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7 Ways to Waste Money in Real Estate
You are a real estate agent, and maybe you just closed on a deal and now have some extra money from your most recent comission. If you are looking for a creative way to flush that money down the toilet, look no further. 1. Hiring Help Incorrectly Sometimes you just need help right away, and you will hire anybody. Or maybe you will hire a friend, family member, or person from within your network. That's how most people will find their real estate agents anyway, right? Be sure to carefully review everybody you are hiring—otherwise, you might as well throw that money towards whatever the newest cryptocurrency is that is trying to compete with Bitcoin. 2. Expensive Gifting When giving closing gifts to your clients, it's easy to go overboard to show them how much you appreciate their business. The higher the price tag, the higher their sense of gratitude is not something that is guaranteed. When building a relationship with your clients, it's important to make note of what brings a spark to their life. Is it the passion for their job? Is it their children's dreams? Are they obsessive Star Wars fans? Knowing this type of information can help you choose a thoughtful—and cost-effective—gift that establishes that you KNOW who your clients are as people. 3. Incorrect Listings Incorrect listings can include overpriced listings, listings outside of your niche, or listings too far outside of your farming area. Not only does it take some of your dedicated marketing dollars away from other listings, it also takes your precious time away as well. You should know when to say "no" to a listing that is not right for you. Your time is money, and you shouldn't be wasting it. 4. Choosing the Wrong Brokerage Speaking of wasting time, this is a common problem some new agents come across. It might be unavoidable for newer agents, but can be an easy dodge for veteran agents who know their way aroud the industry. Some brokerages simply aren't in an ideal alignment with your personal goals. Find yourself one that is. 5. Services You Don't Utilize Often on internet message boards, you will see agents write "________ is a waste of money." Sometimes that may be true. From personal experience, I've seen that it's not necessarily the service that is costing them, but it is the fact they are paying for it and not using it. If you are going to invest your hard-earned marketing dollars into a service, make sure you get the most out of it by actually using it. A gym membership alone isn't enough to stay in shape; you must also regularly go to the gym. 6. Not Having a Follow-up System Why would you spend so much money generating leads online, then never convert them? While it's true not all leads will turn into a commission, it is also true that some of these leads are missed opportunities due to lack of communication. Internet leads don't stink, they just aren't being properly followed up with. With consumer timelines elongating to more than just a simple 28 days, it takes time and patience to correctly convert these internet leads into new homeowners. 7. Red Flag Clients There are some clients you should run from. In some cases, the ends justify the means—where the end goal is a paycheck, and the means is an obstacle course in the form of a needy client. This should also include clients you KNOW can be better served by other agents—for example, a person looking to buy commercial real estate might benefit from an agent referral instead of you personally taking on the task. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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1-Minute Lesson on How to Add Custom Pages to RPR Reports
RPR reports are packed with data and metrics your clients count on for making quick, well informed decisions. But do they include your personal and company marketing info? Your reports could include your bio, recent market production, your business philosophies, stats and awards, etc. Luckily, adding custom pages to your RPR Reports is no problem: Simply select "Manage custom pages" from the Report section A window appears that allows you to add up to five PDF pages Select the number of pages you want to add, and what order you want them to appear (beginning or end), and just like that you've got custom pages as part of your RPR Report Watch this just over one-minute video to see all of the above in action: To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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How Instagram Hashtags Can Make All the Difference
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Make Your Next Marketing Strategy Local
What does it mean to be a local real estate agent? By focusing on a targeted area, you become an expert in a specific geographic area. You regularly attend events and have your eyes and ears tuned into the pulse of the community. The relationship you have with a specific area is second nature and you know about all the new developments, where the best schools are located, the Walk Scores, and crime rates. To put it into perspective, you are the consumer's go-to when they need to find out who's who and the buzz in your area. When questions arise about planning, zoning, and environmental concerns or the selling price of the property down the street with a similar floor plan, you have the answers on the tip of your tongue. Honing in on a local area will make your brand stand out and get you recognized as the local expert. What are some secrets to becoming a local expert? Use virtual tours in your new real estate marketing plan It's no secret that consumers are using technology at a faster rate than ever before. Homebuyers are especially enamoured with searching online. According to NAR, 97% of them use the web in their quest for a new home. Sure, traditional and old-school marketing can add some nostalgia to your advertising, but it is time to embrace the digital age and focus on having an online presence. By incorporating real estate marketing tools like immersive 3D tours and interactive floor plans, you not only highlight the fit and flow of each property, but you highlight the fact that you are current with real estate technology. Be the agent the locals recognize as the tech-friendly marketing expert for all their real estate requirements. Following the leads and leading with followers You can lead by following. Follow the social channels of local businesses, including professional services, retail, recreational facilities, and builders and developers in the area. Take the lead by asking your followers questions on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to initiate conversation. Listen to the voices of the residents and use your time to engage with the community by sharing stories on your social channels, including virtual open houses, 3D tours, and market updates. Did you know you can guide a buyer through a property by sharing a link during a virtual showing? Social connections can drive leads from your apps directly to a potential sale. The importance of standing out in a highly competitive field There are plenty of intelligent real estate agents who know the rules and abide by the fundamentals of the industry standards. But you need to be more than the "standard" Realtor. Marketing tools from companies like iGUIDE® can make you stand out. How you present a property listing should inspire, entice, and engage the consumer. How can you accomplish this? Use real estate marketing tools to reel in the consumer and make a connection. Buyers and sellers want information including accurate measurements, property-specific details, and community amenities. By offering floor plans and easily navigated virtual tours in your digital marketing, you can tie it all together with your expert knowledge of the geographic region. Create your brand identity with niche marketing One of the best marketing tools for real estate agents is building your brand through consistent messaging. Leading real estate coach Tom Ferry suggests you master a specific niche as one of the marketing ideas to elevate your brand. Every listing is an opportunity for you to reach out to the public and show them the value of choosing an agent who can offer good advice, accurate information and present it all in a timely manner. Doing this builds trust and recognition in your brand. When focusing in a specific neighborhood, it is imperative to help the community identify you as the "expert" in the area. You will get recognized as an agent specializing in a specific geographic area when offering things like virtual tours and precise floor plans in your listings. With the proper branding and dedication to your targeted area, your name becomes synonymous with the "go-to" agent for both buyers and sellers in your niche market. Details matter Focus on a single demographic region to uncover and learn the intimate details about schools, parks, Walk Scores, and community happenings. Little details about a neighborhood matter to buyers, as much as the fit and flow of a property. When you guide a potential buyer through a virtual showing, you can have a conversation with them about what it would be like to live in the home. Highlighting property details makes it easier for a consumer to imagine how they will fit into their new home. Working in a niche market doesn't mean you can stray away from the environs periodically. After all, plenty of opportunities will arise while networking within your chosen locale. The key to your success is to use the best marketing tools for real estate agents to distinguish yourself from everyone else out there.
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Dotloop Basic Training for Agents
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New Update to Google Ads: What Agents Need to Know
It's the biggest news you probably haven't heard: last-click attribution has been replaced by data-driven attribution as the default conversion model in Google Ads. You may not be familiar with the terms "last-click attribution" or "conversion model," and it's possible that you're wondering why (or if) any of this should matter to you. Trust us, this is important news. Generating leads is essential for real estate agents, and changes in conversion models could result in more and better leads for some agents and fewer leads for others. In this article, we'll define attribution models and learn how they help agents, and establish the difference between last-click and data-driven attribution. What is an Attribution Model? "Attribution model" is a technical term that explains a simple sentiment: determining which marketing campaigns are responsible for individual digital marketing conversions. Marketing conversions are when people engaging with marketing materials take the desired action, such as clicking a link or filling out a form. Attribution models, then, exist to give credit to the marketing materials that are actually delivering new leads. Without attribution models, marketers have to guess which marketing materials and campaigns are responsible for new leads and actions. For example, some agents run ads on Facebook, Google, and Instagram. Without an attribution model, you won't be able to identify the ads, platforms, and actions that are delivering you leads. But with an attribution model, you have a way of discovering which specific ads and platforms caused your leads to engage, so you can adjust your budget and strategy accordingly. Marketing is most useful when it can be measured, so a functional attribution model is a major boon to any marketing campaign. Last-Click Attribution vs. Data-Driven Attribution Attribution models may be important, but they are not standardized. Last-click attribution gives the full share of conversion credit to the most recent marketing interaction, while data-driven attribution weights multiple stages and touchpoints that leads engage with throughout their buying journey. Consider a hypothetical buyer or seller's online journey: First, they search "real estate agents near me" on Google. They glance at the list of local real estate agents' Google business profiles, see your name toward the top, click on your profile, and briefly read your information. A few hours later, they log into Facebook and see one of your ads. They remember you from their Google search, click on the ad, submit their information, and become a hot lead. Which marketing platform deserves credit? Is it the Google search result? After all, that's where the buyer or seller first saw your name. That said, wasn't Facebook where the person actually took the action required to become a lead? Last-click and data-driven attribution models take different approaches to this quandary. In a last-click attribution model, your Facebook ad receives all the credit for the marketing conversion, since that was the last marketing touchpoint before the user took action to become a lead. Data-driven attribution is savvier and more holistic. Instead of only giving credit to the last marketing touch point, data-driven attribution would give credit to both your Google and Facebook ads, using a technical weighting system to attribute shared credit. Source The shift to data-driven attribution is an indication that Google recognizes just how complicated digital marketing is, and wants to help advertisers understand where their leads are coming from. Learn how Homesnape Concierge can help you navigate data-driven attribution. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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4 Companies Compete in Matterport's Space Jam
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Friday Freebie: 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide
Here we are in the fourth quarter of 2021 with 2022 looming on the horizon. Is it too early to plan ahead? Not in today's market! With ever-tightening inventory, now's the perfect time to create--and budget for--strategies that will elevate your business in 2022. To help you out, we're highlighting a business planning guide in this week's Friday Freebie that comes complete with worksheets and performance calculators that will help you prepare for a profitable 2022. Free download of 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide, courtesy of Zurple "If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going." That's a Maya Angelou quote, but it's applicable to planning for your business' future. The 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide offers worksheets to help you understand your performance in 2021 so that you can better plan for 2022. In addition, this free guide offers: Real estate news stories to help your clients understand the current market Tips for success in 2022 Lead generation strategies Worksheets for calculating your performance in 2021 Worksheets for helping you set goals and strategize for 2022 Tools, including lead generation and performance calculators Get ready to tackle 2022 and download your FREE copy of Zurple's 2022 Real Estate Business Plan and Strategy Guide now!
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4 Steps to Find a Technology Solution that Works for You
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How to Follow RPR Maps to Success
Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 9:00 AM PDT RPR Maps can be a powerful tool in your tool belt. Guide your buyers by mapping out a plan. In this 45-minute webinar, you'll use RPR maps to serve your buyers and find new clients by: Learning the basics of starting a property or area search Refining your searches by zooming in on areas based on local geographies How to search for properties within Opportunity Zones How to perform school searches Register now!
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How to Inject Creative Life Into Your Emails
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Your Guide to Professional Real Estate Virtual Assistants
Your workload is rapidly growing. This is obviously great news for your business, but can be very stressful and taxing on you. If this is your situation, it is time for a change. Hiring a professional real estate virtual assistant could be the change that you are desperately searching for. Hiring an assistant, while it may seem excessive or expensive, is a great way to get the extra help needed to skyrocket your business. Before making a decision, keep an open mind and seriously consider the pros and cons of all your options. Why a Professional Real Estate VA Would Benefit You As a real estate agent, your long-term main objective should be to grow your business. Growth is how business is sustained and how profits are maximized. To stay competitive and relevant in the real estate industry, you will need to be continuously growing your business by implementing new marketing strategies, taking on more clients, learning new technology, and so much more. Focusing on the growth of your business becomes time-consuming and overwhelming quickly. Especially when you have all of your minuscule, tedious everyday paperwork and tasks to get done before you can truly focus on growing your business. There is a way to achieve it all, though. Hiring a professional real estate virtual assistant is exactly what you need to do if you are struggling to complete daily tasks while trying to achieve long-term goals. Hiring an assistant could change the way you do business for the better. Your business will be more organized, efficient, and productive with the help of a virtual assistant. Hiring a professional real estate VA will allow your business to grow faster and in ways you have only dreamed of. They take mundane everyday tasks off your plate, and give you the time needed to focus on accomplishing the goals you have for your business. Types of Professional Real Estate Virtual Assistants Professional real estate VAs are experienced in the real estate industry. They know how the industry operates, how important deadlines are, and how to effectively interact with buyers and sellers. These experienced virtual assistants will make an amazing addition to your team and become a vital employee faster than you can imagine. Transaction Coordinator A transaction coordinator focuses on all the paperwork involving your transactions. They make sure all requirements for transactions and deadlines are met. To make sure you and the transaction coordinator are on the same page, it is best to look into a transaction coordinator checklist. Transaction coordinators are extremely helpful in freeing up your time to focus on more pressing matters, such as providing clients with a great experience. Once you hire and work with a transaction coordinator, you will wonder how you ever conducted business without one. Outbound Sales Assistant Outbound sales assistants focus on growing your clientele. They generate as many leads on potential clients as possible for you. They utilize cold calling, contacting expired listings, and other methods of lead generation. Taking this necessary duty off of your hands allows you to dedicate as much time as possible to working with clients you already have. If you are as attentive and invested in their business as you can be, you will receive exceptional reviews and generate positive word of mouth. Therefore, creating an amazing reputation that will draw clients to you. Inbound Sales Assistant An inbound sales assistant primary purpose is to nurture leads. They continue to contact and provide information to potential clients that have expressed interest in your services but are hesitant. They focus on warming cold leads until they are finally ready to sell or buy. Inbound sales assistants achieve this by using marketing material, email drips, and by providing excellent customer service to clients that may call with questions. General An assistant who performs a multitude of tasks with special experience in the real estate industry falls under this category. Tasks performed by them include warm and cold calling, client follow-up, lead screening, and more. They help you cover a little bit of everything instead of taking over one set of tasks completely. General professional real estate VAs can help you get a grasp on what it would be like working with a virtual assistant, before allowing one to take over a part of your business. Where to Find Professional Real Estate VAs There are many companies that offer professional real estate VA services, but we have a couple that we recommend. Look into all your options and you will find an assistant that is sure to be a perfect fit. Transactly Transactly offers a multitude of transaction coordinators based all over the county. They are all highly qualified and efficient, with tested experience in the real estate industry. When you use a Transactly transaction coordinator or Transactly's technology, you are promised a positive experience. Transaction coordinators are reasonably priced and the technology is free to use. Transactly's technology provides a seamless and transparent experience that you and your clients will love. If you have any questions or concerns, you will always have the option of talking with a real person during normal business hours. Transactly can help you achieve the growth in your business you have always planned for. MyOutDesk MyOutDesk is a respected and reputable platform in which to hire a professional virtual assistant. Many real estate agents use their services and have positive experiences. They offer both general professional assistants and transaction coordinators. If you hire one of their assistants, they will work full-time for your business. Compared to other similar platforms, they are reasonably priced. It is important to note that professional real estate VAs will be more expensive than a standard general VA. The significant price difference is due to the expertise you are getting when you are hiring a professional real estate VA. Are You Ready to Hire a Professional Real Estate VA? Hiring a professional real estate virtual assistant may seem costly and extensive. Based on your situation, though, it could be exactly the help you need to push your business to the next level. You can not achieve everything your business is capable of without some help. Your future self will thank you for having the vision and foreshadowing to hire a professional VA. What your business can accomplish with a little experienced help will shock you. It is now time to truly consider how your business can grow if you have a professional VA helping you get there. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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3 Tips to Find Listings in the Current Market
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How to Improve Google Positioning by Promoting Yourself Locally with Virtual Tours
This post is an example and proof of how to use virtual tours to position yourself on Google, draw traffic to your website and get leads from your local audience. Check out the aerial 360° virtual tour of the most famous Australian beach, Bondi Beach. This aerial tour will allow you to see the Bondi Beach Coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte Beach. It also covers the beautiful Tamarama beach on your way down south. Visit the Icebergs pools and see some local attractions: Remember, if you already have a Virtual Tours Creator account, you can create professional virtual tours of any space and it won't cost you more than what you already pay. Just find a local attraction: RSL Surf club Golf course School or kindergarten (VTC offers free virtual tours hosting for our plan holders of any educational institution) Museum Gallery Coffee place Park Beach Monument... ...and make a vr tour of it! Later embed it on your website's blog and you will see that with time, your real estate website will start popping up in Google search. And when anyone watches the tour, your logo is there, right at the bottom of every panorama. They will know straight up that you are an agent fully fluent in the digital real estate world. They will understand that you can reach more people faster than any other agent and that their property will be in good hands. This is how you get your name out there in the digital era. Below you can find our older virtual tour of Melbourne's Graffiti Laneways that we use just like the Bondi Beach aerial 360° virtual tour . This tour brought more than 1300 people to our website and the average time spent on viewing it was over six minutes! Imagine getting a potential 1300 homeowners or landlords spending six minutes on your website! You can also create a tour of a local school or kindergarten, and your logo and your name will be visible to every parent that wants their kids to go to a school or Kindy in your local area. Virtual Tours Creator (VTC) gives you free hosting of such tours. Learn more about VTC here. To view the original article, visit the Virtual Tours Creator blog.
