The Business of Real Estate
7 Smart Tips for a Spring Open House That Sells

7 Smart Tips for a Spring Open House That Sells

By on Apr 26, 2018 in Landscaping, Marketing, Real Estate | 0 comments

Late spring is the perfect season for an open house. The weather is breezy and beautiful, kids are nearly out of school so families are ready to move, and you don’t have to worry about your curb appeal getting mucked up by buckets of slush and snow. Spring open houses also mean more competition. Here’s how you can stand out and ensure your clients are the ones walking away with the win while also working to secure your own commission advance. 1. Spruce Up the Landscaping This is your one chance at a first impression, and patchy grass or a muddy sidewalk could set an unfortunate tone. Put some potted flowers on either side of the front door, give the porch a quick sweep, hide the hose around the side of the house and park the kids’ bikes in the garage. 2. Host a Backyard Bash If you’re listing a property with an incredible backyard or outdoor living space, highlight those top-of-the-line features by staging an alfresco gathering. Fire up the grill, squeeze some fresh lemonade and string up some twinkly fairy lights for added atmosphere after the sun goes down. 3. Open Up the Windows Sometimes winter lingers a little longer than normal, but by May, temperatures should be pleasant enough to allow you to shut off the AC and open up the windows. Let the smell of freshly cut grass and newly bloomed flowers spread throughout the house. That little touch of ambiance combined with tons of natural light will make the property seem infinitely more inviting. 4. Schedule Your Open House to Coincide with Community Events Before you pick a date to show your listing, see what else is going on in the neighborhood. Is there a community garage sale coming up? A neighborhood block party? Does everyone gather in the central green on the first Sunday of every month for a farmer’s market? More people on the move means more foot traffic and more people poking around your property. Even if no one bites, the extra exposure could mean an increase in word-of-mouth marketing, and that’s never a bad thing. 6. Update Your Listing Photos Don’t advertise a spring open house using photos from fall...

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FAQ for First-Time Home Buyers

FAQ for First-Time Home Buyers

By on Mar 3, 2018 in Real Estate | 0 comments

Buying a home is a stressful time for anyone, but first-time home buyers are particularly prone to anxiety and uncertainty. It’s easy to get tangled up in doubts and confusion; there are clashes between what buyers want their homes to be and what they can afford mortgage rates and down payments to sort out, and that crazy swirl of excitement and fear that comes with finally signing on the bottom line. Understanding what your newbie house hunters are going through and being equipped with answers to their most frequently asked questions could help you close your next deal. How Do I Know How Much I Can Afford? There are really two answers to this question. The first answer is that it’s up to you, the buyer. Take a look at your total personal or family budget. Understand how much you can set aside for a mortgage, house repairs and HOA fees, and then think about what you might be losing out on (vacations, dinners out, etc.) if you choose to stretch your financial limits. The second answer comes courtesy of your loan officer. They may well give you a number that’s higher than you expect, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. What you can pay and what you should pay are not necessarily the same thing. How Much of the Total Cost Will I Need Up Front? Origination fees, title fees, taxes, homeowners insurance — these are the first things due when people buy a new home and the last things they think about. Prevent any nasty surprises by learning what “closing costs” really means and factor in the appropriate amount. What Do I Want in a Home? Many buyers come armed with a wish list, but there’s a difference between needs and wants, and those aren’t always clearly identified. Catalog your housing hopes and then put them in order of importance. You can ask for a big backyard and a particular school district, but the houses in your price range may not have both. Having trouble envisioning your dream home? Tell your agent about your ideal day (everything from your commute to how you’ll spend your time after work) and ask them to make...

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Planning Your Commission Advance: Real Estate Trends for 2018

