If you have kids, then you probably know that most schools teach character education along with the ABC’s and 123′s. And when I was teaching elementary school, there were 10 lifeskills in particular that I focused on with my class each year: integrity, active listening, effort, respect, caring, responsibility, cooperation, trustworthiness, courage, diligence.

These lifeskills set the stage for better communication between teacher and student, student and student, and even child and parent. The lifeskills provided me with the opportunity to help my students interact more positively, engage in cooperative learning, and problem solve when disagreements arose.

With the advent of new marketing techniques (namely social media strategies), it seems rather apparent that we should infuse the lifeskills we learned back in the day (when we began learning to better communicate and cooperate) within our current business goals and strategies. So I’ve taken character education full circle here by suggesting the following: “10 Social Media Lifeskills for Real Estate Professionals”.

1.       Integrity- Be the real you. Strive for authentic engagement by being the same person you are online that you are offline. Instead of selling what you do, share who you are and your daily experiences. And when it comes to your avatar (profile picture) be a person, not a real estate logo. People connect with people, not signs and buildings.

2.       Active Listening– Although it’s important to share your  interests, it’s even more important to pay attention to others. Learning what your network is passionate about only helps you ask better questions, provide better resources, and become a better advisor.  Who’s Talkin? and SocialMention are 2 social search engines that make it even easier to monitor certain people and topics you care about.

3.       Effort- Add value! Know your expertise and passion well enough to identify resources that may be helpful to your network.  If you’re not sure where to look for great resources, try a social bookmarking tool like Delicious or Digg where others share their favorite articles. Monitor your resources and share regularly, provide your own insight and strategies for implementation.

4.       Respect- You gotta give it to get it! Show respect for others, even your “competitors” in your niche. And when it comes to connecting with new people on social networks like Facebook or Linkedin, consider sending a brief authentic message explaining why you’d like to connect or how you know them. Don’t bombard people with spammy or salesy messages. Social Media is NOT about hard-selling, it’s about mutual respect.

5.       Caring- Reach out to others, colleagues and clients alike! And do good things without being asked like retweeting others tweets, “liking” or commenting on Facebook posts, and commenting on or praising blog articles you enjoy. Connect and befriend local clients and business owners online.  For example, join local interest or business based Facebook groups that you care about or want to get involved with, or create your own. Join or volunteer for a local cause. This shows how much you care about the city and neighborhoods you work and live in.

6.       Responsibility- Think before you act and take responsibility for your social interactions. If you write an article or share a resource that you found from someone else, be sure to source that person by linking back to the original article or a social profile. If you make a mistake or offend someone unknowingly, apologize. And be sure to welcome feedback and be responsive to it.

7.       Cooperation- Sometimes you can get to your goal that much faster by collaborating. Share and work together with others in the real estate industry or in your local market area. Draw upon the strengths of others and pool your resources whether it’s organizing an event, creating helpful Web content, or asking for help with a project.  For example, co-host a blog based or Facebook contest, help plan a Tweetup or nearby REBarCamp, guest-post on local business or interest based blogs, co-author a local ebook for homeowners, co-sponsor a charity event, etc.

8.       Trustworthiness- If you make a promise to someone, then do it.  Don’t be a slim shady and betray someone’s trust in you. That’s the fastest way to get unfollowed or unfriended. Provide clear expectations on your blog and social profiles about the real estate services you DO provide. If you list your expertise as working with independent women homeowners, make sure you deliver that expertise online and when working with clients. That’s how you become your network’s trusted advisor!

9.       Courage- Try something new! Are you interested in getting your feet wet with video? Don’t be afraid to dive in and give something a try! It’s all a learning process anyway, and even failed attempts can be endearing!

10.     Diligence- Create a custom social media marketing plan for your real estate business and commit to it. Schedule daily check-in times for maintaining your social profiles and/or read and research time for blog articles. Be consistent!

One last reminder….measure what you make! If you share a resource via Twitter or Facebook, use a URL tracking tool like BudURL, Cli.gs, or Bitly. If you blog, be sure to take advantage of what good analytics can tell you, try Google Analytics or GetClicky.com. Studying what your clients do or don’t react to can provide you with insight as to what kind of content or resources your network finds helpful! This way you can reach more folks and keep the conversation flowing!

