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5 Fun and Easy Video Content Ideas to Try Today
With stay-at-home orders back in place in many places and a rocky road to re-opening ahead, real estate agents are adapting to the conditions and working with tech to keep business and cash-flow consistent. The video sharing platform YouTube was launched only 15 years ago, but with over 2 billion users, it's already one of the most popular social media sites and can be a powerful weapon for a real estate agent to add to their arsenal. In a highly visual world, watching a short video can communicate much about your brand. However, we're not all digital natives. Before you pull out the camera, get started by creating a content calendar filled with content that your potential clients will actually want to watch. Here are some video content ideas that real estate agents can use right now to build your credibility and get leads. Before you start, don't forget these super important ground rules! Practice, Practice, Practice - Try to temper your nerves by doing a couple of practice runs. Rehearse in front of a mirror first for a few times before getting in front of a lens. It's all right if your first tries don't go exactly the way you want. Don't stress—consider them as just more practice runs! The more video content you film, the more comfortable you become. We promise. Have Fun! - Of course you're a friendly, amiable person—you're a real estate agent! But it might be a struggle to convey all of this in front of the camera. Here's a quick secret: try to have fun. Your viewers will respond to your energy. If you can keep up a good level of enthusiasm, your potential clients will respond in kind. We don't have to tell you that the real estate business is the business of relationship, so show what entering into a professional relationship with you would look like. Get to Know Your Equipment - Cameras and video editing suites like iMovie can be easy to operate, but if you have no knowledge of them, it's easy to feel out of your depth. YouTube has a lot of easy-to-follow tutorials that will get you up to speed on the latest best practices. iMovie is not difficult to pick up and watching 20 minutes of tutorials is time well spent. Keep it Quick - Think short and sweet. Just like you, your clients are busy and won't have time to sit through hours of content. Incorporate a few longer pieces—a conversation between you and a another real estate agent where you break down market conditions, for example—but don't push yourself to extend content. A few minutes to show off your neighborhood or do a listing walkthrough is enough. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 1: Neighborhood explorations The goal of neighborhood explorations is to show yourself as a neighborhood and area expert ready to guide a newcomer to an area that they'll love. You can still make this content if your neighborhood is under lockdown orders—you'll just have to take increased safety precautions. Sell your area as well as your listing. Let the viewer follow you around as you soak up the local atmosphere, get a cup of coffee, or do some shopping so they can envision themselves doing the same. It'll be like Google Street View, only better. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Begin in your car or at your home, speak about the benefits of the neighborhood. Show the viewer your journey to the neighborhood spot. If you're able to safely enter and purchase something from the store, go ahead and buy something you love. If you can't, spend a little bit of time letting your client know the store's offerings. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 2: Listings walkthroughs Listing walkthroughs are a great way to show your listings and generate more interest. In typical market conditions, videos can help a viewer envision themselves in the space and can provide a refreshing variation from the usual slew of social media photos. With COVID, virtual walkthroughs are often the only way a potential client can see a listing. So take this content seriously. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Walk through your listings Show the home's or building's amenities End by encouraging your viewers to contact you if they think this listing is right for them. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 3: Q&A Solicit questions from your clients and answer them in detail. Is no one asking you questions? Don't wait for adoring fans to flood your mailbox. Ask yourself questions. What would you want to know the answer to? What questions do you get asked on showings? Challenge yourself to come up with a brief, helpful answer on film. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 4: Connect with other pros Two heads (or more!) are better than one. Join forces with another real estate agent for a collaborative video where the two of you can discuss real estate trends, the life of a real estate agent, tips for renting or buying, or major red flags to watch out for. The goal of this is to simultaneously create partnerships with other real estate agents and generate leads with your deep insight and knowledge of the real estate market. Quick Set-Up Ideas: Introduce your guest on the channel. Choose two talking points that the two of you can discuss. Have a natural discussion. YouTube Content Idea for Real Estate Agents 5: Real estate forecast and report Right now, uncertainty is pervasive and scary. Real estate agents have the power to become a powerful source of calm. What do you see in cards for the market? What amenities are becoming increasingly popular? Share your expertise on the real estate market to position yourself as a knowledgeable thought leader and a reliable source of information. Also, think about the type of information you present. How are you collecting your news? Who is your target audience and what do they want to know from you? If your client base seems to consist of young renters, perhaps a report of rental prices in your neighborhood might be beneficial. To view the original article, visit the RentalBeast blog.
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Do You Know How to Communicate with Gen Y?
My last article, "Are You Ready to Deal with Gen Y First-time Home Buyers?" discussed that many of our first-time homebuyers are 26 to 40 year olds and some are making unbelievable tech salaries. The possible problem for many real estate veterans is that the average age of a REALTOR, according to the National Association of REALTORS, is 53 years old. To communicate better with this demographic, let's look at where Gen Ys (also known as Millennials) hang out online. If you watch the news today, you often hear "the poll of polls" where they gather polling from many different sources, maybe even weight them based on how they were conducted, and then give you an average number. When it comes to social media and age groups, it's like that. Everybody might have an interest in promoting a platform over another, so I have what I call an "average of averages" for social media use. One thing I found is that Gen Ys are much more visual than other generations, and if you want to reach them through social media, you need the platforms they prefer. While on the subject of Gen Ys being visual, think about your current marketing and branding. Paragraphs of bio might bore them, while a YouTube bio might interest them. Flat pictures of a home would bore them and a virtual tour could interest them. My "average of averages" for Gen Ys shows how much this generation is visual. Just look at the platforms they use: YouTube: 90% Facebook: 61% Instagram: 57% SnapChat: 55% LinkedIn: 40% Pinterest: 32% Twitter: 28% The numbers listed above not only tell you how many users in Gen Y are using these platforms, but where are they spending their time. (Guess somebody smarter than me would need to come up with a mathematical equation to figure out your return on investment for using different platforms.) I found this information also interesting—for this list I had to do some converting of visits and time spent to come up with some sort of numbers to share with you. Disclaimer: I can't really state these numbers as facts, only my opinion. Here is an average of time spent on the following social media platforms each day for Gen Ys: Instagram: 53 minutes per day SnapChat: 50 minutes per day Facebook: 43 minutes per day YouTube: 40 minutes per day Pinterest: 14 minutes per day Twitter: 1 minute per day LinkedIn: 1 minute per day In reading all the different studies and reports, a couple things stood out. In every generation, the use of Facebook was declining—some say only about 60% of Gen Ys are now on Facebook, compared to Gen X with 79%. The other common point made by many is how many people are quitting permanently or taking a break from social media. Gen Ys are quitting Facebook or taking a break in large numbers. Not just Gen Ys, but all groups are starting to think about how much time they spend on social media. The four driving factors for slowing down or leaving social media is wasting time, the amount of negativity, privacy concerns and commercialization of the platforms. To wrap this article up, we are looking at reaching Gen Y, who are largely first-time homebuyers. Start by being active on the social media platforms where they spend time. Think visual platforms like Instagram, YouTube and SnapChat, use eye catching photos and art, cut back on the words and leave negativity and ugly stuff off of your social media platforms! Do all of this and you might get a text or a call with, "Hey dude, we want to see a house over on Elm Street." Good luck! Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at www.DickBetts.com
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All About Cloud Attract
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Real Estate App Makes Open House Profitable
Twenty minutes before Nicole Nicolay heads to her open house, she logs onto RPR, prints one Mini Property Report and one Neighborhood Report, puts them into her bag and hits the road. At the open house, "A woman with two kids in tow appears in the doorway and within seconds exclaims she loves the house but wasn't ready to buy," said Nicole. "She said she'd have to sell her house first and find temporary accommodations while searching for her next home so that she could make a firm offer. The market is that competitive here. "The woman also admitted that she was feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of uprooting her family twice, as anyone would be. I knew at that moment I could ease her fears and set her on the right path, ensuring her that the process can be streamlined by an agent with the right tools at her disposal––and, secretly, I knew I was that agent. "So I made a simple suggestion: 'Let's check out what your house is worth. Give me your address and while you look around, I'll see what I can come up with.' She looked at me with a quizzical expression but decided to play along. "My soon-to-be new client said she thought her house could sell for about $500,000, so as she turned the corner toward the dining room, I jumped into RPR, entered her address, created a property report complete with RPR's Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®), and texted it to before she finished touring the second floor. "Ding! I heard her phone's notification system go off. She came down the stairs, phone in hand, smiling. 'Wow, I just got a report from you,' she exclaimed. 'It says my house is worth $525,000. Is that true?' she asked. "'Well, we can find out,' I said. 'Let's get together at your place to talk more. I'll get an idea of what you've done to the property and we'll rerun the numbers to confirm.' "Days later, I listed her beautiful home for the RVM valuation of $550,000. From there, we found her new house without having to move her and her family into a temporary place. And she was so impressed by my spot-on analysis and responsiveness that she referred me to a family relative, who also bought and sold through me." Sure, Nicole recognizes that this, in all, was an incredible experience. Yet, what's important is that she had the wherewithal to listen to an open house visitor who thought she wasn't ready to buy and took the bull by the horns to bring forth a deal. And the common thread? Realtors Property Resource. "It may seem as if I didn't put a lot of effort into my open house, but rest assured, I'm backed by a powerful and seamless system that does all of the work for me," said the veteran real estate pro working out of Pleasanton, Calif. That and—as anyone who knows her will tell you—her cheery disposition and shrewd business acumen are the trifecta of successful open house strategies. Learn more about what RPR can do for your next open house. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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As Listings Increase, So Too Has Agent Confidence
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Warm Up Cold Real Estate Leads with SMS Texting
The real estate industry is changing, and so are the needs of clients. These days, people want speed and convenience. Providing rapid, responsive service is crucial for top-notch customer service. One of the best tools for growing rapport is something you probably use daily but might not have applied to your business just yet. It's SMS texting.
