The Business of Real Estate
How to Craft a Real Estate Website That Boosts Your Commission Advance

How to Craft a Real Estate Website That Boosts Your Commission Advance

By on Aug 11, 2017 in Blog, Marketing | 0 comments

The days of flipping through a Rolodex are gone and word of mouth has gone digital. In the 21st century, a real estate agent’s business card is their website. Do you know how you’re being perceived? A subpar site (one that loads slowly, looks amateurish or lacks key information, for example) can stall a fledgling career in short order, but the right online presence can turn casual consumers into long-time clients. To ensure you’re investing in the latter, embrace these best practices and avoid key mistakes so you can build your brand and your commission advance. Ditch the DIY — Your Future Commission Advance Could Depend on It Would you advise homeowners to market and sell their own property? Not likely. You know that there’s a reason you’re top in your field, and you could probably list a few dozen reasons homes sell better (and for a higher price) when an experienced agent is in charge. The same philosophy applies to web design. A skilled site designer can help with all of the following (and don’t be afraid to use this checklist as a guideline for questions during the interview process): Dynamic and responsive design so your site can be easily read on a variety of devices Reliable hosting and streamlined design so your site loads quickly and has little if any downtime Clean and modern design elements that incorporate both substance and style Integrated multimedia so you can incorporate video and graphic content as well as text User-friendly features that make your site easy to navigate If you’re absolutely committed to designing your site yourself, pay for a decent template and spring for the accompanying support package so you have a strong starting point and access to help along the way. Reconsider Spontaneity Whether you’re redesigning your site or crafting one from scratch, you need to have a plan. What is your color scheme? Do you have a logo? How do you want your menu designed? Do you have an overall layout in mind? All these things matter, and cohesive branding is essential if you want to build a following that recognizes your product (which, by the way, is you!) regardless of the format with which it’s being...

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How to Turn Social Media into a Lead-Generating Machine for Realtors

How to Turn Social Media into a Lead-Generating Machine for Realtors

By on Jun 20, 2017 in Marketing | 0 comments

Are you happy with the ROI from your social media campaigns? The social landscape changes almost daily, and it can be hard to stay in the loop. Here are a few of our favorite social media tips that will help you turn sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram into lead-generating machines. Build a Responsive Site — and Maybe an App Some 40 percent of people surveyed said they’d abandon a website that took more than three seconds to load. That means you could be losing close to half your audience before they even have a chance to see what you’re about. Make sure your site is designed for optimal viewing on both desktop and mobile devices, and that the layout is easy to navigate. For bonus points, consider launching a branded app. You can send users push notifications about new listings or price reductions, offer account-only features such as property mapping and personalized listing portfolios, and encourage reviews and message board discussions, building a valuable community in the process. Ask Questions When you meet with a new client, do you spend the time rambling on about your own best attributes or do you seize the moment and ask the buyers or sellers about their needs, hopes, dreams and concerns? Hopefully, you’re doing the latter, and that’s the same approach you should take to social media. Post two photos of a room staged in two different ways and ask your followers what they think. Ask people to comment on a post with their most burning real estate questions. Whatever creative ideas you dream up, the results are two-fold: You’re gathering important information that can be used later for marketing/targeting purposes and simultaneously making your audience feel their input and opinions are valued. Use Visuals Social analytics giant Kissmetrics says that photo-based posts on Facebook garner 84 percent more click-throughs, 52 percent more likes, and a whopping 104 percent more comments. It’s not surprising; most people are more motivated by an interesting picture than they are by a wall of descriptive texts, especially when you consider how fast we flick through our news feeds. Post multiple photos of a newly listed home in a photo album, not separately; doing so could...

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Why Schools Rule When It Comes to Home Sales for Real Estate Pros

Why Schools Rule When It Comes to Home Sales for Real Estate Pros

By on Jun 12, 2017 in Marketing, Real Estate | 0 comments

Even the most bare-bones MLS listings generally include a few key things: square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and what school district the property is in. The first two items have obvious value to potential buyers, but is the proximity of a school really that important to closing a sale? As it turns out, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Education Is the Future It comes as no surprise that some 35 percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 dream of buying a house in a great school district, but it’s a bit more interesting to hear that 19 percent of all Americans have the same dream. Whether kids are a current reality or simply a twinkle in a homebuyer’s eye, the issue of education is still very much present. A street to the west or a block to the right could mean the difference between being assigned to a top-tier school and ending up in one that has less funding or a depressing student-teacher ratio, and other factors such as bussing, test scores and extracurriculars all come into play as well. Finding a home nestled within the boundaries of a well-respected district can feel like hitting the jackpot. Ponying Up for a Well-Placed Property How dedicated are parents to their children’s education? So much so that 20 percent of home buyers say they’d go as much as 10 percent over their budget in order to gain access to their dream district. Even more impressive is the 10 percent of parents who would dig deep for an extra 20 percent. It seems like a drastic investment in little Jack or Jill’s academic future, but there’s more to it than that. Great schools have great teachers and great amenities that range from immaculately groomed football fields to new computers in the tech lab. That all adds up to opportunities — opportunities for after-school programs, character-building mentorships, scholarships and admission to Jack or Jill’s college of choice. Much like renovating a kitchen or bathroom, homeowners who’ve invested in a good district are going to see financial returns down the road. The No-Kids Crew Even buyers without kids (and no intentions of starting a family anytime soon)...

