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How to Prepare Your Clients for a Natural Disaster
After selling a new home, you encourage your clients to care for their new investments. You might suggest that they buy security systems and ensure they have the right homeowners insurance. But what about preparing for natural disasters? This is a growing concern for homeowners, especially with coastal flood-prone properties. From floods and earthquakes to wildfires and hurricanes, natural disasters can do costly damage to homes and belongings. In fact, natural disasters rack up an annual average of over $162.5 billion in damages. And while home insurance helps, it may not cover everything. Before the next disaster hits, make sure your clients aren't left in the dark (literally and figuratively). Stay informed on what most people overlook when preparing for a natural disaster, and help your customers keep their belongings safe. Here's a list to get you started. 1. Have a Plan for Your Pets Most homeowners have a plan for how they'll move themselves and their families out of disaster zone, but not everyone plans ahead for their pets. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says it's imperative that pet owners follow evacuation orders and bring their pets with them in a disaster situation. The best way to protect four-legged friends is to build an emergency pet plan. Your Local Security has a detailed pet emergency resource page full of sample pet-specific disaster preparedness plans, guidelines for caring for a pet throughout a disaster, and pet supply kit lists.  2. Backup Electronic Data From tablets to TVs to smartphones, Americans have dozens of electronic items that could be destroyed if exposed to the elements during a natural disaster. Though you can encourage your clients to store electronic items off the ground and plug them in to surge protectors, there's little guarantee that sensitive gadgets will be able to weather a storm securely. Fortunately, most electronics are replaceable. What can't be as easily replaced is the data they contain. The general rule is to make three copies of data, store it in at least two different formats, and make sure one copy is stored somewhere safe. How-To Geek has a handy guide for handling data in natural disasters, which you can pass on to any clients who work with a lot of digital information. 3. Take or Safely Store Irreplaceable Goods One-of-a-kind items valued for family significance will be impossible to replace if destroyed in a natural disaster, as will antique collectibles. Fortunately, experts at the Smithsonian have an entire Cultural Rescue Initiative, a global effort to protect and preserve cultural artifacts in disaster-ridden areas. The Smithsonian also shares tips on how to prepare these valuable heirlooms for an emergency. Make sure your clients are apprised of the resources available for heirloom care before and after a disaster. The National Heritage Responders are a team of conservators that offer 24/7 advice and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has various tip sheets for salvaging flood- and fire-damaged family keepsakes. 4. Take Inventory of Specialty Items and Valuables Custom woodworking tools, a studio stocked with photography equipment, or a library of antique books — these types of prized possessions are often incredibly valuable and expensive. They can also be the most difficult to secure in the event of a natural disaster. While your clients may not be able to guarantee the safety of their specialty goods during a severe weather event, they can take steps to ensure easier replacement after the event is over. Advise your buyers to take an excellent inventory of every item, including pictures and serial numbers. They should also talk to an insurance professional about the possibility of putting an additional rider on their home insurance policy to cover high-value items. 5. Important Documents In an emergency situation, few people remember to take care of important documents like birth certificates or property deeds. While some documents may seem inconsequential, the process of replacing official records and licenses can be taxing and time consuming. FEMA has a great resource detailing which documents should be protected. With the right organization and prep work, it's relatively easy to save paperwork from disaster. They just need to be electronically copied and then stored in a safe container—like a waterproof bag, fireproof safe, or a safe-deposit box. Passing Disaster-Preparedness Tips Along to Clients You sold your clients their homes—now help them protect their investments. You can be a valuable resource to your buyers by sharing emergency preparedness tips with them. Use this email template and checklist to encourage your clients to take disaster preparedness seriously: Dear [Client Name], You've invested a lot in making your house a home, and we want to help you keep that investment safe from natural disasters. Attached is a checklist of 15 things to consider as you prepare for a severe weather event. Best, [Your Name] With a real estate CRM, you can easily segment leads into lists (e.g., for those who will be/have been impacted by a storm) and email them with mass communication tools. For more details on how to do this, schedule a demo with us today. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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How to Create a Social Media Manifesto
Social media is vital to your business, by helping to validate your brand, increase traffic to your website and open the lines of communication between you and your customers. If you don't have a compass to guide you on the digital sphere, it might be time you create your own social media manifesto. This statement of ideals and intentions will help you foster a commitment and enable you to stay the course for why you're really on social media. The reason for creating a social media manifesto is not just being on social media for the sake of being there – but rather what is your driving force for being there? Make this your personal declaration to serve as a bold statement of principles. You want to provoke change within your space – so what will you stand for as a real estate agent on social media? Consider the Why – Before the How The why goes before the how. If you're on social media just to be on it – then you're wasting a golden opportunity to connect, listen, educate and engage with your audience. What Makes You Different? How will you appeal to the heart of your audience, rather than the head? Think about it this way, Apple doesn't portray themselves as technology providers – they're about innovation. So what are you about? You're an agent by profession – but you're much more than that. You're a connector, a problem-solver, a confidante, a dream maker, and a consultant. Use this as a launch pad to show your passion when developing your manifesto for social media – this is an extension of who you are. You own these channels through and through, so make sure that everything you post has a direct artery to your brand guidelines and your core values. Size Up the Competition Execute your due diligence and create a competitive analysis on what your competitors are doing in the digital world. Look at how often they post, what approach they take, and if they are actively engaging with their audience. You can often find their strengths and weaknesses on the platform, and peel a page right out of their book – or exploit the gaps in their strategy. Content Rules the Kingdom A successful social media presence is all about quality – not quantity. Creating an effective and engaging social media presence takes time and experience – but it also takes some creativity. Here are some great content ideas to ignite your creative juices. Behind the scenes Everyone loves exclusive access, so give the people what they want and peel back the real estate curtain. Have fun with it! Promote a local charity or drive Build trust with your audience by tapping into your community and showing your social responsibility. You could show past events, results from how much you've raised and promote new ones coming up. Throw it back Everyone has heard of #ThrowbackThursday. Dive into your archives and show something of yours from memory lane. It's a great personal touch! Top housewarming gifts What's the greatest housewarming gift you can think of? There are so many ways to get creative around this – and everyone needs new ideas! What's trending? The internet moves at a fast pace, and it's important to keep up with the latest trends. See how social media influencers compose a post and take a page from their book. (Hint: use the explore tab on your Instagram account for research.) Interior design tips You've been around enough homes and professional decorators to have developed a keen eye for design. Highlight some of your best tips on your blog and social. Get personal Showcase your family and friends on your account and what you would do around the home or off-hours, It adds a personal element to your brand. A day in the life of an agent It's no secret that real estate agents are machines. Design some content around what a day in the life actually looks like. Customer appreciation events Promote a customer appreciation event and show off pictures from your last one. What Does Success Look Like to You? You can use your social media vehicles to help accomplish several business objectives, but it would be wise to narrow your focus and aim to target a few primary areas. You obviously want to build up your audience, but where do you go from there? Are you using this for sales? Customer loyalty and retention? Awareness? Or is it just a platform to show your lighter side? Define your metrics and key performance indicators in order to know what to measure. Working the Plan Focus on being social – rather than just engaging in social media. This doesn't mean that you can set it and forget it, because otherwise, you might be missing out of conversations going on all around you and creative ways to interact with new audiences. Remember, one size doesn't fit all on social media. How you would frame a piece of content on Twitter can be completely different on Instagram. You have to work with these parameters to tell your story. For example, you have to work with 280 characters or less on Twitter, whereas on Instagram you can let a high-resolution image tell your story, with the ability to add text in your caption, along with up to 30 hashtags to expand its reach. To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blog.
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zipForm Mobile and TouchSign
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3 Stand-out Video Hacks: Making Videos that Get Clicks!
You probably have heard that video is one of the most powerful and persuasive forms of communication. The statistics for the impact of YouTube alone are staggering: 2 billion monthly users, 74% of US adults use YouTube, and it's the world's second-most visited website, right after Google, which owns YouTube. On Facebook, the popularity of video is equally stunning. More than 4 billion views occur on Facebook daily, totaling 100 million hours of viewing. Facebook also wants your videos posted directly to Facebook, as they get 478% more shares on Facebook than videos linked from other sources, like YouTube. A Forrester Research analyst estimates that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, equal to more than 3,500 web pages. Most importantly, research by the National Association of Realtors found that 85 percent of all buyers prefer to work with an agent who uses video. However, NAR says fewer than half of all agents rarely or never use video. While many agents may use video in their marketing and promotional activities, even then, their efforts often fall short. Video tours have long been the primary type of video agents create. However, most video tours yield only a handful of views. While some video tours may generate hundreds and sometimes thousands of viewers, those are the exception, not the rule for video tours. How can you get more clicks when using videos? Here are three hacks to help you generate more viewers and engagement when you upload and promote your videos on both YouTube and Facebook: Create community tours: When someone buys a home, they are not just buying a property; they are buying into a community and the lifestyle their local area offers. What the internet often fails to do is visually showcase local communities with video tours. You can stand out from other agents by being the local expert and capturing tours of what people want to see: the local stores, parks, community centers, schools, restaurants, hiking, or biking trails – whatever makes your community unique and livable. Creating videos that showcase the area where they are buying will gain many viewers and perhaps more deals for you. Local Market Updates: Being the local expert also means you know what is happening in your marketplace. The internet is filled with big picture real estate statistics, but often misses the local picture. With video, you can share what's happening down to the local neighborhood level: how many homes sold, their first offer price and final sales price, how fast homes are selling, new developments planned, and more. Giving context to local trends – year-over-year and month-to-month changes – helps communicate your expertise and trustworthiness. Market update videos are great to share with both prospects and past clients as a way to stay both in touch and top of mind. Top 5 videos: One of the greatest challenges that agents face is figuring out what to share that people will be interested in reading or watching. Creating fresh and engaging content isn't easy. But there is a tried-and-true formula that has worked for many agents who create videos that grab a lot of eyeballs. The concept makes it easy to figure out video content you can create that others will be interested in watching. It's highlighting the "Top 5" in your community. Being a local expert, you know more about your community than just the real estate market. You know the best places to shop, dine, relax, and explore. You can capture and share that knowledge on video. Top 5 videos can include the Top 5 places to eat, Top 5 parks, Top 5 hiking trails, Top 5 places to shop, and you can even get more specific, such as the Top 5 pizzas. If you are in a market with seasons, you can create the Top 5 things to do in the winter/spring/summer/fall, or feature the Top 5 community events. There are many ways to create fresh and exciting videos around this theme. Most importantly, these types of videos can help solidify your position as the go-to local expert. As you can see, the one thing all these types of videos have in common is they have a local focus. Connecting your brand as the local expert by creating local videos helps you stand apart from other agents. By making video a key component of your marketing and promotional efforts, you can expand your reach significantly, reminding prospects and past clients about you and your real estate business. And remember, if you ever have general tech questions, a Tech Helpline expert is only a call or click away! To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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How to Increase Your Income as a Real Estate Agent
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How to Prosper in a Low Inventory Market
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 at 10:00 AM PDT Join us to learn what it takes to prosper in a low inventory market riddled with corporate competitors such as Zillow, Redfin, and Opendoor. Russell Shaw, one of the nation's top real estate agents since 1978, will share tips you can implement to come out on top. Tune in for: Market predictions Secrets to maintaining a successful business How to tell if your brokerage is holding you back Register now!