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3 Open House Themes to Sell Your Listing This Halloween
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97% of Cold Calling is a Waste of Time
Let's warm up those cold tactics with some new insights into increasing your lead generation abilities. A good start is the idea of a hiring a person that is dedicated to making those outbound efforts. Inside Sales Agents, or ISAs, have long been considered a crucial role on successful real estate teams. Hiring an Inside Sales Agent in Real Estate As your business grows, you can quickly begin to feel stretched. You and your team may have difficulties finding time to prospect or responding fast enough to leads, so your pipeline and conversion rates can suffer. Hiring an ISA ensures a dedicated person is generating and converting leads in the office while you and your agents are running the rest of your business. This hire allows you and your team members to focus on your core roles, and they are typically charged with uploading all of the contact information and conversation notes into your database. This frees your team up from most admin tasks, so for example, buyer's agents don't have to worry with anything administrative other than writing up a contract. The ISA role can vary with experience and job expectations. There are countless pay structures and compensation models to match each unique ISA role. However, the first thing you need to do before hiring is calculate the ROI. It doesn't make sense to hire an ISA for cold-calling purposes if you aren't generating more deals (i.e., money). Here's a handy cost breakdown guide for your real estate business: Again, this is just a model. Lots of real estate businesses employ and pay ISAs differently. The main objective of this is to ensure positive revenue from hiring an Inside Sales Agent. Turn Cold Calling into Smart Prospecting Let's flip that terrible stat. Here's how to turn 97% wastefulness into 80% productivity. Taking a good look at your communication strategies can do some real good for your success rate. It's critical to be informed about your leads, their interests, and to hit them with timely and relevant information. Imagine the following message from a real estate agent: Hi, my name is Chad and I'm calling to see if you're interested in buying a house. How likely are you to respond with anything else than, "No, I'm not interested," or with "I'm just looking." Not only are success rates of cold calls low, but they typically cost your business 60% more. Now, let's examine a more tailored approach: Hi Susie! I noticed you were looking at homes in downtown Charleston, and if you have a free moment this week, I can show you a couple houses of interest. What do you say? Two things changed in this scenario. First, the real estate agent is addressing the lead by name. He knows who he is calling. Second, he knows what Susie is looking for. By tailoring your message to the interests and behavior of your leads, you increase your chances of a positive sale. In fact, you're 51% more likely to achieve your sales numbers and 80% more productive. Using a Real Estate CRM for Smart Prospecting It's critical to have information about your leads at your fingertips. This means utilizing powerful software and the latest technology to make your prospecting so much more effective. By compiling a list of who the leads are, what areas/price points they're looking at and their timeline, you immediately have a "warm" list of leads to call. You know where to start the conversation and your sales effectiveness rises. This means you can easily create tailored messages to large groups of leads for smarter outreach. Talk about productivity!  The Power of Texting vs. Calling Just a few years ago, InsideSales.com did a study revealing agents who called newly registered leads within five minutes were more likely to turn them into a closed deal. However, a troubling statistic shows that only 5-10% of people pick up the phone. Even with email, you can only expect a 20% open rate. However, with texting, 90% of people both open and respond to texts within five minutes. That is a serious game-changer! A Multi-Channel Strategy for Prospecting Using multiple forms of outreach in your marketing efforts can generate much more success in prospecting. The right CRM will let you implement plans that incorporate calls, texts, and emails, and every interaction will be automatically logged in the system so you can stay on top of to-dos and know exactly where each leads stands in the process. Here's a sample template for a basic smart prospecting plan: Call within the first five minutes if possible. This is important since you or your customer team could potentially speak with them while they are still on your site and explain further valuable search tools on the website. Answer: Ask the most important question. Doesn't Answer: Leave a voicemail (scroll down for suggestions). If the lead does not answer, you can send a text message (scroll down for suggestions) and continue to call at a steady, but subtle, rate over the next few weeks. If you have an email address, your lead also needs to be on a drip email plan. Touch Phone Call Example Scripts: This situation would occur if a lead registered on your site or a third-party site with at least their name and contact information. This example assumes you have basic information about what they are looking for. Questions: Hi, may I speak with [First Name]? How are you today? I received your contact info from your recent registration on my site, and I wanted to follow up with you quickly in case you had any questions about any of the homes you were browsing through. When are you looking to buy? I can set you up for eAlerts so you are the first to find out about new listings that fit your preferences. Even if you don't want to buy now, it's always good to see what's out there in your price range. Are you still interested in the [area name] around [price point of the home they were looking at]? If so, are you working with an agent already? I actually have an area expert for the neighborhood you are looking in. He/She can fill you in on the market for that area, can they give you a quick call later? Answers: Yes: Sounds good! Is this the best number to reach you? No: Is there a better time for me to reach you? No, don't call: Would you prefer email? I can arrange them so they only come as often as you like with the listings in your price range and area. No, don't contact me: I completely understand. Definitely take advantage of the site's search tools and if you see anything you want more information on in the future, we are here to help! First-touch Voicemail Script: Hi [first name], this is [your name] calling from [your company name]. I wanted to quickly check in and make sure you didn't have any further questions about the properties on our website. If so, I would love to help you get a temp of the area you are looking in. My number is [your number here], and I look forward to speaking with you soon. First-touch Text Script: If you don't receive an answer to the first phone call, it's always a good idea to send a follow-up text. Hey [first name]! Wanted to quickly follow-up with your visit to [your website name here] to see if you would be interested in chatting with our agent who has worked in that area for awhile. When are you looking to buy? Next Steps: Continue conversation with more qualifying questions and attempts to schedule a call. Alternative Tactic: Social Selling Hands down, people spend the majority of their time on social media — whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. These channels are windows into who your leads are, what they're interested in, and even what they're complaining about. This gives you an unfiltered view into what they need, and an easy opportunity to place yourself at the front of their consideration. With a quick message or response, you can easily spark a conversation that turns into a $300k home deal. Being Effective at Real Estate Lead Generation Cold calling is a waste of time. Personalized messages are king when it comes to selling. Keep in mind, the homebuyer (or seller) already has a ton of information at their disposal. They don't need to be sold on what they want — they already know what they want! They want to know that you're going to provide personalized service for them. Hence, smart prospecting. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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How to Generate Free Real Estate Business from Google
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5 Reasons Leads Are Choosing a Different Agent
Today's red-hot residential real estate market has agents competing for leads more aggressively than ever before. Not only is inventory low and demand high, but right now there are more real estate agents than homes for sale — another unforeseen byproduct of the pandemic, as more people decided to enter the industry to make a living. Simply put, competition is steep. Every interaction, every consultation, and every listing presentation counts if you want to expand your client list this year. Buyers and sellers are carefully scrutinizing the agents they interview to find just the right one. Even a small negative experience that might've been overlooked in the past may be reason enough for someone to pick another agent. Ensure you're the choice agent by avoiding these five missteps. 1. Your response time is too slow There are a number of factors at play here. First, with properties moving quickly in this market, buyers and sellers are looking for an agent who can act fast. To know whether that's you, leads are judging your response time. If a lead submits an inquiry and doesn't hear back from you for 5+ hours, they're going to think it'll always take you hours to respond to them. You can bet they'll start contacting others, and they'll select the agent who responds quickest. A fast, less-than-an-hour response is a high expectation, but it's the expectation nonetheless, and that's because of the world we live in. The speed of digital transactions has made us all accustomed to lightning-fast service. Finally, not all leads will be ready to transaction right away. If you leave them waiting too long, their cold feet could catch up and convince them to delay buying or selling. Then you may not be able to get them on the line at all. However, had you replied quicker, it's possible you could've made them feel more comfortable in their initial decision to start the process. 2. Interactions have not met expectations No two clients are the same, but you can likely gauge their personalities — laidback, sensitive, nervous — and adjust your approach accordingly. Otherwise, they might instantly recognize that it's not a good fit and move on to someone else. Let's say you consider yourself a "shark" because you're not afraid to be assertive and a bit aggressive with your negotiation tactics. That plays well with some clients, but maybe other prospects need a more nurturing approach because they don't want to feel pushed into a deal. If you can sense the frustration, try to re-calibrate and ask clients what they are comfortable with. There's a delicate balance between making sure they are ready to move quickly in a hot market and making sure they feel heard along the way. Similarly, make sure you set expectations right off the bat for how intense the process might be. You don't want a potential buyer or seller to feel like their expectations weren't met because you didn't sit down with them and set the stage. If you think that either of these scenarios may describe you, ask your colleagues, past clients, and even lost leads if they would be willing to give you honest feedback. 3. You aren't easily found on Google Buying and selling a home are among the most important financial decisions we'll make. As such, you can bet that consumers will be researching any agent they are considering working with. Nowadays, that research starts on Google — the most-used search engine in the country. If a potential lead types in your name and can't find much about you on the first page of search results, what do you think their impression will be? Probably, "Is this agent still in business?" Or, "Is this agent any good?" Prospects will choose your competitors instead of you because they appear when leads search for them, providing instant credibility and trust. Make sure you are easily found on Google by maintaining SEO on your real estate website, updating your Google business profile regularly, and taking out ads that are featured prominently at the top of the search results page, like Google's Local Services Ads. 4. Leads forgot about you How are you ensuring that you stay top of mind after acquiring new leads? As we mentioned earlier, not everyone will be ready to transact right away. Some might get cold feet, while others just need to sort out some details before jumping in. Either way, you need to stay visible so that leads get back in touch with you when they do become ready to buy or sell. Here are a few ways to stay top of mind: Add new leads to your digital ads' custom audience list so your ads are served to them whenever possible. Include leads in your regular emails, such as e-newsletters and local market reports. Check in with a personal text or email to ask if you can answer questions or help with next steps. 5. You didn't prove your expertise Consider the elevator pitch you give when you first connect with new leads. Do you exude confidence, effectively communicate your real estate expertise, and help leads understand how you outshine competitors? If not, all it will take is a convincing conversation with another agent — or even an intriguing advertisement — to change someone's mind. Don't take personal referrals for granted, either. Just because a former client or mutual connection made an introduction doesn't mean that lead has committed to working with you. Prove your expertise when you speak to them, be easy to find on Google when they search for your name, and take the necessary steps to stay top of mind if they aren't ready to transact. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Real Estate Cybersecurity Practices That Should Become Your Second Nature
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Is October the Best Time to Buy a Home?
After spring and summer with a surprisingly low inventory of homes for sale, October may be this year's best month to shop for a house. If your real estate prospects are renting and looking to buy, but are on the fence about when to start looking for your new home, share this infographic with them. They'll see the top reasons why they might want to begin their home search now. To view the original article, visit the Rental Beast blog.
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5 Places to Find Tech Support
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From an MBA to RPR: A Realtor Success Story
At RPR, we relish getting feedback from our users. Your comments and success stories fuel our efforts to keep improving the RPR experience. When you reach out and tell us how you're "wowing" clients and closing more deals, it helps us make adjustments and enhancements to lead to more future success. So you can imagine how impressed we were when we received this email from Cesar Umanzor, a REALTOR® from Houston, Texas: Good morning! RPR has been one of the best resources available to my business today. The accessibility to detailed data, analytics, and customized reporting allows me the opportunity to provide high-level value to current or prospective clients. Also, I have been using RPR lately for analyzing residential investment strategies and prospecting new markets. This process is seamless, and I don't have to use any other software to gather detailed information. Thanks! Nice! And after a well-worded message like that, we knew we had to speak to Cesar to learn more. The following is a Q&A with a real estate industry vet who recently earned his MBA. He's more focused than ever to succeed in real estate and he's using RPR to reach those goals. RPR: the "game-changing" property and market research tool Q: Hello Cesar and thanks for your note. When you mentioned that using RPR is "seamless," what did you mean? Cesar: The latest version of RPR is giving me a great experience. It's very interactive and I love it the more I get used to it. It really paints a picture for you and the client. By seamless, I mean that it's easy to find the data I want and to let it work for me. When I was working corporately and on my MBA, I used Excel quite a bit for things such as breaking down an analysis on an income statement sheet, or looking at the return on an investment (ROI). Now, I use Valuate in RPR to take care of it all so easily and automatically. I put in the numbers and the program takes the manual work out. I mean, to use a tool where the system does it automatically for you? I've never seen something like that in real estate. Q: How has RPR been one of the "best resources available to your business today"? Cesar: Working with existing and new investors is where it comes in handy most. The investor analysis tool, how I can refine the values, the snapshot of local changes in the market, the interactive map, narrowing down the visibility. I could go on and on—so many helpful features! Once you create the analysis, it allows you to evaluate the property with details, home improvement, long and short term holds, etc. Plus, it's free! I'm not sure how many REALTORS® know about this, but it's a game-changer for me. Q: How did you get so knowledgeable about RPR? Cesar: The Learning Center and the training webinars are key, and they're available for no cost. My mantra is: "Knowledge is your best asset." So I take 45 minutes each day to educate myself and I use RPR's materials for that all the time. You have to use it to your advantage. It's empowering and you'll be ahead of thousands of other REALTORS®. Q: Which RPR classes have you attended? Cesar: I recently took the Multi-family webinar. I like taking the commercial classes and then using those tools to present to my residential investors, such as flippers. Presenting fresh data to the customer is crucial in today's real estate world. Q: Any good "Wow Moment" stories to share? Cesar: I recently held an open house, and a couple walking through asked me a question about the area. On the spot, I created a Market Activity Report for the area, a property report and a CMA. I shared it with them in minutes, and they were like "Wow, you did that in five mintues?!" I use the RVM all the time. That RVM is critical. I get asked on the spot, "What's the value?" I can give an overview right then and there. That's huge. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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FBI Negotiating Skills Every Real Estate Agent Should Know
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How to Actually Generate Good Quality Leads on Facebook
We all know that Facebook is a social media giant. But what if you started to look at Facebook as an inbound marketing channel that can pull in leads for you -- good, quality leads. Would you invest more time in it? Treat your Facebook page as an inbound marketing channel Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that naturally attracts people to your business. It uses digital content such as blogs and social media to create brand awareness and attract new clients. By aligning the content you publish with your target client's needs and interests, you can naturally attract inbound traffic that can be converted, closed and delighted over time. So, how do you actually do this on Facebook? Run Facebook Lead Ads Lead ads on Facebook (and Instagram) help you collect information from people interested in your business. The ads are designed to let people show their interest in your service by filling out a form in the ad with their details. By doing so, they are allowing you to follow up with them. The information collected in a lead ad includes, but isn't limited to, names, email addresses and phone numbers. You can even ask people custom questions that you care about (e.g., What services are you interested in?). To promote form completion, we suggest keeping questions short and sweet. Collecting names and email addresses may be perfectly sufficient to get the ball rolling. When you create your ad, use a high-quality, eye-catching image with minimal text and a clear call-to-action. Write a clear and engaging caption to accompany your image. An effective caption might look something like this: "Imagine coming home to this gorgeous 4-bedroom home in Lawrence Park. Click for listing." Before you launch your ad, view how it displays on desktop as well as mobile. You want to ensure that it looks great on both. Use Facebook Videos to Promote Lead Gen Offers Did you know that video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts? Video gets solid engagement rates, and they are a great way to connect with your clients in a more interactive way. Create videos to help introduce and promote lead-generating content, whether they're offers, open houses, or something else. In addition to the text CTA, you can add your CTA in the video's description. Remember to also add a verbal CTA to the video. Remind your followers to "sign up for my newsletter" or "visit our open house," both early in the video and at the very end. And if you are hesitating because you feel awkward putting yourself on camera, guess what? So does everyone else! To conquer your fears, practice recording yourself at home, plan out what you're going to say in advance and work at getting more comfortable being on screen. Create multiple takes if you have to until you feel comfortable with the result. And remember, your video doesn't have to be perfect; believe it or not, people tend to respond well to authentic, uncut video. Post Relevant, Valuable Content When you attract new followers to your Facebook page, you want to keep them engaged so that when the time comes for them to buy or sell, they approach you to help them. Building trust with new prospects can take time, and posting relevant, valuable content on your Facebook business page can help. Content that "sells" your services, including your listings and testimonials, should make up less than one-third of all content that appears on your Facebook business page. Keep things interesting by posting a variety of topics on your page. Post relevant industry or local news, new blog posts, videos, photos, helpful tips, and other types of content. Think about the issues that are important to your target audience and create posts around those. Switch up your ads regularly so your audience is always seeing fresh content. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture The lead to customer conversion timeframe for a well-optimized Facebook Ad campaign is anywhere from one to 12 months or more. This means that at least 50% of the effort needs to focus on how you nurture your leads after getting them. Once you have acquired precious email sign-ups from your Facebook ads, build your relationship with these contacts carefully. Segment your email list, deliver targeted email content and avoid making these common mistakes. Facebook is a powerful tool for lead generation when used strategically. Even if you don't have a ton of "likes" on your page, if you start approaching your Facebook page as an inbound marketing tool you can build quality leads and watch your email list soar. To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blog.
