time." Eleanor Sorino praises another tech analyst, sharing, "Kevin is absolutely fantastic. He had patience and made my experience great. Thank God for he was there to help! Many thanks to Kevin and to you for having a wonderful staff." Carole Gordon also complimented Form Simplicity on its tech support, adding, "Great service. Much appreciated!" Jerrell Williams is especially appreciative of the hands-on help, noting, "I have recently reached out twice for assistance, both times the agents were incredible in the manner that they handled my request. Yvette was eager to walk me through, step-by-step, the process of setting up and initiating an eSign contract, making it a very pleasant experience. The second call was very brief, but the young man that assisted me was very knowledgeable and willing to assist in any way he could." Sandy Brown is appreciative of the quick response, saying, "I can't believe I got through to HELP call on the first attempt, with little or no waiting. Thank you." Laurie Somers notes, "My issues always seem to get resolved when I call…and that's a great thing! Thank you." Sue Robb also is a fan, saying, "You are great, very much appreciated!!!" Sue Ford likes how she was treated when she asked for help, noting, "Appreciate their patience with those of us who aren't very tech-savvy. Thanks." Tami Phillips also is a fan of the support she received, adding, "It was nice to speak to a person and receive immediate attention to my issue. Thank you for your customer service team." Jen Babacan praises a tech analyst who helped her with Form Simplicity, noting, "Robert was so patient, understanding and helped me tremendously getting a difficult task done. He did not rush me off of the phone and answered my questions to sheer delight. He is the best, and I will never forget how valuable his major help was when I needed it most." Kevin Cloutier puts it succinctly, saying, "It's the benchmark of customer service standards." For many real estate agents, the transition of going from a paper-based transaction to a digital one can be daunting, especially when you consider some agents have honed their paper-based transaction management skills over a couple of decades – or more. That's why customer support is so essential when it comes to selecting a digital transaction management solution. It's also why Form Simplicity is emerging today as the transaction management program of choice for agents and brokers nationwide. If your MLS or association doesn't offer Form Simplicity as a member benefit or forms partner, ask them to check out formsimplicity.com or call (888) 784-5404. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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The Collateral Damage of the Pandemic on Real Estate
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Building Blocks: The Psychology Behind Real Estate
The latest installment of the "Building Block" series is focused on the foundational elements of building a successful real estate business. Today we're taking a closer look at the psychology behind real estate. While keen business skills and sharp negotiating tactics are critical to long term success in real estate, there are instances of the home selling/buying process that require an agent to tap into softer skills to best serve their clients. For example, homeowners may be faced with tremendous hardship, forcing the sale of a home and putting a client in an uncomfortable and vulnerable position. Whether it's divorce, death, or foreclosure, agents must be prepared to approach these clients with great care, patience and empathy to deliver the customer service these individuals require.
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6 Ways to Construct the Perfect Builder/Realtor Relationship
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Leading Real Estate Vendors Now Offering Access, a 'Pay at Closing' Option for Agents
It is estimated that e-commerce sales in the U.S. will grow to nearly $1 trillion by 2023 as shoppers become increasingly comfortable with buying online. With this change in buying habits, retailers have started to embrace more payment alternatives that allow their customers to purchase goods and services without using traditional forms of credit. Perhaps the most popular option today is "buy now, pay later." What Is Buy Now, Pay Later? Buy now, pay later is a straightforward concept: customers are given the option while shopping online to purchase something now, but instead of paying full price up front, they pay later, typically with easy-to-manage installments. It's clear why the option to pay over time is valuable to customers. Having the ability to break up the cost of purchases with no interest or fees gives buyers a greater sense of confidence in making purchase decisions. For retailers, the benefits are equally clear. Buy now, pay later lets them attract more customers that may have otherwise put off purchasing due to cash flow constraints or credit availability. Offering the option to pay over time has shown to result in higher conversion rates for retailers and increased order size. Access™: Buy Now, Pay Later for Real Estate This emerging trend is now available to the real estate industry with the launch of Access™ by eCommission®, a unique payment option tailored around the timing of when agents earn their commissions. Access enables agents to buy goods and services online from their favorite real estate vendors, but pay for their purchases later using future commissions as an alternative to cash or credit cards. Access funds the order on behalf of the agent immediately and offers the convenience of up to 90 days free of charge to repay from their next closing. How Access Works The process of using Access is simple: An agent selects an item to purchase while shopping online, including such things as subscriptions, MLS dues, advertising, staging costs, lead generation services, lawn signs and so on, then prepares to checkout. At the point of sale where they would otherwise enter their credit card to pay, the agent is presented with the option to choose Access and pay when they close their next sale. This sets off an instant approval verification. Once finished, the agent is returned to the vendor's site to complete their purchase – all within a matter of minutes. Business Advantages of Offering Access There are several benefits real estate vendors can gain through offering Access, including an ability to attract new customers by providing a flexible payment option tailored exclusively to the timing of when they get paid their commissions. Responses from vendors involved in beta testing reported a 32% increase in average order values, and a 26% bump in conversion rates after introducing their customers to Access. Happy Customers Buy More Real estate agents, like everyday consumers, crave ease of use. The secret to the success of Access involves a simple API integration within the vendor's point of sale that completes a risk assessment and finalizes the agent's purchase instantly to create a truly frictionless experience. This presents customers with the ability to get what they need today, but pay later once they close a sale, which means less time spent debating the purchase and more time buying. Costs to Vendors and Agents Similar to credit card issuers, Access charges vendors a 5% processing fee for completing the sale and transferring funds on the agent's behalf to the vendor's bank within one business day. It costs agents nothing out-of-pocket to use Access, and they have up to 90 days free of charge to repay using commission proceeds from a future sale. If it takes longer than 90 days, the agent's balance accrues a charge of 0.03% per day. Even if it took a year to close a sale, the equivalent APR is just 10.9%, compared to the average credit card rate of 24.9% — making Access a more convenient, less expensive option for most agents than using traditional forms of credit.