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Clever Ways to Use Text Message Marketing for Real Estate
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How to Create the Perfect Email Address for Real Estate Agents
An email address can say a lot about a real estate agent. Sometimes it's the only form of contact they'll have with real estate leads. So it is important to look professional and also make it easy to remember. Here are some tips to follow. 1. You Need to Use the Word 'Realtor' in the Correct Context There are plenty of bad examples that we would advise against when using the word "Realtor." According to NAR guidelines, you can only use the word when it is coupled with your first and last name. So [email protected] is okay. @DoeJaneRealtor works too. [email protected], while great for branding, goes against NAR guidelines. 2. Make It Easy for Prospects to Remember If you can, try to craft your real estate email address without numbers or characters. This includes "_" and ".", as those with a touch screen will have to access a separate keyboard to type that symbol in. Homebuyers are already stressed enough, so make it easy on them with a simple email address that is either your name or your branding. 3. Not All Email Services Are Equal After years of working in the real estate industry, I've seen plenty of agents utilize free email services such as AOL, Yahoo, and Gmail for their business communications. We would strongly advise against using AOL and Yahoo emails primarily for their high likelihood to filter emails into spam inboxes. Gmail, however, is perfectly acceptable. 4. Use Company Branded Emails if You Need to Company branded emails are great to establish your credibility before they even open up the email. There is a certain level of legitimacy—if a real estate prospect receives an email from a person that is part of recognizable brand, they are more likely to open it if they are in the market to buy or sell a home. The biggest caveat to using an email address provided by your company is that it gets turned off if you ever leave your company. 5. Use a Self-Branded Email Address These emails with vanity domain names are probably your best option. They usually will cost a monthly or annual fee. However, it helps keep brand consistency for your internet presence. It makes it much easier for a real estate lead to find you online if your website address, email address, and social media usernames are the same. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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RPR Works Everywhere, Just Like You
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Find Sellers Now! Farming for Prospects with RPR
If you know anything about real estate right now, you know that inventory is tight. In this market, you simply can't wait for sellers to come to you. You've got to go find them! And you find them by farming for prospects. Geographic farming is one of the most tried and true techniques when it comes to an agent's long term success. You need to find the right neighborhoods, crunch data to determine if they're ripe, and effectively market yourself to the homeowners in the area over a sustained period. Not sure where to start? RPR is here to map out your path to success... You build a farm—then harvest it for leads! If you're not familiar with geographical farming, here's a simplified explanation: a farm is an area, usually a neighborhood, that you identify as having great potential to market yourself to in order to find prospects and clients. RPR can help you with both. Find your farm and dig So how do you figure out if a neighborhood is worth targeting? Turnover rate is one of the most important factors to consider. Turnover is a percentage of how many homes have sold in a defined area in a year. For example, if an area has one hundred homes, and 10 are sold in a year, the turnover rate is 10%. A good rule of thumb is that your farm area must have at least a 5% turnover rate for you to invest in targeting it. Another important thing to look for when doing this research is to see if a market is dominated by one agent already. If one agent already has 25% or more of the listings in an area, you might want to look elsewhere. This agent has beaten you to it and has obviously already invested their time, resources, etc. We're not saying you can't do it or that it is impossible, but it's more difficult to establish yourself in a market that's already been fished. Or farmed, in this case. Market yourself to your farm After you've found your area and done your homework to make sure it's a fertile farm, you need to market yourself to those homeowners. You'll need to apply a mix of marketing tactics, over at least a one year period, including email, social media posts, phone calls, door knocking (post-COVID, of course), and perhaps most importantly, direct mail. RPR adds tons of value by giving REALTORS® the ability to easily create mailing labels, up to 2,000 per month. (Watch this video: Create Your Own Mailing Labels In RPR: A How-To Video for details.) Pro Tip: How to Target Specific Homeowners - This RPR Shortcut will guide you through an example of how to search for Owner Occupied homeowners that have owned the property for between 5-15 years. Try it now! Farming for prospects: one webinar that can change your entire marketing strategy We know what you're thinking, "This sounds very complicated and requires a lot of effort. And there's math?!" Okay, it will require work on your part and you will have to put in some time. (Kind of a given, right?) However, it's not as difficult as it sounds and RPR has simplified it for you. Learn more by saving your spot in this upcoming webinar, "Finding Sellers for Today and Tomorrow: Real Estate Farming is Your Key to Success." Attend this special webinar and you'll see how easy it is to start farming for prospects in RPR. We show you each step, where to click, how to use the maps to uncover data, how to determine if one agent is getting all the listings, and even how to create mailing labels for your direct mail campaigns. Finding sellers and getting listings should be the top priority for every practicing REALTOR®. Get started and farm for prospects today to have listings tomorrow. If you want to dig even deeper and sharpen your farming skills further, be sure to check out: RPR's Ultimate Guide to Geographic Farming. It goes in depth to explain every last detail to help get you up and running. Good luck, farmer! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Don't Make These 5 Website Design Mistakes
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Dotloop Basic Training for Agents
Multiple dates Whether you just got started with dotloop or need a refresher, our basic training will help you navigate your account and efficiently close deals. Account overview How to create a transaction How to edit, share and eSign documents How to create tasks How to submit for review Register now! Other versions of this training: in Spanish, for California agents.
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Remote Working in Post-COVID America: What's Next?
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Friday Freebie: Open House Guide to Getting More Offers
After being socially distanced out of existence for a year, open houses are back, baby! No longer do your events have to be livestream only--it's time to break out the signs, balloons, and snacks for that good ol' in-person experience. That said, maybe your open house technique is a little rusty after a year off, or maybe you're a brand-new agent, or maybe you just want to reevaluate and make your open house strategy better than ever. Whatever your reason, in this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a guide to hosting better open houses and getting more offers. Read on to claim your free copy. Free download of 2021 Open House Guide: How to Get More Offers, courtesy of Zurple An open house isn't strictly about finding a buyer for a home—for many agents, it acts as a way to build in-person rapport with the community and build your contact database. That's why open houses are often a starting point for new agents—it helps them build their book of business. Whatever your level of experience, this guide from Zurple breaks down the preparation, marketing, and hosting of open houses step-by-step: Step 1: Get a listing Step 2: Choose a date Step 3: Prepare the home for market Step 4: Marketing your event online Step 5: Marketing your event offline Step 6: Prepare your client Step 7: Prepare the home for the open house Step 8: Engage guests Ready to rock your open house strategy in 2021? Download your FREE copy of the 2021 Open House Guide now!
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Online Home Buying: A New Beginning for the Home Buying Process
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What Salary Can You Expect to Make as a Real Estate Agent?