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Relocate and Reinvent Your Business in Five Steps
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Hire a Professional Real Estate Marketer with Chime and Dippidi
Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 10:00 AM PDT The real estate market is incredibly volatile right now and yet the opportunity for agents and teams to build brand awareness and establish trust among potential buyers has never been more essential. But how can you do that effectively? What tools and strategies are the best? How can you make it work with your existing investments? Chime's latest partnership with Dippidi makes it easy. By combining Chime's platform with Dippidi's custom marketing strategies, real estate agents, teams, and brokerages can stop spending time chasing leads and attract the business they want. Join us for a webinar to learn how the "one-two punch" of Chime and Dippidi can fill your sales funnel and convert them into leads. Register now!
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Is TikTok a Good Social Media Platform for Realtors?
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The Importance of Google Reviews and Ratings and How to Get Them
Real estate agents appreciate word-of-mouth advertising as much as anyone. Most agents have at one time received a call from someone who heard about them through a friend. So real estate agents have seen firsthand the power of the positive word-of-mouth to produce leads. On the web, that word-of-mouth advertising is often in the form of online reviews and ratings. And, just like literal word-of-mouth, those online reviews and ratings can happen without your knowledge or input. They can also be a major generator of new business.
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Waze Is the Hottest Trend in Real Estate Marketing. Here's Why
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Are You Ready to Deal with Gen Y First-time Home Buyers?
I was recently involved in a real estate class and I noticed the ages of the attendees, from 18 years old to 70 years old, and thought about how the different generations communicate and absorb information. For a refresher, here is a quick breakdown of the generations: Baby Boomers: 56-76 years old Gen X: 41-55 years old Gen Y (Millennial): 26-40 years old Gen Z: 5-25 years old Today, I want to focus on Gen Y, the generation also known as Millennials, that are 26 to 40 years old.
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Making the Connection with Online Consumers
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How Will You Work with Buyers in the Future? Virtual Solutions for a Virtual World
Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 9:00 AM PDT Join RPR and Accredited Buyer's Representative experts as we discuss the current climate for buyers. Coronavirus forced real estate professionals to find new and innovative ways to work with buyers remotely, but will these trends last? Some experts think consumers will continue to demand more virtual showings in the future. Our panel of experts will discuss how they have been handling working with buyers over the last few months. And they will look into their crystal balls to hypothesize what the future holds in store for all of us. Register now!
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Home Buyers: What do they want? What do they really, really want
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Matterport Shop Talk: Which plan is right for you?
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 8:00 AM PDT Are you wondering which Matterport plan is right for you? It's all about figuring out how many active spaces you need. To help you decide, Amir will review the difference between active and inactive spaces, how to invite collaborators to upload scans to your account, and how to archive spaces to optimize your plan. During "What's New and What's Next," Volkie Yelkovan, Director of Product Marketing, will join us to review our 3D capture line up and which subscription plan is most suitable based on the capture method you choose. Register now!
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Social Media Secrets of Today's Top Agents
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How to Use RPR and Canva to Make Shareable Market Charts for Social Media
There's much more to RPR than working with buyers, nailing listing presentations, and creating an investment analysis. In fact, REALTORS who want to up their game when it comes to social media marketing can quickly adapt RPR data and charts into a campaign that will draw attention from your network. There's a lot of eyeballs in social media, and it's easier than ever to grab them! It all starts with using RPR to share market trends about your marketplace on Facebook or Instagram. Here, we offer a few examples showing how RPR reports can be leveraged to create a social media campaign that will attract prospects. Below are examples of using RPR reports and Canva to create attention-getting, data-packed graphic posts. At the end of this article, you'll know how to do this yourself!
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Real Estate Agents Deserve Better Tools
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Tech Challenge: Try Tech Helpline just once in the next 30 days
Working from home presents a new challenge for real estate agents who are used to going into a brokerage office to work. Agents can no longer turn to their brokerage's resident tech expert or a tech-savvy college to get "unstuck" when they encounter a technical problem. What do you do when your laptop won't connect to Wi-Fi or hotspot, or you can't get your printer to print or you need to sync data between devices? And what happens if your computer starts working slower than usual or catches a virus? Fortunately for about three-in-five agents in North America, they are covered with free and unlimited access to general tech support from Tech Helpline. That's right — no additional cost to participating agents and brokers to use. Tech Helpline is the real estate industry's No. 1 tech support firm. Provided to agents and brokers as an included member benefit from MLSs, associations, or brokerages throughout North America, Tech Helpline is known for its top team of friendly, experienced, and U.S-based analysts. Agents and brokers can connect to Tech Helpline by phone, email, or online chat. Have you used Tech Helpline? It's time you give it a try and discover how it can help you, as an agent or broker, spend less time dealing with technical glitches to spend more time with clients and potential clients. Fear is not an option with Tech Helpline If you have a fear of technology, particularly technology that you don't fully understand, you are not alone. According to the annual Survey of American Fears by Chapman University, a little more than half of Americans expressed fear about technology they don't understand. Remarkably, one-in-five people say they are "Afraid" or "Very Afraid." And that's the best part of reaching out to Tech Helpline for help. Our Orlando-based staff of technology professionals have earned a reputation for providing no-nonsense technical advice along with warm and friendly customer service. The tech analysts you can receive help from have 300+ years of combined IT experience. Most importantly, Tech Helpline was created for Realtors and our analysts work exclusively with agents and brokers, so they know the kind of support you need. Our staff is also bilingual, offering support in Spanish if that's your native language. We want everyone to get the tech support they need without any fear of contacting Tech Helpline. Take our Tech Challenge We want to show every agent and broker who has access to Tech Helpline today the value we offer. While thousands of agents have recently discovered the wide range of tech support services that Tech Helpline offers, not everyone has tested us out! We invite you, if you have never had a chance to engage with Tech Helpline, to discover how we can help you with even the little things that you continue to struggle with on your own. It could be as simple as learning how to set up your own mail merge for your newsletter, mailing labels, or tips to making your older laptop run faster. So, take our Tech Helpline challenge. In the next 30 days, when you come across a tech glitch or find yourself spending too much time fixing a persisting tech issue, call, email or go online and chat with us. The fastest way to reach us is through your computer by chat at chat.techhelpline.com. We think you'll encounter one of the best tech support experiences you'll ever have. Always remember, after the 30 days, you still have access to Tech Helpline. Our friendly and helpful analysts are ready to help you anytime with your tech questions. And if you don't have access to unlimited free support from Tech Helpline as a member benefit, tell your MLS, association or brokerage to check out techhelpline.com today! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Converting FSBOs to Clients: 4 Tips
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3 Tips to Show Your Clients Gratitude During this Time
During this unsettling time, there is no doubt that sales have been fluctuating. With that in mind, a best practice would be to ensure that you treat your prospects and past clients with a sense of value. Here are a few ways you can show your prospects and past clients your appreciation, but still respect social distancing rules:
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Let Listing Pictures and Video Do the Talking on Instagram
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It's Not About Luck: 6 Ways to Maximize Leads and Entice Buyers
"Luck is when preparation meets opportunity." The above quote, credited to Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger, posits that the most successful among us are responsible for making their own luck, not biding their time waiting upon some indeterminate stroke of good fortune or unexpected twist of fate. When it comes to success in real estate, we tend to agree. High-performing agents are no more lucky than their peers. Rather, in knowing the right tools and data to put to use, they prospect more effectively, get more eyeballs on their listings, entice buyers, and maximize leads. In other words, they're preparing. Then getting "lucky." So, it stands to reason: If you know what avenues to take, what tricks can put you ahead of your competitors, and what tech can help you work more efficiently, you can tap into the same knowledge and tactics that high-performing agents use—no luck required.