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Lessons from Million-dollar Real Estate Agents
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10 Creative Ideas for Memorable Closing Gifts
Finding just the right closing gift isn't always easy. You want something special and thoughtful that stands out and communicates how much you value your clients' business. It also needs to be memorable -- you don't want them forgetting your name for possible referrals any time soon! There are a few things to keep in mind when you're searching for just the right closing gift. First, forget cost -- it will only constrain you at the start, and you can make price adjustments later. Next, consider what you know about your clients and what is meaningful to them. Maybe they are newly married and would love a gift with their family name on it. If they are coming from another state, you may consider giving an experience that gets them out of the house and into the neighborhood (see idea #4!). Lastly, don't give them anything that is branded. Keep your headshot, phone number and logo off your closing gift. Clients will see that as marketing, not as a gift from the heart. If you're struggling to find just the right thing, get inspiration from our 10 creative closing gift ideas.
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The Importance of Property Information When the Market Is Frantic
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Save Your Hard-Earned Money By Incorporating (and Other Financial Tips for Real Estate Agents)
Are you taking advantage right now of every tax break that is legally available to you? Probably not. The genius Albert Einstein is attributed to saying about taxes, "The hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes." Are you trusting your tax advisor to provide you with all the tax saving benefits available to you? As experienced as many tax advisors are, most largely do a great job of recording the history that you give to them. It is far more uncommon to find an accountant that provides you with insight about tax breaks that you are not already taking. Let's explore some tax saving strategies and benefits – recommendations to put you in the driver's seat and potentially put more money in your pocket, legally.
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Friday Freebie: 2021 Real Estate Marketing Planner
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8 Ways for Real Estate Agents to Deal With Stress
How are your stress levels doing? It can be tough to get into a business mindset with high levels of stress. We're navigate these challenging waters together. Here are seven ways that real estate agents can deal with stress and increase their calm.
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The Newest Tool for Your Real Estate Business: Clubhouse
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Don't Make These 5 Mistakes in 2021
It's time to shed what we had to go through in 2020 and achieve something better. There are some common moves that real estate agents make that might not benefit them in the long run. Here are five mistakes to avoid in the year ahead.
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How Safe Is Your Computer? Check Out This Safety Checklist!
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How to Build a Successful Partnership with Your Transaction Coordinator
When growing your real estate business, one of the first set of tasks that you'll likely want to delegate is transaction coordination. This is an awesome strategy for leveraging your time and creating space to focus on making more sales. However, it's not as easy as just handing over the file and collecting a check at the end of the deal. While your transaction coordinator (TC) is there to handle the heavy lifting and help move the deal to closing, they still need your help to be successful. There's nothing more important than learning how to build a successful partnership with your transaction coordinator.
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Virtual Showings and Open Houses: Before, During and After COVID-19
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NAR President Charlie Oppler Walks REALTORS Through the new RPR
For just over a decade, REALTORS have relied on RPR to give them access to real estate data, powerful tools and client-friendly reports. The new, "refreshed" version, going live on February 24th, offers the same excellent features REALTORS have come to expect, but with many new elements and enhancements created with one user in mind--the REALTOR. Check out this video where NAR President Charlie Oppler covers the major highlights: To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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3 Ways to Get More Leads in 2021
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Three Predictions for the Real Estate Market in 2021
In a normal year, the real estate market sees an uptick in new listings and total sales during the spring and summer (March-June) and a steady decline in those same figures in the fall months (September-December). Obviously, though, 2020 wasn't a normal year, and the real estate market proved anything but predictable. Despite continued lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines, we've yet to see any signs of a slowdown. So, predicting what's to come is a bit more of a challenge than in previous years. But here's what we believe is in store for 2021.
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Friday Freebie: Get $25 in Marketing Materials from ProspectsPLUS!
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How to Get Cold Leads to Fall Back in Love with You
The real estate market is booming, but if you find yourself still looking to fill some slots on your dance card, it may be time to dust off your old address book and drum yourself up some Valentine's Day business. Find out how to attract the attention of buyers in your market and get them ready to commit to working with you.
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Pets and Zoom Rooms: 2 Property Features Every Real Estate Agent Should Focus On
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5 Ways to Show Your Real Estate Clients Love
Love is in the air. We aren't talking about romantic love, but just love in general -- an appreciation for those who have brought you success. You certainly didn't do this alone. Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate your loved ones, regardless if it is romantic or platonic. As for your clients, here are five ideas to show them love this Valentine's Day:
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Free Video Editing Apps for Real Estate Videos in 2021
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The Essential Building Blocks for Your Business
The start of a new year is a time when many of us set goals and outline our aspirations for the next 365 days. Sometimes, however, we bite off more than we can chew! With that in mind, we are introducing a new series focused on the foundational elements of building a successful real estate business. To dream big and aim high, it is important to have the right pieces in place as you set out to achieve the very biggest goals. So, let's take it back to the nuts and bolts.
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