You hear about real estate agent salaries all the time. And on top of that, popular reality TV shows are glamorizing the lifestyle of a real estate agent. But, in truth, a real estate agent's salary varies depending on a number of conditions. That aside, once you become a seasoned real estate agent or even a real estate broker, your salary will significantly change. But it's always that sunshine and rainbows in the beginning. This is why we've created this post to show you what you can expect to make as a real estate agent. Please factor in that this will vary state by state. Here Are the Basics Being a real estate agent isn't your basic 9-to-5 office job. Chances are, you will be working from home, working from your car, coffee shop, and the office here and there. You'll also have to consider the fact that some real estate agents choose to dedicate more than 40 hours a week to this, whereas others choose to keep this strictly as a side career. However, according to NAR 2020 Member Profile, 73% of REALTORS® say that real estate is their only occupation. That number is a lot higher for those who have over 16 years of experience is real estate. That being said, you also have to factor in personal expenses, especially in your first year of real estate. Only then can you really consider yourself a paid real estate agent. This leads to our next key point... Are You a Part-time or Full-time Real Estate Agent? Being a part-time or full-time real estate agent will have an effect on your salary. Keep in mind, especially when you're a rookie real estate agent, you need clientele and you need a good strategy to follow up with referrals and gain more leads. The more time you invest into your real estate business, the more effect it will have on your real estate salary. According to a 2020-2021 report by McKissock Learning, the more hours an agent has invested into their real estate business per week, the higher their salary was. For example, an agent investing less than 20 hours a week would get paid an average annual income of about $22,000 compared to a real estate agent investing 51-59 hours a week and getting an average annual income of approximately $85,800. All in all, investing more hours into your lead generation and follow-up, organizing your database, updating your agent website and posting on your social media really makes a difference in what salary you should expect as a real estate agent. Take Brokerage Fees into Consideration In places like Ontario, real estate agents are required to work for a brokerage and, therefore, have to pay a certain percentage to the brokerage. According to a post published by Get What You Want, a real estate agent is required to give a certain percentage of their commission to their brokerage. This could be roughly anywhere between $2,900-$3,825 depending on where you live and what commission you've earned. How You Can Earn More as a Real Estate Agent If you've made it this far, you will have, at some point, felt a little overwhelmed. Especially as a new agent, you are already so overwhelmed with all of your expenses, broker fees, and taxes. Considering all of this, your fantastic-looking gross income could end up looking a little less fantastic. However, there are solutions. While it won't happen within the course of a day, making certain changes to your real estate business can help you earn more as a real estate agent. So how do you increase your salary as a real estate agent? Start by investing in yourself. With the right tools, you can really take your real estate business to the next level. A simple tool to get started would be a real estate CRM. A CRM is a contact relationship management software. This is just the tool you need to organize your database, make notes, schedule and send automated emails and eNewsletters, build a beautiful real estate agent website and so much more! A real estate CRM that will take your real estate business to the next level and have you earning more as real estate agent would also come equipped with a marketing automation system. This is where you will feel like you have your own personal assistant without having to hire someone. So How Will This Affect Your Salary? Making these simple everyday changes will allow you to build your business and keep in touch with your contacts and important referral sources. Once your start growing your database, keeping in touch and nurturing your contacts, while also focusing on promoting your brand, your real estate business will see more action. As mentioned earlier in this article, agents that put in more time into their real estate business see a higher salary than those doing the bare minimum. Putting in more time doesn't mean you need to sit at the computer for long hours. Once you have everything scheduled and automated, you will find it easier to operate your real estate business and you will adapt. To view the original article, visit the IXACT Contact blog.
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The Unexpected Benefits of Form Simplicity for Agents
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Keeping Your Facebook Strategy Up-to-Date in a Social Media World
Facebook is the most powerful social media platform for real estate agents, bar none. Why Facebook? As the real estate industry embraces digital marketing, it has become the no. 1 resource for building and maintaining long-term relationships. Twitter can be good for prospecting, LinkedIn is a gateway to luxury buyers, but nothing beats Facebook's overall utility. With nearly 2.4 billion monthly active users, including approximately 255 million in the United States and Canada, Facebook is still the go-to social media site for most people. Facebook also owns the photography-focused platform Instagram, a natural fit for real estate agents and brokers. If you master Facebook, you'll have an easier time maximizing Instagram. Many of the core features are similar, so it's almost like learning two different networks at once. Among the younger generation of real estate agents, many careers started with creating a Facebook page. Of course, most established agents and brands have also set up a Facebook business page. But what comes after that? All too many real estate pros haven't taken the opportunity to get hands-on with their account. And even if you use Facebook regularly, there are always ways to get more momentum from it. Facebook has evolved quickly over the last few years, and even experts don't always use it to the best of their ability. So, as the real estate market revs up for its post-pandemic bounce, now's the ideal time to take a second look at your social media strategy. Start by Tweaking Your Facebook Fundamentals Every social media network has profile elements you have to fill out to be taken seriously. Not having these is the equivalent of trying to sell homes while looking like the generic Twitter egg. However, once you set up all the different facets of your profile, it's a good idea to revisit and see how they reflect you now. Your headshot makes a vital first impression. It should convey confidence and professionalism, laying a solid foundation for trust. A high-quality, well-lit photo is essential. And it should be current: Even though there's no deceit involved, an image that's more than five years old can still smack of the old dating profile switcharoo. Your unique value proposition also comes through in the copy that accompanies your profile images. That includes both the plain text on the page and the cover image, where you can include your brand name, slogan, and a call to action. It's a great idea to showcase recent events or time-sensitive offers in your header, too. Ensure your text makes these points crystal clear: What you do Who you do it for What makes you different No one can be all things to all people, so give your ideal client something to connect with right away. Your Facebook page is the perfect place to publicize lead magnets, such as detailed local real estate market reports. Last but not least, be sure your Facebook page reflects your values: That is, the why behind what you do. When clients choose between two businesses that look similar to them, the one with values that resonate is usually the one they contact first. That's equally true for both large agencies and one-person operations. Consider an Interactive Cover Image Facebook has recently expanded the types of cover images you can choose from. In addition to the static cover images of yore, you can also design a video or slideshow cover. To qualify, your pre-recorded video must be: At least 820x312 Under 91 seconds long A maximum of 1080p In MP4 or MOV format Less than 1.75 gigabytes Music and other audio are allowed, but all videos start with the sound turned off. Users will have to click on your video to un-mute it, and many won't, even if they are interested in your message. With that in mind, aim to communicate without the need for audio. If you include dialogue, use subtitles. Video covers are effective because the majority of people browse Facebook on their phone. Videos are the most popular content on mobile devices: They can be consumed quickly and are far more memorable than plain text. Still, there's another visual option that's easier to set up on your page. To create a slideshow cover, all you need is a few beautiful, branded photos saved to a folder on your computer. Click the camera icon that appears on the upper left corner of your cover image, then upload your files in the exact order you would like people to see them. Voila – your new cover is ready. Technically, what Facebook offers is a "slider," not a "slideshow." Users will need to manually click through the images to view them. Still, you might be surprised just how many people do so, whether they're visiting your Facebook page on mobile or desktop. Make sure your shots are enticing! Add an Interactive Call-to-Action Button Many people write out a text-based call to action on their cover image, but Facebook has a built-in solution that may be more elegant. As you edit your page, you'll find "Add a Button" on the top right. This brings up a selection of targeted CTA buttons you can choose from, like "Schedule an Appointment." Name Your Page With a custom username, you can give your Facebook page a short, branded URL that visitors are more likely to remember. From your main business page interface, you'll find the "Create @username" option below your page's name. A short, catchy name that fits with your current branding is your best bet. Set Up Your Facebook Messenger Auto-Reply Facebook has big plans for Messenger as a primary point of contact between businesses and users. Messenger is being integrated across Facebook's digital properties on a variety of levels, and it can help you make a strong impression even when you're not around. One powerful way to use it is Auto-Reply. An Auto-Reply response can be directed to anyone who sends you a Facebook message from your page. In your "Manage Page" column, click on "Inbox," then "automated responses." In the right column, you'll see an option that says "Instant reply." Click the "edit" tag under this header and write your desired message. Configure Your Notifications If Facebook is a cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy, you'll want to optimize it to be highly responsive to activity on your page. Facebook provides options to receive a notification any time someone "likes" your page, makes a comment, or posts a question. Notifications can be in-app or issued to you as texts. At the left of your screen, find the "Manage Page" bar. From there, click on "Settings," then "Notifications." Select the option to get a notification any time there is activity on your brand page. Then, scroll down and pick text messaging as your preferred notification style to help you avoid notification clutter. Use Automation to Keep Your Facebook Page Active and Engaging You have a lot of information to share — but you probably don't have hours to update your page! Facebook automation is the answer. With a social media automation tool like Facebook Connector, you can easily configure instant, event-based updates. That means new listings, important property updates, and open house announcements will appear right on your Facebook page as they happen. DeltaNET® 6 users can also take Facebook to the next level with automation through the platform. Combine automation with these other crucial tweaks, and you're on your way to unlocking the full value of Facebook. From first impressions to closing day, your Facebook page can be one of your most versatile tools. RE Technology readers can try DeltaNET 6 FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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Why Real Estate Agents Should Build an Email List
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Post-Holiday Tips for Finding Leads Before Summer Ends
July 4 weekend tends to be a peak moment for busy season in real estate. Though the holiday weekend itself isn't as bustling because so many families are on vacation, the following week sees a huge spike in activity and marks a noteworthy halfway point in busy season. Typically, inventory peaks at the end of June and the beginning of July, though continues to stay relatively strong through winter. We're currently in the midst of a highly competitive seller's market, with many agents still focused on generating leads now. There is still plenty of time left in summer to find high-intent buyers and sellers who will keep you busy in the months to come. Here are the top three ways you can attract leads before summer is over so you don't miss a beat — or a commission check — this fall. 1. Start running Google's Local Services Ads We could devote an entire article to the benefits of our Concierge program, but here we want to focus on the best way that Concierge generates high-intent leads for real estate agents: Google's Local Services Ads. In the middle of summer, you aren't looking for leads that need to be nurtured for 6-12 months. You're looking for high-intent leads, and Google's Local Service Ads deliver direct, live phone call leads that fit the bill. Our analysts found that 50% of leads are highly qualified, and one out of every 10 is a seller lead. And the leads that aren't qualified? You won't pay a dime for them — we'll screen them and add that budget back to your ad campaign, so you can keep generating quality leads. These ads work because they are prominently displayed at the very top of Google's search results page, even above both organic and paid results — perfect because consumers who are using Google to search for real estate agents or listings are already signaling they are higher intent than casual window shoppers. Besides their placement, there are two things that make Local Services Ads attractive to consumers. First, there is a frictionless click-to-call feature so high-intent buyers and sellers can contact the agent of their choice in a single tap. Second, Google offers advertisers the opportunity to apply for a Google Screened badge. This badge signals to consumers that the agent has been vetted and approved by Google. It helps boost consumer confidence in the agent and leads to more live phone calls for you, the agent. These ads are still relatively new to Google, and they are actually only available to a limited number of professions at this time. Agents who run Local Services Ads now are getting in on the ground floor, which will give them an advantage over competitors who are slower to react. Concierge can help agents get up and running more quickly, including guiding them through the vetting process to obtain the Google Screened badge. If you're ready for live phone calls from high-intent leads, get in touch with a Concierge team member today. 2. Optimize your social media ads If you are not actively advertising on Facebook and Instagram, it's time to start. If you are, keep going! No matter which bucket you fall into, use these two top tips to quickly optimize your summer ads for lead generation: Be strategic in who you target by creating a custom audience for your digital ads. Your custom audience list could be your sphere, recently acquired leads, warm prospects, or any other group you want to consistently get in front of. All you do is upload the list of users you want to target and if they have an account on Facebook or Instagram, the platforms will show them your ad. You just need email addresses or phone numbers to get started, and this ensures you're spending your ad dollars on higher-intent leads who should be further along in your nurturing cycle. Include a lead magnet in your ad. You have to give people a convincing reason to submit their contact information. Otherwise, you're just running a brand awareness ad. That's fine, but if you want leads before summer ends, you need to make some adjustments. Offer buyers and sellers something worthwhile in exchange for their email address or phone number. For example, it could be a guide for buying/selling in today's market, a free consultation or home valuation, or registration to your educational webinar (more on that later). 3. Lead educational webinars for buyers and sellers If you can commit the time to organize and conduct a couple webinars this summer, then you will likely see a positive return on investment. A webinar is a great opportunity for potential prospects to hear how knowledgeable you are about the local real estate market, which builds trust and will make them more inclined to want to work with you. A majority of the content should focus on educating viewers about the topic you're presenting. At the end, you'll slip in a light sales pitch about how you are the best local agent to work with and the ways you make the buying and/or selling experience easier for your clients. Setting up a webinar isn't complex, but there are a few steps in the process: To start, first think of an interesting topic to present on that you know well and will appeal to your specific target audience. Maybe it's, "Hidden expenses first-time homebuyers always miss" or "Top challenges empty nesters face when selling in [city]." Then, promote your webinar through your typical marketing channels, including in your Facebook and Instagram ads. After your presentation ends, send an email to all attendees offering a free consultation for a limited time. By setting an expiration date for the offer, you'll create a sense of urgency and influence them to act ASAP. For those who signed up but didn't attend, include in your email a link to the webinar recording so they have the opportunity to benefit from the information, as well as the same limited-time offer for a free consultation. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Monitor Market Movement for Your Clients and Prospects
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Real Estate 3D Virtual Tours vs. Videos: Which One Should You Use?