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COVID-19 Listing Cancellations: Don't Panic, Just Do This
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Top Real Estate Website Issues and How to Fix Them
Creating a real estate website nowadays can be easy, if you have the right set of tools. A specialized platform for real estate with IDX features helps pave the path toward a converting website. But once we have our website up and running, we might face some issues down the road. These issues can affect our marketing and lead generation. Some of these hurdles are very technical and can take some time to cope with on your own. Technical SEO issues can be outsourced, so the website admin can focus on the actual business of generating and converting leads to clients. Most common issues, however, can be taken care of on your own without the need to be tech savvy. Here are five common issues with real estate estate websites and how to fix them:
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Back 2 Biz: Conducting Virtual Listing Presentations
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Shifting Population Due to Working Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic could cause a major shift in where many people live. This week, I had a conversation with a friend who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. He is one of the estimated 400,000 high-tech workers living in the region. Our discussion turned to the idea of coming to Florida and working remotely and getting a three-hour head start on his coworkers due to the time zone change. This made me to start thinking about possible opportunities. I have two family members that have worked from home since March. Both live in major metropolitan areas and have expensive commutes, and are also thinking of other opportunities. If I can live anywhere and work remotely, where do I want to live? Why wait until I retire to locate to my dream home?
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How to Build an Income-Producing Referral Business
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Use Live Video to Communicate with Real Estate Clients
Strengthen Your Real Estate Brand on Social Media with Video With recent world events, customer communication has become even more important. Keeping in touch with past clients, leads, and supporters is essential given recent world events. These audiences are attuned to live video. With live video on social media, you can speak to hundreds and maintain the personal touch. Savvy real estate agents often use multiple social platforms. Each has its own features that help you showcase your value. Likewise, each one has enabled experts like you to reach the world through shareable video. Let's look at today's three main social video platforms:
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Are Your Real Estate Photos Enticing Buyers?
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How to Electronically Sign Documents in Google Docs
You can add your electronic signature to a contract, offer letter or non disclosure agreement from a Google Doc in less than five minutes. It's easy to create an electronic signature on a Google Doc without ever leaving the application. Electronic signatures create a binding and enforceable legal contract that is widely accepted throughout the industrialized world, and more secure than traditional paper-based signatures because they're less susceptible to forgery. Read on to discover how to do an electronic signature in Google Docs in just a few steps with this easy guide.
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Build Your Real Estate CRM Database with 4 Easy Steps
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I Can't Quite Picture It: Why virtual staging has taken the real estate world by storm
We've all seen those HGTV show--the ones where the perky designers turn a total dump into a shiplap palace, complete with cozy furniture, crackling fire, and tray of cupcakes on the counter. Recently, thanks to some Realtor friends who shall remain nameless, I have learned a few things about how those shows really work. Spoiler alert – they don't get to keep the furniture. In fact, they don't get to keep anything other than the house itself. In real estate talk, those homes are staged, y'all. In the biz, staging means that furniture, art, rugs, and lamps have been added to make the empty house feel like a home. And you know what? It works. According to the National Association of REALTORS, 83% of buyers' agents say staging makes it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home. Not only that, but one-quarter of buyer's agents say that staging a home increases the dollar value offered between one and five percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged. The downside of staging is that it can be pricey, with costs ranging in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Not to mention, you have to move the actual furniture in and out. Ugh. (Anyone else remembering the couch moving episode from Friends? PIVOT!) But there is another option. Virtual staging has become a big business in recent years, and has grown from cheap cut-and-paste jobs to gorgeous, realistic renderings that are highly appealing to buyers. Take this property, for example. Before virtual staging: After virtual staging: Photos courtesy Tiffany Kjellander, Better Homes & Gardens Porchlight Properties Tiffany Kjellander, of New Jersey based Better Homes & Gardens Porchlight Properties, uses virtual staging whenever she lists a home. "Virtual staging is a big differentiator for me," she says. "It's an absolute must on every home I help to sell – no matter the price point. We've had clients even use virtual staging for foreclosures to help investors see the possible end result." According to Stacie Staub of West + Main homes in Denver, CO, "Virtual staging has made all of the difference for listings that we knew wouldn't stay on the market long enough to make traditional staging worth the time or investment. This technology has come such a long way since the days of amateurish furniture photoshopped on top of vacant rooms." And it's not just about marketing. Many buyers suffer from an acute lack of imagination when it comes to mentally moving into a home. Buyers are constantly asking, "Where will my furniture go and how will I use this room?" (Random fact: some people are actually unable to picture things in their heads. Aphantasia is a real thing!) "Virtual staging has had a huge impact on many of my listings, especially ones with really odd layouts," says Katie Clancy of The Cape House at William Raevis Real Estate. "When a buyer can't picture what to do with a space, the virtual staging solves the problem. Once the buyer can visualize the potential function of a space, they are one step closer to making it theirs." One of the biggest draws of virtual staging? The price. It runs a fraction of the cost of actual staging, and requires no actual lugging of couches or beds into or out of the home. "Organizing and staging a home with furnishings and accessories isn't always convenient or cost effective," Heather Elias, of LoCo Real Estate in Virginia says. "Virtual staging gives potential buyers a glimpse into how it would look with furniture and accessories, but without the time and financial investment of physically staging each space." As a cost effective and easy way to make a buyer feel at home, one thing is for sure – virtual staging is definitely here to stay. There is one small downside, however. Just like on those HGTV shows, you don't get to keep the furniture. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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8 Great Facebook and Instagram Hacks
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[Free Download] What NOT to Do Before Closing
You've either heard of or worked with homebuyers who found a home they loved, got approved for a loan, got their offer accepted, and then made a big purchase, quit their job, or otherwise jeopardized their home purchase. Make sure your clients know what not to do if they don't want to lose their loan at the last minute. Share this brandable flyer with your clients to let them know six important guidelines to make sure they make it to the closing table. Click below to download.
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Back 2 Biz: Working with Buyers Virtually
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Smart Homes Need Smart REALTORS
A year ago, I wrote an article about smart homes and went into detail to help all of us understand consumers' attraction to smart homes. You can put most smart devices into five categories: energy efficiency, security, entertainment, mood and, of course, FUN! I am on a personal journey to smarten up my home slowly as I replace needed appliances and devices. I started with my wi-fi enabled garage door opener, which alerts me if the garage door opens after 11pm (plus, Amazon is offering a service to open the garage and place packages inside). I can open or close, or even check if it's closed, from anywhere in the world. Next, I put up Bluetooth Christmas lights, with which I can chose from 140 colors and effects—that would be for fun. I also have a Nest thermostat and can check the temperature and change it from anywhere, even remotely. While at it, I bought a wi-fi camera to use when I am away for an extended length of time. What else? I'm redoing irrigation system with a new wi-fi controller to notify me of a problem or control from anywhere. I have a new smart refrigerator coming in a few weeks with all kinds of features including, alerting me if door is ajar. Smart door locks are on my shortlist, but it all cost money! Which leads me to why all REALTORS® need to be smart about smart homes. All these upgrades cost money and should be considered when selling a home. Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101 The National Association (NAR) released a report a few years back, Smart Homes and REALTORS®. When I compare the NAR report with newer studies, it looks like things are about the same. I am going to call this Smart Homes for REALTORS® 101. While you should be somewhat knowledgeable in these areas, PLEASE know you are not expected to be an expert, just understand the basics. So what is on the shopping list of today's homeowners and what is important in a smart home? Locks, cameras and video doorbells, as security is at the top of the list, followed by temperature control, which makes sense as an energy saving device plus comfort. The next area of interest is what I call "mood," which includes lighting and entertainment, whether sound or some sort of video. You can start at about $15 for a smart plug to control one light, to big dollars for more advanced equipment. So how much of that equipment is not included when listing a home? Door locks and mounted devices are one thing, but plug-in equipment is another, so do your homework. Appliances are also an area to consider. Realtors should understand the features and energy savings, plus the fact that smart appliances can cost 30% to 50% more than regular appliances. Preparing for this post, I read many reports and articles, one of which offered a step-by-step road map for turning your dumb house into a smart house. By the time I finished the article, we were talking about $15,000 worth of upgrades to make a house smart! As smart home technology continues to grow and homeowners and homebuyers increase what they have or want, it becomes more apparent that REALTORS® need to understand the technology. I spent a few hours reading and taking notes, and if the next buyer or seller wants to discuss smart homes with me, I am better prepared. You need to do the same! I found it all very interesting, but then again, I am a geek! Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at www.DickBetts.com
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Ad Science: Ads with Faces Eleven Times More Likely to Get Noticed
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Top 8 Eco-Friendly Home Features in Demand
Designing a new home or redesigning an existing one has undergone some major changes over the years. What was once deemed important to a relatively small segment of the population is now seen as both contemporary and necessary to today's home buyers. Home builders and contractors have seen the change in the preferences for living spaces in today's fast paced world. What many buyers and homeowners are demanding are comfortable spaces and reduced home energy costs. Let us explore what is emerging as must-haves that are also considered "eco-friendly" (in harmony with the environment), chic and smart! Here are the top eight features according to several of the leading, innovative architects and designers today.