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How to Use Instagram Carousel to Boost Your Business and Win More Listings
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The Top 5 Reasons Real Estate Agents Get Sued
As a real estate agent, making a mistake can lead to legal trouble if you aren't careful. Being an agent requires you to keep track of sensitive client information and meet deadlines for those clients without letting anything slip through the cracks. Even the slightest mistake can cost you your career. While accidents are inevitable, it is important to know what real estate mistakes you should try to avoid. 1. Failing to disclose a defect If you know that there is a defect on a house that you are selling, you MUST disclose that to your client or the buyer's agent. Sometimes disclosing a defect can deter the buyer, but in some cases, the buyer decides that the defect can be fixed. It is your job as a real estate agent to disclose any piece of information involving the property so the buyers can make an educated decision about the purchase. Buyers backing out of a sale based on a defect is much less harmful to your career than a lawsuit because you failed to disclose an issue. 2. Misleading Be honest with your clients. Providing accurate information about the property and the neighborhood is very important so your clients can make an educated decision and to ensure that all parties involved are satisfied. While the goal of any real estate agent is to sell a home, if it requires you to mislead or lie in order to close the deal, then think again. Is closing a deal really worth your career and reputation? I think not. 3. Breach of contract When you enter a contract with a client, it is incredibly important that you abide by the contract and act in the best interest of the client. Breaking even the slightest rule, whether you do so intentionally or by accident, can be costly. 4. Bodily injury If someone gets injured while you are hosting an open house, you could be held liable. Before you open the doors of the showing, make sure that you have looked around for any possible dangers in the home. In order to prevent injury, post warning signs or verbally communicate the danger with whomever could be hurt. It is very important that you do whatever you can to avoid injury so that you are can avoid being blamed. 5. Selling in unfamiliar territory If you are selling in an unfamiliar territory, do your research! It is your job to be an expert in whatever market that you are conducting work in. If you fail to inform your clients about something regarding the location of the home or facts about the surrounding areas, you could be found at fault if there is an issue. By no means should this deter you from selling in a new area—just make sure that you have done your homework and inform your clients of any potential issues that you learn about. Unfortunately, any one of these mistakes can destroy your reputation and cost you your career. Remembering these tips can not only help you avoid being sued by an unhappy client, but they can also keep you on track to being a great real estate agent with a thriving career. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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How to Get 5 Reviews in 5 Days
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Realtor Blogs Are the New Billboard Advertisement
Every Realtor has a story to tell and you are no different. You could write books about amazing homes, first time buyer jitters, nightmare listings, and dream contracts. But as a real estate professional, how do you translate all your experiences into attracting clients? Finding the perfect way to obtain leads is a challenge. You want prospective clients to come to you for advice on floor plans, financing, and the fundamentals of real estate transactions. Building trust by providing quality information and sharing your experiences are the best ways to attract new business. How do you advertise your knowledge and skills? Old school real estate marketing used to get your foot in the door. However, opening doors today requires a continual online presence. Prospective real estate investors want to know they can rely on you to provide them with solid information based on a winning track record. They want a lot of information and they want it now. Get your messages across by building a regular blog. Your Home Buyer Clients Will Thank You Realtor blogs build your connection with buyers. Remember the time you sold a home to that nervous first-time buyer? A half dozen visits to the property were required before writing the offer. Every visit had a new question, a new fear, and a longing to know what happens next. Now the same kind of buyer can enjoy those repeated visits through 3D tours and get their questions answered through your blog. Writing about your experiences lets you share the information your buyer is seeking. You build trust by providing buyers with the answers to their questions before they commit to your Realtor services. It's all about providing useful knowledge demonstrating much-needed transparency in the process. Explain initial deposits and financing, the importance of proper measurements and floor plans, and help your potential client grasp the undertaking of buying a home. Plus a blog provides a way for you to showcase your personality and resourcefulness by writing what you know. What About the Sellers? Blogging about nightmare listings you have seen helps your seller to understand the importance of presenting a property well. Be truthful about the feedback you received from those scary listings you've happened upon. It is never a good thing to open a door, be met with the wafting smell of dog feces, and be greeted by the perpetrators. True story! Clutter, junk, and debris do not positively manifest into presentable listings. Online Is Always On Knock, knock. Who's there? It's just you, the local Realtor, canvassing for listings in the neighborhood. Introducing yourself door to door is a daunting task with minimal results. Engaging with potential clients requires more than just a 10-second introduction at their doorway. Let your clients come to you… ONLINE. Your webpage is your virtual business card and a Realtor blog is your billboard. Adding to it regularly keeps both buyers and sellers coming back for information and unlocks a world of sales opportunities. Sharing engaging unique stories about your experiences educates the reader. It gives them time to get to know you and trust your expertise. Online is all the time and your clients will be searching for information about you at all hours and any day of the week. A Blog Also Supports Your Website Over 90% of buyers start their search for property online. What are they looking for? Information. Google and other search engines rank your web pages based on content. Interesting, informative, good content helps you get to the top of the list. Why is this important? Engagement transforms into potential leads. All your good advice and entertaining stories tell Google to recommend you in a Realtor search. Ranking on the first results page means leads are just a click away from your website. Once the leads get there, and the longer they spend perusing your blogs, the faster your website ranking grows. It's like watering a flower; if you want it to grow, you have to provide food. If you want a garden, you have to fertilize. Feeding your leads with high quality blogs help them blossom into future clients. If you're dreaming about the ideal client, an amazing listing opportunity, and ultimately a sold sign with your name on it, start blogging. The three billboards on the local highway aren't working like they used to.
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Friday Freebie: Mortgage Calculator and Amortization Schedule Tool
"How much?" is a question you'll hear a lot when helping a client buy a home. How much is the asking price? How much should we offer? How much can I afford? While we can't help you with the first two questions here today, we can help you help your clients understand how much they'll be paying every month. In this week's Friday Freebie, get two tools to help your clients compare the mortgage costs of up to five homes that they're interested in purchasing. Free Mortgage Payment Calculator + Amortization Schedule Tool, courtesy of Zurple The listing price of a home is one thing, but the monthly costs of a mortgage plus property tax, insurance, and HOA fees are quite another. Whether you need to help buyers understand which properties fit into their monthly budget or you want to lure prospects, these free tools from Zurple can help you out. The mortgage payment calculator and amortization tool is a downloadable spreadsheet that lets you: Compare up to five properties side by side See the estimated monthly cost of each property Review a variety of different loan options See a full amortization schedule Calculate the owner equity based on a specific year Leverage this tool by sharing it with clients or using it to walk them through their options before placing an offer on a home. The spreadsheet can also be uploaded to your website or a place like Google Drive to attract leads. Download your FREE copy of the Mortgage Payment Calculator + Amortization Schedule Tool now!
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3 Strategies to Running Your Real Estate Business
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5 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Real Estate Team
A team allows you to leverage built-in brand recognition and sphere of influence, as well as guidance from more seasoned agents and brokers. While the benefits are numerous, you don't want to end up team that stifles your growth, takes an excessive commission split, or just isn't a good culture fit. First, it's important to remember: don't be afraid of asking a lot of questions! Joining a team is a big commitment that could affect the entire growth trajectory of your career. While it's true you are "selling yourself" in these interviews, it's important to interview them as well. So what kinds of questions should you be asking? Let's get started with our top "must-ask" questions for any team interview. 1. What is the team structure? There is no one-size-fits-all model for real estate teams. The size and ratio of members will vary depending on the city, whether it's a franchise or independent brokerage, the housing market, etc. Ask for a very clear breakdown of how large the team is, how many buyers agents and ISAs there are, and who you would be reporting to. Additionally, what are the business goals for the team? Do they have remote teams in other cities/states, or are they considering expanding? Some teams are more specialized in a niche market, or "boutique," while others service a broad range of clients. Understanding the team's growth model and mission will give you a clear picture or whether or not it aligns with your ideal career path. If you're joining a franchise team, this is your time to learn all of the ins and outs about that franchise. Every large real estate franchise has something a little different to bring to the table. The "big guys" (Keller Williams, Century 21, RE/MAX) have household brand awareness and top-notch training. If you are offered a spot on a franchise team, consider the following: Commission splits Desk fees Brand awareness Training Marketing budget Profit sharing Online agent reviews Compare the results with other franchises. Consider your goals, your work style and your requirements for a healthy work-life balance. 2. What is the financial breakdown? We know, we know, it's all about those Benjamins. Don't dance around the topic of money during your interviews! The financial model is often the No. 1 deciding factor when choosing between teams, so you want to know every detail before signing on. Here's what you should be asking about $$$ Is the team commission-based, salary/bonus-based, or a hybrid? If it's salary/bonus-based (less common), what is the salary and how do the bonuses work? If it's commission-based, what are the commission splits? Is there a commission cap? If you're joining a franchise, are there franchise fees? Training fees? Are there brokerage fees? (For example: desk fees, monthly office fees, MLS fees, insurance) Does the brokerage cover the cost of a CRM? Are you responsible for miscellaneous startup costs? (For example: REALTOR designation, business cards, website) Another great question to ask about the financial structure, is why they chose to set it up this way. What works really well? There could be benefits to their way of doing things that you hadn't even thought of. 3. What is your role, and what are the expectations? Obviously you'll know what your title is, but there can be some wiggle room in real estate. If you are joining as a buyer's agent, will you have the opportunity to have listings as well? Are you expected to farm a specific area, or target a niche market? Get a clear sense of "the way things are done," so you know what your day-to-day will look like. Additionally, how do they get their leads, and how are they divided between agents? How much time and money do individual agents spend on marketing and prospecting vs. following up with leads? Finally, be clear about expectations. Ask your interviewer, verbatim, "What is expected of me in this position as far as number of transactions and time commitment?" Follow it up with, "Do you have any advice on steps to take that will help me be successful?" Don't skip over this part!! Be honest with yourself about your own personal goals. What is your current situation? Are you a new, highly motivated agent that is willing to work those 60+ hour weeks? Are you determined to grow into a top producer? If that's the case, then you will be sacrificing time at home with family and friends. Is there room for growth from within? Meaning, if you work hard and become one of the top producing agents on the team, is there opportunity to renegotiate commissions splits or become a team leader? Or maybe you want a schedule that is a little less hectic, and you're comfortable doing 5-10 transactions per year. And that's fine! Just be honest with your interviewer from the very beginning so goals and expectations are crystal clear. 4. Is it a culture fit? In America, we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our families. So do not underestimate the importance of enjoying your work community! A good question to ask to get a sense of a company's culture is, "What is your mission?" If they mention empowering their agents, building community, fostering teamwork, etc., this is a good sign. You don't want to get stuck in an ultra-competitive, "to each his own" setting. Some teams place work-family balance as a high priority. Consider how important that is to you, and get a sense of how the team operates. Do they encourage you to take a vacation? Do they host retreats or family-friendly company events? 5. What technology do they use? Let's be real. It's 2018, and the real estate industry is rapidly expanding and adapting to new technologies. Sometimes it can even feel a little "sink or swim" when keeping up with the trends. The teams that embrace technology and leverage it for their success are outperforming other teams left and right. This is why it would behoove you to ask about technology. Consider the following questions: What is their advertising model? Do they advertise through Facebook and paid Google Ads? What is their social media presence? Are they active on Facebook (specifically Facebook Live), Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.? Do they use a CRM? If so, which one? Does the CRM have a mobile app? Is this included in agent fees or does the broker cover it? Do they embrace helpful apps, like mortgage calculators and camera scanners? Or tools that streamline productivity like an automated dialer or transaction management software? The ideal situation is a team that has their system down pat. They know what technology can help advance their business and empower their agents, and they aren't afraid to invest in that. A great sign of a successful team is if they are diligent about tracking and measuring the success of ad campaigns or processes for lead generation and acting accordingly. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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5 Things Every Agent Should Do This Holiday Season!
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SentriLock Lockbox Member Training
Multiple dates and times The SentriGuard lockbox is stronger, more reliable, and smarter than any other lockbox, so you can securely and conveniently access homes while creating great home showing experiences. It's packed with innovative firsts and provides a level of security significantly above other products, all based on 18 years of engineering experience and customer feedback. Register now for a morning or afternoon session!
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Why You Should Call Tech Support First, Not Last
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How to Create Mailing Labels in One Minute in RPR
For REALTORS, mailing labels or mailing lists play a crucial role in prospecting outreach in competitive markets. You can create them or export owner information from your RPR search results. These ready-to-print mailing labels are perfect for farming, prospecting or direct mail marketing within custom geographies. Watch below to see how to create mailing labels in one minute: With RPR, you can produce up to 2K mailing labels per month—free! Conduct an area search, then use filters to narrow it down or use a previously saved area, such as a farm area Sort your results using the "List View" and click "Mailing Labels" once you have the right number of addresses A pop up window appears; then choose your label type or a CSV file Hit "print" and remember, you have 2,000 EACH MONTH to use Watch this one-minute video to see all of the above in action: To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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4 Unconventional (But Very Effective) Real Estate Lead Generation Ideas
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6 Ideas for Dealing with Unrealistic Real Estate Clients
You've met them before--homebuyers that have the taste for champagne, but the budget for beer. How can you effectively assist that client without telling them what they want is something they can't afford? 1. Show Them a Few Homes that Fit Their Criteria Nothing can be quite effective as a quick awakening by sticker shock. Don't beat around the bush; show them the homes that fit their criteria. Always be solution-oriented and share some homes that possess a few of the features they require. 2. Show Them a List of Homes that Fit Their Budget If you want to avoid the pain of ripping off a Band-aid, maybe just show them homes within their budget. They might be okay with missing out on one or two of their preferred features in order to live comfortably within their means. 3. Sit Down with Them and Show Them the MLS If they really don't believe you, you can show them what it's like from a real estate agent's point of view. Some real estate clients will appreciate a straight-forward and honest perspective. 4. Show Them Recently Sold Homes and Their Closing Prices Something that homebuyers and sellers can't do through a public search is see what homes recently sold for. Even more than that, they won't know why homes sold for that much. You being the expert at real estate can explain to them the nuances of why two three-bedroom homes on the same street sold for two different prices. 5. Give Them Options Always have a solution. Don't let your clients have buyer's remorse or, worse, give you a bad review for having to "settle" with a home that they are not big fans of. There are plenty of financial options like family loans, cashing in on 401Ks, etc. 6. Understand Their Wants and Needs The market might not support the criteria at the pricepoint they can afford, so to best help your client sit down with them. Find out what they want and need. By digging deeper, you can come to a good resolution. For example, maybe you'll uncover that the features they want are very important, but they can compromise on location. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Proactive Tips for Protecting Yourself as a Real Estate Agent
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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 blog.
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The 5 Best PDF Hacks for Agents
The Portable Document Format, or PDF, was created by Adobe in 1993. Adobe officials estimate that there are some 2.5 trillion PDF documents in the world. And PDFs have become a mainstay for real estate, empowering the digitalization of today's transactions. Adobe offers free versions of its Adobe Reader DC (Document Cloud) for Windows and Mac personal computers (here). With this basic Adobe Acrobat Reader version, you can open, read and print PDFs. But if you want to edit a PDF, convert a document to a PDF or do more complex tasks, such as sign or annotate a form, Adobe wants you to subscribe to access Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. A monthly subscription will set you back at least $12.99 a month! Fortunately, we have some PDF hacks to help you accomplish more with a PDF without the Adobe monthly subscription. Because as a real estate agent, sometimes you want to do more with a PDF than just read it or print it out. A couple of caveats: If you are a Mac user, you are in luck, as you have a built-in program named "Preview" for editing and even signing PDFs – for free. Preview will allow you to accomplish most of these hacks and more. If you are a Windows user, many of today's programs – such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint by Microsoft – will allow you to create a PDF as an option when you go to print. Here are five of the best PDF hacks to help any agent do more with a PDF: 1. Sign up for a free Adobe Cloud account This hack can help you do more with PDFs. Also, by signing up, you create a free basic Adobe account, which will give you access to other PDF tools that Adobe provides for free online. If you don't make an Adobe Account, you can still access their online tools, but most of them will only allow you one free file conversion or download. With a free Adobe Cloud account, you can share, fill, sign, and comment on an unlimited number of PDFs. However, for access to advance PDF features – such as converting a document to a PDF, reducing its file size, converting a PDF to an image, etc. – you can only use a tool once every seven days without upgrading to a monthly subscription. You can sign up for free here. 2. Copy text from a PDF If your PDF is not a scanned image or the copy-and-paste functions are not disabled (try to highlight the text, and if you can, it is not a scanned image), you can use Adobe Reader to select and copy text. Then open a Word or text document to paste the copied text. However, sometimes when you paste your text, you may find symbols where there are letters. Instead, try this hack: Open the PDF in Google Drive as a Google Doc. That's right, when you open a PDF from Google Drive and preview it, you can then open it as a Google Doc. Google will automatically populate the text (and images) from the PDF and allow you to edit and copy and paste elsewhere. Step-by-step instructions are here. 3. Convert a PDF to a Word doc If you only need to convert one PDF to a Word doc, Adobe offers an online tool that works amazingly well here. Again, without a subscription, you only can convert one doc every seven days. Try this hack: If you need to convert PDFs to Word docs routinely, try this hack. FormSwift offers a free account that allows you to convert a PDF beautifully into a Word doc here. While all of your fonts may not match, you will have a Word document version of the PDF that allows you to edit all the text. 4. Create an image from a PDF Again, Adobe's online tool works excellent, instantly converting a PDF to a JPG image here. Try this hack: You can convert more PDFs to images with a slew of different format options at PDF Converter here. You will have to wait one hour between file conversions to download your next one or choose a subscription option. Still, this online converter offers the ability to convert multiple PDFs to images for free, as long as you can wait 60 minutes. 5. Reduce the size of a PDF Have you wanted to email a PDF document to a client, but the file size was too large? Then, you must "compress" the PDF to reduce the file size. The challenge is that most of the free PDF tools online that reduce file size will result in a fuzzy-looking document. The best hack comes from Adobe, as few online tools can match Adobe's magical conversion in reducing the file size here. If you do a quick Google search for the PDF task you need, you will discover many websites set up to specifically help you accomplish a particular PDF task – for free. The problem is you don't know which online tools you can trust. You also often need to be careful not to click on the accompanying advertising, as adware is abundant on these sites. Finally, you don't know where these files are stored and, therefore, must avoid uploading any PDF that contains confidential information. The good news is that in 2008, there was a universal standard created for PDFs. This allowed software developers, besides Adobe, to offer free and more affordable PDF software tools. For example, highly rated PDFelement offers software programs from $63 to $127 here, so you avoid the monthly or annual subscription. In addition, you'll find dozens of other PDF programs offered on sites like Amazon, complete with verified user reviews to allow you to pick the one that may work best for you. Just remember, the easiest solution is often the best solution, and you can always contact Tech Helpline to walk you through any PDF conversion task. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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Stay on Top of Your SOI All Year Long
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Why You Should Target First-time Sellers
When it comes to real estate leads, first-time sellers are in a class by themselves. Consider a few of the things that make them stand out: They are some of the most motivated people in the real estate market Their needs are unique and extensive, partly because everything is new They may have a lifetime of future real estate transactions ahead of them True, not everyone will sell their first home at a very early age. But the latest research shows that Gen Z, the youngest generation in today's market, is motivated to both buy and sell early. More than 85% of Gen Z respondents in a recent survey said they planned to buy their first home by the time they turn 35. Nearly half say they expect to own a home no later than the age of 29. As a result, 88% of sellers aged 22 to 29 are first-time sellers. What's more, younger sellers overwhelmingly say they prefer to use an agent to ensure their transaction goes smoothly. Ninety-four percent of sellers in the 22-29 age group used an agent to complete their sale, more than any other age cohort. Because most first-time sellers will be on the younger side, they have great potential to deliver a high lifetime customer value. An amazing 77% of first-time sellers did not use the same agent who sold them the home. This is true even among the sellers who had a very positive experience with their original agent. By catering to first-time sellers, you have a unique opportunity to build a resilient, sustainable business that can offer value to a large and growing group of customers. The question, of course, is how to appeal to them once you have decided to do so. Delta Media Group has the answers: Modernize Your Practice with the Right Technology From the standpoint of a Millennial, a business without a credible real estate website simply does not exist. In the eyes of Gen Z, this effect is even more powerful. The very first thing to do to appeal to tech-savvy first-time sellers is to make sure your website reflects your brand and is easy to use on mobile. Make Your Business Instantly Responsive Younger first-time sellers are much more likely to communicate via text than by voice call. By incorporating text and social media into your business, you prove that you are the nimble agent they want. Aim to respond to first-time inquiries in five minutes or less. You can set more lenient expectations once you land your client. Market Your Ability to Leverage Digital to Sell Sellers often worry about whether or not they're getting enough of an agent's time and attention. One way to lay this concern to rest is to show off your ability to market a home with the newest digital technology. Virtual tours are hot because they allow buyers to expand their search territory without having to travel far. Publish Plenty of Content Especially for Sellers Like buyers, first-time sellers don't usually jump in without doing research beforehand. They use online content to piece together a picture of the market. Although they aren't likely to contact you directly at this stage, you can become a trusted advisor if you have the right content ready for them to peruse. Position Yourself as the First-Time Seller Expert Whatever impression your website gives, you'll have to keep it alive in your personal interactions. Lay the right groundwork by making sure you have answers at hand for common first-time seller questions. Tap your network so it's easy for your clients to access the expertise and services they need at every step of their journey. Get Ready to Juggle Selling and Buying Most sellers aren't planning to go back to the rental life — they also need to buy another property as they sell. This means they will have many of the same questions buyers do about financing, negotiation, and more. It may be wise to learn the ins and outs of bridge financing if you expect to work with many first-time sellers. Have a Follow-Up Plan for Every Client Once your happy customer has completed their sale, the next phase of the relationship kicks in. That means retention! Have a mix of methods like social, text and handwritten notes. You can maintain your relevance far into the future by publishing homeownership content the seller will continue to reference. Institute Email Marketing Across Your Business Email marketing helps you turn leads into customers and customers into life-long brand advocates. Most of your first-time sellers will be digital natives and very used to navigating email. Email marketing automation with "My Customer for Life" newsletters makes the process easy while still maintaining the human touch. RE Technology readers can reach first-time sellers more easily with a 30-day free trial of DeltaNET 6. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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Desktop vs. Mobile: Can You REALLY Complete a Whole Transaction from Your Phone?
