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4 Unconventional (But Very Effective) Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas
Interestingly, it wasn't all that long ago when real estate agents questioned why they should advertise on Facebook. So, how do you know if what's deemed an "unconventional advertising channel" is now worth your time and budget? If it works, of course! We have four real estate lead generation ideas for your advertising playbook that we've seen work firsthand. When used correctly, they'll set you apart from your competitors and help grow your business. 1. Advertise on alternative (but popular) online channels, like Waze Waze, a navigation app, is an excellent advertising platform for promoting open houses. These ads appear in the app for nearby drivers (in a safe, non-distracting way!) and encourage real-time behavior, like checking out an open house that's just off your usual route. There are three different ad units offered on Waze: Pin ads: Your open house pops up as a distinctive pin on the navigation map. Search ads: Your listing appears at the top of results when a nearby destination is searched. Zero-speed ads: This banner appears on the Waze screen when drivers stop for at least three seconds. Each of these ad units offers Waze users the option to be redirected to your open house in a single tap. In addition to encouraging foot traffic, Waze ads also help increase overall awareness of your listing. Many people likely drive near the property daily, but not right past it if their route has them driving a street or two over. Through Waze, your ad acts as a digital yard sign for all in the vicinity to see, alerting them to your listing without needing to drive right in front of it. 2. Get featured in a Google Local Pack Google's data reveals that searches for "near me" were more than two times as popular in September 2020 as the same period two years prior. As a result of this trend, which Google recognized years ago, the company has been working hard to beef up its search engine results page for queries with hyperlocal intent. As a result, Google introduced the local pack. This eye-catching top-of-the-page unit displays a large map with pins and highlights three local businesses under the map. It's prime placement because it appears even before organic recommendations at the very top of the results page. It takes some elbow grease to make it into the local pack, but as long as you're consistent, Google will look upon you favorably. Here's how to increase your chances: Create a Google business profile and fill out all the fields of the profile, including adding posts and photos. Ask past clients for five-star reviews to complete your profile. The real key is regular maintenance. What this entails is gathering reviews and updating photos and content posts weekly. Doing this signals to Google that you're an active real estate agent and that you have a profile with fresh content that users will care about. The more up to date you keep your profile, the more likely Google is to include it in the local pack and on the map. We love this particular real estate lead generation idea because focusing on your Google business profile does much more than just helping you appear in the local pack. 3. Prioritize getting positive reviews on Google We already mentioned that regularly generating new reviews on your Google business profile is necessary to be featured in the local pack. It's also a key component in your profile's SEO, helping it appear in indirect searches that have local intent (like "[city] real estate agents near me" instead of someone searching for your name). That's because Google wants to show its users content that is relevant and recent. If Google had to choose between a profile that has few reviews (or older reviews) and one that has many reviews, including recent ones, our research shows that it would definitely choose the latter. Besides boosting your online ranking, prioritizing reviews also helps you generate leads. Whether someone discovers you organically or Googles your name directly, you can guarantee that they'll read what others have to say about you—82% of consumers read online reviews, and they need to click through at least 10 before feeling like they can trust you. If you play your cards right—generate at least 10 five-star reviews to start and then gather new ones at least once a month—you'll easily convert those who read your Google business profile into leads. 4. Emphasize video in your marketing This might not seem like an unconventional real estate lead generation idea, but hear us out. You probably read often that you should be using video in your advertising—videos that introduce you as an agent, showcase your listings and feature happy past clients. But how often are you actually doing that? As much as the stats back up using video (such as that it outperforms text-only ads and static images by an incredible 1,200%), very few real estate agents are using it regularly. One easy way to share videos—that's also free—is to create a Homesnap Story for any or all of your listings. These work just like the popular Instagram Stories and will appear as media on your listing in Homesnap. When clients view the property page, they can watch your Story and click through photos of the home and any other media you added to the MLS listing. If you want to put budget behind your Homesnap Story, you can easily boost it to Facebook and Instagram in just a few taps. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap
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Turning Renters to Buyers: Dispelling 5 Key Myths
More so than ever, misconceptions about the buying process keep renters from exploring the possibility of buying a home. Still, seasoned Realtors know that knowledge is power -- a gentle, educational nudge can go a long way in turning would-be renters into first-time homebuyers. Many highly qualified renters see homeownership as out of reach, citing barriers like a minimum 20% down payment, economic uncertainty, or a shortage of inventory as barriers to entry. At the same time, historically low mortgage rates make buying a home more attractive than ever. Renters need not sit on the sidelines and wait out today's uncertain housing market. Realtors can help them navigate the home buying process, establishing long-lasting relationships by pointing them to the right resources and helping them navigate both the decision to buy and a resale transaction. Millennials Making the Move According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, millennials have surpassed boomers as the largest segment of today's homebuyers. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Green Street Advisors – Advisory & Consulting Group At the same time, millennials represent roughly 65% of all renters. As the consumer segment hardest hit by macro-economic events, including the Great Recession and the global pandemic, Millennials had been significantly behind both baby boomers and Gen Xers in their rate of homeownership. However, Millennial earnings are on the rise. In a recent study, Harvard's Joint Center for Housing recorded a 157% increase in rental households making more than $150,000 per year, meaning more millennials are ready to buy homes today. Three out of eight millennial renters believe they'll rent for life. Yet millennials are aware of the drawbacks of renting, including missed tax break opportunities, the inevitability of rent hikes, and the inability to build equity. As such, 62% of younger millennials and 68% of older millennials plan to buy within five years. As a Realtor, you can help turn renters into home buyers by dispelling these five common myths: Dispelling Five Common Myths Among Renters 1. "I done make enough money." Income is necessary, but the amount of money someone earns plays a less significant role in getting a mortgage than many might think. Lenders consider much more than just a paycheck when evaluating would-be homebuyers. Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratios and one's ability to make mortgage payments are more heavily considered than how much one makes. Lenders look at the whole picture, including credit scores and and the amount a borrower has for a down payment. First-time homebuyers may need to pay down debt and organize their spending before entering the market. Realtors working in this segment take their time with these clients, placing them in rentals (and earning commissions) while helping them address these factors. Additionally, rates for 30-year loans, 15-year loans, and 5-year ARMs are historically cheap, lowering the monthly cost of owning a home. 2. "I don't have enough for a down payment." / "I don't think I'll get approved." Most renters believe you need 20% down to purchase a house. To buy a $300,000 home, you'd need $60,000 on hand—an overwhelming amount for most renters. Many first-time buyers close on a house with almost nothing down. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a 100% financing mortgage. The program, formerly known as a Section 502 mortgage, but more commonly referred to as a "Rural Housing Loan" or "USDA loan," is not just a rural loan—it's available to buyers in suburban neighborhoods, too. With a USDA loan, there's no down payment requirement, no maximum home purchase price, and eligible home repairs and improvements can be included Additionally, the upfront guarantee fee can be an add-on to the loan balance at closing. FHA-insured loans allow for down payments as low as 3.5% in all U.S. markets and come with guidelines with a liberal approach to both down payments and credit scores. The FHA will insure home loans for borrowers with low credit scores, provided there is a reasonable explanation. Additionally, a down payment on an FHA-insured loan can come entirely from down payment assistance, including gifted funds. Low-down payments are also available from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac via the Conventional 97 program. Down payments are 3%, and it's less expensive for many buyers than an FHA-insured mortgage. Loans are currently capped at $548,250 and can only be used for fixed-rate mortgages on single-unit dwellings. In addition, the Conventional 97 program doesn't enforce a specific minimum credit score beyond those for a conventional home loan, and the entire 3% down payment can come from gifted funds from a spouse, partner, guardian, or family member. The Veteran's Administration administers a no-money-down program available to members of the U.S. military and surviving spouses, with straightforward qualifications; and local municipalities often offer various levels of down payment assistance, 3. "There's nothing in my price range." Once your rental client is pre-approved, they have a good sense of their target price range. However, in today's resale inventory-constrained environment, they often find themselves up against an increasingly competitive market. Here's where Realtors can demonstrate their value. Experienced Realtors can leverage their hyper-local expertise to guide first-time homebuyers into neighborhoods with homes in their target range and find hidden gems—properties not quite move-in ready yet in a preferred neighborhood and within their client's price range. 4. "I might move in a few years." Renting rather than buying is prudent over a short term—say a few months to a year, but it makes more sense to buy when staying for at least five years, and, in some cases, buying can even offer value when planning to stay for as few as two years. It boils down to math. Renters considering buying should calculate how long they need to live in a purchased home before the cost of buying outweighs the costs of renting. The New YorkTimes provides a Rent vs. Buy Calculator that takes the most important costs associated with buying a house, including mortgage details, growth rates, taxes, and closing costs, with computing equivalent monthly rents. 5. "I'll wait until I find the perfect house." Renters new to the home buying market may have unrealistic expectations about the inevitable pros and cons proffered by every property. No resale home is perfect, and a first-time purchase will likely require a few concessions. Good houses go fast! Renters looking to buy should be ready to act. Would-be buyers often need to make an offer right after a showing, so have reasonable criteria in mind beforehand. Closing a deal will involve some trade-offs, but the accomplishment of homeownership almost certainly offset them. More so than ever, there's value in working with renters, and while converting renters to buyers takes a little strategy and a lot of chutzpah, it's one of the most proven and cost-effective ways for Realtors to grow their book of business. To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast
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Generating and Keeping Clients with Cloud CMA + Homebeat
Multiple Dates and times Learn how to set your clients and leads to automatically receive live updates on where their home stands in the marketplace, with Cloud CMA and Homebeat. In this webinar, you'll learn how to stand out and stay top of mind, by easily providing your contacts with the information they want and need. Register
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