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12 Tips for Marketing to Buyer's Agents
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More First-time Homebuyers Are Entering the Market
The share of first-time homebuyers rose to 36% in April 2020, up from 32% a year ago, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). There are several factors motivating this trend: A desire to move out of city dwellings and into more suburban/rural ones following COVID-19 A lack of a need to sell a property prior to purchasing one Record-low mortgage rates A lack of competition from investors scooping up properties
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Agent Advice: How to Ask Clients for Online Reviews
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The 5 Best Real Estate Cold Calling Tips
If you're like most real estate agents, cold calling is one of your most dreaded tasks in any given day. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable, but with the right tools and guidelines you have the capability to turn this once-daunting job into a pleasant one that reaps great results.
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The Newest Tool for Your Virtual Real Estate Business: Facebook Messenger Rooms
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Don't Be a "Me Too" Agent
For 20 years, I have taught REALTORS to not be a "Me Too" agent when speaking with a homeowner about selling their home. Today, most people have become much more educated about the real estate process--which works great for REALTORs. A true professional is not worried about an educated consumer and should welcome the opportunity. So what is a "Me Too" agent? Let's say the homeowner is educated about how selling their home works using a REALTOR and they decide to interview four or five agents to list the home. The homeowner makes a list of which services the first agent outlines they can do. The second agent shows up and the homeowner brings up what they have learned plus benefits the first agent shared. Here we go:
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Back 2 Biz: Social Media and Online Communication Tools
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Friday Freebie: Handle Objections Better with These Brochures
"Your commission is too high!" "My home is priced too low!" "I don't think now is a good time to buy/sell a home." Objections. If you've been practicing real estate for any amount of time, you've surely heard more than your fair share. For some clients, patient explanation is all that's needed to gently nudge them along. As for others? Well, sometimes you need a little more. That's where this week's Friday Freebie comes in. Today, we're highlighting three brochures made to counter the most common objections you'll hear from real estate clients. Free objection handling brochure of your choice, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! Building trust isn't the only obstacle you face with new clients. Even after you win them over, there are plenty of things they may object to. To help you overcome these objections, ProspectsPLUS! is offering RE Technology readers a free, customizable brochure that you can leave with clients when a face-to-face conversation doesn't quite cut it. Choose your favorite from these three options: What You Don't Know About Real Estate Commissions Can Cost You Plenty (for sellers) 6 Pitfalls of Overpricing Your Home (for sellers) When Is the Best Time to Start Enjoying What You Really Want? (for fence-sitters) You can leave these brochures with clients so that they can contemplate why, for example, a too-high listing price is a poor sales strategy. Or head off problems from the start and give these to clients at the beginning of your relationship so that you're both on the same page. Download your FREE objection handling brochure today! Use promo code FREEBROCHURE at checkout.
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When Should You Use Instagram for Your Real Estate Marketing?
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3 Ways to Make Open Houses One of Your Most Valuable Marketing Tools
Open houses have always been a powerful marketing tool, but they are evolving in new and exciting ways to help you succeed. Aaron Kardell, CEO of Homespotter, joined me on a Coffee Chat to share some simple, but powerful, insights about the best ways to take open houses to the next level. Here are three key takeaways: 1. Open House by Appointment Instead of pushing for a ton of people to attend your open house, focus on quality, not quantity. You can do this by setting specific 15 to 30 minute appointments for potential buyers after pre-qualifying them and understanding the seriousness of their interest in the property. Setting appointments allows you to spend quality time with each of the prospects, explaining all of the most positive features of the home and giving them the personal attention they need to answer their questions thoroughly. Spending time with each visitor also allows you to provide specific feedback to the seller to help improve curb appeal, remove clutter, gain pricing feedback, etc. 2. Capture Info on Virtual Open Houses by Replacing the "sign-in" sheet When scheduling a virtual open house, make sure the system you're using requires every visitor to register so you can capture them for follow-up afterwards. While Facebook Live is a nice format, for example, it is much more anonymous. Tools like GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and others are better at capturing information for those that register and those that attend live. Tools like Spacio, for example, allow you to capture visitor information and then automatically load the information into CRM tools like Contactually and Follow-Up Boss so you can begin a dialogue with consumers you met at live or virtual open houses. 3. Promote Virtual Open Houses on Social Media Today, there are tools that make it easy for you to automatically post new listings online. These tools, like Boost from Homespotter, have expanded to allow you to promote live virtual open houses as well. You can promote virtual open houses on Facebook, Instagram and even Waze now. Just think how many people you can attract to a listing if you can use the power of social media to accomplish it! Also, virtual open houses will encourage consumers to look at more houses virtually and then narrow their requests for live showings only to those homes that are most interesting to them! It's a great way to save time and money for agents and their clients. Don't Miss These Upcoming Coffee Chats! Friday, June 5 What Are the Likely Effects of COVID-19 on the Rental Market? with Cameron Paine of Apartments.com If you would like us to sign you up for all upcoming coffee chats, email [email protected] and she will get you signed up. If you would like to get notifications every time a Coffee Chat recording is published, subscribe to our YouTube channel, RETechnologyInc. Then hit the bell next to the Subscribe button and receive notifications every time we publish new educational videos. Get Recordings of All Coffee Chats If you would like to binge watch all of the Coffee Chat recordings, click here. If you would like a FREE 3-month trial of RE Technology, go to retechnology.com, click Create Account and then use one of these coupon codes: COVID-19A COVID-19B COVID-19M
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4 Strategies for Smarter Virtual Selling with Your Property Tax Data Tools
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Simple, Proven Tips for Breaking through with Virtual Open Houses
Virtual open houses are here to stay! They provide a great way for consumers to view a whole slew of houses before they decide which ones they would like to see in person. A virtual open house allows an agent to demonstrate their selling skills and highlight every strong feature of the property they are representing. And a virtual open houses even helps the environment and keeps homeowners and potential buyers safer—win, win all the way around! Patty McNease, VP of Marketing at Homes.com, shared some simple, but effective ways to make your virtual open houses the best they can be during a recent Coffee Chat. Here are three key takeaways to help you become an expert at virtual open houses: 1. Get high quality, yet affordable equipment Patty recommends investing in some core photography equipment that will make your life a whole lot easier: Tripod – They make it a lot easier to hold the camera steady and avoid the jumpiness you sometimes see in videos. She recommends the UBeesize Tripod S, available on Amazon for $21.99. Microphone – Patty also recommends a lavalier microphone you can attach to your clothing to keep your hands free, also available at Amazon here for $25.99. 2. Tips for better virtual tours Create a shot list Angles matter Start outside or at the home's best feature Natural viewpoints Lighting Time of day Lights on/off Stage furniture/objects Show off outside spaces Clean! Conform to MLS rules for branding 3. Tips for virtual open houses Test software before you go live or host a tour Practice (your route in the house, etc.) Create a story Prepare questions to answer about the home Dress the part Open all doors prior to starting Open the platform a minimum of five minutes before start time Start at the best feature OR on the outside of the house with the door open Walk slowly and talk clearly If on Facebook, use a public setting If possible, record the event Watch the full recording here: Don't Miss These Upcoming Coffee Chats! Monday, June 8 Learn all about the new Virtual Real Estate Certification with Verl Workman of Workman Success Systems Tuesday, June 9 Virtual Listing Presentations with the New Cloud CMA Live with Greg Robertson of W+R Studios Wednesday, June 10 How to Become a Listing Boss with Hoss Pratt Thursday, June 11 Communication: The 'OneKey' to a Successful Launch with Jim Speer of OneKey MLS Friday, June 12 The Shift: Leaning into Technology and Data to Market-Proof Your Business with Sheldon Rapoza of Market Leader If you would like us to sign you up for all upcoming coffee chats, email [email protected] and she will get you signed up. If you would like to get notifications every time a Coffee Chat recording is published, subscribe to our YouTube channel, RETechnologyInc. Then hit the bell next to the Subscribe button and receive notifications every time we publish new educational videos. Get Recordings of All Coffee Chats If you would like to binge watch all of the Coffee Chat recordings, click here. If you would like a FREE 3-month trial of RE Technology, go to retechnology.com, click Create Account and then use one of these coupon codes: COVID-19A COVID-19B COVID-19M
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Selling a Property Online? Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Tours
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Selling Secrets from Top Sales Associates
Top sales associates know that when you're selling a home it means going the extra mile when prepping and marketing it. The end results are so worth the effort with a signed purchase offer. Here's how these real estate professionals are making it happen for their clients.