 

No Copyright Infringement intended.  Source: 10 Social Media Lifeskills for Real Estate Professionals

The Social Media Experts I’m a fan of will tell you that if you want to succeed in applying social media as a business strategy that it requires planning, consistency, balance, originality, relevancy, and listening…among other things. And they would be right. But when it comes to real estate marketing, many agents struggle with working ON their business because they’re tapped by working IN their business. And for the most part, I’ve always considered that an excuse (myself included).

There is some validity however, to the shear amount of effort required in implementing social media marketing strategies….or ANY effective marketing strategies for that matter. And that’s why I’m not surprised when agents ask me if I can do “the social media” for them. But if you know me, then you know I’m not an automator…I’m an educator. Which means I prefer you learn about the new strategies available to you, best practices for using them, and how to measure their effectiveness.

So whether you or your marketing assistant is syndicating your listings, sending an email drip campaign, blogging or engaging in social media channels…KNOW the plan, the process, AND your role in it! By being a participant who’s just as knowledgeable about your own business as you are about your market area it’s much easier to become a trusted advisor. But obviously it’s not just about being a trusted advisor…it’s about closing deals too. So no matter the strategy or the channel…you need to create an opportunity to convert.

Now the reason I’m so passionate about social media as a real estate marketing strategy is because it gives agents who are willing to be a participant….a huge conversion opportunity. When you take an active role with blogging or Facebook comments and posts, you can directly connect with current and past clients, as well as potential leads.

For example, let’s say you’re passionate about the schools in your local market area. So you decide to get involved with a local “Back to School” cause. You post information about the cause on your Facebook Page telling locals about the supplies needed, where to donate, associated fundraising events, interviews and pictures of local teachers setting up for the school year, etc. If you’re a part of the plan and the process…as well as actively engage on the Page, then you’re creating an opportunity to convert. Especially, when you run into thankful teachers, parents and locals who you’ve been engaging with online. Taking an active roll in your online engagement means it’s easier to take an active roll in your offline engagement.

When you haven’t got a clue what social media strategies are being deployed on your behalf, you’re missing out! Sure you might be getting more online exposure for your brand and listings….but the opportunity to convert is greatly lessened. That’s because when potential client Susie Q sees you at Starbucks and thanks you for helping her neighborhood school you won’t have any idea what she’s talking about. But had you taken an active engagement role online you would be easily able to strike up a relevant and thoughtful conversation…a conversation that could possibly lead to new business tomorrow or someday in the future. And that’s your ROI when it comes to social media.

But if you’re still of the “have it done” mindset, there are plenty of “blog for you, tweet for you, post for you” services popping up. These companies are happy to take your money and create your Web presence for you, as well as automate, duplicate, replicate, and syndicate “relevant” content on your behalf. So if you’re looking for the shortcut to success with social media, there you go! And to be honest, you may very well get the exposure you want….but I highly doubt you’ll get the conversion opportunities you need to take your business to the next level. But who knows, I could be wrong.

I WILL say that there is a happy medium. The relevant content that you drip out through the various channels you participate in can be created by others (but should be supplemented by your own) and can also be scheduled. Tools like HootSuite and Tweetdeck let you schedule and post to a variety of networks. In fact, I created a Tweet Plan for using Hootsuite for both general business and for real estate. And innovators, like the folks at Roost, understand the content dilemma and deployment that real estate professionals are faced with and have created a new tool that will soon ROCK your Facebook world!

Probably the biggest social media roadblock for agents is identifying content that can be shared, retweeted, commented on, blogged about, curated, etc. So I am all for making the organization of content much easier with a homepage or dashboard of content. Alltop, Regator, My6Sense, and Google all offer great options in the organization department. A few savvy real estate companies have even created their own custom content dashboards, and are regularly creating content their agents can share and re-purpose!

So clearly there IS a benefit to “systematizing” your content flow to maximize online exposure…BUT remember that if you go the route of scheduling resourceful tweets and/or posts, that you still need to be listening, responding…and initiating social interactions! More importantly, you still need to be you and bring your passion to whatever marketing strategy you plan for!

MyTechOpinion: You CAN shortcut your way to “success” with social media…but that depends on what success really means to you.

 

No copyright Infringement intended.  Source:  Forget What the Experts Say…You CAN Shortcut Your Way to Success with Social Media

A couple of weeks ago I blogged that one of my goals was to work 40 hours a week or less. Next year it might get decreased to under 35 hours a week, but baby steps are important when dealing with someone who not so long ago worked 80, 90 and 100 hours some weeks.