Through the highs and lows of the housing market, one thing stays the same: Buyers and sellers want real estate agents to secure the best deal possible. Even in a competitive market, people like working with a good real estate agent who can open new doors, and bring a fresh start into view. It's tempting to skip listing details like virtual tours or real estate videos when the market is hot, but this is actually the ideal opportunity to convert buyer and seller leads with impressive real estate tech. Not convinced? Consider this: In 2020, two-thirds of homebuyers in 32 major markets bid on a property without seeing it in person. Now that we've all learned to cope with a global pandemic, it's clear that things like virtual showings, bids, and closings aren't just a fleeting trend. In fact, a third of those polled by Zillow said they would rather take a virtual home tour—even after the coronavirus pandemic is considered "over." In the eyes of buyers, sellers, and other real estate professionals, your approach to virtual showings can set you apart. How do you decide which option is best for you? In this blog post, we'll go over why people love 3D virtual tours and real estate videos, and some tips on how to make the most of them. Virtual Home Tours Are Not Created Equally A "virtual home tour" describes various ways of visiting a home without physically being there. 3D walkthroughs and real estate videos both have a place in real estate marketing, and there are different advantages to each type. HomeJab produces both 3D virtual tours and videos for real estate agents. To help you choose right type of virtual home preview, it's important to know what distinguishes 3D virtual tours from videos, and how either can be a pivotal part of the home buying experience. That means you'll need to learn about a few technical distinctions, analyze market statistics, and make an informed decision about how to best motivate buyers in your market. In other words, what challenges do your ideal clients face, and how could you address them upfront? What is the most effective way to help your clients picture themselves in their new home? Accessibility, time conflicts, decision fatigue, and market competition are among issues that prospective purchasers face. Sellers face similar constraints that can affect the perceived value of the property for sale. This is when your matchmaking skills and industry expertise really come into play. How Real Estate 3D Virtual Tours Inform Buyers A true 3D real estate tour invites and demands active participation from invitees. When you understand the experience of a virtual tour, you'll see why it's well-liked by buyers. Hands-on Exploration Clicking through a 3D real estate tour gives prospective buyers the freedom to pinch, scroll, zoom, and tap to explore what a property is really like. The novelty of this technology is only part of why it's so successful in real estate. More than half of people surveyed said virtual tours were the most helpful resource in a real estate website. The most important thing for a hands-on 3D home tour is that users are in full control. This means each person viewing the home can navigate it how they like, or follow the premade tour created with the software. Giving buyers the autonomy to check out areas of the home, based on what piques their interest builds excitement. When you're looking for the perfect home, it's hard to forget the first time you "walked" through it. Multiple Realistic Viewpoints 3D real estate tours use real footage of the home with clear lighting, good image resolution, and other high standards for quality. In a true 3D tour, you should be able to turn around completely to see every room with a real-life perspective of the rest of the property. People can distinguish a "good" 3D tour from a lackluster one based on how well they can see the details of a home. To make the 3D tour as realistic as possible, a well-made tour includes photos from multiple viewpoints, which are stitched together based on the real-life floor plan. Listings with floor plans included are a crowd-pleasing favorite in virtual real estate. A bird's eye view builds buyer confidence in a listing, sparking ideas for how a space functions before setting foot inside. The more true-to-life a home viewing experience is, the easier it becomes to see how the property could be a perfect fit. Tour Properties on Demand 3D tours are an effective tool in many ways, but the importance of flexibility cannot be understated. There is no set time for a 3D tour: It can be accessed at any hour of the day, for as long and as often as prospective homeowners need. Naturally, homes with virtual tours can accommodate showings for significantly more people. Real estate agents know how important it is to be flexible for potential showings, but nothing beats the convenience of a perpetually live link to the house tour. It can be shared with others for a unique, real-time experience. After a formal "showing," viewers can backtrack, explore the rooms at any pace, and linger as they need. This allows buyers to share with others and gain insight from trusted sources, while agents can focus on other tasks at hand. Realtors can take advantage of this by referencing virtual tour points when marketing the home, and sharing the virtual tour with even more prospective buyers. Overall, 3D real estate tours offer perspective that's impossible to get using standard 2D mediums like photos and videos. Today's 3D tours should provide an intuitive, realistic, and versatile experience. Of course, one of the best advantages of 3D virtual tours is that homes sell and close sooner than listings without them. So, why might you consider using real estate videos in your next listing? Real Estate Videos Compel Buyers When you ask users to watch a real estate video for a property listing, you are asking for passive engagement, so that you predict and control the way a listing is perceived. Real estate videos do this by using a more thematic presentation that relies on cinematography, highlights of the property, in a conveniently timed package. Cinematic Perspective Real estate video can be surprisingly creative, with sky-high drone shots that overlook the neighborhood, panoramic shots of staged rooms, and close-up details that might not come across in a virtual tour. Real estate videos show a home in the most ideal light—literally and figuratively. Done right, a property listing video adds a warm and welcoming mood, getting buyers move-in ready. Real estate video is especially appealing to the buyers who have a set idea about what their future home looks like, so this technique can be a perfect match for properties with defining characteristics in the landscape and architecture. Highlights Best Features A real estate video covers the main selling points of a home, rather than revealing every detail. In this way, real estate video is more like an invitation to an in-home viewing experience. You can determine the most shareable features of the house ahead of time and plan the video sequence to match your priorities. This is helpful for properties with expansive acreage, awesome neighborhoods with nearby amenities, and scenic viewpoints. Real estate videos are not usually a room-by-room tour of a property, but is a perfect complement to an attractive listing. This can motivate buyers who might compromise lesser preferences if the property has some impressive features that cannot be overlooked. The highlights you show in a real estate video can be the reason a property listing makes a buyer's shortlist. Convenient in More Than One Way Convenience one major reason people choose to work with real estate agents. For prospective buyers who need an agent to meet them where they are, a pre-recorded video package is the right choice. Most buyers are familiar with how to play videos online, so there's almost no learning curve to use it. Video can make a real estate listing stand out on social media, where it can be shared and shared again. As an extra benefit for real estate agents, it makes for great marketing collateral where you can express your values and goals for your business. Comparing Real Estate 3D Virtual Tours and Videos 3D walkthroughs and real estate videos both add tremendous value to a real estate listing, but there's no one-size-fits-all choice for creating a virtual tour of a property. For most real estate agents and their clients, "virtual" is now the norm. Open houses, once a standard of the real estate market, are now done remotely using a variety of tools and techniques. 3D virtual tours and videos are some of the go-to choices for real estate agents. Still need help navigating the world of virtual real estate? Contact HomeJab for help. To view the original article, visit the HomeJab blog.