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Get More Listings: Pursue Absentee Owners
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June 5G Update
We are almost halfway through 2020, and it's time to evaluate where we are with 5G. This is my third article about 5G, and if you want to become the office geek on 5G, there is much you need to know. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what is happening with 5G, let's take a moment and think about how technology and telecommunications have changed since February. In my last article, I discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and live. Record numbers of users on Zoom and other videoconferencing services, virtual tours of homes on the market are almost required, and the sheer amount of e-commerce is mind blowing. I am happy to say our communication infrastructure held up during probably the highest demand for service to date. In my article, I discussed the fact many of the changes made due to the virus have now become a normal function in life, as many had their technology skills upgraded—your grandparents on Zoom; who would have thought? What a great lead-in to discuss 5G and how the need is becoming greater for speed, capacity and latency. Not sure what all that means? Here is a review: Speed This is a big one all the phone carriers will be talking about because we consumers can relate to how long it takes to download and use our mobile devices. True 5G is billed as 100 times faster than 4G—let me give you an example. You want to download a full-length movie? 4G would take about 48 minutes, and 5G about seven minutes. As you can see, the time saved would be 41 minutes. Think about how much time you currently spend on your phone using apps, visiting websites and email. A few seconds saved every minute will add up! Capacity This one you might have experienced and will love the change. 5G will give us more capacity, which can be called bandwidth. Here's a visual: take the busy road you drive on and change it from two lanes to 100 lanes. In the real world, you are attending a sporting event, concert and trying to share a Facebook Live or Instagram to brag about where you are. With 4G, you have no service or it's very slow. 5G will be very noticeable when you have thousands of people trying to use the internet. Today even smaller groups can tax the network depending on the bandwidth. Latency The word "latency" you will be hear a lot as being one of the biggest advantages to 5G. With 5G, some of us might notice a slight difference when it comes to latency. If you are a gamer or use virtual reality—oh, your world will change with 5G. To understand latency, it's the time between your request for data to a server and the amount of time the data is returned to you. Before I share facts, you need to understand what a millisecond is—1/1000th of a second. To give you a reference, a blink of an eye is 100-150 milliseconds. Let's start with 3G, which was introduced in 2003. Latency is 100-500 milliseconds. 4G was released in 2010; latency is 50-100 milliseconds. 5G latency is 1-10 milliseconds. To you and I, these improvements will be noticed but really won't change the way we use our mobile devices. When we are away from Wi-Fi, most of the time the difference can hardly be noticed, so when we enter a 5G area, we might see the benefits of speed, capacity and latency if we plan to download a full-length movie in seven minutes. The biggest benefit to 5G is artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, and many changes in the way we live and work. It is predicted that by 2035, 5G will be responsible for over $3.5 trillion in economic output and more than 22 million jobs. Remember that since December I have advised to hold off buying anything? Turns out due to a recent merger, some phone users who bought a 5G phone will not work on the new merged system—told you so! I found a complicated rating system done by an independent resource that grades the carriers based on three factors: coverage, speed and devices, all weighted equally with a perfect score of 100%—not naming names, as of May we have 40%, 49% and 60%. What does all the mean? WAIT to buy; your 4G phone is just fine for now! For the geeks in the room and those wanting more details, I will attempt to explain the three bands—low, middle and high—next month. Now there is exciting news! Dick Betts is a REALTOR® in The Villages, Fla. for Touchstone Real Estate in Mount Dora. He's also a national speaker, trainer and consultant. Learn more at www.DickBetts.com
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Rebuilding Your Real Estate Business After COVID-19
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Creating Targeted Mailing Lists and Campaigns
Right around the time quarantine started, we launched a Friday Freebie series focused on using technology-powered direct mail to stay in touch with your sphere. RE Technology readers were able to claim 150 free 'Just Listed' and 'Just Sold' postcards, a free COVID-19 postcard, and download six free reports. While we hope those samples demonstrated the power of direct mail, perhaps some of you were left wondering who to target with those mailings. That's why today, we're highlighting a free guide that will bring it all together by helping you understand how to create targeted mailing lists. Free Guide to Real Estate Mailing Lists, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! The "spray and pray" approach to direct mail hasn't been a valid strategy since… well, maybe ever. Datedness aside, sending out mailings with little thought of what you're sending and to whom is a great way to burn through your marketing budget with little return. This free guide to real estate mailing lists will help you identify your target market and launch successful direct mail campaigns. It offers a peek at the types of targeted mailing lists you can build with ProspectsPLUS! and the ideal content you can send to each demographic. The guide provides information on targeting groups like: Baby Boomers Empty Nesters Investors Lifestyle Interests High-Income Renters Move-Up Markets And more! And if you're wondering which groups are most prevalent in your area, don't worry—this guide has you covered! The guide offers a breakdown of how many consumers match the target groups above in the major metros in every state. (Miami, for example, has 32,171 high-income renters while Atlanta has 163,026 Baby Boomer and seniors.) Ready to check it out? Download your Real Estate Mailing List Guide for FREE now!
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Be the Agent Consumers Are Looking For
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Best Practices for Video Tours
With millions of people working remotely during these uncertain times, the real estate industry is rapidly adapting digitally to connect agents with consumers. One marketing tool that has become vital for agents now more than ever are video home tours. According to a study by Realtor.com, listings that come with a video tour gain 87% more views than listings without video tours. Even before the pandemic, research from the National Association of Realtors said that half of all home buyers find video tours influential in deciding on a home. Today, with nearly all home shoppers starting their search online, here are some of the best practices to make your best first impression. Create a video plan Professional videographers create a video treatment and a storyboard. These documents help to map out precisely what they will shoot and how they will shoot it. You don't need to be that elaborate. You should create a video outline document that lists the order of your shots and what you are going to say to develop your script for both on and off-camera. Also include what time of day is best to shoot inside and outside shots, and what you will focus on: the most marketable features of your listing. Think of your audience first as you develop your plan. Video script Even though authenticity works better in a video than a stilted script or narration, you need to know what you are going to say and the keywords you want to emphasize. Every home has a story, and doing a video tour as if you are telling a story will help you to write down what you want to say. Remember: with the average attention span being just eight seconds, shorter is better. Research shows YouTube video views decrease sharply once a minute has passed – with average engagement dropping 70% when they exceed two minutes. Video recording If you have a newer smartphone, you have the right video camera to do the job. Today's top smartphone can shoot the highest quality videos and have pretty good built-in recording capabilities. Proper lighting Most videos fail when poor lighting is present. It gives your video a grainy look. Crystal-clear high-resolution video recording typically requires bright light. Avoid standing in front of any area that provides backlighting: windows or lamps behind you will make you appear like a dark shadow. A detachable selfie light can help overcome backlighting issues if backlighting is unavoidable. Great audio is vital Believe it or not, the sound is more important than video image quality. When you have both – great audio and excellent video image quality – your video has a far greater chance of engagement. People will tolerate a video that is less than perfect, but if the audio is difficult to understand – too soft, too much echo, feedback or background noise – the people you are trying to reach will click away. Deliver perspective One of the biggest mistakes in video tours of a home is shooting too much up close. What home shoppers want is perspective: where does the house sit on the lot, not just a closeup of the front door or framing just the house in your shot. They want to see more of the yard and wide shots of the yard or yards. The same applies inside – wider shots give more perspective of the home's floor plan. It's one of the reasons why interactive 3D digital tours from firms like Matterport, while admittedly more expensive, are popular with consumers, as they offer an exceptional perspective throughout the home. Bonus tip – add captions to your video Did you know that when you upload your video to YouTube, you can select automatic captions? YouTube's built-in AI capabilities will write captions for you. But it's recommended you go into the settings and fix any mistakes, as its accuracy varies. Video captions are great because it expands your reach to a vast population that includes those with impaired hearing. Video captions also help your audience watch a video during those times when they don't disturb others. Creating the perfect video tour to showcase a home can be a challenge, but with the right tools and tips, you can connect digitally with potential buyers who are interested in your listings. By following through with these best practices, you'll also be able to expand your video's reach and engagement with your target audience. If you have any challenges or inquiries technology as you create your video tour – and your MLS, association or brokerage offers Tech Helpline – reach out with an email, go online for chat, or call in for tech support! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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Back 2 Biz: Maintaining and Building Your Sphere of Influence
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Everything You Know About Open Houses Is About to Change