First of all, recognition of not having a life outside of my real estate business and my kids was the first step – yes I had a problem.  It didn’t seem like a problem though, mainly because I was having a whole lot of fun. Kind of the same reasoning or justification an alcoholic or drug addict speaks of when he or she is still in denial, I’m not hurting anyone and I’m having a great time so whats the problem?  I’m happy!

Next step was to write out a goal to change this life. I sat up all night and I wrote and wrote and wrote this huge long mission for my business and my life like the scene from Jerry McGuire, and I’m not even a writer : ) I read it over and over and it seemed cool, optimistic and encouraging but the next day I trashed the whole plan (even though I loved it). It was too much and how could I even remember the goal when its multiple pages?  So I re-wrote it in 30 seconds and here is what I wrote – WORK 40 –  Pretty damn simple.

All I wanted to do was work like most people in North America, work 40 hours a week so I could make money to have a life. I kept thinking, just because I don’t have a “job” doesn’t mean I should be working double shifts every day.

Lets make something clear before any of you start saying “Well I can’t afford to do that”, Working less doesn’t mean making less. Working less means WORKING LESS!

Of course we have all heard of the 4 Hour Work Week but I hate to tell you this, for most people, especially Realtors, this is impossible. Even the 4 Hour Work Day seems impossible to a lot of people. So yes lets stick to the 40 hour week for a start.

Its funny how people think about working and then dedicating yourself to your career. Back in the 1980s and 1990s it was cool to say I work so much, I put in 80 hours minimum every week and I’m crazy busy. People would say “wow he’s successful. working lots just comes with the territory. He works hard and plays hard. I admire that…” But now that isn’t so cool anymore.

What I think is cool is being able to say I have a created a business that works even when I don’t. I work hard when I work but I don’t work stupid hours anymore and my business doesn’t control me. Can you say that?

The biggest question was how can I make the same amount of money and work half the time I used to? It took me a while and took a lot of soul searching, researching, and I finally came up with this. Ready? And if you want to follow my path here it is. Just follow this simple rule. Look at everything you do in your business and ask yourself this “Do it? Delegate it? Or, Delete it? This will not only save you money, it will also save you a whole lot of time. (Fuck that’s brilliant – doesn’t happen everyday but I have to admit, this one is brilliant.)

Think about everything you do. From printing and filing? To, do I need an office? Do I need to lick these stamps? Do I need to respond to stupid emails? To getting an initial from a client. To even answering blocked numbers… instantly I smell a TW (time waster).  How about this? Writing thank you cards.

Do it. There are certain things we need to do and since we ARE our product we can’t get around them. So these are the things we must do. Like showing properties, getting listings, and signing offers.

Delegate it. You can’t get around accounting, marketing, and other Must Do tasks, but do WE need to do them? Presenting offers is usually under this category for me. All my thank you cards and expired cards are hand written by a retired woman in the West End and her hand writing looks amazing and she only charges me $2.00.

Delete it. Here are the things that are going to blow your mind. For example, and this might be an extreme but I never answer my phone unless you are an active client, close friend or family member. Realtors setting up appointments need to text or email me. Buyer leads need to do the same.  This is a huge time saver.  Dinners and lunches were also a massive TW that I don’t do anymore. Breakfasts only (***** NOTE ***** The problem with dinners is that they never end). The list goes on and on and I love it!

Another way I have saved time is becoming pickier with with taking listings.  If its not a condo or in Downtown Vancouver (unless its a family member or someone close to me) I wont take the listing. Since I don’t use lockboxes and I actually work for my listings, its too much of a waste of time driving an hour for 1 showing.  I’d rather refer it to a local specialist and this is what I mean by Delegate.  Make money doing nothing, who can argue with that?

Even the amount of people I want to work with has changed. We can file this under DELEGATE too. All the Internet leads go to people I work with. I have enough business so why am I working these leads? I would rather delegate these leads and get a referral rather than waste my time. Now I only work with 1 new buyer a month. They either have to be past clients or motivated clients. Just because I have 5 new leads everyday and I could do 100 more deals this year doesn’t mean I should.  It certainly doesn’t mean I would be happier either.