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The REAL Problem with Buying Online Leads that No One Wants to Talk About
If agents buy leads and grow their business through advertising, then they become transactional. If agents are transactional, then they become a commodity. If agents are a commodity, then they can be replaced by technology. THIS is the REAL problem with buying online leads and any kind of advertising. And here's the thing—the companies who sell you leads and advertising are definitely not going to talk about it. It's not in their best interests. But the good news is that the data says you shouldn't buy online leads or any kind of advertising! And here's the punchline: if you don't, then you will stay relevant and not be replaced by technology companies like Redfin and Zillow, and iBuyers like Opendoor. Now let's dig into the facts… How do homeowners find their agent? According to the 2021 NARS Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, upwards of 75% of home sellers used a referral or agent they knew from the past to list their house. In addition, 36% of sellers recommended their agent three times post-sale of their own home. Conversely, 1% of sellers used advertising to choose an agent and 1% used direct mail. ...so why are real estate agents and brokers spending so much on these platforms? The loose answer is, because that's what they are told. When a new agent starts their business, they are willing to go along with the status quo. As for brokers, they too have been led down the garden path, so to speak. They can only provide so many tools for their teams before they become antiquated or ineffective. What do homeowners care about? The three most important factors in choosing a real estate agent to sell, by level of service, according to the 2021 NAR report, are: Reputation of Agent: 31% Honesty and integrity: 26% Knowledge of Neighborhood: 15% So, it stands to reason that if people choose their agents based on the factors above, wouldn't buying leads and paying for bus bench advertising be unnecessary? Simple answer: Yes. The three factors listed above clearly have little to do with the actions of buying leads or advertising. What they all have in common is human connection. It's been proven time and again that people work with people they "know, like and trust." So how are real estate agents supposed to create this loyalty so they can build a business instead of being transactional? The primary objective of real estate agents should be to become more relevant by their clients and become indispensable to their community. Additional problem: The Covid pandemic Advertising has often been referred to as "merely a connection of strangers." Now, consider what being a consumer, during a pandemic, while trying to buy or sell your house with a stranger really entails? Not sold on the idea? The pandemic has far reaching effects as it has created a lot of fear-based behavior. We no longer want to meet strangers face-to-face for fear of getting sick. We have created "safe" bubbles and are intentional with whom we "let in." These are people we know, like and, most importantly, TRUST. Combine this with the fact that homeowners have had over five years of experiencing poor service from agents who attest they are the local market expert, only to find out they flash fancy numbers and show comparisons of other listed houses and call it a day. With a 30% decline in conversion from advertising, evidence is now indicating a massive shift towards using agents that people know, like and trust or who were referred to them by people they trust. "The data speaks for itself. Advertising is working less and relationships are working more. Whether an agent uses my company's solution or not, the key to growing your business in this new normal is to spend less time and money on buying leads in all the various ways, shapes and forms you can, and shift that time and money towards adding value to people," explains Grant Findlay-Shirras, Co-Founder and CEO of Parkbench.com, a leading online website that helps real estate agents connect with their community and foster relationships with homeowners and business owners. Real estate agents who fundamentally understand these concepts can consistently generate new business. This can be accomplished using various techniques and implementing them into one's daily business routine. Some concepts include, but are not limited to, the following: Create a website and post local news and events (helps with SEO) List the businesses in your community, and post their deals, sales and specials (helps with SEO) Blog about local schools, parks, events, etc. (helps with SEO) This list is endless, but the work isn't. "A referral system can be grown organically through providing value upfront and then cultivating your database," says Rick Aurora, a broker of Royal LePage Infinity Realty in Toronto, Canada. "The best referral in life is a personal referral from someone you know." Rick and many other business-conscious real estate brokers are turning to companies, like Parkbench, for alternate solutions to help their agents in this fast-paced and highly competitive industry. "How can I help you?" These are five simple words, but they can have a huge impact on and can change your business forever. These words can help you separate your real estate business from your competition. These words can lead you to become the go-to person in your community. Service first By serving people first, by investing your time and energy into others outside of yourself and creating relationships that will last a lifetime, you become that person people will know, like and trust. As you refer people and businesses to each other, they will naturally want to refer business to you! It's the Law of Reciprocity! Now understanding the "Law of Reciprocity" is one thing; implementing it is another. Rick Aurora believes this wholeheartedly. His company, Royal LePage Infinity Realty, reached out to Grant Findlay-Shirras when he saw what the Parkbench platform could do for his team. They have since formed a partnership that allows real estate agents to use the platform on a pay-as-you-go basis. "Grant has offered us to 'try before you buy' his services. That takes TRUST!" Rick states. How does it work? The Parkbench system has client acquisition down to a science. It is a systematic and predictable process to help real estate agents give value to their community. "The average agent who uses Parkbench grows their income by 25% year over year and they profit more since it's built on relationships and referrals vs advertising. Aligning with brokers across North America strengthens our position for long-term growth and offers them [brokerages] the ability to create business differentiation," Grant says. Do you want to do more relationship based, community-driven marketing? If you're an agent in The GTA, contact Rick to get access to Parkbench at no upfront cost to you, and use it to help you get more listings and referrals! If you're an agent in any other part of the world and you want to become the local market expert and increase your exposure within your geo farm community, reach out to Grant Findlay-Shirras to learn how. If you're a broker owner or team leader who wants to give their agents a systematic and predictable way to create high quality leads in their geo farm that doesn't cost you any money, then contact [email protected] to learn more about "the local broker program." Free resource Do you want to know the top 30 local professionals who refer the most business to agents? Download this free ebook and learn who they are and how you can connect with them. Also, you will learn how to add value to business owners so that you can build referral generating relationships with them.
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5 Reasons You Should Use a Showing Service
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Is a Virtual Real Estate Assistant the Right Fit for Your Scaling Strategy?
Taking the leap from real estate agent to broker isn't easy. If it was, everyone would do it and succeed. Scaling a real estate business takes time, energy, and money. It'll take time to assess your business to find opportunities for growth, it takes energy to vet and hire staff, and it takes money to purchase new technologies to support your business's growth. 1. Is the Timing Right to Hire A Virtual Assistant? Timing is everything. So before you start hiring staff and buy new software, you must determine if it's the right timing for you. Let's take a look at Valorie Ford's Agent Insights post. In this post, the real estate agent from Richmond, Virginia talks about the perfect timing for hiring a virtual assistant. Here's Valorie: This isn't the first time that I've discussed the importance of having virtual assistant as part of your staff. The amount of time you can save can make a huge difference in your daily life and provide you the opportunity to do more important tasks like meet with clients. It has occurred to me, however, that hiring a virtual assistant at the wrong time can be a big mistake. Why do I say this? Here are three reasons: 1. Have a Game Plan One thing that many people overlook when hiring a virtual assistant (VA) for the first time is the fact that you must have a game plan for them to follow from day one. Without proper planning, your new VA will not know what to do and you will end up paying for a lot of wasted time and energy. Assuming that your VA will simply "jump in" and start performing miracles is not very realistic. Remember, most VAs are telecommuters and will not be sitting next to you in the office. You need to provide them with a definite strategy and details on exactly what they need to do. 2. Have a Proven System in Place This means that you must have a proven system in place before hiring someone to take on those particular duties. It's time to hire a VA when you are already doing their job for them. If you are spending too much time answering the phone, posting blogs, placing ads, doing administrative tasks and so on, that is the time to hire a VA. Your new assistant can be taught exactly how you want these things to be done and you will then have more time to deal directly with clients and do the things that you do best. More time with clients can translate into more business, and isn't that the ultimate goal? 3. Don't Expect Miracles You need to give your new VA the time to adjust to your specific needs and goals. Be picky when hiring your new assistant. You wouldn't hire any other employees based on a five minute Skype interview, right? Then why do this with a VA? You might be surprised to hear me say that, in many ways, a virtual assistant is the most important person in your company. Does that sound strange to you? It shouldn't. A well qualified VA can do something that other employees can't—they can increase your productivity time. What is more important than having enough time to keep your clients happy and to respond to their concerns quickly and efficiently? I can't think of a single thing because even the most efficiently run business is obsolete without clients. A VA can literally change your life if you take the time to hire the right one and train them well. 2. The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Virtual Real Estate Assistant? If it's the right time for you to consider a virtual real estate assistant, then you must consider the pros and cons of hiring one. Pros of Hiring a Virtual Real Estate Assistant Saves Time - What's more precious than time? Delegating tasks to a third party gives you time to manage face-to-face elements of your business while still being able to enjoy friends and family. This balance is critical to a healthy work-life balance. Decreases Your Workload and Stress Level - Hiring a virtual assistant can reduce your weekly workload by 25-40 hours—time you can reinvest into building your business and nurturing relationships. Having more free time also decreases your stress level, which has its own set of health and relationship benefits (just ask your friends or significant other). Saves Money - In many cases, virtual assistants are significantly more affordable than in-house administrators. Costs vary widely by a contractor and company, which gives you the freedom to seek out a real estate virtual assistant who meets your budget and requirements. Just keep in mind, the most affordable option is not always the best option. You're often better off investing a little more for a well-qualified employee. Reduces Learning Curve - Do you find yourself constantly frustrated with ever-changing social media, marketing or tech trends? The truth is, it's not possible to be awesome at everything. Instead of putting hours into trying, stop spinning your wheels and hire someone who specializes in areas you struggle with to lend you a helping hand. It'll save you time (and will be good for your sanity!). Provides Flexibility - Virtual assistants often have flexible hours and work on a contract or month-by-month basis. If you hire someone and realize a few weeks in that their performance isn't up to par, you can easily replace them with someone who is a better fit for your business. Cons of Hiring a Virtual Real Estate Assistant Challenges with Industry-Specific Tasks - One of the biggest challenges with hiring a generic virtual assistant is that many tasks you tackle on a day-to-day basis require at least a basic knowledge of the real estate industry and how transactions work. Because your work is so highly regulated, it can cause challenges when bringing new people on board, especially when they are remote. Your best bet is to have a well-defined job description and a training packet ready to go for your new hire to reference so you can reduce the learning curve. Work Monitoring is Difficult - You can't glance over at your assistant's computer screen and see them typing a blog post or updating contact info in a CRM. If you're someone who likes to have control of every task, this may be a deal breaker for you—but you have options. You can require that your contractor use a productivity tracker that shows you what they're working on or you can ask them to submit an itemized time sheet. If you decide to do so, track your own hours on various tasks and add a buffer to accommodate a learning curve before you hire an assistant. Unable to Meet Face-to-face - Some meetings and conversations are just better face-to-face. You can use tech tools like Skype or Facetime to work around this issue, but lunch meetings just aren't quite the same over a tablet screen. Connectivity Can Be an Issue - If your assistant's internet goes down and they're tasked with handling urgent projects, it can cause big problems. In many cases, you can take the reigns and make sure whatever task is at hand gets done, but you need to be able to communicate with your assistant. Make sure you have a backup plan in place so they can communicate with you if this ever becomes an issue. You Must Trust Your Assistant - Chances are, your assistant will be interacting with your most precious asset—your clients. Before you start introducing lots of client-focused tasks, have your assistant start out with more administrative duties and see how they do. Getting a feel for the way they communicate via phone and email will build trust. The bottom line is, there are lots of things you need to consider prior to pulling a trigger on a virtual assistant hire. If you decide it makes a good financial sense to bring a helper on board, make sure you have a clearly defined role in place before you put an offer on the table so you get the most out of their time and your money. 3. How to Hire the Right Virtual Real Estate Assistant A. Determine What Level of Experience Your Assistant Needs to Have The saying, "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur," definitely holds some clout. That's why it's so important that you spend adequate time defining what "type" of professional you need in terms of experience before doing anything else. If you're looking for someone to help with basic administrative tasks, a college student looking for part-time income could be a great fit. On the other hand, if you need someone who can help you manage closing paperwork, it's time to seek out a licensed candidate with industry experience. Once you decide what you need, list specific experience requirements and detailed responsibilities (particularly those that require unique skill sets) in your job description to attract the right type of applicant. Pro Tip: Consider automated solutions when available - More often than not, a software or app is going to be less expensive than in-house labor. When it's reasonable to do so, consider implementing automated systems to take care of busy work that doesn't need to be managed by a person. (We've got some of that – learn more about our automated lead conversion software.) B. Be Prepared to Provide a Reasonable Income As you decide what level of experience you need your assistant to have, be sure to consider whether or not a competitive wage is something you can afford. Underpaid employees typically have lower job satisfaction and less motivation to do well—and for good reason. It's frustrating to work hard and not feel like it's paying off. To avoid this pitfall, research average pay rates for your area and be prepared to offer a competitive income before you post a job opening. C. Phone Screen First Don't start your vetting process by spending time coordinating a bunch of in-person interviews. Instead, narrow your applicant pool by phone screening your top five to ten applicants. Set aside 20-40 minutes and have a list of key questions ready to go that will help you decide whether or not this person will be a good representative of the business you worked so hard to build. Doing so will allow you to choose your top two or three favorites, who you can then bring to the next step of the process with in-person interviews. D. Always Consider Business Needs and Cultural Fit As you determine the best fit for your role, make sure the business pains you want to address with this hire are at the forefront of your decision making. If you are established but are so busy that you're drowning, experience is critical—because even if it comes at a cost, the long-term payoff will be well worth it. On the other hand, if you are just getting started and have plenty of time but not as much income, a fast-learning self-starter with lower salary requirements could be your perfect assistant. The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to spend enough time with your potential assistant to determine whether or not they fit your culture; that is, whether or not you will enjoy working with them day in and day out. Bad cultural fit is not a fixable problem. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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RPR Property Search Primer in 1.5 Minutes
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What's Your Real Estate Business Plan?