From its invention more than 100 years ago and until recent events, the open house has remained much the same. While agents rushed to provide virtual showings to fill the immediate void, "open houses" are starting to return, but they are not the same. In fact, everything you know about open houses is about to change again with an innovative new service: Open House Every Day. Randall Standard, CEO of VoicePad, who parlayed nearly 20 years of experience in the wireless industry into the creation of the VoicePad platform, has applied his penchant for innovation to creating a new kind of open house. Open House Every Day is safer for sellers and one that buyers can schedule from the curb. And it asks this basic question: Why wait until Sunday? And while Standard admits he didn't invent the concept of holding an open house every day of the week, the new out-of-the-box service he is offering real estate agents is innovation and iteration at its finest. The result is a solution tailored to our times that can help agents and teams win more listings. How it works Open House Every Day is driven by the same well-proven call-to-action process that VoicePad has perfected for its core platform. Standard notes that for all real estate tech, great ideas are defined by the processes behind them. "Good processes always make their way to the bottom line," he says. "Open House Every Day has taken a good call-to-action message and improved it with an exceptional process." Like all traditional open houses, it begins with the yard sign, which is amplified in online listings and social media posts. VoicePad provides an agent with a custom, text-enabled phone number for the agent's Open House Every Day yard sign or yard sign hanger. When a potential home buyer calls the phone number on the sign, up to 10 agents' mobile phones will "ring" simultaneously. This assures that someone is available to take a call. The first available agent to answer the phone gets introduced to the potential buyer. Agents called are limited only to those the listing agents know and trust to show the listing. When an agent's phone rings, they immediately know it's an open house lead calling about scheduling a showing — so the call gets answered. The system delivers the potential buyer's contact details to the agent who was first to accept the call. The system also automatically assigns the caller to the agent in the system's CRM. The Open House Every Day mobile platform allows the agent to schedule the appointment instantly with the buyer, offering available times that are pre-determined by the agent and the seller. The dealmaker feature The Open House Every Day yard sign has a dealmaker feature: an auto-scheduler via text. With millennials comprising a growing share of home buyers, this text feature stands apart in the Open House Every Day offerings. The mobile web schedule interface is attractive, intuitive, and very easy to use. A potential buyer texts the keyword "Open" to the agent's Open House Every Day number. The buyer gets a return text with available showing times. The location of the request is geo-located, so an agent can see where the showing request was initiated. Listing agents control appointment availability as well as the last appointment time of the day, all from their mobile phone. Potential buyers are prompted for additional information (best phone number, name, and email address) to complete the scheduled request. This information is collected and added to the appointment request notification. It just might be the safest open house ever An additional — and essential — benefit to agents using Open House Every Day is the enhanced level of security and safe viewing that it provides. Because of how the process is designed, an agent or team can limit the number of people visiting the home to one client at a time. Safety is increased as agents can vet potential buyer candidates before they enter their client's home. The automatically captured contact information can run through agent safety systems, ensuring the protection of everyone involved. Open House Every Day can also optionally be set up to record agent-client phone conversations automatically. The voice prompt alone is likely to deter someone with evil intentions: It notes, "This call is being recorded for safety and training purposes." Consumer-focused Open House Every Day addresses the elephant in the room when it comes to the "why" when buying any real estate technology: It makes home buying and selling easier for consumers. "Agents and teams suffer from tech fatigue," Standard says. "But agents and teams still desperately want technology that significantly improves the consumer experience while keeping more income 'in-house.' It's also an excellent way to generate additional referral income from agents who show your listing." Agents can win more listings Open House Every Day is available at a flat rate of $39 a month. That makes its benefits-to-investment ratio remarkably attractive. Agents can offer a better open house for sellers as it maximizes the exposure of their home. It's better for agents because it eliminates wasted time that comes with house-sitting. Agents can win more listings by offering sellers what nobody else will: "an open house every day." Agents receive the best leads as the system is designed to capture ready-to act-home buyers. The auto text feature gives consumers — and especially millennials — what they want, when they want it. Plus, that text feature captures contact details automatically and delivers it to the agent's CRM. And Open House Every Day follows the rules of real estate. It can filter out buyers who are represented by another agent — because friends don't hand out buyer leads when they already are working with another agent. Open House Every Day asks the caller if they are an agent or represented by an agent. With Open House Every Day from VoicePad, leads can be answered in real-time, helping customers avoid what they dread most: voicemail. With Open House Every Day's "simul-ring" technology, buyers' calls are answered by an agent, which is what buyers want. Standard says early adopters have found another way to leverage Open House Every Day by using it on existing listings that are not selling. "It's a great way to avoid a conversation about a price reduction, refreshing an otherwise stale listing." This can be the go-to option when an agent's digital strategy fails. Open House Every Day is today's way to hold an open house: it's better and safer than ever. The days of sitting an open house while juggling groups of prospects touring all at once apparently are gone, but most agents will tell you that's a good thing.
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Real Estate Returning to Normal with New Tech
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Detecting Thieves Posing as Buyers, Part 3
Got a buyer whose behavior sets off alarm bells in your mind? They may actually be a thief. Over the past few weeks, we've been introducing you to behavioral "tells" that indicate a buyer may be a burglar. Last week, you learned about a scam called "The Couple's Play." In this week's video, you'll learn all about "The Neat Freak." In this scam, the thief disguised as a buyer will "dust check" a window. Seems harmless enough, right? Well, what they're actually doing is unlocking the window so that they can come back later in order to burglarize the home. Watch the video above to learn other behaviors that suggest your buyer is preparing to burglarize a listing. Catch up with the full series on spotting thieves below: Detecting Thieves Posing as Buyers, Part 1 Detecting Thieves Posing as Buyers, Part 2
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The Time Is Now to Supercharge Your Database
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5 Reasons Agents Don't Make It Past Their First Year in Real Estate
Real estate is a great field to work in. You have the freedom of being your own boss, setting your own hours, and choosing who you work with. However, there's an extraordinarily high turnover rate for first year real estate agents. Here are some of the biggest reasons real estate agents fail and how to avoid them.
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Best Practices: How to Hold a Virtual Meeting
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3x Your Lead Generation ROI with These 5 Tips
It's no secret that leads are the lifeblood of your real estate business, but they are also a source of frustration. Agents often question the ROI on their lead spend, blaming the quality of the inbound leads when they don't convert, instead of looking at the user experience the lead undergoes from the moment it's received. Here are some tried and tested tips to ensure that every lead in your pipeline receives a meaningful, relevant experience and that you will nurture and convert on a much higher percentage. 1. Evaluate Lead Source vs. Monthly Production Do you know where the bulk of your past business came from? Use this handy spreadsheet to backtrack over the past 12 months to determine where your business originated (e.g., referral network, social media advertising, PPC lead generation, etc.) and make sure you are putting ad spend into the channels that produce. 2. Use a CRM A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a necessity to effectively manage every stage of your lead's lifecycle. A comprehensive CRM will allow you to keep detailed lead records, prompt outreach and follow-up, and provide valuable insight into every step of the sales process. I recommend an end-to-end solution like Elevate, which provides one singular location for everything you need without requiring convoluted (and pricey) 'bolt-on' technology. 3. Create Marketing Workflows For every $1,000 spent on lead generation, an average of $10 is spent on lead nurturing and follow-up. I assure you that many times it's not the quality of the lead that's the problem, it's the quality of the follow-up! A good workflow will allow you to automatically connect with your leads in a timely manner, while prompting you to take meaningful action along the way. Your workflow should include telephone / text outreach, email, social media connection, and even direct mail (a handwritten note goes a long way). Communication should feel personal and relevant to whatever stage of the process your lead is in, and you should receive analytics on engagement behavior (e.g., opens, clicks, responses) where applicable. Once again, a strong end-to-end CRM like Elevate will have pre-built workflows and communication tools built in that you can easily customize. 4. Touch Frequency Statistically, it takes anywhere from seven to 13 touches to convert a lead into a qualified opportunity, so when you are developing your marketing workflow, be sure to touch your leads early—and frequently. I develop marketing workflows for many brokers and agents, and generally will start with 27 touches over 30 days, with 14 of the touches occurring in the first seven days. Sound like a lot? It is—and it works! 5. Be of Service The real estate agent who's just there to sell will NOT have as much success as the agent who's there to be of service. When developing your workflows and touchpoints, make sure you include helpful resources, personal insight and local 'goodies' as part of your communication process. This helps build rapport and drives higher engagement with your leads. I always enjoy buying from someone that I actually feel connected with, don't you? I know, I know—taking the time to learn a CRM and build meaningful, intelligent workflows is not why you went into real estate. Trust me, though—the time you spend putting these strategies in place will be well rewarded. You will have greater efficiency, happier clients, and increased ROI on your lead generation dollars. Happy selling! Bondilyn Jolly is a tech entrepreneur, investor and business leader. She currently serves as the VP of Marketing at Elevate and the Managing Partner of 3sixtyfive.agency, a full-service digital and creative advertising agency servicing the real estate sector and beyond. Bondilyn and her team work with brokers, agents and companies to build unique, memorable marketing experiences both online and off.
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How to Use Virtual Selling on Social Media to Get Clients to Chase You (Instead of You Chasing Them)
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Now Is the Time to Solidify Your Online Presence and Reputation
Ordinarily around this time of year, we'd be publishing content to help agents prepare for the start of busy season. But with COVID-19 still a day-to-day worry for all of us, the peak home-buying period has been suspended indefinitely. And like you, we've had to change our plans. So, we asked ourselves: If agents are not as busy as they normally would be, what could they be doing with their time now to prime themselves for success in the future? After all, the house marketing will eventually return to normal, and there's even a strong possibility that the coming months will see more volume than usual, as those consumers who've suspended their plans look to make up for lost time.