Another huge thing I needed to do was set parameters so I could control my business, instead of letting my business control me. Parameters as to what kind of product I want to sell. Where I want to sell it. Who I want to work with. How much I am going to work for. And the hours I’m going to work. Everything is posted on my website.

Personally in the summer I work Saturdays and Sundays and take Monday and Tuesdays off because my kids are out of school. However, when my kids are in school I don’t work Sundays… no ifs ands or buts.

Regular Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Saturdays 12:00 to 4:00.

Or Summer Hours

Wednesday to Friday 9:00 am to 8:00 pm. Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 to 4:00.

Yes mathematically that makes up more than 40 hours a week. I don’t work all those hours, they are my office hours, those are the hours you might get me out to a property, a listing presentation or get an email reply. Yes those are my hours and I stick to them as best I can and if you don’t like it there are 10,000 other Realtors in Vancouver who are out there who would be happy to run you around the city.

Think about this. If I went to my favourite restaurant that obviously post their dinner hours on the door and I called with 24 hours notice and asked if I could come in 4 hours earlier to have a steak, they  would most likely say, take a hike. If I called my doctor and told him I’m coming in at 10:00 pm because I have a sore throat, he probably wouldn’t even answer. And lastly, if I went to the Vancouver Airport and said I need a flight to Hawaii in 5 minutes they would probably laugh in my face. So why did I as a realtor jump when a potential client (not even a past client) calls to see a condo?

Its easy to set these parameters but it takes a whole lot of discipline to be true to them. It may sting at first and seem totally unnatural but in the long run you’ll have a more solid business, have more free time, and more importantly be known for something, like Downtown Condos.

I love my business, I love my clients, and I love my life but just making more money is kind of a boring challenge year after year. So not only is this a goal but its kind of a riddle for me that challenges me everyday – How can I make more money and work less?

This post means the world to me and I could go on and on for days about this but I’m going to leave you with this one question and please answer this question honestly.

Do you control your business or does your business control you?

 

No copyright Infringement intended. Source: The 40 Hour Work Week

In today’s tough economy, real estate agents are doing everything they can to be successful and stay ahead of their competition. While many agents have reverted back to the basics to get them through these trying times, thinking outside the box may be more important now than ever before. Here, Scott Dixon, president of the real estate division, Network Communications discusses the seven habits that real estate agents should possess.

Successful real estate agents share a lot of attributes. By looking closely at their habits, we can learn a lot about how to be more successful ourselves. During this dramatic change in the housing market, we commissioned a study through OSR Research of more than 1,000 top agents to learn how they create and sustain success.

The Real Estate Agent Marketing Study for 2009 provides an easy-to-follow blueprint of what it takes to achieve. The lessons are simple. In fact, they can be boiled down to seven smart habits:

HABIT #1: Invest in Marketing. Top agents know that to build business and attract a high amount of activity, they must invest in their own business.

The average agent spends about $7,500 a year on marketing and earns around $88,750. That’s about 8.4% of their income spent on all marketing: advertising, Internet promotion, direct mail, e-mail and personal websites.

Top agents making more than $200,000 yearly spend nearly $20,000 on marketing-roughly 10% of their income. They make it a habit to get their name in front of consumers frequently and professionally.

HABIT #2: Spread the Wealth. Smart agents don’t put all their marketing eggs in one basket or take shortcuts. When asked how they spent their money, three key marketing channels rose to the top. They spend about one-quarter of their budget on real estate magazines and related websites, one-quarter on their website and one-quarter on all Internet marketing.

They know when a home shopper starts searching; they look everywhere for information. Making a strong impression from the start creates a bond of trust and confidence and turns into a profitable relationship. They make sure their personal brand is everywhere-in print, online and all around town.

HABIT #3: Track Your Results. Why spend unless you know what works? Eighty-five percent say they measure the effectiveness of their marketing. The more they spend, the more they focus on measurable results. They monitor phone numbers, measure leads to closed sales and ask about all sources used to search for homes. They make no assumptions.

HABIT #4: Set Clear Marketing Goals. Seventy-six percent consider marketing essential to getting and maintaining listings. They clearly strive to show sellers exactly how they attract buyers, gain more good prospects and sell more homes. That’s key to their business-and why they believe strongly in their marketing investment.

