The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Real Estate Agents

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

Five Powerful Buying Strategies

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

Key Strategies for Buyers

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.

Last Minute Open House Tips

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!

Real Estate Marketing: Leveraging With The Internet

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

When clients leave 68% of the time is because of perceived indifference. “Increasing Sales”

 

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

http://worksmartbesmart.com

 

15 ways that Successful People Think and Act Differently Versus Everyone Else

  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.
  4. Successful people think big.  Others think small.
  5. Successful people focus on opportunities.  Others focus on the obstacles.
  6. Successful people admire other successful people.  Others resent successful people.
  7. Successful people associate with other positive, success people.  Others associate with other negative or unsuccessful people.
  8. Successful people are willing to promote themselves and their value.  Others think negatively about selling and promotion.
  9. Successful people are bigger than their problems.  Others are smaller than their problems.
  10. Successful people are excellent receivers.  Unsuccessful people are poor receivers.
  11. Successful people choose to get paid on results.  Others decide to get paid on time.
  12. Successful people think “both”.  Others think “either/or”.
  13. Successful people have their money work hard for them.  Others work hard for their money.
  14. Successful people act in spite of fear.  Others let fear stop them.
  15. Successful people constantly learn and grow.  Others think they already know.

http://worksmartbesmart.com

How to find people that need your help on Facebook!

Love this trick for finding people on Facebook who need your help…

 

2 ways real estate agents can save on driving expenses

Most real estate agents and brokers spend a good deal of time behind the wheel of their car. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for real estate agents to drive more than 20,000 miles per year for business.

Fortunately, local transportation costs are deductible as business operating expenses if they are ordinary and necessary for your real estate business. Obviously, such expenses are ordinary and necessary for real estate agents and brokers who usually do most of their work away from their office.

It makes no difference what type of transportation you use to make the local trips — car, SUV, limousine, motorcycle, taxi — or whether the vehicle you use is owned or leased.

If you drive a car, SUV or van for business (as most real estate agents do), you have two options for deducting your vehicle expenses:

You can use the standard mileage rate; or
You can deduct your actual expenses for gas, depreciation and other driving costs.

Most people use the standard mileage rate because it is simpler and requires less recordkeeping: You need only to keep track of how many business miles you drive, not the actual expenses for your car, such as the amount you pay for gas.

If you use the standard mileage rate, there is good news: Due to the rising cost of gas, the Internal Revenue Service has increased the mileage rate for the second half of 2011.

How the standard mileage rate works

Under the standard mileage rate, you deduct a specified number of cents for every business mile you drive. The IRS sets the standard mileage rate each year. Ordinarily, there is a single standard mileage rate for the entire year. However, there are now two rates for 2011:

51 cents per mile for all business driving during Jan. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2011; and
51.5 cents per mile for driving during July 1, 2011, through Dec. 31, 2011.

To figure out your deduction, simply multiply your business miles by the applicable standard mileage rate.

Example: Ed drove his car 10,000 miles for his real estate business during the first half of the year, and 10,000 miles during the second half. To determine his car expense deduction, he simply multiplies his business mileage by the applicable standard mileage rate. His deduction for the first half of 2011 is $5100 (51 cents multiplied by 10,000 miles equals $5100). His deduction for the second half of the year is $5450 (54.5 cents multiplied by 10,000 equals $5450).

If you choose the standard mileage rate, you cannot deduct actual car operating expenses, such as maintenance and repairs, gasoline and its taxes, oil, insurance, and vehicle registration fees.

All of those items are factored into the rate set by the IRS. And you can’t deduct the cost of the car through depreciation or Section 179 expensing because the car’s depreciation is also factored into the standard mileage rate (as are lease payments for a leased car).

The only expenses you can deduct (because these costs aren’t included in the standard mileage rate) are:

Interest on a car loan;
Parking fees and tolls for business trips (but you can’t deduct parking ticket fines or the cost of parking your car at your place of work); and
Personal property tax that you paid when you bought the vehicle, based on its value. This is often included as part of your auto registration fee.

You must use the standard mileage rate in the first year you use a car for business or you are forever foreclosed from using that method for that car. If you use the standard mileage rate the first year, you can switch to the actual expense method in a later year, and then switch back and forth between the two methods after that, provided the requirements listed below are met.

For this reason, if you’re not sure which method you want to use, it’s a good idea to use the standard mileage rate the first year you use the car for business. This leaves all your options open for later years.

However, this rule does not apply to leased cars. If you lease your car, you must use the standard mileage rate for the entire lease period if you use it in the first year.
By Stephen Fishman
Inman News™

Craigslist “POST IT FOR YOU” is here!

What is the key to lead generation on Craigslist? Consistency!  When you post consistently you stream a constant flow of leads into your Work Smart Be Smart System that will receive automatic follow up and be converted into hot prospects.  If you don’t post you won’t get leads.  Because we are always working so you don’t have to, we announce “Post It For You.  This new service will post TWO Craigslist ads per week on your behalf.  What is the cost? Post It For You will be included in your monthly membership, so you can generate new leads at no additional cost.


Post It For You Launches August 1st, 2011