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How to Conquer Instagram for Virtual Selling for Real Estate
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5 Reasons to Safeguard Your Seller With Virtual Tours
Safety is not a trend, it's a necessity. Home sellers put an enormous amount of trust in you, their real estate agent, to ensure their property gets exposure to prospective buyers while providing safeguards against mishaps. Protecting your clients against safety concerns when implementing your real estate marketing plan is and always has been a top priority. Your clients value privacy, cleanliness, flexible schedules, and security. When considering your real estate marketing plan now and in the future, you need to re-consider how you provide your services while giving your seller a safety net. 1. Trust The seller trusts that when they take the leap to put their home for sale, their Realtor will provide their safety net. A substantial amount of trust is placed in the real estate agent to protect the seller and their belongings against potential theft, security breaches, and disruption of their lives. The process of physically showing properties and hosting regular open houses lends itself to many possible hazards. Sellers need to feel confident in how their property is presented and they want to minimize risk. 2. Restricted Access It is not always easy to restrict access to every person who enters a home and much more difficult to monitor access during an open house. People tend to scatter into different spaces within the home, unaccompanied and unrestrained. Theft can, and does, occur; a small-time thief, posing as a buyer, can make off with great grandma's wedding rings from the top dresser drawer. Out of sight does not always mean out of pocket. This type of incident can be reduced by using current technology. You can increase traffic to your listing as well as reduce risk by incorporating online virtual tours in place of an open house. 3. Germ Free It's not just petty theft that causes safety concerns. The likelihood of germs and viruses spreading to multiple surfaces increases with the volume of people entering a home. The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the reasons you may want to re-think your real estate marketing plan. Health concerns are valid and you can provide a way to ease home owner's stress. How can you give your seller the confidence they desire and still get their home sold? Use tools available to you like high quality real estate photography and 3D tours. Allowing virtual access to a listing decreases foot traffic while increasing qualified leads. 4. Reasons to Sell While postponing listing their house may be an option for some sellers, the necessity to sell their home may be the top priority for others. External factors such as a loss of employment or entering a new phase of life with the need to downsize means the sale must go on. Help your client get comfortable with the listing process by giving them all the benefits of current technology, including 360° tours. The seller's journey can take a new road, definitely, one less traveled. Stop disrupting the weekends with open houses and start using a real estate marketing plan that works. What is the best way to limit the sheer volume of traffic in and out of a seller's property and still produce the desired results? Use an online platform to support the way buyers want to browse through a listing. 5. No Risky Business Give your seller the peace of mind they need by using virtual tours to market their home. Providing a 360° tour of a property gives everyone access 24 hours a day. Imagine, you get to host an open house without using signs, brochures, business cards, and without bothering the seller. When a property can be visited multiple times from a cell phone, laptop or computer, it's like offering insurance against the perils of home selling. By limiting the number of inconveniences caused by physical visits, you also limit risky behaviour. Aside from the convenience and safety benefits, using online real estate marketing reaches potential buyers quickly. More than 80% of buyers start their search for a home by using an app. So if you are not taking advantage of this technology, you are doing a disservice to your client and opening their doors too often to unnecessary risks. Some losses you can recover from through your local real estate association's insurance policies, but limiting your client's liability is a no-brainer. Take the leap into virtual tours for real estate marketing—the net is already here. To view the original article, visit the iGUIDE blog.
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Detecting Thieves Posing as Buyers, Part 2
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Look No Further than Your Local MLS to Generate a Ton of Business FREE!
Many people think of their local MLS organization ONLY as the place to go to do property searches and set up listings. Here's a little known fact: Your local MLS is a TREASURE TROVE of marketing technologies that you have access to today without spending one extra dime on virtual selling! Here's a tip: Log in to your local MLS and find their list of links of products included in your subscription, or look on the dashboard on your log-in screen and check out all of the logos included there. Click on just one tool that you have never looked at, as a start. You are going to find all kinds of amazing ways to grow your business—all included in your monthly subscription! You will also find tons of MLS training available, some that even provides CE credit for you to learn how to use all of these newfound tools! Amy Gorce, Principal, Business Development from CoreLogic joined us on a recent Coffee Chat to show us just a few of the many, many ways your MLS can help you with prospecting and winning listing presentations. Here are three key takeaways for you: 1. Don't skip past your MLS dashboard without pushing a few buttons. Many MLSs now offer a dashboard when you log in with links to all kinds of technologies, training and resources. Log in to the MLS and click on a few of these buttons. You will be amazed at the FREE resources you will find there! 2. Close a listing presentation by demonstrating interest in a property with reverse prospecting. If you want to ensure you win every listing presentation, go into the MLS and identify the amount of demand for the subject property by using the reverse prospecting tools. This system will allow you to look up every agent that has at least one client with a search criteria matching the home you are you trying to list. Some MLSs system allow you to email every agent with a search that matches the criteria automatically to let them know there is a new property coming on the market. 3. Public records software have great prospecting tools built in! Public records software allows you to identify and contact targeted prospects within specific geography and property characteristics. There are even ways to prioritize your prospecting efforts by using a Propensity to Sell Score which will identify customers more likely than average to sell in the next six months. Public records software also makes it really easy for you to print out mailing labels or even connect directly to printing services if you want to identify a target list and then start marketing to them consistently. If you want to learn more about the MLS technologies available in your local market, log in and look at the list of tools available, and then go to the training section to see which tools have virtual training classes available. Watch the Coffee Chat recording below: Don't Miss These Upcoming Coffee Chats! Wednesday, May 20 Virtual is the New Reality for Real Estate with Patty McNease of Homes.com Thursday, May 21 Earn a Client for Life by Taking Credit for the Listing Exposure and Leads You Are Generating with Trent Gardner of ListTrac Friday, May 22 Learn How to Capitalize on the Pent-Up Demand with Jack Markham of Zurple If you would like us to sign you up for all upcoming coffee chats, email [email protected] and he will get you signed up. If you would like to get notifications every time a Coffee Chat recording is published, subscribe to our YouTube channel, RETechnologyInc. Then hit the bell next to the Subscribe button and receive notifications every time we publish new educational videos. Get Recordings of All Coffee Chats If you would like to binge watch all of the Coffee Chat recordings, click here. If you would like a FREE 3-month trial of RE Technology, go to retechnology.com, click Create Account and then use one of these coupon codes: COVID-19A COVID-19B COVID-19M
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Moderne Ventures' Virtual Demo Day
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How to Leverage Video to Reboot Your Business
The COVID-19 outbreak has left many agents like yourself unsure of what exactly they can do to keep their business going or how to get ahead during this time. Recently, we had Marki Lemons-Ryhal in our Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group to share some tips on using video to reboot your business during this time. From equipment to creating strategy, Lemons-Ryhal has you covered.
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Learn How to Win New Listings During COVID-19 by Delivering a List of Qualified Buyers
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3 Easy Ways to Scan Documents, Create PDFs with Your Phone
In the past, sending photos and documents from a remote location meant spending time in front of a fax machine. You would stand there, waiting for it to connect and then slowly watch each page crawl through the scanner. Then the most crucial part: remaining until the final "Fax Confirmation" page printed to tell you everything went through. But in the mobile age, sending photos and documents can be done on your smartphone through text or email. Best of all, today you can turn just about any image or document into an Adobe Portable Document Format, or PDF. With a simple smartphone app, you can teach your clients to do the same.
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10 Things to Do When you Receive a Referral
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Jump into Digital Marketing Right Now to Fill that Buyer Funnel
As agents prepare to safely get back to business, BOOST from Property Panorama may be the best option to maximize efficiency, quality, conversion, and price When you think of Property Panorama, you think of virtual tours. This company has created more virtual tours for real estate properties than any other company for more than a decade. Their secret sauce is the relationship with multiple listing services, whereby every new or updated listing is automatically (or automagically) converted into a virtual tour and emailed to the agent. Agents pay small fees if they want fancier tours, but otherwise there is no fee to the agent.
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Detecting Thieves Posing as Buyers, Part 1
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Are Buyers Readying to Re-enter the Market En Masse?
To get a picture of buyer behavior, Homesnap's data scientists analyzed trends in three key metrics: properties shared by agents, properties searched by agents, and properties favorited by agents. These metrics offer a clear view of buyer intent and sentiment, as agents who are actively sharing, favoriting, and viewing properties are doing so with their buyers. This is what our data scientists found: In a normal year, real estate buyer activity follows a predictable hill-shaped pattern. After a winter lull, home search actions ramp up in the early spring and maintain consistency throughout the summer before tapering off in the latter half of the fall. It looks a lot like this:
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Build a Social Media Calendar for Your Real Estate Business
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A TikTok Guide for Real Estate Agents
When a new form of social media takes precedence over other platforms amongst one of the largest generations, it's important to understand what it is and why it's become so popular. Unlike its other social media counterparts like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, TikTok is a video-only social media platform that launched in the U.S. in 2017 and quickly rose in popularity.