Here's a statistic that's truly a sign of the times: More Realtors use their smartphone daily than their laptop or desktop computer, according to NAR. That shouldn't come as too much of a surprise—smartphones are far more convenient for real estate agents who are constantly on the go, and today's mobile devices pack the power of a computer in the palm of your hand. On top of that, agents can use smartphones in ways they can't use a computer, like opening lockboxes with Bluetooth, getting directions while on the road, creating and sharing property reports during a showing, and even using their phone as a safety device. But as convenient as a phone is for all those activities, the transaction remains the most crucial part of your real estate business. That means the million-dollar question is, Can you complete an entire transaction from contract to close solely from your mobile device? To find out, we took a deep dive into the mobile app of one of the top-rated transaction platforms in the industry, dotloop. With an advanced set of features, dotloop's mobile app is at the leading edge of what a transaction app can do, and here we'll use it as an example through which to explore this question. (If you use a different transaction platform, that app may have similar features, but check with your provider to be sure.) Below, you'll find the features that are exclusive to a transaction management mobile app, which features can be found on both desktop and mobile, and which tasks can only be accomplished from your computer. Mobile Exclusive Features Your phone's built-in camera and texting capabilities means your transaction management's mobile app can do things that the desktop version can't, such as: Scan Documents Using Your Device's Camera Once upon a time, scanning a document meant using a large piece of hardware hooked up to your computer. Thanks to ever-advancing mobile camera technology, now you can just snap a photo of a document and add it to a transaction. In dotloop, this is as simple as tapping Scan document within the Docs section of a transaction and snapping a photo. (You can also simply import a document photo from your camera's photo roll.) From there, you can add more pages, edit the photo as needed, and convert it into a signable PDF. Keep the Transaction Moving via Text Messaging Today's real estate market moves quickly. Keep your clients on top of everything by leaning on your smartphone's text messaging capabilities. Dotloop allows agents to send documents for signing via text, and clients can sign directly from their own phones to keep the transaction moving at a competitive pace. Texts can be sent to individuals or groups, and all communications can be tracked or exported. Here's what that looks like in dotloop: Manage Tasks and Signings with Push Notifications Need to stay on top of important tasks? Does your client need help staying on top of crucial document signings? Your mobile phone's push notifications will instantly alert you, your team members, and your clients to tasks, document updates and more to keep the transaction on track. Overlap: What Both Desktop and Mobile Can Accomplish Your transaction management's mobile and desktop versions have plenty of capabilities in common, including: Creating a transaction Adding documents to a transaction eSigning documents Submitting documents for review Modifying document permissions Adding or completing transaction tasks Admin acting on behalf of an agent Features That Are Desktop Only While the vast majority of transaction tasks can be completed on mobile alone, there are a couple things that you'll need your regular computer for. For example, if you have duplicate transactions, you'll need to log in to dotloop's desktop platform to merge them. Likewise, you'll need your computer to submit to Greensheet/TRACS/Homebase. Other times you may need your desktop boils down to whether you have an iOS or Android phone. For example, you can remove a person from a transaction on iOS, but not on Android. In that case, Android users will have to use their computer to remove a person. On the flip side, both Android and iPhone users can submit documents for review, but only brokers using Android will be able to approve and return documents on mobile. iPhone-using brokers will have to use their laptop or desktop computer to complete this task. Learn more about the differences between dotloop's desktop and mobile versions here: iOS, Android. In Conclusion So what did we learn? Can you complete a transaction entirely on mobile? For the majority of agents, the answer is Yes. When you use a mobile app like dotloop, you can execute everything from your phone or tablet all the way from texting a new client a buyer's or seller's agreement to sending the final documents for eSigning and approval. How much of the transaction you want to accomplish on mobile is, of course, up to you. To learn more about dotloop's mobile app or to read reviews, visit the App Store or Google Play.
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Friday Freebie: Buyer's Cheat Sheet to Winning in Low Inventory Markets
Your home buyer clients have probably heard the term "seller's market" in the news, but do they really know what it means? It's more than simple difficulty in finding a home--buying in a seller's market means being outbid, needing to act quickly and assertively… and preparing for potential heartbreak. What that means for you, as the buyer's agent, is managing your client's expectations and preparing them to compete in today's market. That's easier said than done, however, and that's why we're highlighting a cheat sheet for helping your buyers win in a low inventory market. Read on to learn how to claim this free download. Free copy of How to Win in Low-inventory Markets: The Buyer's Cheat Sheet, courtesy of Zurple Stressed-out buyers mean a stressed-out buyer's agent—and nobody wants that! Help soothe your buyers' frustrations in today's market with this free cheat sheet from Zurple. Here's what you'll find inside: Explanations for what's causing the current seller's market Advice for preparing your buyer for a competitive market How to develop a competitive-advantage offer strategy What NOT to do with your buyer Buyer's agent scripts Bonus tips for helping your buyer and finding more inventory And more! Ready to help your buyers get a leg-up in today's market? Download your FREE copy of How to Win in Low-inventory Markets: The Buyer's Cheat Sheet now!
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Take Control: 3 Tips to Master Your Gmail Inbox
Have you ever wondered how assistants can get so much done? Wonder no more! These three tips will increase your productivity by controlling your Gmail inbox. You will learn how to send, archive, and delete emails without taking your fingers off the keyboard. Also, keep your eyes out for the bonus tip! Tip #1: How to quickly send emails The most impactful keyboard shortcut to save time in your inbox is how to send an email without moving your hands away from the keyboard. By simply typing CMD + Enter (Windows: Ctrl + Enter), your email will magically send. No more having to grab your mouse and search for your cursor and then find the Send button. You will be amazed by how much time is saved by using this shortcut. If you are like me and send hundreds of emails a day, you will use this tip more often than not. Don't forget, for any of these shortcuts to work you must turn on keyboard shortcuts in your Gmail account. For instructions on how to turn on the shortcuts, keep reading. Tip #2: Archiving your emails when you no longer need them Many people choose to delete their emails when they (think) are done with them. However, often a week or even a month later, you are looking for that email you deleted and you end up having to ask your client for that attachment or information again. This can be incredibly embarrassing and shows your lack of organization. The power of archiving your emails will come in handy with today's Bonus Tip. To archive an email, just select which you want to archive and hit the letter E. And it is gone! Tip #3: Deleting those emails you will NEVER need Calendar invites have a way of blowing up one's inbox to scary proportions. One meeting with a dozen people can make your unread email count jump up so fast that it can send you into a panic. No worries, select the emails that you want to delete and simply press # and they will be gone! Today's Bonus Tip: Finding emails Arguably the most powerful feature of using a Gmail inbox is the search functionality. Google made the super smart decision of adding a search bar into your inbox. Simply pressing / (forward slash) will give you the option to search for ANY email in your inbox (except spam). This is where the power of archiving your emails comes in very handy. Turn on Keyboard Shortcuts in Gmail To turn on keyboard shortcuts, select settings in the top right corner. Click See all settings. Scroll down until you see Keyboard shortcuts. Select Keyboard shortcuts on and then hit Save! You are now ready to master your Gmail inbox. Now it is your turn Now that you have learned three tips that the pros use to master their inbox, it is now time for you to practice. By purposely taking the next 15 minutes to enable keyboard shortcuts and practice each of these tips, you will truly understand the power of each one. Come back next week for tips on how to "Zoom like a pro." If you have any questions about these keyboard shortcuts or would like to see more, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.
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Stop Losing Business Because You're Busy
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How to Successfully Navigate a Listing Shortage
In a business where supply and demand can have your stomach in knots, the last thing a real estate agent wants to deal with is a choke point of supply. We have to have an inventory of homes to help our clients sell, buy, and even to test the market at times ("Let's just put it on the market and see what happens"). May 2020 reported an average inventory of available homes at around 4.8 months. Due to the dreadful impact of COVID and the pandemic that gripped the nation with lockdowns, Zoom meetings, and the newfound need to move, that supply dwindled to around 1.9 months by December 2020. There was a severe problem for many real estate agents. There were, however, a certain set of determined folks who were able to make lemonade from lemons, and these are three listing shortage best practices you can also take advantage of (pandemic or not!). 1. Be Proactive You know the best neighborhoods in your market. You also know what the comps are, and how to take advantage of that information. Don't leave a listing to chance. You never know if someone who isn't currently posting a For Sale sign in their yard has a price in their head they'd be willing to talk about. By proactively reaching out to homeowners, you're a step ahead. By being prepared with specific, curiosity-generating information, and an approach that implies the need for a seller to operate with a sense of urgency, you can quickly find yourself on the inside, looking out. 2. Coddle YOUR Sphere of Influence We've talked about this before – your SOI is the hands-down best source of free referrals and "ear to the ground" information you're going to have. The very nature of your business model is built around establishing, nurturing, and capitalizing on your relationships. Ensure your SOI is tuned into your business, but in a way that benefits them. That's tricky at times, yes, because your goal is to get listings and sales; their goal is to be as helpful to you as possible without feeling like they're being used. To prevent that from happening, you have to make it worth their while. Understand how the individuals in your SOI like to be rewarded or recognized. I'm speaking specifically about those people who are (or have been) the most impactful in identifying new business and inserting you into new social networks. If an introduction by them of their friend or coworker or whatever to you turns into a sale, the first thing you should do is find an appropriate and thoughtful way to recognize their contribution. Be it a monthly SOI direct mail campaign, a gift card, a big old hug, etc., let them know that without their support, you wouldn't have been successful. In the second quarter of 2021, the medium home price was $374,900. Just 1% of that sales price is more than enough to find an inexpensive and meaningful way to ensure your SOI is the gift that keeps on giving. 3. Think Outside the Box How many times have you "creatively" described an ugly bathroom, or a cramped kitchen, or a jungle of a back yard? Listings don't have to elusive if you commit to looking in places you might not conventionally have considered. A great option is rental listings. Why? As a great example, in this topsy-turvy job market where homeowners have the ability to swim upstream to a better position and salary, that doesn't always mean they'll be able to continue working from home in their pajamas. And for those folks who need to relocate very quickly, one of their best options is to rent their home for a short period of time before they can concentrate on the full selling process. That works the same for those who quickly need to find a home to rent but aren't necessarily in the position to buy right now. The listing shortage is far from over. Although it continues to improve each month, consistently staying top of mind each month by sending get listings postcards will make you the first agent they think of. [NOTE: We continue to watch the increase in those contracting the Delta variant of the COVID virus, and any ensuing fallout, thereof, as it relates to inventory volumes.] Successful agents will weather this storm. Successful agents who take note of these best practices (and more) will do even better.