Any sound business starts with a plan. But what is a business plan, exactly? A formal business plan can be comprehensive, investigating many aspects of the business and how they work together, or it can go deep into a single subject: most successful real estate agents have a marketing plan, for example. But if you've never written a business plan and have no idea where to start, it's not too late. According to Harvard Business Review, you should spend no more than three months working on a business plan. Developing a business plan has a tangible effect on your results, making your practice much more likely to grow — but you don't need three months. In fact, you can get started in a fraction of that time. Five steps get you the basics of a business plan you can continue to expand. Step 1: Write Your Summary The executive summary provides a capsule view of the problem your business was formed to address. It must be specific enough to demonstrate your basic market positioning. It should also include the basic strategic goal that you want to achieve with your business and the timeframe for reaching it. For example, a real estate executive summary might say: Next Nest Realty is a Nebraska-based real estate firm specializing in downsizing and retirement homes for retirees and those preparing for retirement, aged 55+. Next Nest simplifies the process of selecting, closing, and moving into a single-family residence for retirement. Sales are projected to reach $500,000 in Year 1, $1 million in Year 2, and $2 million in Year 3. From the perspective of an investor or other reader, this establishes: You understand precisely who your business will serve and how You can translate your real estate insights into tangible goals You have considered what products and services will be successful Naturally, your text will vary considerably based on your interests and specialties. But giving deep thought to your market niche will help you hit the ground running with marketing and advertising that resonates with your ideal clients. That helps you stand apart from other real estate pros in your area. Step 2: Define Strategies and Tactics Strategies describe your overall objectives and the messaging and audiences that relate to those goals. Tactics are the specific initiatives that you use to realize your strategies. (All tactics can be broken down further into business projects and processes — but these are too granular for a standard business plan.) If your strategy is to improve brand recognition among your target audience, your tactics might include joining a professional association, attending networking events, and launching your first marketing plan. Within that plan, you would then need to decide which methods are most likely to connect you with your target audience. As more Millennials buy their first home, the vast majority of new home searches are starting online. Adoption of digital technology continues to rise among older buyers and sellers, too. So, no matter what kind of client you're targeting, it's a wise idea to include digital marketing in your plan. For example, if you wanted five warm leads to contact you through your website each month, that strategy would be backed by tactics like SEO, blogging, video marketing, and social media. Step 3: Assign Deadlines Sometimes, deadlines may feel stressful. But deadlines aren't the enemy — in fact, they're your allies. That's because deadlines are what turn wishes and hopes into action. Assigning a deadline to a goal gives it a sense of urgency. Since many tactics are process-based, however, it is not always easy to know what a reasonable deadline might be. In cases like these, following the process is more important than using a specific amount of time — for example, publishing one blog post per week on your blog. Step 4: Estimate Costs Calculate projected income and expenses as best you can for the four quarters after your business plan goes into force. Not only does this help you get the best return on your business investments, but you will also hone in on areas where you need more information on cost versus value before you make a purchase. Step 5: Measure Results Measuring your results can take several forms. In the most basic sense, check in with your goals every week to ensure you are following the right processes. This helps you stay aware of results as they develop and course-correct if you get off track. In some cases, as with digital marketing, measuring results might mean using analytics software to see how your campaigns are affecting your online visibility, including visits to your website. DeltaNET 6 is the powerful real estate solution that makes it faster, easier, and even fun. RE Technology readers can try it FREE for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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How to Build the Perfect Real Estate Instagram Marketing Strategy
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How to Start a Facebook Group
Already mastered the art of Facebook advertising and content creation? Ramp up your Facebook strategy by creating and managing your own Facebook Group. How to Start a Group Starting a Facebook Group is easy. Start by clicking the "Groups" button in your menu on Facebook. This will open up new options. Look for and select the one that says "Create New Group." From there you can input your group name, decide whether you want to make your group public or private, and invite people to join. Once you're happy with the initial details, click the create group button to publish your group. After your group is created, you can edit the details of your group from the Manage Group menu. Some items you can consider setting up include whether or not you want new members to automatically be allowed in or if they should be approved. You can also schedule posts, set up group rules, and update your group settings through the menu. Be sure to visit the Settings section of your Facebook Group to customize your Group's URL, manage membership, set up posting rules, and access additional features. Facebook Group Ideas Having and running a Facebook Group can be a very rewarding business move, but you have to have a goal and audience in mind. Here are some groups your Facebook Group can target to help attract buyers and sellers or to help grow your real estate business. Niches Having a real estate niche is a good way to start building relationships that can lead to referrals and new business. Consider starting a Facebook Group for pet parents, seniors, veterans, or whichever niche you specialize in. That way, when the time comes that someone in your group is interested in finding a home, you'll already have a connection with them. Agents Many real estate agents work alone, but that doesn't mean you can't find people to support you. There are already popular Facebook Groups, like Secrets of Top Selling Agents and Labcoat Agents that you can join to discuss the latest industry news and ask questions. However, you can also get a lot of value from creating a group for local real estate agents, mortgage lenders, and builders to connect and collaborate. Education Buying or selling a home can be confusing. Help clarify the process and meet people who self-identify as being interested in buying or selling by creating a group for prospective buyers, sellers, or investors. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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How to Identify and Track Your Real Estate Competitors
We all face competition in life. As a real estate agent, you're no stranger to the tough process of the competition. Regardless of the difficulties that competition might bring us, it's important to realize that competition is a healthy way to drive the progress of the real estate industry in general and your real estate brand specifically. But what makes you stand out and succeed in regard to your competitors is realizing your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your competitors. This is why it's important to conduct a comprehensive competitive analysis and research your potential real estate competitors. Let's talk about the principles of competition. There are two types of competition: direct and indirect. So who are direct and indirect competitors of real estate agents? Direct - Direct competition consists of businesses that offer the same service as your brand. So in the case of real estate agents, they are in direct competition with other real estate agents. Indirect - Indirect competitors, unlike the direct ones, don't offer the same service, but they still meet the same needs with an alternative way. For example, real estate agents' indirect competitors can be services like for-sale-by-owner. Knowing your indirect competitors is as important as knowing the direct ones. It helps you to further the knowledge on why people choose or opt out of choosing your services. How Can You Identify Your Real Estate Competitors? After identifying your main competitors an important task falls on you to track them. Here's the criteria you should pay attention to: Real Estate Keywords Check what keywords they are targeting for organic and paid search. Knowing what keywords your competitors are targeting, in addition to knowing the general trends, will help you to identify what your competitors are lacking in terms of keywords. Tools like SpyFu can help you understand what your competitors' main keywords are. It's really hard to surprise and engage visitors because of the huge abundance of digital content. That's why content that is shared means your competitors found some niche that wasn't explored yet. Research it, and take your time to analyze why this content is shared. Try to understand it, but don't copy. Google Alerts Google is one of the most popular search engine platforms out there. People strive to make their content rank on at least the first page of Google, if not appear in first place. This is the ultimate goal of every successful business. This can be achieved with a certain amount of luck, but most importantly by being constantly aware of the current trends in your industry and being mindful of competition. Google Alerts helps you to achieve both. It can help you to know what other publications are writing about your competitors, what content pops up for certain important keywords, or even what others write about you. Knowing your backlinks is one way to understand where your SEO efforts are lacking. When you know your own backlinks and understand your competitors' backlinks, you can determine where you need to strengthen your marketing efforts. Tools like Ubersuggest and SEO Explorer can help you with that. Manual Checking In addition to checking your competitors with certain tools, you should also do manual research. The simplest thing to do is check Google with the keywords you want to rank with. Check who's taking first place. That might be an indicator of whether they're your direct or indirect competitors. Pay attention to local searches. You want to rank locally, so use keywords like "real estate agents near me," to help determine who your real estate competitor is, and optimize your own Google My Business profile. How to Track Your Real Estate Competitors and What to Pay Attention to Social Media Social media is one of the most important channels to connect with your potential and existing clients. Knowing the general trends in the real estate market and how your competitors are using social media will make your social media plan more comprehensive. Real Estate Blogs Even though visual content is what people are gravitating towards these days, blogging is still as popular as ever. Blogging brings necessary traffic to your website, while providing useful information to your visitors. Knowing what your competitors are writing about can spark creativity and give you new, fresh ideas to write about. But remember, even though copying is sometimes considered a form of flattery, this is not the case when it comes to digital content. Blogs can inspire you to create content of your own, but don't copy them word for word. Real Estate Newsletters Email marketing is a time tested method to engage and connect with your audience. It's an efficient way to deliver important messages and updates. If your competitors have a newsletter subscription form, subscribe to see what kind of emails they're sending. This will also give you an idea of a new newsletter campaign. Client Reviews Understanding how your competitors communicate with their clients will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses and improve your own customer service. Knowing what your competitors' clients lack means you can fill that niche and offer a better service. Tools That Help You to Track and Identify Your Competitors Ubersuggest - Website traffic, SEO explorer, keyword analyzer and much more Alexa - Has a free option for site info and showcases the website rank and compares websites that are determined to be competitors Ahrefs - Has a free option to check domain ratings and showcases website authority (the higher DR you have, the better) SpyFu - Comprehensive keyword analyzer Google Alerts - To know what others say about your competitors, set up a Google Alert for specific keywords Social Mention - Helps you to identify what people on social media say about your brand or your competitors Google Keyword Planner - Also can be used to identify keywords of your competitors, and since the data comes straight from Google, it means the data is more accurate Semrush - Another great tool for checking keywords To view the original article, visit the Realtyna blog.