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Tapping into the Ultimate Marketing Tool: Your MLS System
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Redesigned Form Simplicity Makes Working Remotely Easier than Ever
Form Simplicity, the only transaction management software owned 100% by a Realtor association, makes working remotely easier than ever. Across the country, agents and brokers are switching to the redesigned version of Form Simplicity as they rapidly adapt to all things digital. Many are attending webinars hosted by Technology Training Manager Kaz Cisowski. Kaz reports he has had more people attend Form Simplicity training in the last four months than all of last year. "People are hungry to learn right now," Kaz says, who has already trained about 7,500 professionals. As agents and brokers nationwide hone their digital skills in record numbers, most are telling Kaz that the latest version of Form Simplicity is much easier to use. "They tell me that Form Simplicity has become a lot less 'click-ish,'" pans Kaz, noting that its improved user interface means fewer clicks for agents to create forms or navigate the program. Kaz, a former real estate agent, can personally relate to changes made in Form Simplicity to help optimize an agent's workflow, and he explains that during his two-hour Form Simplicity class. He walks agents through the steps to set up transaction forms and configure them once to save them time on every future transaction. He notes that when agents learn how to automatically import essential property data from the MLS to across all their transaction forms, they are hooked. "Every agent wants to know what's in it for them – to switch to the new Form Simplicity," Kaz explains. As being able to work remotely took on a whole new meaning starting in March, Kaz is delighted to see how agents react when they see that From Simplicity is remarkably mobile friendly. He demonstrates this during his webinar on an iPad. When agents learn that they also can use their phones to create transactions or to monitor the transaction status, they are surprised – and delighted. "Some agents had no idea you could use Form Simplicity on your phone," he said. Change is hard for everyone, so Kaz spends time during his training going through the things that some agents have become accustomed to with an earlier version of Form Simplicity. But once he walks them through the logic in why the changes were made, agents embrace the redesign as they can see first-hand how the improvements have made Form Simplicity more intuitive. And sometimes, Kaz notes, little changes can make a big difference for some agents and brokers. One example, he says, is when he demonstrates "how to sort transactions by the last time it was updated, so they appear in descending order, most recent to oldest, something you couldn't do before." Giving agents these filters makes it more powerful and practical, he explains. But perhaps the most crucial element Kaz brings to his online training is fun: he lightens the load by interjecting humor, where appropriate, to make the classes not only educational but a little more entertaining. "What I really want to do in my class is help people master the paperless real estate transaction," Kaz says. "By teaching them how to set up their preferences, making sure they understand how to use esign and going over their esign templates. We go over all the things they can do in advance, so they don't have to do extra work when they do each signing," he says, adding, "It's all about creating that optimal workflow for each agent." For his broker training, Kaz focuses on two things that are important to those who run brokerages: How to use Form Simplicity to reduce risk and remain compliant. Since Form Simplicity is often a member benefit provided by their MLS or association, Kaz notes that with the increased appetite for training, "A lot of members are starting to understand the value of going digital and say, 'Hey, I can do this, and it does not cost me an extra penny.'" Kaz says that with so many agents discovering what they need to work remotely, they appreciate now more than ever software solutions that are easy to use. "Form Simplicity helps agents stay organized, and they can always see what they didn't do yet," he says. Understanding the practical benefits of a digital transaction management solution for agents comes down to seeing it in action. Kaz has given thousands of Realtors nationwide a front-row seat to see the advantages offered by the redesign and is gearing up to host webinars for thousands more. Check with your association or MLS to see if they offer Form Simplicity as a member benefit and when the next webinar is if you haven't been trained on the newest version. Your opportunity to better manage your transactions remotely may be at your fingertips. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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3 Ways to Become the GO TO Agent in Your Neighborhood without Leaving Your House!
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Friday Freebie: Download a COVID-19 Postcard and Reach Out to Your Sphere
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live--and the way we need to communicate. Gone are the days, for example, when agents could send their contacts a calendar of local events (what events, right?). So how do we communicate in this new era while remaining sensitive to changing norms and our sphere's changing needs? Find out for yourself in this week's Friday Freebie. We're introducing you to a series of coronavirus-related postcards that hit just the right note for reaching out to those who matter most to your real estate business. Free download from the COVID-19 postcard series by ProspectsPLUS! What kind of postcard messaging strikes the right tone during the coronavirus era? That depends on the type of real estate agent YOU are. Whether humorous, helpful or nurturing, there's a postcard with a voice that matches yours in today's Friday Freebie. RE Technology readers can download one free postcard from a library of 115 different postcards designs in eight content categories, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! Here's a look at the types of postcard you can send to your sphere: Animals: Use humor to connect with clients with funny animal postcards. At Home: Offer helpful at-home advice for how clients can fill their downtime. Comfort Foods: Strike a nurturing tone with recipes for making comfort food. Content Cards: Remind clients you're the helpful home expert with home maintenance tips and more. Definitions: Gently stay top of mind with these trendy outreach cards. Inspiration Cards: Remind your sphere that brighter days are ahead with motivational designs. Looking for Listings: The market is still active! Remind homeowners that now is still a great time to sell. Virtual Marketing: Are you a tech wizard who knows how to thrive in these times? Show off your virtual tour capabilities, remote meeting skills and more! Download any COVID-19 series postcard for free with promo code FREECARD. Your postcard includes your choice of design on the front and your customized contact information on the back. Print your postcard at home or share it on social media, via email, and on your website. Download your FREE postcard today with promo code FREECARD at checkout!
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There's No Spam Filter in the Mailbox!
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6 Apps to Help You Take Better Listing Photos
With social distancing the norm, open houses and in-person walkthroughs are on pause, leaving many agents wondering how they can replicate the feeling of live showings to prospective buyers. While we recommend using Homesnap Stories to create a sequence of visuals like videos, photos, text, stickers and emojis to showcase your personality and emulate the walkthrough experience for prospects, photos are still very much a necessary and indispensable component of listings.
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Create Intentional Marketing that Shows Your Love and Support of Your Clients
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4 Ways to Pass Time and Be Productive as a Self-Starter Real Estate Agent
The weather is only getting better outside and things are starting to look up. But it is still too early to go about your usual activities. Your favorite retail spots are still closed, a lunch with potential clients is out of the question and you can't really go watch the latest movie you were keen on seeing. Why not make use of this time and be more productive? This does not mean you have to wake up at 7am, get your coffee, and start working everyday. You can have your own routine and this could just work for you. Here are a few ideas to pass time and be productive as a self-starter real estate agent.
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Cloud CMA Releases Impressive Upgrade for Live Presentations
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The Work-at-Home Real Estate Agent: How to Survive and Thrive
Welcome to the world of the work-at-home bunch. While it sounds cool, working from home does have its challenges. You may be facing some of those right about now. The interruptions from family members, the feeling of isolation from your colleagues, the desire to run out for a coffee at Starbucks. Heck, right about now, you might even be missing that agent who never leaves the office, treating it like his own little social club. The biggest challenge for many is staying motivated while working in a vacuum. Self-motivation can be a tough nut to crack, but it all starts with creating the right environment – the home office.
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Video Tours: How to Have Confidence in Front of the Camera
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What Real Estate Agents Should Know About HUD Assistance Program
With the majority of the country still under quarantine, many Americans are facing a financial crisis. Stimulus checks have helped, but for many it won't be enough to keep up with expenses. With citizens out of work and waiting for their jobs to come back, many homeowners are concerned about whether they will be able to pay their mortgage in the coming months. You can make a positive difference in the lives of your clients by making sure they're aware of the Federal Housing Administration's Disaster Relief program. Under this initiative, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has financial assistance programs to help those in need. Here is a basic breakdown of the options and services available.
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The Time Is Now to Build Up Your Prospecting Muscles!
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Business Unusual: 3 Things to Do Right Now in RPR
Well, we're about a month in and everyone is feeling the corona crunch: failed homeschool attempts, alphabetizing the spice rack, bingeing Tiger King (wow, right?), etc. But after going through those motions, many WFHers are facing the question of "What can I do right now to help me prepare for later?" RPR has your back. You're either trying to figure out how to keep your business afloat and meet your clients' needs, or your market is on pause and you're making the most of the downtime and keeping busy until things fire up once again. Here are three easy things you can learn to do in RPR right now:
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What Homebuyers and Sellers Think About COVID-19
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How Many Hashtags to Use and 6 Other Instagram Tips for Real Estate Agents
Social media isn't just for high-schoolers, celebrities, or big businesses. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all free, easy-to-use tools that, when managed correctly, can be a powerful way to build your brand and create a reliable source of new rental leads. Social media is especially important for the "digital natives" — all the Millennials entering the housing market — but 69% of all US adults have a social media account. A lot of agents probably are already using social media, so we all probably recognize its potential, but don't know what to post, when to post, and what tools are at their disposal. Don't worry. Rental Beast is here to help. We've developed a guide to Instagram tips for real estate agents.
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