Planning Your Commission Advance: Real Estate Trends for 2018

By on Nov 24, 2017 in Blog, Marketing, Real Estate | 0 comments

It’s almost 2018, and that means a new look at the real estate landscape. From tech advances and new niches to building your commission advance thanks to investors, here’s what you can look forward to exploring next year. A Shift to an Online-Based Buying Experience Technology is always altering how we do business, and we’ll be seeing more of that in the real estate sector in 2018 as new and existing platforms show both buyers and sellers how easy it can be to shop, offer and negotiate online. From chatbots that take over the early part of client conversations to developments in cryptography that ensure signing on the digital dotted line is safer than ever before, expect colleagues to find new ways to tackle tasks using the internet. Increased Buyer Confidence + More Sales = Bigger Commission Advances According to the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2018 report, we can expect growth to be slower but more sustainable next year. This is good news as it represents a more stable market that translates into buyer confidence. What does that mean for real estate agents? Clients are often more comfortable buying in a market that seems predictable and easier to understand. Expect to see more middle-class buyers making investments in both family homes and rental properties, though numbers may show up in unexpected places (literally). Rising Home Prices Increasing lumber prices are causing the cost of new builds to rise. Pair that with a lack of existing inventory and you have a classic supply-and-demand scenario that’s good for sellers and not so hot for buyers. Creative, determined agents will still be able to ferret out interesting finds for needy clients, but homes in those always-hot, always-high markets — think San Francisco, Boston, L.A., New York, Seattle, etc. — will come with some serious sticker shock. Spotlight on New Territories As those hot markets above continue to smolder, buyers will push out into nearby areas. Focus won’t necessarily be on tightly adjacent neighborhoods and cities but on communities a little further out that offer affordable options, room to grow and a budding list of family-friendly amenities like urban planning improvements, new schools and the introduction of big box stores. Renters Continue...

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How to Expand Your Real Estate Team and Improve Your Commission Advance

How to Expand Your Real Estate Team and Improve Your Commission Advance

By on Oct 20, 2017 in Blog, Real Estate | 0 comments

Being busy is good, but do you suddenly have more traffic and listing appointments than you can handle? There’s a fine line between running a bustling business and becoming drastically overwhelmed. Before you surrender your life to the dark side and sacrifice your commission advance to the competition, protect your investment and take a step toward a brighter future by building a smart, competent and wildly successful team. Start by Identifying Your Own Strengths Bigger isn’t always better. Make that your mantra as you add people to your team because you’ll be tempted to snag the best all-around applicant or the most intriguing go-getter, and what you first see as shiny and new might not be the best option. Understand your own strengths and weaknesses and, perhaps more importantly, decide what tasks must be accomplished by you and what can be delegated. Once you know what you won’t or can’t do, you can narrow down your list of potential hires to those who will best fill the gap. Ask Applicants the Right Questions Interviewers get too caught up in queries about credentials and experience when that can all be verified using a resume and references. You can offer experience and teach real estate-specific skills, but there is no substitute for things like personality, drive and overall savvy. To see who already has those characteristics, shake up the questions you ask: What do they love about real estate? Why are they entering the industry? What do they do in their spare time? What’s the last book, magazine or blog they read? What industry newsletters do they subscribe to? What’s an example of a great customer service interaction they’re either proud of or that they learned from? What are their career goals? What do they hope to learn should they get this position? Be Fair When Structuring Pay Packets and Any Potential Commission Advance Money is a huge motivator — after all, aren’t you inspired by the thought of yet another sale and a looming listing advance? Your team will be encouraged by the same kind of incentives, but the opposite is also true. No one wants to work twice as hard for the same reward, so if your new hires...

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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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What Zillow Instant Offers Means for You

What Zillow Instant Offers Means for You

By on Jun 6, 2017 in Real Estate | 0 comments

Can you imagine real estate without the middleman? That theoretical world (as frightening or enlightening as it may be, depending on your point of view) may not be reality just yet, but a new program from Zillow has made the idea less abstract and a lot more possible. Zillow’s new Instant Offers initiative lets sellers use the Zillow platform as a way to list their homes, reach investors and solicit cash offers. So far, the pilot is only running in Las Vegas and Orlando, but if it takes off, Instant Offers could soon be live nationwide. Could this mean the end of real estate as we know it? Not so fast… The Ins and Outs of Instant Offers Here’s a brief rundown of Zillow’s initiative: Homeowners interested in Zillow Instant Offers contact the platform and get verified. The homeowners provide important information on their property, including square footage, the number of bedrooms and so on, and then uploads current photos of the home. Investors are able to see the listing and present offers. Those offers reach the homeowner within two business days of the homeowners’ listing/verification. As offers come in, the homeowners are also provided with a comparative market analysis, or CMA, courtesy of a local real estate agent. The homeowners can then compare the CMA to the investor offers and decide whether they want to accept or reject those offers. If an investor offer is selected, the homeowners schedule a free home inspection through Zillow. If no offers are accepted, the homeowners can list the property on the MLS with the agent’s assistance. According to Zillow, “Any investor offers and the CMA will include an overview of fees associated with each option to enable sellers to make an informed apples-to-apples comparison.” Changing the Game for Sellers If you’re looking to sell your home but feel some trepidation at approaching the transaction using the traditional model, Instant Offers could quickly connect you with investors and fast-track the entire process. It’s fast, it’s convenient and it comes with relatively little muss and fuss. The lack of staging and scheduling/arranging open houses could be all the incentive many people need. It’s a direct line to the people who are willing to...

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