HABIT #5: Experiment with New Technology. As more communication channels emerge, 25% are testing new tools like blogs and social media. However, they don’t abandon tried-and-true sources of activity. What’s new comes after their base advertising decisions.

HABITS #6 & #7: Stand Out from the Crowd and Work with Market Leaders. When asked which brands were most recognized, over 85% cited long-term players like The Real Estate Book and Realtor.com. Agents know, in uncertain times, consumers interact with brands they trust, and they align themselves with the strongest in the industry.

Those are the key habits-ones with a proven impact. In challenging times like these, knowing you can adopt simple and proven techniques to succeed is strong and reassuring.

No copyright Infringement intended.  Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents

In a perfect world, it would be easy to always be objective and make rational decisions based on sound information. In reality, emotions and timing often have a big effect. Sometimes the best you can do is try to set the stage so that you minimize the subjective influences.

Give yourself power and control. Don’t find yourself in the position of “having” to buy and doing so in haste.

1 – Work out the finances first.

Paying cash? Getting a mortgage? Find out what you can afford and check out all your various options.

Meet with whatever experts you need to in order to have all your facts – a lender, your tax advisor, etc. Knowing exactly what you want to spend and can spend will eliminate time spent looking at properties you can’t have.

Not only that, when you find the right property you can make a “clean” offer without a financing contingency. Sellers are more likely to respond favorably to clean offers.


2 – Unless you really want to own two properties, sell first.

Then buy. First of all, the property you want will probably not take a contingency offer. So unless you are prepared to own both (and you have to plan for a worst case scenario) you are wasting your time with the offer.

Second, if you are emotionally attached to what you want to buy you won’t be as objective on selling your home. You may take less than it’s worth so that you don’t lose the other home. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you understand the financial implications.

3 – Use a realtor who knows the market.

That may sound too simple in this age of the internet, when buyers have access to the same data the agent has. The difference is the ability to interpret that data.

Full-time realtors do more than show homes and write contracts. They study market trends and observe area fluctuations. You are thinking about your needs now. But your agent is thinking about both now and in the future when you are ready to sell again and looking for your future resale opportunities.

In addition, the internet is an increasingly non-objective source of information. Many websites do not display all the properties that are for sale
in a given area because of contractual conflicts. And most new communities are not listed at all in any search vehicle. A professional realtor should be able to show you all the homes that fit your needs.

4 – Wait till your toes curl.

In other words, don’t get pressured into making a decision. When you find the right home you will know it (your toes will curl or the little hairs on the back of your neck will stand up).

That doesn’t mean look at 200 homes before you make a decision. Sometimes it’s the first home you see. But don’t let an agent, a seller, or a spouse, push you into something you don’t feel good about.

 

5 – You can’t have it all.

Decide what is most important in your next home and put it into perspective. If it’s location, or price, or view, or square footage, or school districts, or amenities, or whatever.

Remember that some things can be changed. Floors, kitchens, landscaping, etc. are all changeable. So if they are not perfect, they can be. But location, view, amenities, etc. are there forever.

No matter what your budget, the good fairy of real estate did not go – poof! There it is. It simply doesn’t happen. Everyone has to make compromises. So decide what truly matters to you and put that at the top of your list. Give in on what doesn’t matter as much.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll get the home you desire.

 

No Copyright Infringement intended. Source: Five Powerful Buying Strategies

How do I figure out what to offer?

Learn as much about market values as you can. Look at comparable properties. Ask your agent to prepare a comparative market evaluation of the property that will tell you recent selling prices of comparable properties. When market values are rising, there is a bit of guesswork involved in pricing. You may need to be a trendsetter and pay a bit more than recent comparable sales to be the successful bidder. Find out all you can about the property before writing an offer.

Do sellers have to disclose the terms of other offers?

Sellers are not legally obligated to disclose the terms of other offers to prospective buyers.

How do I get the real scoop on homes I am looking at?