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Tips for Marketing Homes in Gated Communities

Tips for Marketing Homes in Gated Communities

By on Feb 21, 2017 in Marketing | 0 comments

When it comes to selling points in real estate, “gated community” is a descriptor that often gets prominent placement. A gated entrance conveys all kinds of qualities — exclusivity, safety, security and a better quality of life. For real estate agents, those kinds of qualities generally help a home sell itself, but gated communities also come with their own unique set of challenges. To close a home in a gated community, you have to pay special attention to possible points of resistance and play up the positives. Here’s how. Emphasize Security Gated communities scream security for a reason. Some neighborhoods have resident-only codes necessary for entry, some have electronic passes, and some actual post guards and require car stickers and IDs. That can keep unwanted visitors out, but it can also make potential buyers a bit wary of daily hassle — how much does security matter if it takes you 20 minutes to get from the main street to your house? To mitigate those concerns, point out how much safer a gated community can be. Come armed with crime statistics (assuming they do indeed back up your argument), talk about the freedom kids have to ride their bikes without worrying about excessive through traffic, and if the community offers it, mention that delivery drivers can leave packages at the gate so your family never has to open the door to a stranger. Know the Rules The relative exclusivity of a gated community often translates into lots of extra rules and regulations. From HOA laws governing what color buyers can paint their new house to restrictions on open houses and “for sale” signs, these types of guidelines can scuttle a sale and make your job especially difficult. Knowing those ahead of time helps you form your game plan and better educate clients in the process. Bring in the Neighbors People who live in gated communities generally cherish the restricted access they’ve paid so handsomely for, and that often leads to some resistance when an agent turns up to show a house to a bunch of “outsiders.” The best way to get existing residents on your side is by keeping them in the loop and asking for their help. Ask the HOA...

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Top 6 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make When Showing Houses

Top 6 Mistakes Real Estate Agents Make When Showing Houses

By on Feb 14, 2017 in Marketing | 0 comments

Most experienced agents have developed a sort of open house modus operandi. They can almost set themselves on autopilot, whipping out scented candles and arranging one sheets with a mindless ease. That kind of comfort and confidence can be the mark of a talented agent, but all the groundwork in the world can be undone in seconds if you make one of these common home-showing mistakes. We’ve rounded up six of the most flagrant sale-ruining offenses below. Which ones have you experienced first-hand? 1. Failing to Be Prepared Buying a house is a huge decision, and people want to trust the person selling it to them. Agents who show up without key information, access to the house or detailed knowledge of the property come across as unprofessional and indifferent. A checklist or preshowing to-do list can go a long way toward nixing completely preventable errors that could otherwise scuttle a sale. 2. Stinky Surprises You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and trust us, home seekers are judging each property using all five of their senses. Leftover cooking smells, strong perfumes or incense, and cigarette smoke can all leave visitors with a decidedly nasty opinion of an otherwise pleasant property, but flowery candles and room sprays are often just as bad. A deep cleaning – including the carpet – is your best bet, and be sure to urgently recommend that the owners lay off the fish fries while showings are ongoing. 3. Stray Sellers It is almost never a good idea to have sellers present at a showing. They tend to be overprotective of their properties, especially if there’s a long history associated with the home and, therefore, a lot of emotion at stake, and they tend to make buyers nervous. No one wants to openly critique a home in front of the person who lives there, and that kind of trepidation may make people at your open house less likely to explore and, therefore, less likely to buy. If sellers insist on being present, establish some ground rules regarding what they should and shouldn’t say. While you never want to hide important details that ethically need to be disclosed, there’s no reason for an...

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How Social Media Can Make (or Break) a Sale

How Social Media Can Make (or Break) a Sale

By on Feb 7, 2017 in Marketing | 0 comments

Most real estate agents have begun embracing social media as an essential part of their marketing strategy, but entering the online universe in a professional capacity can be every bit as dangerous as it is advantageous. For every opportunity to gain exposure, you have to nimbly avoid the digital pitfalls that could easily derail both your reputation and your business. To take advantage of some of the most popular platforms while still maintaining your professionalism, it’s important to sidestep social media marketing mistakes and to engage in some savvy strategy. Here’s how. Adjust Your Tone You never quite realize how significant inflection and body language are to a great conversation until you’re trying to communicate without them. Things like sarcasm and humor don’t always translate well when you’re texting or posting online, so it’s important to give each ad or status update an extra look before you hit send. If you have any doubt as to how your message may be interpreted, do yourself a favor and ditch it. No witty joke is worth offending a current or potential client. Listen More Than You Talk Social media strategists have a lot to offer in terms of understanding and connecting with consumers, but you can learn an awful lot on your own by just listening. For every post you create, you should spend at least double that amount of time reading and responding to comments. Look at your competitors’ pages, read Google+ and Facebook reviews, and check out local and industry-related hashtags. The information you glean from these not-so-covert missions could be the key to your next sale. Stop Posting Self Promoting Content Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing is not an opportunity to toot your own horn as loud and as often as possible. Try that, and your followers will do anything and everything to get away from the noise — and from you. Self-promotion is fine, but those posts should be interspersed with informative and entertaining content that helps readers solve problems or improve their day. For instance, you can: Share a link to an article highlighting changes in the local market Link to your blog about relocation tips Post an infographic with quirky real estate stats...

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