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The Real Estate Marketing Materials Every Agent Needs
There are more than 1 million real estate agents across the United States. Although you aren't competing with all of them, there's a high likelihood you have plenty of competition locally, including many seasoned vets. How do you catch the eyes of buyers and sellers when they have so many options? The answer is simple: marketing. Making a name for yourself is all about establishing your brand, clearly communicating your successes and unique skills, and promoting it all to the masses. Here are five important real estate marketing materials that will help you stand out from your competition. Postcards Snail mail is not dead! It can be more attention-grabbing than an email, and isn't as easily ignored as a phone call. Plus, it's a great tactic to use in conjunction with digital ads to boost visibility and build trust in your brand. To optimize the effectiveness of your real estate postcards, you must ensure two things: an eye-catching design and a targeted audience list. You don't need to hire a marketing company to help, but you might consider hiring a designer, especially if you want someone to create other real estate marketing materials, such as open house flyers and digital ad graphics. Freelancer sites like Fiverr and Upwork are great resources for finding an affordable, reliable graphic designer. Having the same person work on all your real estate marketing materials will ensure they have the same look and feel. You can also choose to go the DIY route and design your postcards on a site like Canva, which offers free templates and tools. By using a targeted mailing list of hand-selected prospects, you'll reduce unnecessary expenses while connecting with those who will be most receptive to your message. You can find the right homeowners using a tool like Homesnap Pro's free Likelihood to List filter to find prospects in your target areas who are highly likely to consider selling in the next 12 months. A-Frames Real estate A-frame signs are the double-sided stands that are shaped like a capital letter A when propped up. These are typically placed around a neighborhood to draw attention and foot traffic to your nearby open house. A-frames also make for old good-fashioned brand publicity. Purchase a dozen or more of them and place the A-frames all throughout your farm area whenever you have an open house. You may think that a mile or more away is too far for foot traffic, but you might attract drivers or grab the attention of other buyers and sellers in the area who are looking for a real estate agent for their specific needs. Custom Key Cutout Your real estate career will surely be filled with many successes. As such, you need to be ready for those photo-worthy moments with a large, branded key cutout for your clients to hold up in front of their new home. These happy photos of your clients holding your giant branded key are perfect real estate marketing materials. Here are just a few places where you should publicize these photos with a congratulatory message for your clients: Organic social media Paid digital ads Your Google Business Profile Your next e-newsletter Your real estate website Share the photos with your clients so they can post them on social media, too Branded freebies Real estate agents are almost always in networking mode because, as a salesperson, you have to constantly think about forming new relationships to expand your sphere of influence. When you have that mindset, you have to consider all the places when you could meet a potential buyer or seller—a PTA meeting, a dinner party, a Labor Day BBQ or the local farmer's market—so you should be prepared with more than just a business card for them to remember you by. Consider these common products that you can apply your logo and branding to, and hand them out while networking: Pens Fridge magnets Water bottles Reusable drinking cups Small bottles of hand sanitizer Here are some additional ideas for branded promotional products that you might consider, depending on your target audience or typical clientele: Chocolates in a nice pouch or box Measuring tapes Multipurpose utility tools Can-cooling sleeves Keychain can openers Homesnap Pro+ Agents also need digital real estate marketing materials to be successful. Homesnap Pro+ is the all-in-one answer that does more to boost agents' online reputation and brand than any other membership. This membership will: Set up and manage your Google Business Profile Help you generate 5-star Google reviews (Pro+ members see 3X more positive reviews) Create a responsive real estate website for you with a custom domain Publish lead pages for all your listings Unlock additional prospecting tools Reveal which agents have viewed your listings and profile recently …and more These member benefits give Homesnap Pro+ agents a robust online presence and equip them with the tools they need to generate leads in their market. There are certainly many different real estate marketing materials that you can create or purchase to support your business. However, these five marketing materials are top of their class for helping you stand out from your competition, whether you are working with a limited budget, looking for new ways to promote your brand, or just starting out as a real estate agent. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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14 Benefits of Virtual 360 Tours for Real Estate Sales and Marketing, Part 2
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The Most Important Repairs Sellers Should Make for Buyers
Are you helping guide sellers through our current seller's market? Share this article with them to help them understand the pros and cons of making home repairs before listing: Thinking about getting your house in shape to list for sale before the super seller's market fades away? If you've owned your home for five years or more, or if you've been putting off maintenance tasks, you may have a great deal to figure out first. Maybe your home could use some big ticket upgrades, or perhaps the roof is at the end of its life. Repairs can certainly boost home salability, but not all will net sellers a worthwhile return on the investment or help them to sell quickly. To determine the most important repairs sellers should make for buyers, it comes down to two main components: seller goals and local market conditions. Should Sellers Make Major Home Repairs? When it comes to performing any major remodeling or home improvement project, most statistics show that you will not recoup the cost of those big-ticket item repairs. As nationally syndicated consumer columnist Clark Howard says: "The reason you do an improvement to your home is 'cause you want to. Because you end up losing money when you do a home improvement; you don't make money." Howard's assertion is supported by the findings of the two most current and credible sources, the annual Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors' annual Remodeling Impact Report. The Cost vs.Value report breaks down its findings by ZIP Code to reflect local construction costs, while NAR's report includes valuable feedback from Realtors' perceptions of the impact of each project's resale value and the risk of losing sales should owners forgo an improvement when needed. (As a note, the most current NAR report is based on survey data from the summer of 2019, nine months before the pandemic arrived, and thus not reflective of the current extreme seller's market. Remodeling's report was gathered in the first half of 2021 and reflects rising contractors' costs that have led to spikes in home prices.) So, if you're looking to make a major buck in your home sale, major repairs may not be the best route. However, if you opt not to make repairs, it could cost you a sale entirely. This is when working with an agent to establish your goals and strategize accordingly becomes paramount. Home Repair Costs are Rising, and Sellers' Returns are Falling Homeowners' average return on their investments in improvements has fallen 11 points since 2014. Project costs have been rising steadily for years, and soared especially during the pandemic due to supply chain issues and labor costs. However, a recent Homes.com survey found that this year's competitive marketplace has somewhat bucked that trend and made it easier for pandemic sellers to recoup much, if not all, of their home improvement costs. According to the report, 82% of homeowners who sold in the first half of 2021 accepted offers at or above listing price. Of that group, over a third (34%) spent $10,000 or more on repairs or upgrades, and one in four recouped those costs entirely by selling for $10,000 or more over listing price. But sellers may not be able to expect those same robust selling prices for much longer. Price growth and buyer activity is cooling down, meaning buyers may not feel desperate enough to overlook needed repairs that previous pandemic buyers have been more forgiving of. What Do Sellers Need to Disclose About Repair Needs? State laws require sellers to disclose specific information to buyers about the house's structural and other features that might affect the house's value. For example, in some states, sellers cannot fraudulently conceal major defects such as a leaking basement or termite infestation. Many states have created standard forms with which sellers are expected to record any problem affecting the property's value or condition. State legislations aside, standard real estate contracts contain a contingency clause that allows the buyer to conduct a house inspection. Should the inspection find that repairs are needed, contingency clauses usually require sellers to make them before closing, give buyers the right to renegotiate the selling price to account for the cost of the repairs, or walk away from the deal and retrieve their earnest money. In today's highly competitive markets, some buyers are making bids that omit one or more contingency clauses, but most retain the home inspection clause. What Should Sellers Repair Before Listing? In today's seller's market, it's unlikely that sellers will lose deals over minor repair needs. In fact, Homes.com's aforementioned survey found that 32% of homeowners who plan to sell in the latter half of 2021 plan on making repairs prior to listing. Remember, though — the market is showing signs of slowing down. If you plan on selling in the coming months, make a list of all significant repairs needed and get estimates on the cost of repairing them. It might also be wise to hire a home inspector who can prepare a report listing necessary repairs that would require you to disclose them to potential buyers under your state's disclosure requirements. Once you have your list of issues, divide them into these categories: Minor repairs that can be fixed before listing (such as landscaping) and/or cost less than $5,000 each to fix, like painting, trash removal, or gutter repairs and cleaning. Major repairs you'll either have to fix or otherwise disclose to buyers, such as water and sewer systems, structural systems, electrical, HVAC systems, wood-destroying insects, and hazardous materials such as lead paint. Issues from the above lists (or others you may have missed) that have the greatest potential to become deal breakers that drive away buyers. Depending on the market, these deal breakers could include a cracked foundation, a leaky and/or moldy basement, extensive termite damage, an old roof that needs replacing, or window-unit air conditioning. This is the list you ultimately want to focus on. What you add to the deal breakers list will depend on both your goals and your local market. Does a quick sale take precedence, or is your main goal a high selling price? Are there issues that local buyers are consistently walking away from? Your agent will have those insights, and can help you determine which repairs will strike the balance in between. How to Sell Your Home When Major Repairs are Needed Repairs for some major potential deal breakers, like old roofs or moldy basements, can be paid for with an equity line of credit you pay off at closing. For repairs you absolutely can't afford to fix —but can't afford not to fix if you want it to sell — you have three options: Get repair estimates from local contractors. Proceed with selling as planned and disclose problems as required by law. Should the issues surface in the buyer's inspection, be prepared to fix them before closing or lower the sales price. Make the minor, inexpensive repairs, then get an appraisal to determine your home's market value. List your house at that value, minus the cost of repairing any potential deal breakers your agent has identified. Share the estimates with serious buyers and their agents, explaining that you lowered the price and why. A lower price should attract interest, and bidders may even raise their offers beyond what the repairs would cost you. Sell your house "as is." Don't make any repairs or improvements, but price your home a good deal lower than its actual value to reflect the home's condition. The low price could generate a lot of interest, especially from investors, and your best offer may be as high, or higher than, the actual value. This can be a gamble in a cooling market, but your agent will know if it's a strong option. There's no "one-size-fit-all" solution to identifying the most important repairs sellers should make, but as long as you identify your goals and work with a knowledgeable agent, you'll enjoy a much more successful selling process. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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Friday Freebie: Prospect List of 200 Targets in Your Area
Online ads have made it easy to market to real estate prospects online--but what if you want to target them offline? In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a way to reach your geographic farm via direct mail marketing with a FREE prospect list of 200 verified names and addresses. Read on to learn more! Free List of 200 Prospects, courtesy of ProspectsPLUS! How do you target real estate consumers offline? By geographic area? By niche, net worth, or length of residence? However you market your services, ProspectsPLUS! is offering RE Technology readers a FREE list of 200 prospects (with promo code FREE200) via the targeting option of your choice: Length of residence Geographic area Empty nesters Absentee owners High income renters For Sale By Owner High net worth prospects Real estate investors And more! You can use your free list to enhance your current marketing efforts or to try out an entirely new niche! Start by going to this page. And then: Under Step 1, click the Build Your List button Choose how you'd like to select your targets: via MapMyMail or Demographics Follow the steps to build your list Make sure to limit your list to 200 to keep it no-cost Name your list Click Add to Cart, then Checkout on the next page Add promo code FREE200 (important!) Click Place Your Order Once you've finished building your list, a receipt will be emailed to you instantly, followed by a link to download your list. Get started targeting real estate consumers in your area and create your FREE prospect list with promo code FREE200 today!
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RPR Reports: Easy to Create, Hard to Duplicate
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Boost Your Deal Flow with This Easy Step
Deal flow is the rate at which business proposals and pitches are received. Investors, including investors in commercial real estate, use this as a general barometer of whether business is good or bad. The same term is also used, alongside lead generation, among real estate professionals focused on residential property. More referrals lead to better deal flow overall. Leveraging marketing automation technology is a key step in accelerating real estate deal flow. Although there are many tools that can help, the cornerstone of any strategy is CRM. CRM, short for Customer Relationship Management, enhances visibility across your customer ecosystem. A powerful all-in-one solution is no longer nice to have; it is an absolute must-have. A CRM serves your needs in three powerful ways: It provides complete visibility into where your leads and current customers stand in their transactions It enables you to nurture your leads consistently using personalized email marketing and other tools It strengthens your ability to follow up with leads and past customers to get more deals and referrals Not long ago, only a fraction of real estate agents used a CRM. Now, the tottering old "technology stacks" of yore, built of a dozen apps that don't work together, are giving way to centralized solutions. By using CRM effectively, you benefit yourself and your clients. When it comes to deal flow acceleration, a single technique can bring your business to the next level. CRM-Based Audience Segmentation Improves Deal Flow through Targeted, Personalized Messaging Your email marketing list is one of your most valuable business assets. That's because your list is packed with people who have a definite, pre-existing relationship with you and are amenable to hearing what you have to say. You have the power to significantly influence subscribers, making customer conversions more likely at times when they benefit you most. You can also use the same resources to stay connected with past customers and acquire referrals. But what's the best way to differentiate your messages so they remain relevant and welcome? Audience segmentation means refining your email list by placing subscribers into sub-lists, called segments, that match up with your relationship and their interests. Using segmentation, you can make sure subscribers get only the most targeted and relevant information. That makes it more likely they'll take action. 5 Ways to Boost Your Monthly Deal Flow Using Audience Segmentation There are many situations where segmentation creates better experiences for your contacts. Your CRM can turn your single list into a seamless collection of highly focused sub-lists in a matter of just minutes. That means you will get better ROI from your email drip campaigns and can expect a fuller schedule overall. Let's look at some audience segments that can bolster your business: Past Customers - Audience segmentation is particularly important when current customers close their deals and become past customers. They will no longer need content on negotiating a buy or finding financing, for example. You can keep the conversation flowing with these subscribers by sending them information on homeownership, DIY repair, decorating, and more. The more you know about their interests, the better. Cold Leads - When leads have gone cold, it is a wise idea to activate a special sub-list for them. Use email in conjunction with text message marketing to reignite the conversation. If you can verify that someone is still looking for a home, then they return to your current leads list. Your cold leads list can leverage urgency and limited-time offers to spur action. If a lead remains cold for months, however, it is polite to pause messages and circle back later. "Love List" - Your "Love List" consists of your customers who have demonstrated they were not just satisfied with your work, but thrilled. For example, they might have given you 5-star reviews on multiple platforms without you even raising the subject. They deserve a special list category because you will want to pepper your messaging with personalized check-ins. It is okay to ask your Love List for referrals several times a year! Open House Attendees - Open house registrants who actually show up are clearly on their way to a purchase — the question is when they'll find the right home for them. Follow up with attendees you don't hear from right away, using a text, call, email, or even a social media message to see what they thought of the property. Open House No-Shows - Open house no-shows can stay on a list segment, ensuring they get future invitations to local events. But you should also touch base to see if you can find out what happened. Did other commitments come up, or was the house a dud? If you've done a virtual tour, be sure to send the link. Unlock the power of CRM and marketing automation with DeltaNET 6. RE Technology readers can try it free for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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It's All in the Details: Florida Agent Kaisen Mitchell on Standing Out in Today's Hot Market
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5 Easy Ways to Get MORE Listings This Fall
You need listings, everyone does. But are you looking in the right places? Or just the usual places? Try thinking outside the box and consider some, or all, of these amazing ways to find more listings this fall: 1. Ask for a referral Call people you've already worked with, maybe even someone you've recently sold a home to. These folks can be part of your sphere of influence, but that's not always the case, right? However, a former client for whom you did a fantastic job is almost your best-case scenario for referral business. Even if you aren't going to try and sell them a new property, ask if they'd be willing to stand up for you as a reference to get that baked-in trust you need with any prospective new client. 2. Give the FSBO market a try Selling your home on our own can start out as a great idea (and a way to avoid at least half of the commission a professional real estate agent would see from the sale). But that pie-in-the-sky plan can often turn sour, especially given the multitude of nuance surrounding staging, showings, negotiations, contracting, inspections, and more. A FSBO property that's been on the market for a minute (especially in these crazy times) might do well to listen to your pitch on why it just makes sense – financial and otherwise – to recognize they made a valiant attempt, but that it's time for the professional to take over. Create real estate postcard campaigns or just go door to door. Let them hear your voice, sympathize with them about the world of FSBO, and ask if you can meet to evaluate where they are, and what professional next steps would be warranted. 3. Regularly host a non-real estate-related gathering Not everything you do has to revolve around getting listings and selling homes. But…it does. It's your job. And the only way you're going to be successful is the constant nurturing of your leads and spheres of influence. Sometimes the beauty of the present is how it's wrapped. Gather your spheres of influence for informal gatherings, at a location that has NOTHING to do with your job, and let them network among themselves, and with you. Causal relationship building is the by-product of casual relationship building. Your sphere of influence will begin to draw on inter-relationships that have nothing to do with you or your business. But when the time comes to suggest an agent for a sale or because one of their friends is looking to buy, that connection may ultimately benefit you enough to get a contact, if not the listing, itself. 4. Open house contacts There are two sides to an open house: somebody trying to sell their property, and someone interested in buying. Someone popping into an open house might not just be a nosy neighbor. They might be someone interested in understanding more about a specific property or a specific neighborhood. And before they can buy a new home, they will likely have to sell their existing home. Never let the chance to grab contact information (even if it's only a social media username) pass you by. If you're going to do that, though, you must follow-up quickly – same day is not out of the question – and thank them for dropping by and introduce the idea of you working for them to both sell their existing and find their next home! 5. Capitalize on inherited properties If I asked you to tell me how many homes are inherited every year in the US, would you be anywhere close to 1.1 MILLION? There's actually a large and wonderful niche for these types of properties that you can represent. Somebody dies, they leave their house to someone who doesn't want it (or can't afford the upkeep, or just wants the money and not the hassle, or they're selling it out from under their siblings…maybe not that one). As a real estate agent, it's prime pickings, and hopefully could represent a quick sale. Get that listing and remember this niche! Give your business a boost this fall! As the leaves turn brown and hit the ground, do whatever you can to ensure the top of your sales funnel remains full. Take advantage of the best ideas to grow your book, find great clients, and fulfill your real estate dreams!