Home inspections, seller disclosure requirements and the agent’s experience will help. Disclosure laws vary by state, but in some states, the law requires the seller to complete a real estate transfer disclosure statement.
Here is a summary of the things you could expect to see in a disclosure form:
  • In the kitchen — a range, oven, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, trash compactor.
  • Safety features such as burglar and fire alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, security gate, window screens and intercom.
  • The presence of a TV antenna or satellite dish, carport or garage, automatic garage door opener, rain gutters, sump pump.
  • Amenities such as a pool or spa, patio or deck, built-in barbeque and fireplaces.
  • Type of heating, condition of electrical wiring, gas supply and presence of any external power source, such as solar panels.
  • The type of water heater, water supply, sewer system or septic tank also should be disclosed.
Sellers also are required to indicate any significant defects or malfunctions existing in the home’s major systems. A checklist specifies interior and exterior walls, ceilings, roof, insulation, windows, fences, driveway, sidewalks, floors, doors, foundation, as well as the electrical and plumbing systems. The form also asks sellers to note the presence of environmental hazards, walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners, any encroachments or easements, room additions or repairs made without the necessary permits or not in compliance with building codes, zoning violations, citations against the property and lawsuits against the seller affecting the property. Also look for, or ask about, settling, sliding or soil problems, flooding or drainage problems and any major damage resulting from earthquakes, floods or landslides. People buying a condominium must be told about covenants, codes and restrictions or other deed restrictions. It’s important to note that the simple idea of disclosing defects has broadened significantly in recent years. Many jurisdictions have their own mandated disclosure forms as do many brokers and agents. Also, the home inspection and home warranty industries have grown significantly to accommodate increased demand from cautious buyers. Be sure to ask questions about anything that remains unclear or does not seem to be properly addressed by the forms provided to you.

What are the standard contingencies?

Most purchase offers include two standard contingencies: a financing contingency, which makes the sale dependent on the buyers’ ability to obtain a loan commitment from a lender, and an inspection contingency, which allows buyers to have professionals inspect the property to their satisfaction. As a buyer, you could forfeit your deposit under certain circumstances, such as backing out of the deal for a reason not stipulated in the contract. The purchase contract must include the seller’s responsibilities, such things as passing clear title, maintaining the property in its present condition until closing and making any agreed-upon repairs to the property.

What are some tips on negotiation?

There are several cardinal rules to negotiating effectively. One is do your homework, and learn as much about the property as you can. Another is to play your cards close to your vest and not reveal too much information to the other party or their agent. Don’t let yourself get rushed into any decision, no matter how tempting it may be. Finally, if you have doubts about your negotiating skill, hire someone to help. The more you know about a seller’s motivation, the stronger a negotiating position you are in. For example, a seller who must move quickly due to a job transfer may be amenable to a lower price with a speedy escrow. Other so-called “motivated sellers” include people going through a divorce or who have already purchased another home. Remember, that the listing price is what the seller would like to receive but is not necessarily what they will settle for. Before making an offer, check the recent sales prices of comparable homes in the neighborhood to see how the seller’s asking price stacks up. Some experts discourage making deliberate low-ball offers. While such an offer can be presented, it can also sour the sale and discourage the seller from negotiating at all.

Is a low offer a good idea?

While your low offer in a normal market might be rejected immediately, in a buyer’s market a motivated seller will either accept or make a counteroffer. Full-price offers or above are more likely to be accepted by the seller. But there are other considerations involved: Is the offer contingent upon anything, such as the sale of the buyer’s current house? If so, a low offer, even at full price, may not be as attractive as an offer without that condition. Is the offer made on the house “as is”, or does the buyer want the seller to make some repairs or lower the price instead? Is the offer all cash, meaning the buyer has waived the financing contingency? If so, then an offer at less than the asking price may be more attractive to the seller than a full-price offer with a financing contingency. You should always do your homework about comparable prices in the neighborhood before making any offer. It also pays to know something about the seller’s motivation. A lower price with a speedy escrow, for example, may motivate a seller who must move, has another house under contract or must sell quickly for other reasons.

How do I handle the purchase offer when buying a for-sale-by-owner home?

If you do not have the expertise to draft a purchase contract, consider hiring a real estate attorney for this critical part of the transaction. If you are short on time and have little experience with real estate sales, you also can hire a real estate agent for an hourly rate or a fixed fee to represent you in the transaction. Some agents will handle such a transaction for a discounted fee because they will not have to spend time and money marketing the property or showing you the property.
Buyer / Agent Action Plan
Discuss current market conditions and requirements
Develop purchase and timing strategy
Learn about the neighborhood if it is new, i.e. schools, community services, recreation
Discuss your “New Home Wish List” with your agent
Tour homes that fit your criteria
Agent handles all follow-up with listing agents
Agent contacts you as soon as homes become available in your areas of interest
Agent explains basic real estate principles – agency relationships, contracts, etc.
Agent writes offers on homes on your behalf
Discuss the closing process and financing options
Identify any property of the seller’s you want included in sale (light fixtures, fridge etc.)
Agent provides updates to you on a regular basis
Re-evaluate strategy after 30 days
Agent represents your interests during negotiations
Agent must handle last minute contingencies concerning the contract, inspection, appraisal, etc.
 
