10 Social Media Lifeskills for Real Estate Professionals

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 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.

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