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14 Benefits of Virtual 360 Tours for Real Estate Sales and Marketing, Part 1
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The Best Facebook Ads to Target Real Estate Buyers
Facebook ads are a popular way for real estate agents to market their listings to potential buyers. But like any widely adopted advertising tactic, efficacy varies. Some agents generate scores of high-intent leads from each and every campaign. Others struggle to source a contact or two. As we've run tens of thousands of successful Facebook campaigns on behalf of our agents, we wanted to shed light on what strategies lead to greater resonance with buyers and more effective lead generation. High-quality photos With every agent carrying a state-of-the-art camera in their pocket, there's no excuse for a lack of crisp, high-resolution property photographs. It's the only standard, really. Many buyers, especially younger, more digital-adept ones, assume that poor photos are a deliberate attempt to obfuscate a less-than-desirable property or features. As a result, ads with poor quality photographs receive fewer clicks and, in turn, generate fewer leads. Read our tips for taking better listing photos. Inclusion of video A year ago, video wasn't an expected component of any real estate listing advertisement. After the pandemic, though, it's the norm. Why? Prior to the pandemic, prospective homebuyers would attend showings and open houses if they had even so much as a passing interest in a property. Facebook advertisements were essentially teasers, designed to get an agents' name out there and entice buyers into attending an in-person showing. No buyer expected to see every corner of a property displayed in a Facebook ad. But because of Covid, homebuyers are more choosy when it comes to in-person attendance. They'll only visit a property if they believe there's a serious chance they'll make an offer. Videos provide a way to approximate that in-person experience. Essentially, without video, you run the risk of a consumer not seeing enough value in the property and opting out of further pursuit. Read our tips for optimizing your video marketing. Immediacy + Humblebrag = Winning Copy Facebook (or social media in general, really) is never a place for humility. Successful agents leverage their past successes in their advertising. So, for example, when promoting your listings, try highlighting how a particular property won't be on-market for too long because your previous listings went under contract in days in your advertising copy. You'll convey both your prowess as an agent and create a greater sense of urgency. Highly targeted Facebook allows you to build multiple custom audiences. To do so, upload contact information for people you know, such as your sphere and any leads you've generated. Facebook will match the data to its user base and allow you to target this specific group of people (if they have a Facebook account). There are three advantages to making a custom audience for all your ads: It will keep you top of mind. The next time someone in your sphere is looking for a real estate agent or has a referral, your ads will remind them that you're an active agent. You'll build brand awareness for leads and cool prospects. Repetition is key if you want them to remember you over competitors. It improves the opportunity for organic reach. People who know you are most likely to hit the share button, giving you free placement in their feed. Only 3.5% of real estate agents target their sphere. But they are the best performing agents. Leverage lookalike audience feature Similar to the custom audience, Facebook's lookalike audience is infrequently used (only by 7.5% of campaigns). To access this feature, you must first create a custom audience as we described above. Facebook will mine that data for common characteristics so it can find a group of similar users who are most likely to be interested in your ad and services. This type of audience is more refined than blanket-targeting people based on interests and demographics. You can also layer location parameters on top of the audience to ensure your ad stays local. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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4 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make with Personal Relationships
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How Direct Marketing Can Still Impact Your Real Estate Business
With so many digital marketing tactics available today, it can be easy to forget about more traditional tools for reaching your clients and potential leads. But when used correctly, tools like direct marketing can still hold significant value to your real estate business! Direct marketing is a great way to re-engage older leads, keep in touch with existing clients, and reach people who might spend less time online, all while also diversifying your marketing plans. As always, any marketing success depends on understanding who you're trying to reach and offering real value to clients and consumers. So, it's crucial that you know exactly what to do – and, more importantly, in some cases, what not to do – when it comes to direct marketing campaigns. Let's take a closer look at the most common do's and don'ts of direct marketing, with tips that can help you maximize your return on investment. The Do's of Modern Direct Marketing Know Your Audience and Have a Plan for Reaching Them Direct marketing works best when you have a plan for who you want to reach and know how you can capture their attention. A postcard or flyer that's too general is unlikely to make an impact. If you're trying to reach buyers, it's important to include information that appeals specifically to their needs. The same goes for sellers. It's better to create a variety of direct marketing materials than to take a one-size-fits-all approach. Make Sure That Your Direct Marketing Always Offers Value While there are many elements to consider in order to maximize the appeal of your direct marketing, offering value matters most when it comes to a return on your investment. So, how do you provide value? Provide informative content that shows your audience what they can expect when choosing your real estate business. Help them understand their local real estate market, how their home fits within that market if they're planning to sell, or the types of homes that are available if they plan to buy. In addition to capturing the attention of your audience, offering value also helps demonstrate the expertise of you and your agents. Avoid Clutter to Make Your Direct Marketing Content Easy to Consume and Absorb The right mix of text, images, logos, and colors makes a big difference in how easy your direct marketing content is to consume. And when you make your content easier to consume, your audience is more likely to follow through by reading it all. There are plenty of ways to approach the layout of your direct marketing, so the real key is making sure that the page isn't too cluttered with information and images. Use Localized Information That Focuses on Specific Markets If your direct marketing relies upon general, statewide real estate data, it's likely to end up in the junk pile before it even gets a cursory glance from your audience. That means it's critical to focus on specific markets with localized information that's relevant to the recipient. You can showcase a list of homes that an agent has sold, comparing the sale price and initial price. Or you can feature homes sold in a specific neighborhood, with accompanying photos and location information. For buyers, a list of historic home prices in a particular neighborhood that highlights recent trends in value can be a great way to add appeal. There are a ton of different ways to provide valuable information, as long as you remember to keep it as local as possible. Use Calls to Action to Encourage Your Audience to Take the Next Step Providing contact information so your audience can connect with your business is essential, but it will take more than just basic info to achieve your direct marketing goals. That's why it's so important to include a specific, targeted call to action that actively encourages your audience to take the next step. The call to action should clarify what those next steps are and should be tailored to build upon the valuable information you include with your direct marketing. What Not to Do with Direct Marketing Campaigns Don't Use Low-Quality Images As with most types of marketing, capturing attention is crucial to success when you're sending postcards, flyers, or other direct marketing materials. You wouldn't use fuzzy, low-quality images to promote a listing, and you shouldn't do it with direct marketing, either. High-quality photos will make your direct marketing look more professional, appealing, and intriguing, so it's worth the investment to use professional-quality images for your campaigns. Avoid Getting Too Fancy With Fonts While it can be tempting to use a variety of different fonts to highlight different parts of the text on your direct marketing, it's better to resist the temptation. Too many different fonts can make the text difficult to read and make it harder to focus on what you're trying to convey with your marketing. For a better chance of success, pick one or two fonts to use for each piece of direct marketing, then customize those fonts with bold, underlined, or italic text when you need to make something pop out from the page. Don't Overwhelm With Too Much Text It's important to include valuable information with your direct marketing, but too much information can be overwhelming and leave your marketing sitting at the top of the trash can. When the recipient of your direct marketing sees a wall of unbroken text packed into a postcard, they'll be less likely to read it. Instead, use shorter copy in larger type, and break it up into easy to consume segments with clear headlines that help guide the reader. The easier you make it to read your content, the more likely you are to generate results. Don't Forget to Integrate Your Direct Marketing with Your Real Estate CRM Direct marketing may be an old-school tool, but that doesn't mean that you can't use new-school tech to get it done. Your real estate CRM can help you choose who to reach through direct marketing and keep track of your results. It can also help you automate your marketing plans, meaning that's one less thing you'll have to worry about during your already jam-packed days. How the Right Marketing Mix Can Help Grow Your Real Estate Business Direct marketing can become a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy, so long as you have the right plan in place. It's essential to have a variety of ways to reach clients and cultivate leads because every person you're trying to reach has their own unique preferences. Even for people who do most of their research online, sending something via direct mail can help your business stand out from the competition and remain at the front of would-be clients' minds when they start their next real estate search. The trick is finding the right mix of marketing tactics for your business in order to maximize both your audience and your potential for converting leads. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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How to Leverage Social Proof as a Real Estate Agent
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How to Create Instagram Posts for Your Real Estate Business with Canva
Ready to start sharing engaging real estate content with your network, but not sure where to start? If you want to share neighborhood market stats, new listings, open houses and client testimonials, this article will get you going. What is Canva? Canva is a simple to use, online design and publishing tool. With it, you can easily create designs without having professional design skills. All you need is an understanding of your brand colors and fonts, along with a clear idea of what you want to share. With a free account, you'll be able to use the templates shown in this article. But it will take a Canva pro account, or pay per download, to export the designs as graphics you can share on Instagram. If you're just kicking the tires, try signing up for the Canva Pro 30-day trial. That will allow you to have all of the features, free for a month. Benefits of Canva Templates With premade templates, you're not starting from scratch. You'll simply find designs that you like and then modify the overall look and feel as needed with your brand colors, fonts, and imagery. Simple Tips to Edit Your Canva Design Agents active on social media platforms such as Instagram often share market stats for their geographic farm area. So for this article, we're going to break down the how-to and provide a few specific templates to make the job easier. Change Colors Click Neighborhood Market Update to access one of our Canva Templates. Select "Use Template." If you have a Canva account, you'll be prompted to log in. If you do not have an account, you can create a free account using your email address. Click to select the element that you want to edit. Then click on one of the color tiles that appears on the toolbar above the editor. Then from the color editor panel, click the color that you want to apply. To choose a different color, click "New color" or the rainbow tile from the editor side panel to use the color picker. Add or Change Image With the template design open, look to the far left side panel. Click the "Photos" tab. If it's not showing, click the "More" button to locate it. Look for images by typing keywords into the search bar. Once you've found or uploaded an image, add it to your design by simply clicking on it. Any image you've added can be adjusted from the top toolbar. Make sure you've clicked on the image and then choose: Effects, Filter, Adjust, Crop or Flip. Social Media Friendly Market Update with RPR and Canva Now that you understand the basics of editing a Canva template, let's focus on customizing a Market Stats template using data from RPR. First, click this link and then select "Use Template." The design shown below will open. Next, we need to get the data from RPR to update our graphic. You'll need to visit RPR and search for the area you'll be covering. If the area is a neighborhood, try using the RPR Neighborhood search tool, or create a Market Activity report for any geographic area. For this example, I'll generate a Market Activity report for a neighborhood and we can use the data from there. Within RPR, select "Research" from the main navigation and then choose "Map Search."(Note: If the map is open to the correct area, simply pan or zoom the map as needed to get centered on your area. If it's not, use the search bar to enter your area.) From the top of the RPR map, select the "Show Geographies" pull-down. Select "Intermediate Neighborhoods," and neighborhood outlines will display on the map wherever available. Locate the neighborhood you'll be covering. In my case, it's called "Lake Forest neighborhood in Lake Oswego, OR." Select the area, and it will turn an orange color, and a map balloon will display. Click "Create Market Activity" report. Once the Market Activity report has been generated, open it and navigate to page #2. We'll use the Median Estimated Home Value and 12-Month Price Change for this template. Next, navigate back to Canva with the Market Update template open. Double click on the blue median estimated home value text. It will become highlighted. Now type the correct number from your Market Activity Report. In this case, it was $690K, so type that amount in. Then repeat this for the "Change Over the Last 12 Months." In this case, that was 26.11%, so type that now. See how easy that was? Now update the colors and image as needed using the directions from the start of the article. Downloading Your New and Finalized Sharable Design Once you've updated your colors, imagery, and market stats, it's time to export your design. With the design open, tap the "Download" (or down arrow) icon at the top right corner of your screen. A menu will open, then choose a file type for your download. Wait for the export progress gradient to complete. The design will immediately save to your computer or camera roll. Download 6 Free Canva Templates for your Real Estate Business We created a few real estate-themed Canva templates that are free for your use. You'll need to add your own colors and images, where appropriate, but these designs mean you'll spend less in design mode and more time sharing content in your feed. RPR and Canva—a Match Made in Real Estate Marketing Heaven Well, now you know the secret of how other agents create such beautiful, professional-looking images for their social channels. Combining Canva's low cost, easy-to-create image templates with RPR's data will make you look like the go-to neighborhood expert you are. Next time you post on Facebook or Instagram, remember this how-to and take your post to the next level. Your social posts shine and they'll get plenty of eyeballs, too. Good luck! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Trending Now: Smart Technology, Smart Marketing, Smart Realtors
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Optimizing Your Workflow with Form Simplicity
Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 11:00 PDT This webinar will cover how to improve your Form Simplicity experience on the new and improved interface with time saving tips such as: Setting up Preferences Adding, Editing and Importing Contacts Adding, Editing, and Previewing Clauses Creating Forms Packages Creating Transactions Importing MLS/TAX Data into Transactions Inserting Clauses Tasks E-sign Archiving Completed Transactions Register now!
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Please Join Us in Donating to REALTORS for Relief from Hurricane Ida in Louisiana
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7 Tips for Best Real Estate Listing Presentation Using 360 Tours
In 2021, professional listing presentations are more important than ever. Only the most impressive presentations will win over clients. How an you impress your potential clients? How will you exceed your competition? To find out, we sat down with David Crombie, the CEO of Professionals Group Australia, to discuss a few incredible options for a visual presentation, including virtual tours. He shares why virtual tours may be the one thing that sets you apart from your competition during a listing presentation. Listen to David and help yourself to digitalize your offer and improve your listing presentation: Here are the seven advantages that virtual tours deliver: They are much more engaging and immersive than videos, and they put the viewer in the driver's seat They allow you to become a digitally fluent real estate agent who can successfully promote the listing If you use VR goggles, you allow viewers to virtually transport themselves to the property as if they were there Having a 360° virtual tour on a mobile phone allows buyers to have their family and friends included in the decision making process VR tours make for amazing and outstanding social media content, adding value to your marketing package Virtual walkthroughs can be used as a reporting tool for showing landlords how their property looks like while you manage it You can tell sellers that VR tours will increase engagement with your listing, and that the time spent on listings with virtual tours is four times higher than on listings with photos only Learn how you can create unique virtual tours in under 15 minutes for less than $3! Book your free information call now. To view the original article, visit the Virtual Tours Creator blog.
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4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures
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Establishing the Infrastructure to Support Scaling Your Real Estate Business
Imagine your client flow doubles overnight. Would your current infrastructure and systems support this influx of new business? Probably not. For the same reason you wouldn't try to fit 100 people into a 10-person boat, your real estate business can't handle that many clients. If your business can't handle an increase in business, the infrastructure and systems need to be upgraded so they have the capacity and infrastructure to manage all the new clients you will generate as you scale your business. In the first two sections of this Scaling Your Real Estate Business series, we've discussed ways to evaluate your real estate business for growth opportunities and strategies to generate funding to finance your scaling venture. Using the tools and guides from these articles, you can calculate the amount of leads, transactions, and budget needed to hit your specified Gross Commission Income (GCI) goals. In this article, we'll share advice on ways to establish a stable infrastructure for your real estate business to support the increase of lead generation, nurturing, and ultimately, the scaling of your business. If you plan for growth, you plan for success. That means establishing the right infrastructure to support your scaling venture for real estate business. Before you start planning, ask yourself these questions: How will I consistently generate enough leads to hit my GCI goal? What systems do I need to support, manage, and track the increase of leads, clients and transactions? Is there technology that can support my business' growth and make processes more efficient? Will I need to hire staff to help me? How will I ensure each client and transaction gets treated with the same focus? Let's go back to the imagination where our client flow doubles overnight. When brainstorming ideas that support your business if it doubles, you must examine and come up with solutions each stage of the lead's journey. These stages include: Consumer Lead Qualified Lead Client Evangelist Simply put, a consumer is unaware of you or the real estate services you provide. At this stage, the consumer isn't looking to buy or sell a home. They convert into a lead when they engage your brand and give you their contact information. At this stage, the lead is usually interested in your real estate services but are window shopping for a home and are less motivated. A lead converts into a qualified lead when they engage with your brand more frequently, At this stage, the qualified lead will stay on your website longer, open your emails, save listings, and even each out to you to schedule a meeting. A qualified lead becomes a client once you've agreed to work together. At this stage, communication is frequent, homes are being shown, and offers are being made. A client becomes an evangelist when you dazzle them, help them achieve their real estate goals, and complete the transaction. At this stage, the evangelist is enthusiastic about your services and recommends it to their network. For your business, that means focusing and upgrading systems that support: Lead Generation (Consumer to Lead) Follow Up, Tracking and Nurturing (Lead to Qualified Lead) Conversations (Qualified Lead to Client) Client/Transaction Management (Client to Evangelist) To generate more leads, you can increase your ad budget, diversify your lead sources, or farm new territories. You can upgrade your follow up, tracking, and nurturing systems by automating them with personalized messages that provide value and send with perfect timing. You can elicit more conversations by implementing a system that notifies you when a lead displays red flag behaviors that signal their readiness to be contacted. Finally, you can hire additional staff to help you manage these systems—so you can focus on what matters most, meeting clients, managing transactions, and closing deals. With all the new business you'll generate from scaling your business, you might need to hire multiple agents to help support you. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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How to Calm Frazzled Buyers and Sellers Amidst the Delta Variant
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How to Start Your Own Blog
Why should you want to have your own blog? Because today, 90 percent of home buyers are searching online during their house hunt, according to Google and the National Association of Realtors. In addition, more than twice as many people start their search online versus contacting an agent. For real estate, building and maintaining your online presence is more important than ever. The good news is agents can raise their online presence in several ways. You can enhance your online activity by consistently engaging on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. With local video content, you can build a following on YouTube or TikTok. But if you want to boost your business and your online profile, your best investment of time may be starting a blog. After all, a study from Orbit Media shows that 54% of businesses who utilize blogging gain strong marketing results. Know before you start down the path of blogging this one fact: you must love to write (or at least be a competent writer). If it's a struggle for you to develop new ideas or find you are always "too busy to write," then don't blog. Where do you begin writing your blog? If you enjoy writing, blogging could become your "go-to" marketing tactic. But starting and writing a real estate blog means more than just whipping up a few paragraphs and posting it online to share with your audience. Successful bloggers recommend you avoid "writing just to write." Instead, focus on creating good quality writing rather than a longer word count. And you will need to be patient. Having a successful real estate blog won't happen overnight. Instead, you will undergo a process of trial and error to determine what most appeals to your client base and makes them want to come back again and again. The benefits can be well worth the time invested. A real estate blog can help you increase your online visibility while at the same time showcasing your talents and expertise. Unlike visibility achieved on social media, people spend more time on your site as they read what you have written. Therefore, traffic gains from blog posts are much more meaningful than traffic generated by paying to boost a social media post. The key to getting started is to create the proper foundation, invest time in planning a schedule, and find that unique "hook" your blog has that makes it stand out from others. Here are 6 essential tips you need to know to start your own blog: Write for your niche: When starting a blog, brainstorming is a core component to gather your ideas and figure out the best topics to attract readers. Therefore, you should write what you know. Focus on the real estate niche that's your specialty. It's easier to write a topic that you deep knowledgeable about, as it will help you avoid writer's block. Use a catchy title and click-worthy headlines: For your blog title and headlines for subsequent posts, you want them to be attention grabbing. Keep in mind that potential readers will quickly glance at the headline before deciding to click or not to click. The headline for all your blog posts needs to hook people into wanting to read the content, or your work will be for naught. So, don't just rush into writing the title. Instead, take your time and iterate. Keep your title short (less than ten words), make sure it connects to your main topic or theme, and that your target audience understands it. Maintain a schedule: Like becoming a perennial top producing agent, consistency is key. A lot of agents have started a blog with a single post and never wrote a second one. Committing to a schedule is critical when starting your blog. Create an editorial calendar or schedule with proposed topics and deadlines for first drafts and target dates for final posting. While you don't want to blog too frequently, you must avoid long gaps between your posts. Being inconsistent in posting is the fastest way to lose the interest of your audience: they will go elsewhere. The most successful bloggers post two to four times a week, but you are not a blogger. You are an agent who blogs. Once a week is great if you can maintain that pace to keep your clientele engaged, and hopefully, wanting more. Be straightforward: Good blogs are easy to read; they are not college essays. While it's important to provide in-depth information and be specific, you should avoid drag on. Be approachable in your posts. Sharing valuable info, focusing on your main idea, and not overselling or being self-promotional will earn a larger audience. Resonate with your audience: Visualize your favorite clients with whom you have worked with. These types of people are the kind of readers you want to attract to your blog. Put yourself in their shoes: what information are they most interested in? What are the most frequent questions they have? You don't have to appeal to everyone, but you need to know who you want to reach. Observe what other blogs cover: Top real estate blogs and news outlets like Inman, RE Technology, RISMedia, RealtyTimes, and others have a style and method for the subjects they pick. Pay attention to that. These firms invest a lot of money to create content that appeals to their target audiences: agents and brokers. Staying on top of real estate trends and industry news can help you write your blog. They also can help generate ideas, especially when you can find a local angle that relates to an important national topic or trend. Finally, remember that a Tech Helpline expert is only a call or click away when you have any general tech questions! To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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Guiding Sellers in a Seller's Market