No Copyright Infringement intended.

Let’s face it. There aren’t that many Open Houses held by Realtors® recently. With the amount of foreclosures on the market, bargain properties tend to sell quicker and more often than owner-occupied non-distressed sales. Foreclosures are priced at rock bottom, leading homebuyers away from turn-key properties to bank-owned real estate and short sales. Sometimes, these homes tend to get multiple offers and there is stiff competition, but no matter. Homebuyers are attracted to the wholesale market realizing that asking prices like these were unheard of just a few years ago. This has led to a decline in hope for the real estate market in general and Open Houses in particular.

However, this does not mean that as a seller you should shun Open Houses completely. Even though prices seem to be the focus in a home buyer’s mind, remember that the real concern always has and will be value. If you can show a potential homebuyer the value in your home not just by pricing it right but also by showing it to its full advantage on Open House day, you have a pretty good chance of getting that home sold. In an effort to showcase that value, here are some last minute tips for that fateful day.

Get that Litter Box Out!

Everyone (okay, almost everyone) loves a nice, fluffy cat. But the litter box can drive buyers away. Especially if it is found – as in most places – in the bathroom. Definitely clean it. Or better yet, get all cats out with their litter box for the length of a few hours. Bathrooms and kitchens still sell homes! Buyers like to imagine the bathroom as a spa, a place to relax. If they can’t get the stink out of their nose, they’ll leave in a hurry, leaving you with no chance to sell them your home.

Smell your Home!

All houses have a smell and the worst thing you can do is not notice that. You must ensure that your home smells clean as soon as someone steps in the door. And not just clean. It must be inviting and warm. This means no disinfectant smell – no one wants to buy a hospital – and no flowery spray that has homebuyers sneezing as soon as they enter. Light some candles if you have to. The smell of baking cookies is supposed to be fairly inviting and research suggests it creates an atmosphere of altruism. It might just make your homebuyers more willing to offer a better price!

Let there be Light!

Sunshine is a strong inducer of good feelings and a general sense of wellbeing. If you don’t believe me, just think of how many people feel blue in the winter. So don’t create that sense of foreboding and general depression in your home buyers. There are a million things to stress over when people are looking for a house, so don’t create an atmosphere that will encourage worrying. Open the curtains. Turn on lights – for once, don’t worry about energy savings. Light illuminates and highlights features in your home. Why hide them? This is the time to show off. Your home is on display. Make it feel like a well-lit museum!

Clear Clutter! (And Know where to Hide It)

This might not be a last minute rule because some people have a lot more clutter than they’re willing to admit. But assuming you have been getting rid of excess stuff from the very beginning, make sure that on Open House day things like extra kitchen appliances (yes, even the coffee grinder is an extra!) makeup, and so on are put away. Again, kitchens and bathrooms sell homes but those are also the two areas the most clutter is found. Sweep it all into a drawer if you have to at the last minute. But get it out of the way. The focus should be on the real estate you’re selling and clutter only distracts home buyers. Sure, they’ll probably clutter it up as soon as they buy the home and move in, but no one sells a home the way they live in it. If you think this is artifice, get used to it. No model really looks that way. And for the Open House your home is a model.

Highlight the Entrance to the House

This involves getting rid of all dying, dead or otherwise ugly plants, dirty welcome mats, shoes, cribs, toys, flip-flops, empty pots, gardening tools and whatever else you like to leave by the door in your daily life. The entrance to the home must welcome. Get a new mat if you have to and maybe some new plants. Turn on the porch lights. If you have a lit walkway to the home, turn those lights on as well. If you live in the country like I do it’s also a good idea to put a balloon on the mailbox and shine those house numbers. You want to guide and invite potential homebuyers and lead them through the door. It’s almost like you’re a tour guide without actually being there. If they mistakenly enter the neighbor’s house (like my guests sometimes do) because the entrance doesn’t tell them where to go, your Open House is already a failure. So lead and guide and ensure that along the way they notice all the great things about your garden, your driveway, your property.