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Digital Curb Appeal Matters
When you're showing a property face-to-face, curb appeal is indispensable. There are many different aspects to curb appeal, but it all adds up to that essential first impression. From the moment potential buyers lay eyes on the home, right before walking through the door for the first time, they are primed for a memorable experience — and ready to find the home that's "the one." No doubt, your mind whirls into action to improve curb appeal whenever you look at a property. You might think of things like: The exterior paint job, how fresh it looks, and how well it matches the rest of the neighborhood The roof — its style, colors, and materials, and whether or not it looks ready for another 10 years Landscaping and lawn care appropriate to the season, with no yard waste or other obstructions Presentation — how well the all-important walk to the front door is framed, and the door itself When care is taken with curb appeal, it really can be a case of love at first sight! It might surprise you to know that the exact same effect is at work in the digital world. Yes, digital curb appeal is real. And it makes a winning difference for your sellers. Digital Curb Appeal Sets Properties Apart in 2021 and Beyond Digital curb appeal is a simple concept, but it takes creativity and hard work to master. In short, it means: Making your online home listing as appealing as it can look Ensuring it has a powerful preview in-home search results Even though online home listings are extraordinarily common — most home searches now start online — not everyone has gotten the message about digital curb appeal. Look at condo listings, for example, and you're very likely to see a preview photo that only consists of a community's sign out front. What a missed opportunity! Similar problems can crop up with a single-family residence. If a photo is blurry, distorted, or shows only one tiny part of what the home has to offer, it won't seize the attention of would-be buyers browsing through dozens of listings. As the listing gets little attention, it ends up at the bottom of results, even less likely to be found. First, remember what a listing preview usually shows: A feature photo along with the option to scroll through all the home's photos The asking price The number of bedrooms and bathrooms, including half and quarter baths Total square footage The address Special identifiers like "Hot!" or "Video tour" are also added to listings automatically. So, getting familiar with the different identifiers and how your listing can qualify is a terrific way to craft your strategy. People are far more likely to check a listing they know others are interested in! Four Ways to Help a Listing Excel with Digital Curb Appeal When it comes to digital curb appeal, you'll need to find new and exciting ways to help your listing tell a story. Luckily, it's not all undiscovered territory: many of the things you would normally do to prepare and stage a home are also helpful. Combine trusted techniques with new technologies and you'll stand out! Here are our four biggest tips for digital curb appeal: Collaborate on Pre-Listing Home Improvement - Minor cosmetic issues can sour buyers and sap a listing's mojo. In your early walkthrough of a property, make notes on anything that can be solved with a little elbow grease before your listing goes live. Major renovations should take a back seat to simple fixes, like a splash of exterior paint or new bathroom fixtures. Invest in Exceptional Real Estate Photography - The digital world is extraordinarily visual. These days, even the best phone photos won't do — professional real estate photography is a huge advantage. Photos should be taken of every room and every exterior angle, ideally at different times of day. Aerial photos snapped by drones are especially captivating for some buyers. Add a 3D Walkthrough and a Video Tour - These two features are highly in demand for today's savvy buyers. They also happen to be ideal ways to perk up your listings with two special identifiers buyers can see at a glance. Time spent on a 3D walkthrough is one of the biggest indicators of sincere interest in a home, so don't pass up the chance to stoke a buyer's imagination. Stage Each Home as "Move-In Ready" - Staging for your digital listing doesn't require fresh cookies in the oven, but there are still plenty of techniques that work. Clean up, declutter, and use natural light to your advantage, giving rooms a sense of size with mirrors where necessary. And, as always, hide the cat box and any other tell-tale signs of pets. Contact us to learn more about digital marketing for real estate, or try DeltaNET 6 free for 30 days. To view the original article, visit the Delta Media Group blog.
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Center for REALTOR Financial Wellness: Retirement Summit
Multiple dates Each REALTOR has a unique vision for retirement. Proactive planning is the first step towards bringing that vision to life. Register now to attend NAR's Center for REALTOR Financial Wellness Retirement Summit, featuring Morgan Stanley experts. This four-part virtual series in July will help you shape your vision for retirement and develop steps to ensure your finances are set for the long-term. Join Mike Engel, Institutional Consulting Director and Director of Corporate Retirement, and Jim Phillips, SVP Wealth Management Financial Advisor and Senior Investment Management Consultant, as they talk about retirement basics, tips for pre-retirees, and investment strategies for independent contractors. The event consists of four one-hour webinars, every Wednesday in July: July 7, 2-3 p.m. ETRetirement Planning Basics July 14, 2-3 p.m. ETGetting Retirement Ready July 21, 2-3 p.m. ETPlanning for the Unexpected July 28, 2-3 p.m. ETLegacy and Estate Planning Register now!
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Paper Is Cancelled, Move Your Brochures Online
Tech tock... Paper is a thing of the past--it's time to recycle, review and revise your real estate marketing tools. Technology for real estate agents is moving transactions off paper and into the clouds. New-age tools and platforms are challenging the status quo and making it easier for the consumer to access information online. Are you still relying on old-school real estate marketing, paper brochures, and self-measurements? You need to be using current technology to adapt to the changing landscape and behaviors of home buyers and sellers. New Behavior The use of online marketing tools has seen a tremendous increase for both buyers and sellers with 97% of buyers using the internet to search for properties. According to Zillow, 40% of Millennials are comfortable buying a home online without ever stepping into it in person. Millennials love 3D tours and interactive floorplans because they have grown up using computers. Technology provides a sense of comfort and familiarity as well as trust. But what about the other generations of buyers? Buyers and sellers from the Boomer demographic and beyond also enjoy surfing the net and using digital tools available at their disposal. They may not be as relaxed about buying a home sight unseen but they certainly know how to examine the accurate square footage of a floorplan with an experienced eye. Floorplans have been around long before the internet, but now online availability and an ever-increasing demand for video tours has changed the way a property is viewed. Video has the power to grab people's attention, persuade decisions, and satisfy the need to know. The desire for instant access to online information has seen significant increases due to the pandemic and real estate tech trends like virtual tours are now the preferred way consumers desire to shop for a home. Technology Is Key It's time to leave the paper trail of contracts, flimsy brochures, and hardcopy real estate marketing ads in the past. Provide your clients with online collateral to prove your worth. Give your buyers the tools they need to make informed decisions about their purchase. Give your seller the gift of their home standing out among thousands of other listings. Give your full attention, your experience, and use the technology at your disposal. Engage the buyer through 3D tours for their instant gratification. Real estate tech trends provide information NOW. Can they see a home at 3 A.M.? Absolutely—virtual tours are available at any time day or night. Not just a tour, but an up close and personal look at every accurate square foot of the place. It's no secret that you hold the keys to a property listing (literally and figuratively), but the key that opens the door to a quick sale, for the best possible price, with the least amount of disruption for the consumer, is using new-age tools. Share Information Through Your Tech Technology for real estate agents abounds with the continued demands for better ways to market a home, manage clients, capture leads, and have paperless transactions. According to NAR, 70% of real estate brokers have their own websites. Websites invite, entertain, inform, and get the attention of buyers and sellers. Your real estate agent website can communicate information about listings by embedding 3D videos and interactive floor plans. Online platforms eliminate the need for paper flyers, brochures, and hard copy advertising material. Linking your social media channels improves lead capture across all forms of digital communication. Add in a social media management tool like HootSuite so all your news feeds and posts can be organized weeks or months in advance. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool helps you keep track of all your clients. Digital records of names, contact information, dates, and specific details of your clients are safely and precisely organized without the need for old-school paper day-timers. You can easily transmit online brochures, virtual tours, or professional real estate photos by sending these directly through an email platform like Mailchimp or tagging your followers in a social media post. Real Estate Tech Trends Are Here to Stay Expertise and technology are perfect partners. Buyers and sellers prefer to work with an agent because they want/need help with the entire transaction. From contracts to marketing, advice to time-saving tricks of the trade – a Realtor® knows best. Consumers want to be confident in the home buying/selling process and new technology reassures them through every step. Challenging the status quo gives you the upper hand and provides the consumer what they want: a clean transaction, with minimal interruption to their daily lives. It's time to burn the paper trail and advance towards a clearer path that allows the growth of newer and better ways to present and sell a listing. Ever-changing technology for real estate agents helps the industry prosper and an "adapt or die" philosophy is the way to success for your future. As Charles Darwin once said, "It's not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."