A seller's market occurs when inventory of homes is low. There is more demand for home from buyers than there are home sellers on the market. This puts your sellers in the position of authority in deciding how the sale will go. A seller's market allows the seller to set the price and the terms, within reason. The seller has the freedom to choose from one of several buyers, motivating buyers to offer a better price and better terms. As real estate professionals, it is our duty to guide seller clients to make the best possible use of the seller's market. Let's dive into what's involved in guiding sellers through a home sale during a seller's market. The Seller's Market Strategy During a seller's market, it's important to have a strategy to produce best results. Sellers want to attract multiple competing buyers. Bidding wars drive the asking price upward and encourage more favorable terms as part of the deal to accept the bid. The more competition is created with buyers, the better deal you will find among their offers. Once you have a nice selection of buyers ready, you can guide your seller to choose the best bid and then negotiate from a position of strength for the best price and terms for your seller. Choosing Your Listing Price In a seller's market, listing prices go up. Start with the usual baseline numbers: The assayed value of the house, the home's last selling price, added value through renovations, and the recent selling price of similar homes in the neighborhood. There are two approaches to a competitive listing price. In a seller's market, you can list higher than the standard calculation, and challenge buyers to negotiate the price down. Or you can attract more buyers at once by setting the price slightly lower than expected and then negotiate the price up. Staging to Attract Multiple Buyers The best bids arrive when a home is staged to inspire the buyers that view and tour the property. While even shabby homes sell fast in a seller's market, the best price comes from buyers competing to submit the highest bid and best terms to the seller. The more buyers who are competing for a home at the same time, the better the final accepted bid will be. To this end, it's important to prepare and stage the home for presentation. Advise your client to repaint the walls, polish and steam the floors, and guide them through light staging. The budget of the client and size of the house will determine the correct amount of staging to invest in. Selecting the Best Bid and Buyer When your buyers start to bid, advise your client to wait until several bids have come in at once. There's no need to jump on the first bid unless it's already a much better deal than you expected. Buyers competing with each other will offer higher bids and better contract terms to win the opportunity to buy the house. Guide your seller to weigh the bids based on both their value and potential for negotiation. Help them choose the best bid and buyer of those available and let your buyer's agent know they've been chosen. Negotiating from a Position of Strength In negotiations, remind your client that they are in the position of strength. In a seller's market, the seller has more influence over the contract terms and can ask for more because the buyer is at a disadvantage. A good negotiation for the seller focuses on raising the selling price, sharing closing costs, and reducing any final maintenance costs or contingencies. That said, being flexible with your buyer in negotiations is also the best way to achieve a smooth and harmonious closing. So negotiate from a position of strength, but advise your seller not to disadvantage the buyer with terms if it can be avoided. Engaging a Smooth Closing Procedure Finally, smooth the closing process. Closing is the most hectic time for sellers and their agents because there is so much legal and financial paperwork to take care of in the process. Ideally, agents can make use of a closing platform like Transactly to minimize those many hours of tedious closing. Instead, that time can be spent helping your seller get squared away at the end of the sale. Prioritize face-to-face time and a satisfactory personal conclusion while well-designed software takes care of the tedious closing procedures. A seller's agent provides an invaluable service to home sellers, especially in a seller's market. Without your guidance, sellers wouldn't know how to get the best price for their homes, even when the advantage is on their side. Your hard work and professional guidance will ensure each of your seller clients is well served and gets the best price for each house sold. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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Pinterest: The Social Platform Your Competition Has Overlooked
Pinterest is one of the best social platforms for real estate, and that's without taking into consideration that on Pinterest, your posts don't have the instant irrelevance that they do on other social channels. If utilized correctly, your Pinterest content will stay relevant for months or years after you post it, allowing this underutilized social platform to help you grow your social audience and drive quality buyers and sellers to your website. First things first: to take advantage of Pinterest, you need to set up an account. Create a business profile and then identify any content you already have on your website that Pinterest users may find interesting. Divide your content into categories and make Pinterest boards to hold your content. Keep in mind that Pinterest is a very visual social platform, so high-quality images, flyers, and infographics will likely get the most mileage on your Pinterest account. Some real estate topics Pinterest users may find interesting include house hunting tools, home renovation ideas, home decor, landscaping, and neighborhood hangouts. When creating this content, be sure to showcase how your real estate business fits into the lifestyle of buyers and sellers. For example, let Pinterest users looking at your renovation content know that you can find them a new home that fits their needs. Try to incorporate these topics in your website's blog and pin the articles to your Pinterest board. Be sure to include a button on your blog and website that your visitors can use to share your content on Pinterest as well. This will help your content reach an ever broader audience. Because your content may be shared by others, be sure your images include some form of branding so that as your images spread, people will know who the original source was and you can build brand recognition. You can also invest in Pinterest ads to reach a more targeted audience. To create an ad, visit ads.pinterest.com and select "Get started" and log in to your account. From there, choose whether you want to promote a pin or create a campaign and the ad builder will walk you through the rest. When choosing which content you want to promote, choose pins that are popular even without ads – they'll have a better chance of attracting the attention of the new people you reach. Also be sure the pin is linked back to a page on your website with lead capture capabilities. A landing page or lead capture form is ideal. Once you choose your pin, double check all the details, input your billing information, and wait for your ad to go live. It should be up within 24 hours, depending on when you set your ad to run. For more help with the ins and outs of Pinterest for real estate, download the free eBook, Meeting the Challenge: Pinterest for Business. This guide will show you how to get started with Pinterest, offer ideas for engagement opportunities, and discuss how your brand can be present and gain followers. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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A High Offer Isn't Everything: How Buyers Can Sweeten the Deal in Other Ways
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4 Strategies to Stay Top-of-Mind with Past Clients
You've spent endless amounts of time building a loyal clientele of luxury real estate buyers and sellers, but are you nurturing them? Today, technology makes it easier than ever to attract new clients and strengthen your existing relationships, which is the best thing you can do to simplify your business and tap into a high-quality source of referrals. Here are four ways to do just that: 1. Nurture clients with at least a monthly email Email is the easiest way to nurture clients both consistently and automatically. That means there's no way to forget, get too busy or overthink it. Keep in mind that nurturing clients doesn't just mean sending out emails featuring listings and open houses, but rather ones with useful content about the real estate market or lifestyle updates. This is a great way to remind clients of your expertise and value so that when you do send links to new listings or make a pitch, they'll be more likely to respond (or open the email in the first place). 2. Send an occasional gift Along with sending regular emails, your clients will appreciate the occasional small gift to remember their birthdays, anniversaries or show you're thinking of them during the holidays. Rather than simply sending flowers to clients' homes, sends flowers to their workplace, this way their colleagues will ask about the flowers. In turn, this leads to clients telling their colleagues about the amazing experience they had with you. Naturally, some of those colleagues then ask for your information the next time they need a real estate professional. 3. Plan a quarterly check-in call Unlike emails, nurturing clients with phone calls requires a little more effort, but gives you an opportunity to catch up in real time on a more personal level. Plus, a phone call is a great way to identify potential referral opportunities when they come up in conversation. Just remember, it's important to make these calls without the intention of booking an appointment or pitching your services. You want clients to feel like you're someone they can trust, so it's best to show a genuine interest in what your client has been up to since you last spoke. 4. Use social media Another easy way to stay top of mind? Social media. The idea isn't to post for the sake of posting, but to post for the sake of keeping your market expertise visible. Just like with emails, you'll want to share valuable content rather than simply sharing listings or pitching your services—and don't be afraid to work your own personal story and personality into your posts, either. While you don't want to "overshare" or come off as unprofessional, you do want to share enough of yourself to help you stand out from the crowd and make it easy for clients to connect with, relate to and respect you. For more information, or to give Amarki a try, visit our website HERE. About Amarki: Amarki was built by real estate experts for brokerages and agents based on years of industry experience and firsthand feedback. We developed a marketing tool accessible to anyone, no matter the experience or marketing budget. By providing an intuitive tool that works "for" the agent, Amarki is able to remove the complexity of marketing tasks making agents more active. Check us out HERE.
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How to Optimize Your Real Estate Video Marketing
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Close the Year Strong: 5 Ways to Regroup, Recharge and Reach Goals
Summer is sailing by and Q4 is looming. Are you on track to hit your 2021 goals, or is time to reevaluate your actions and priorities to catch up? Here are five ways to make sure you're doing everything, and have everything you need to achieve in 2021. 1. Double Down on Lead Generation Many are scaling back on their ad spend, but this is prime time to build that database, and prepare for the market to shift. So many claim this as the "height of the market," so consumers are stalling, but the buyers will be back, and you need to have the tech and the teams in place to make sure you're there first. Many of our top-performing clients have begun doubling their ad spend for buyer leads. They're playing the long game and front-loading their database to get ahead of the market. 2. Audit Your Technology Solutions Are your tech solutions working for you? Has your team adopted the systems? Now is a key time to take a hard look at the systems you have in place to see where some gaps might be. An issue we see a lot is disparate systems and point solutions that aren't communicating with each other, and keeping data in the corner. Audit your software and services and make sure you're leveraging them to improve your service offering. Make sure they're taking work off your plate, and not adding to it. Investing time in getting this right this means you can step back from the whirlwind. It means your direct involvement in every fire drill is unnecessary, and the fire drills are few and far between. It also means that your team understands the expectations and they "why." They know that when A happens, the next step is B, and then we move to C. Streamlining your systems with a state-of-the-art CRM that houses everything and connects to your favorite point solutions is the way to win. It's one log in. One data dashboard. One place for your database and marketing tools. One winning business plan in one place. 3. Optimize Your Time and Delegate Tom Ferry often talks about the "It's Gotta Be Me" mindset. You need to make sure you're not in it. If you're bogged down in the administrative work in your business, not focusing on your dollar-productive activities, then you're stifling your growth. For example, Ferry shared that there are 11 hours of work involved to close out a file during every side of a real estate transaction. How many of those 11 hours are you involved in? The best answer here is "None, Tom! I outsource it all!" On average, BoomTown customers report that they are empowered to spend 50% more time on dollar-productive activities. Hot leads are prioritized, systems are optimized for accountability, and agents are freed up from admin work. There's a proven formula for success: prioritizing your time based on your most dollar-productive activities, leveraging the value of your database, and diversifying and growing your lead sources. Most real estate professionals are experts in their field, but that doesn't mean they're experts at digital marketing, or necessarily need to flex their expertise to nurture buyers and sellers who are far-out in the buying or selling process. 4. Reinvigorate Your Marketing Markets are crowded, competition is fierce, and you need to differentiate your real estate business. So how can you cut through the noise and set yourself apart from the competition without putting more work on your plate and trying to make time appear out of nowhere? Smart tech and customizable marketing can cut through the digital noise, differentiate you from the competition, and build trust. Launch custom landing pages to target buyers and sellers in refreshing ways (digitally!) Create automated drip campaigns keep your leads engaged, and you top-of-mind Engage and re-engage with social media ads that you can create and promote with just a few clicks 5. Surround Yourself with a Success Network Partnership power. Make sure you're surrounded by the people who will support you and drive you forward. Team members, industry peers, coaches, and tech partners that help you learn, grow, and give you the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded professionals you can learn from. Attend real estate conferences, join social media groups, and networking meetings, sign up with a coach or mentor to get the support and accountability you need to go higher. We're fresh off of our user conference, Unite, and it's incredible to see what can be achieved when you're surrounded by people who can lift you up, and share their success. Ready to put that in place in your business? Let's get started. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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How to Add Infographics to Your Real Estate Marketing Strategy
Although the marketing world is constantly in flux, one thing is for sure--we are more visual than ever before. These days, we prefer to consume information in graphical ways that are easily digestible and shareable across different channels, which explains why infographics have become such a popular content marketing tool. In fact, according to HubSpot, an infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than pure text. Real estate infographics, in particular, are a powerful and persuasive way to repurpose old content, generate new leads, draw referrals, and inform your audience. Here are Different Infographics Real Estate Agents Can Share: Market Reports Since real estate agents should have information about their communities readily available to their leads already, that data can be easily converted into a visual display that both buyers and sellers will find helpful. Lists By their very nature, lists lend themselves easily to infographics. But the goal is to make them more eye-catching by incorporating more visual elements. For example, icons can replace bullet points and various fonts and colors can be used make each line stand out. Community Information An informational infographic template is the best choice for clearly communicating a specialized concept and a great way to show off your understanding of your local markets. Typically, this type of infographic is divided into sections that include descriptive headers with numbered sections that help the design flow. Statistics Real estate data pulled from multiple sources are best represented via statistical infographics. They can make otherwise uninteresting presentations and statistics more palatable to your audience. Plus, you can use the layout and visuals to help you tell the story behind your data. Storytelling devices include icons, pie charts, graphs, timelines, hierarchies, images, and fonts. Common Buyer and Seller Questions There are certain questions that homebuyers and homeowners will inevitably ask you. What are common mistakes that sellers make? Is it better to buy or rent? These questions can all be answered with an inforaphic. If you include these infographics in your email or social media marketing campaigns, you can save time by answering the question before it's even asked! As technology continues to evolve and advance, visual content should be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Infographics have grown to be an indispensable part of a modern content marketing. In order to stay ahead of the competition, be sure to maximize your real estate branding efforts by highlighting key data points and keeping your infographic design simple and clean, and the text useful and valuable. Here is a FREE video infographic for you to download: Click to download the Seller Mistakes Video Infographic. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Twitter and Facebook Newsletters, Google Core Update: Everything Real Estate Agents Need to Know
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How Rookie Real Estate Agents Can Survive in Any Market
Starting out as a real estate agent is difficult, no matter what market you're kick starting your career in. You want to hit the ground running and establish yourself as an industry professional -- while keeping the long-term goals in mind. It's like any rookie professional athlete starting out in the big leagues going against veterans who have years of experience under their belt – and how to properly play the game. Here is a roadmap for rookie real estate agents to thrive in a competitive market.
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Tips for Staying Safe During Showings (and Beyond)
Real estate agent safety is an important topic that is often overlooked in many discussions. While no one plans to be in a dangerous situation, agents should be prepared for any possibility. In the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, "Don't Be a Statistic," Jay Thompson shares some of his best safety tips to help agents be more aware and create a safety plan. Entering the real estate industry in 2004, Thompson started out in the Phoenix, Arizona market. He worked three years as an agent before transitioning to open his own independent brokerage. In 2012, Thompson switched roles and began working for Zillow as their Directory of Industry Outreach, a position he held for seven years until his retirement. While Thompson jokes that he is "retired," he currently owns his own consulting business and shares his knowledge of real estate with weekly news articles. He prides himself for his role on the Beverly Carter Foundation's board of directors, whose purpose is to raise awareness about "lone worker" safety. Safety is all about awareness At the beginning of his webinar, Thompson shares that real estate agents are often called "lone workers," because they spend many of their working hours alone. Agents are often put in vulnerable situations, as they're showing homes to and hosting open houses for strangers. Thompsons mentions that they are most vulnerable when they are showing homes, as they're alone with a stranger at a property. While women in the real estate industry are targeted more often, many men are victims as well. Thompson stresses that, while most agents will not have an issue with their safety being compromised, it's better to be knowledgeable and prepared. He suggests that it may be useful to think about potential situations and rehearse a script of what you would say if ever faced with an off-putting client. Thompson likens this to agents preparing an objection script and says a similar idea could be applied. The reaction could come more naturally if you've prepared, as the muscle memory—both physical and mental—would be there. Go with your gut Overall, Thompson says that "awareness is the key" when preventing these types of situations. By understanding when and how these threats take place, agents can be more prepared and hopefully avoid these safety risks. One of Thompson's main points is, "if something doesn't feel right, there's a very good chance that it's not right." He also tells listeners to "trust your gut," because human instinct is usually right. He assures listeners that if they act on an instinct and they're wrong, the outcome is far better than if they didn't act and they were right. "It's far better to err on the side of safety and awareness than it is to fall victim to someone," Thompson comments. Be proactive rather than reactive It's important to be proactive rather than reactive. When you're reactive, you're already in that situation to begin with and need to find a way out. Thompson says it's better to pay attention to the warning signs in order to avoid the situation altogether. When you're at an open house, it's important to practice situational awareness. Situational awareness means being aware of the situation that you're in. Thompson gives an example of this by describing a training exercise in which a person enters a room for 15 seconds and is then asked to give details about the room. At an open house, for example, be aware of all the entrances, find out whether the neighbors will be home, and locate the closest police station. Beware of financial scammers While physical safety is a top concern, Thompson mentions agents should also consider their financial safety, especially for crimes like wire fraud. He uses the example of a scammer sending an email from what appears to be a title company asking buyers to send their banking information to complete their transaction. Agents should be screening their messages and keep in mind that almost every institution will never ask for secure information through text or email. Safety solutions Thompson offers a few different options for reactionary safety measures. However, he stresses that these options are still not foolproof and are not preventative measures. He says that they're better than nothing, but they aren't the best. Forewarn is a preventative app that offers an easy way to do a background check on a potential client. While Thompons encourages agents to set up an initial public meeting for a new client, he says that this app will use a client's phone number to check public databases to see whether the person has a criminal history. Real Safe Agent is another preventative app, but this one is community based. While it offers some basic background checks, its main feature is you can use it to send a message to agents near your location, asking someone close to check in and pretend they're previewing the listing. It also lets agents rank local clients and give information about their exchange history. Invisiwear is a wearable that comes in the form of jewelry. If an agent feels like they're in danger, they can squeeze the pendant and it will alert 911 that they need help. Wearsafe is another wearable and comes as a FOB that can be clipped onto a purse, belt, pocket, etc. It can also alert the police or a contact if a dangerous situation arises. Thompson mentions that there are many weapons options, including handguns, pepper spray, self-defense classes, etc. A concealed weapon is a potential safety solution, but agents have to practice with it and be prepared to use it. Thompson says that "you better train a lot and you better train frequently." However, he also reminds listeners that an assailant can take a weapon away and use it against you. He states that it's a tool, but it's not a guarantee of safety. Overall, agents should review safety protocols, trainings, and checklists to help prepare and become more aware of their safety. To learn more of Thompson's safety tips, you can join the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group here. For more free real estate education, including best practices, visit the Secrets of Top Selling Agents website. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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6 Tips for Realtors to Generate Real Estate Leads Online
Ryan, a Realtor in Raleigh, North Carolina, offers agent advice about best ways to generate real estate leads online. Here's Ryan: Struggling to generate real estate leads? Generating leads takes a lot of time and effort, and you won't see immediate results. However if you stay with it, the results will pay off handsomely. How does a couple new leads per day sound? If you aren't already using these strategies for generating leads online, you should consider starting today. 6 Strategies for Generating Real Estate Leads Online 1. Start a hyperlocal real estate website If you're going to have any sort of success generating quality real estate leads online, you are going to need a website. Having a hyperlocal real estate website should be the center of everything you do online. Once you get your site up and running, you should constantly be sending people to your site as a way for them to search for local listings or to gather valuable real estate information from the articles you write on your blog. 2. Blog about everything real estate Providing your local buyers and sellers with monthly real estate market reports is a great way to engage with your audience. You can also write for people who might be moving to your area. We recently wrote an article for anyone moving to Raleigh so they could learn more about the city before relocating. The articles on your website will help you generate leads every day. 3. Leverage social media Staying top of mind is one of the most important ways for real estate agents to gather referral business. Communicating a valuable message wins over new business. When someone hears someone else say, "I'm thinking about buying a house or selling my home," they remember your Facebook article 10 Things Realtors Do to Sell Your Home or your helpful First Time Home Buyer's Guide. Providing value to your audience gives you an opportunity to earn more referral business. By communicating a value added message, you get people to share it with their friends! 4. Take advantage of Facebook ads Facebook ads are a great way to brand yourself and stay in front of consumers. People check Facebook multiple times a day and when they see your sponsored ad, they become familiar with you. Not only that, you can set up Facebook ads to be highly targeted. The customization options for your ad are incredible. 5. Build valuable relationships online One of the best things you can do is build relationships with everyone online. This means engaging your network with likes, comments and shares. People love to be noticed and liked. When you comment on a friend's picture, you are showing up on other people's newsfeeds and your friend will appreciate you staying in touch. That friend is also more likely to like your pictures when you post. By engaging in the comments section, you have an opportunity to interact with that friend's friends as well. 6. Give back to others One of the best things you can do to secure relationships, whether online or offline, is to give back to others. Think of how you can help others before you think about how others can help you. When you give back to others in your community or across the world, you're building a much stronger network. By giving back to others you will see fantastic results. Final thoughts Generating leads online doesn't have to be hard. It starts with a great website and utilizing the tips above. Thanks to being engaging and generous, you will have numerous people reaching out to you when they need a trusted real estate agent. It can be intimidating at first especially if it's new to you, and you're concerned with what people think about your articles. You can't grow unless you step outside your comfort zone. Give it a try! Learn more about Ryan on his website: raleighrealtyhomes.com. Here is a handy visual of all the tips above. Pin it away! To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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What Are the Most Requested Home Qualities that Buyers and Sellers Are Looking for?