Space Still Wins!

Remember how I mentioned value earlier? Sometimes the value homebuyers see is in spaces that the home sellers do not. And that is real estate blasphemy! Let me explain. If you have a patio, ensure that the home buyers see it. Don’t just assume they will read your mind. I mean, of course it’s a patio. Of course, they will see that they can have a barbecue here. And a little set. And sit and enjoy summers. No. You have to spell it out. Why not landscape it with some potted plants, set a patio set and an umbrella out and a few seats? Maybe they’ll actually linger there longer and see how they can use it. What this does is creates an illusion of added square footage. Even if the home is small and it has a great patio, the increased usable space will usually make homebuyers glad. And in California where the weather is great almost year round, they can see how the home can be a great place to live as well as entertain!

The one common thread through all these last minute Open House tips is this: above everything homebuyers must be able to picture themselves in your home. Your clutter, or an odd smell or too many appliances, dirt and so on are things that remind them that the home isn’t theirs. We like resale homes because they come in established communities but think of homebuyers who walk into new constructions. The idea that something has never been lived in has a certain charm to it. And while of course you can’t do anything short of build a new home to give them that, you can certainly create the illusion of a never lived in home by following these tips. Keep it clean, warm, friendly, spacious and inviting and you’ll soon be packing!

online real estateHow do you find clients and prospects? Ten different folks offers you twelve totally different answers, and the scary thing is – they’d be proper!

There are lots of different ways to market your self and your enterprise with a purpose to appeal to clients. For now, let’s discuss some ways that you should use the web to market your self and your business.

Electronic mail Signatures If you first turned a Realtor, I am sure you let all your friends and family – your sphere of influence – find out about your decision. Some of them probably contacted you to start a business relationship, but others may need forgotten precisely what their second cousin is doing now.

By utilizing an e-mail signature on the backside of ALL your e mail (together with private electronic mail) you’ll be able to let everybody that you simply e-mail know that you’re a Realtor. Your signature will be performed in any number of methods-and you may change it as many instances as you prefer to!

Hold it simple, and positively embrace how they can contact you. It’s possible you’ll choose to use your business card as your signature, or create a particular one only for email.

Web site Do you will have an internet site but? The overwhelming majority of Real Estate firms do and you most likely have a “web presence” by the company. But do you will have your individual personal website?

Through the use of your own private website, you’ll be able to showcase your individual listings, allow guests to look the entire MLS in your space – and then contact YOU to view the homes.

You can also feature tons of data in your visitors to access. By creating this “one stop store” in your net visitors, you’re in essence changing into THE authority on your area.

Folks who want to know the perfect neighborhoods during which to live in your city might be coming to your web site to search out this information. You may capitalize on these guests by utilizing the following strategy.

Ezine A great way to stay in touch with clients and prospects is doing an electronic mail newsletter. Each one who visits your website has the potential to be a prospect! But, if you have no technique of capturing their data you’ll never be capable to connect with them.

If you’re utilizing an electronic mail checklist service equivalent to Aweber or iContact, you’ll be able to simply capture the e-mail addresses of your web site visitors…and they’re going to gladly share the data with you!

This is how: the email listing services provide a free snippet of HTML code that you simply or your web designer can insert into your website. The code will ask your guests for no matter information you want. I recommend asking just for a primary identify (to personalize your emails) and for their e mail address.

Marketing specialists agree that people usually tend to share their email deal with with you than they’re to share address and phone number. After getting them on your electronic mail record, you possibly can ask them for that information when it turns into clear they are attention-grabbing in utilizing you as their Realtor. HINT: Make the sign up process straightforward with the form, and irresistible with a free special report that meets the needs of your best client.

Another great article by Canyon Meadows Calgary Real Estate. This article, Real Estate Marketing: Leveraging With The Internet is available for free reprint.

 

No Copyright Infringement intended.

Source: Real Estate Marketing: Leveraging With The Internet

 

Clients leave because they think you don’t care.  Increasing sales.

http://worksmartbesmart.com

 

  1. Successful people believe “I create my life”.  Others believe “Life happens to me”.
  2. Successful people play the game to win.  Others play the game not to lose.
  3. Successful people are committed to constant improvement. Others want to improve.
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