Welcome to the latest installment of "Ask the Industry," where we ask real estate professionals their thoughts about timely topics related to the real estate industry. Today's post features: Marian Cooper, Realtor with Comey & Shepherd Randall Graham, Chief Marketing Officer with Michael Saunders & Company Stacey Burnett, Agent with RE/MAX Crossroads Properties What are the most frequently requested qualities that buyers and sellers are looking for in a home right now? Buyers want updated homes and turnkey properties Marian Cooper, Realtor, Comey & Shepherd, Greater Cincinnati, OH The most requested qualities my homebuyers are looking for right now include: 2+ bathrooms Finished basement Open floor plan Garage Swimming pool or enough space for a pool to eventually be added Also, overwhelmingly my buyers seem to prefer updated homes at the moment. They seem to be OK with some small cosmetic changes, but most of my clients right now want a turnkey property. Buyers are looking for homes with great outdoor spaces Randall Graham, Chief Marketing Officer, Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, FL At Michael Saunders & Company, we are seeing buyers on Southwest Florida's Gulf Coast looking for homes with great outdoor spaces and water views, which is the unique beauty of our area. We've also seen a shift from wanting turnkey properties to buyers returning to the idea of making updates as lumber and other building materials are becoming more available. Newer construction, privacy and safety remain our top requests as well. It's all about the location – Buyers are starting to look at areas that they may not normally look Stacey Burnett, Agent, RE/MAX Crossroads Properties, Cleveland, OH I would have to say that in the current market, the qualities a buyer is searching for most include an updated kitchen and bathroom, an open floor plan, and flex/bonus space for a possible office. Outdoor space is a plus as well for those fur babies. Since our inventory is so low, buyers are starting to look into areas that they may not normally look at but are just as nice. It's about the location! Last, but not least, is a garage! We are in Cleveland and this is a must-have for some buyers. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Friday Freebie: Cheat Sheet for Talking Sellers Off the Fence
There are a lot of reasons that homeowners today are reluctant to sell--they're afraid they won't find a new home to buy, they like their current mortgage rate, etc. How you respond to their objections could win you a shiny new listing. But what if you're unsure of your powers of persuasion? Lean on this week's Friday Freebie—a cheat sheet designed to help you talk reluctant sellers off the fence. Free Download of the 2021 Home Seller Cheat Sheet, courtesy of Zurple It's a great time to sell a home, and a great time to be a listing agent...if you can find a listing. People are staying in their current homes longer than ever and many are reluctant to sell. You may even be talking with homeowners who are toying with the idea of selling, but aren't quite convinced. How do you convince them? Zurple's 2021 Home Seller Cheat Sheet to the rescue! This free download offers information you can reference to help persuade homeowners to sell, including: Common seller objections and how to overcome them Statistics, information, and articles to motivate sellers off the fence Tactics for convincing owners to sell (like recommending contract contingencies) Processes and strategies for selling during COVID-19 And more! You can use this cheat while on the phone with a seller, on a Zoom call, or even keep it on your phone to reference anytime you need it. You'll always have the perfect comeback to any objection ready when you download the 2021 Home Seller Cheat Sheet!
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7 Emails You Need to Send to Real Estate Leads
Consider the emails you're sending to your leads. Would you open them if they appeared in your inbox? More importantly, would you respond or visit a website? Prospects these days have an inbox full of info and offers, most of which they will consider "junk," and delete. This is why you have to follow the best practices to help your email outshine the rest. Readers don't delete emails that interest them. Easy as that. The seven emails below will help you earn your way into their inbox. 1. The Introduction Email We strongly suggest only emailing leads who have opted into communication with you. Otherwise, it can feel like an invasion of personal space. This first email serves as the "welcome mat" for the rest of your email communication. Don't overwhelm with too much information! Instead, quickly and casually introduce yourself and give a short snippet of what you can offer them. Start by asking yourself the questions below: Who are you? Why are you emailing them? What value are you providing to them? Introduction Email Example: Hi Cindy, I noticed you recently registered for e-Alerts on my website. I'm glad you signed up, as this is the quickest way to receive up-to-date information on listings in your area! Our website is refreshed every hour, so you will be the first to know when a home that fits your preferences hits the market. Over the past seven years, I have worked in the area selling homes and helping buyers find the perfect property. Buying a home is an exciting time and I am here to help you navigate through the process. Below I have linked to one of my blog posts about preparing to buy a home and how it is different this year over the others. Read More: How to Prepare Yourself to Buy a Home This Year Have a lovely day, Annie Agent 2. The "Establish Expectations" Email The Welcome Email should go out almost immediately after you receive their information or when they register on your site. The Establish Expectations Email should follow in the next day or two, and will answer the following: How frequently you will be in touch? What action should the lead take? Are you showing your value as an agent? Establish Expectations Email Example: Hi Cindy, I hope your home search is going well! As of now, you are set up to receive emails when your preferred listings come on the market. I'll keep you in the loop with any important market information that may help with your search as well. If you'd like to see a home, please don't hesitate to reach out at (###) ###-####. My door is always open at the office as well! Continue Searching For Homes I'll be in touch, Annie Agent This email reaffirms why you're reaching out, and then follows up with another call-to-action. These are important steps! Here are a few pointers for what you should be accomplishing with each email: Provide a valuable offer of information or service to your lead. Make it easy to take action with a clear link or button. Do NOT make it all about you. This completely defeats the purpose. Remember, you have to EARN your way into their Inbox. Just as any other business or service earns their way into your readership.  3. The Content Email Here is where we engage the lead through valuable information. You can send the Content Email in the form of a regularly scheduled newsletter, or save yourself some time and plug it into an email drip campaign. You want to provide value through content you aggregate or already have on your site. The best option is to combine the two! These emails allow you to establish yourself as the local expert. Consider including any of the following: Local Market Updates Average Days On Market Breakdown Seller Market Versus Buyer Market Explanation How to Buy a Home in the Current Market One of Your Sold Listings (if it is a seller lead) Area Events Calendar New Development Updates Fixer-Upper Average Costs Turning Your Home Into the Ultimate Investment Showcase all of the best content that you're sharing on your website, blog, and social media channels. The goal is to get the lead to interact with you, so it can be useful here to usher them to other channels where you share information. Link to one of your posts or events on Facebook and try to get them to "like" your page. Let them know if you're "going live," or connect them to a blog post through a Twitter or LinkedIn link. If you really want to up your game, sites such as Canva can help you create quick and easy, professional-looking images. People respond to visual stimuli! In the end, put yourself in their shoes: If you opened this email, does the content really add value? Nobody needs fluff. 4. The Testimonial Email Now we're really heading in the right direction. You want to have a nice mix of content emails, and more personal information. At the end of the day, you are trying to get this lead to convert! The testimonial emails really take your marketing email marketing efforts to the next level. Remember, testimonials are an incredibly valuable tool to prove YOU are the right person for the job. However, you don't want it to come across as too "in-your-face." Here are a few pointers for accomplishing that balance. Do: Include recent testimonials. Frame a story around the testimonial. Relate your testimonials to current market updates. Use them as a call to action. (Meaning, include a link to your website where they can read more, or a phone number to speak with you.) Don't: Only include testimonials in the email. Put a seller testimonial in a buyer's email drip campaign. Use an outdated or unrelated testimonial. Place testimonials in the email without any context. Testimonial Email Example: Hi Cindy, I hope you have been able to browse some of the market updates I sent over in my last email. If not, I have a blog post here explaining the current market and how to position yourself as the best buyer in the lot. In this market, it often comes down to negotiations between agents in order to close the deal on a home. And I wanted you to hear a few stories about how I've helped some locals find their perfect properties over the past few months. "Annie worked magic in a market where I never thought I would be able to afford my dream home. She managed the process from start to finish and my family and I could not be happier." -The Jones Family "My home search was full of ups and downs, but Annie never stopped in the search for our home. After helping us sell our current home and find the new place, we could not have asked for a better experience." -Matthew Trice Browse more testimonials on my website here. Starting the search is the first step in finding your perfect property, and I am here to help! Talk soon, Annie Agent 5. The "Get to Know You" Email This email is your opportunity to gather more information about your lead. Up to this point, you may have an email, home search preferences, or a phone number. If you have already spoken, then this email should be more specific to their wants and needs. But if you have not spoken to them yet, use this as your chance to figure out how to customize your value proposition. Try to drive a conversation. These "\Get to Know You emails should be sent within a few weeks of your Welcome email and will also help you to gather specific information about your target audience. According to the Content Marketing Institute: 86% of people skip TV commercials. 44% of direct mail is never opened. 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into. Bottom line: let your readers be in control of their content! Get to Know You Email Example: Hi Cindy, I want to make sure I am sending along the right information to help you with your home-buying decisions. In order for me to show you the best homes available, I'd love to speak with you about your home search. My number is (###) ### – #### if you would like to give me a call. If it's easier, you can reach me at this email! The Ten Most Commonly Asked Questions in Home Buying The Homebuyer Checklist: Everything from Pre-approval to Post Purchase Taxes Please don't hesitate to reach out! Annie Agent 6. The Oh So Subtle "I-Haven't-Heard-From-You" Email We are all wired to get excited when someone likes a status on Facebook, or shares your post on Twitter. So when we don't hear back from leads it becomes frustrating fast. Keep in mind you are approaching strangers in very personal space: their inbox. If you have made it this far and they haven't unsubscribed or marked your emails as spam, then they are keeping you around for a reason. This email is your chance to really pique their interest. Consider including any of the following: Invitation or incentive to use at a local event. Reminder of the tools you have available on your site. Inspirational and recent testimonial. Inquiry into whether or not they still want to receive emails or e-alerts. First Example Hi Cindy, I hope all is well with you and you are seeing a few homes that pique your interest on the site. In case anything has changed, you can easily update your preferences in order to receive properties better catered to your search. Please reply to this email if you would like to be removed from e-alerts and I can do that for you! Change Your Preferences Here! Best, Second Example Hi Cindy, I hope all is well with you and you are seeing a few homes that pique your interest on the site. In other news, we will be at the Downtown Carnival Extravaganza this week running a raffle! We'll have an extra t-shirt waiting on you, so feel free to stop by our booth any time. [Insert Event Image Here] Hope to see you there! 7. The "Request-a-Review" Email Also known as the post-deal email, this is your chance to congratulate your client on their closed deal and inquire about a review. Keep in mind after your client either buys or sells their home the emails are not over. You should have a drip campaign ready to go in order to keep your name top of mind for the years to come. Until then though, you need to ask for a review. "Request-a-Review" Email Example: Hi Cindy, Congratulations! I am so excited for you about your home purchase. This is a big deal and you should be extremely proud of yourself for owning your first home. I will drop by a little gift from our company to you later this week, but until then I wanted to ask a quick favor. As you know, it always helps to have a few nice words to share with future clients. And if you would be so kind as to share a few words about your experience via email or online here, that would be wonderful! Let Us Know How We Did Here! And again, don't forget to submit your permanent residence application this month. We will be in touch to remind you when the date comes closer for that as well. Congratulations again! Agent Annie How to Order Your Email Drip Campaigns The number of emails and order of those emails in a drip campaign are specific to your audience. Leads who wanted to buy yesterday should receive emails more frequently, whereas casual browsers should receive at minimum a monthly check-in. No matter the email, always remember our three rules for all communications: Provide value Make it easy to take action Do NOT make it all about you Happy writing! To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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How to Humanize Your Digital Business
"Silence, brand!" If you've spent much time on social media over the last few years, you've probably seen this answer to branded content. It's a snappy retort to what many see as the increasingly unctuous and unwelcome expansion of corporate narratives into social spaces, leaving us subject to advertising seemingly every minute of every day. To a growing number of people — including many of your future customers — the idea that Wendy's is our wisecracking hipster friend or we're "in this together" with Toyota or United Airlines isn't just unconvincing: it's downright nauseating. The more brands clamor to sound just like us, the more robotic and intrusive it all feels. Many internet users are covering their ears and averting their eyes rather than engage with it. Into this world of "corporate personhood" run amok steps the real estate agent or broker. It's a well-known fact that many real estate agents get a substantial quantity of their leads by promoting their listings on digital channels, especially social media. Some experts have estimated that out of all professional industries, real estate experts are the most active on social media. Going without a robust online presence simply isn't an option. The question, then, is how you can humanize your digital business. Luckily, you have some natural advantages that can serve you well. The Human Connection Just Comes Easier for Real Estate Agents Luckily, you have the potential to go right where so many others go wrong. Real estate professionals stand out from the pack online for a variety of reasons: Meaningful, one-to-one relationships are at the heart of all they do By practicing their skills, they help others to achieve life goals Their local knowledge, style, and passion are unique to them With all of this in mind, you should get excited about the huge potential the digital world holds in store. Your consistent, trustworthy online presence is an extension of your in-person relationship building. Over time, that online activity provides the momentum that brings a steady stream of leads to your door. That's crucial to building a lucrative, sustainable business that offers work-life balance. Let's look at some of the ways you can ensure your digital brand has the human touch: Prefer Your Face to Your Logo Whenever possible, show your face, not your logo. A logo can be anyone, but your face is yours alone. This is crucial when deciding on social media avatars, your header photos on Twitter and Facebook, and more. When someone visits your website home page, be sure they see smiling faces — either yours or your customers'. Share Stories from Actual Customers Customer success stories are the most important form of social proof. While many visitors will check out your reputation on third-party review sites, you should also include testimonials directly on your social media and real estate website. Written testimonials work well, but aspire to showcase your biggest wins on video. Be an Advocate for Your Community Your value as a real estate agent is inseparable from the community where you practice. Use your digital presence to become a trusted guide to what makes your area special. Producing content about local events, top restaurants, and other amenities shows that you truly care about the place where you do your work. Use Video Marketing to Build Rapport Video marketing is the next best thing to being there. It is a wise idea to record a video introducing yourself and your practice in your own words for your site's home page. Video tours of homes and neighborhoods are also very effective. This content helps newcomers feel like they already know you. Connect with Cards and Mementos Of course, no brand is digital alone — and what you do outside the confines of the internet can enrich both your business and your customers' lives. Following up with former customers is essential to referral business, so don't be afraid to invest time in a handwritten card or include a small, meaningful gift. Mark Special Occasions Holidays are the cultural touchstones we all share, while anniversaries are meaningful moments in an individual relationship. Honor both of them by producing tasteful seasonal content for your website and social media. At the same time, don't forget to acknowledge past customers on, for example, the anniversary of closing day. Consider Using Text Messages Text messaging is quickly developing into one of the most intimate ways to start conversations with leads. Asking a quick question can revive cold leads, but it's also a great way to let others know you're looking out for them. Marketing automation technology doesn't get in the way of relationships; it helps you manage and deepen them. RE Technology readers can try DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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