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5 Social Media Tips You Can't Overlook
The real estate industry is officially online. What used to be an industry that depended on cold calling and traditional marketing is now an industry that heavily relies on social media marketing. As a real estate professional, you understand how much of an impact social media has on building trust in your client base. Social media is a major lead generator, yet most real estate brands fail to maximize their efficiency online. It's simple to tweak your content strategy in order to achieve great results for your real estate brand. Amarki has scoured the internet and come up with these tips that will help you step up your real estate social media marketing. Tip #1: The Basics If you're already up and running on social media, then you probably already know the basics. For those that don't here it is: Facebook Facebook has over 2 billion ACTIVE monthly users, making it the most popular social platform available. Setting up a business page gives you access to useful features such as page analytics and the ability to promote posts to your audience. The best performing posts are ones that include images and video. Instagram Instagram has become a top social platform because it's a visual platform. A single post can include a series of images and video making it a great way to show off your listings. LinkedIn LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to network with other real estate agents, brokerages and connect with clients. Make sure you create a business page to advertise your services. Tip #2: Start Two-Way Conversations With 93% of millennial starting their search online, this creates an incredible opportunity to connect with them there—but do you understand their motivation? Potential homebuyers are searching for information, and they have questions, especially if they're first-time buyers. This can cause intimidation. Using social media allows you to walk everyone through the process and creates stronger bonds. Instead of posting endless self-promotional content (a one-way broadcast), you open and create a two-way conversation. Your audience becomes key contributors of the experience. Other great ways to start a two-way conversation are hosting a Q&A session, ask questions on your posts, create and promote surveys or even invite your audience to join a conversation. Tip #3: Wisely Choose Your Social Platforms Social media is fast-paced, chaotic and changes constantly. It's easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of platforms available. Real estate agents feel pressure to "be everywhere" when you don't. You're already pressed for time and driving yourself crazy trying to maintain a presence on a dozen platforms doesn't help. The best results will come from focusing on just a few social platforms to start. Begin your journey on proven platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Unsure which deserves most of your focus? That will depend on your audience. The overall popularity of the platform is meaningless if you don't consider where your target market spends their time. Consider this, you wouldn't want to launch a TikTok campaign when trying to sell retirement condos—the demographics are simply too young. Tip #4: Strategically and Consistently Post Successful real estate agents know that consistent contact and interactions provide value and motivation for your audience to keep coming back. The goal is to create enough interaction for your audience to get to know you without overwhelming them to a point they tune out. Frequency is not the only factor, consider the content as well. Most content falls into three different types: Time-sensitive or Promotional "Evergreen" how-to or Informative Fun or Entertaining Remember, there's no need to create all of this content yourself. Supplement your own efforts by sharing, retweeting or linking to other great content. Your clients are also a great source of content—share a quote or testimonial or photo in their new home. Keep an eye on key social metrics like new or lost followers, engagements, people reached, etc. as this will tell you if you're heading in the right direction. If not, make adjustments as you go. Tip #5: Remember Your Past Clients Social media can help maintain relationships you've already developed. An interesting stat is that 70% of homeowners can't remember their real estate agents name one year after closing. Using social media allows you to easily maintain your relationships rather than having them slip away. This way, when clients are ready to move again or recommend a Realtor, you'll be the first person to come to mind. Your content doesn't need to focus on real estate alone. Now that your client has moved into their new home, they might be interested in learning about the community or new restaurants in the area. Social media is essential in every Realtor's marketing toolkit. Thankfully, using a tool like Amarki makes it less overwhelming. Learn more about Amarki and register for your account by clicking here. About Amarki: Amarki was built by real estate experts for Brokerages and Agents based on years of industry experience and firsthand feedback. We developed a marketing tool accessible to anyone, no matter the experience or marketing budget. By providing an intuitive tool that works "for" the agent, Amarki is able to remove the complexity of marketing tasks making agents more active.
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The New Google Screened Badge is Changing Digital Advertising: Here's Why
Every real estate agent should make it a priority to get their Google Screened badge as soon as possible. Here, we'll cover the top questions real estate agents have about the Google Screened badge. Google has slowly been adjusting its search results pages – specifically the first page — over the last few years to make itself a bigger competitor for top-of-the-funnel advertising tactics. Instead of sending people away to other websites, Google wants its users to find the info they need without very much clicking or scrolling. Just take a look at how Google has evolved its strategy recently: First, you could only run a paid search ad that appeared at the top of search results. Then, Google introduced the Google business profile to give relevant businesses prime real estate at the top of Google. Then you could connect your search ad to your Google business profile to unlock a Google Maps ad. There have also been adjustments so searches are hyperlocal (two people across the country searching "top real estate agents" will see different results), and the introduction of "snippets" so searchers can instantly see answers to common questions related to their search without ever clicking into a website. Now, real estate agents can run Local Services Ads, which appear at the very top of the search results page — even above paid search ads — and deliver live phone call leads. They can also include a powerful endorsement from the search giant itself: the coveted Google Screened badge. Unlike a traditional ad, the Google Screened badge can't be obtained in just a couple clicks, and Google won't endorse just anyone. The badge is tougher to get because you have to go through a screening process, but it's worth it because Google rewards badge owners with more live phone call leads. This gives savvy digital advertisers a huge advantage, because they can unlock a clear path to better ROI without paying anything extra, except a tiny bit more of their time to push some digital paperwork through. If Google has taught us anything, it's that its users adapt fast to these interface and experience changes, and quickly alter their search behavior accordingly. As the Google Screened badge continues to expand into other industries, users will only grow more and more likely to call Google Screened businesses that are right at the top of the page. That's why, even though it takes a little effort, claiming your Google Screened badge right now is worth it. What is a Google Screened badge? The Google Screened badge is a green checkmark and designation applied to Google's new Local Services Ads. Right now, the badge is only available to a few professional service providers: those in law, financial planning, and real estate. Each ad prominently displays the advertiser's headshot, star rating, and review count, as well as a click-to-call feature that drives direct phone call leads to businesses. Not all Local Services Ads receive the badge, and that's because you need to apply for it and get approved. It's an involved process that requires agents to allow Google to conduct business-level and business-owner background checks. This is how Google does its due diligence to ensure that its most esteemed advertisers are, in fact, licensed real estate agents. Once the vetting process is complete, you'll automatically be ranked over every non-screened agent in your market. Why do I need a Google Screened badge? Google continues to adapt its platforms to give users the most relevant search results higher and higher on the page. You've seen traditional SEO continue to evolve (just look at the organic featured snippets and FAQs that now appear near the top of search results), and that's because users expect the best information to appear first. By placing its Local Services Ads at the very top — the most sought-after placement — Google is telling consumers that these are worth paying attention to. And, Google is telling advertisers that this is where it's investing its time and resources. As such, Local Services Ads provide one of the lowest-friction experiences available today. Its prime placement makes it easily seen and accessible, and it offers a hassle-free click-to-call feature. The addition of the Google Screened badge not only boosts trust in the eyes of consumers — like a digital referral — but Google really does prioritize vetted advertisers above those who do not have the badge. Local Services Ads combined with the Google Screened badge create a one-of-a-kind ad unit. It's essentially a combination of a top-of-the-funnel ad (when consumers first become aware of your business) and a bottom-of-the-funnel ad (when consumers are ready to take action). That's because someone could search for "real estate agents in Seattle" instead of a specific agent, get served a list of Google Screened results — seeing these specific agents and their five-star ratings for the first time — and then tap an ad to call one of the verified agents. Within a single search experience, you can be discovered for the first time and immediately contacted, thanks to the high level of trust that users have in Google to screen and recommend businesses. This new ad type presents real estate agents with a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what will undoubtedly become an important and highly competitive advertising space across industries. How can a Google Screened badge help me get more live phone call leads than my competitors? The Google Screened badge is exclusive. Since you need to go through a traditional background check process to get approved, it puts you on a different level from other agents. This requires more effort, but it also gives you a competitive advantage when you're trying to win new business because Google sends more leads to agents with a Google Screened badge. Our data also show that the leads generated from Google's Local Services Ads are highly qualified. For instance, one in two leads is an actual buyer or seller, and one in 10 leads is a seller lead. Plus, you can dispute bad leads with Google and win that budget back, creating a more efficient advertising strategy and ROI than your competitors. Agents who get in early will outpace their competition, as they'll have a head start in building trust with Google. The company rewards advertisers who invest in its products and provide a good client experience. When you already have good reviews and a high star rating and then also earn the Google Screened badge, it's a signal to consumers that you are trustworthy, which Google knows will lead to more live phone calls. The more phone calls you answer, the happier Google is with the experience you're providing to consumers. As a result, the search giant will optimize your ad for more phone calls. This creates a merit-based system where agents control their own destiny, so other agents can't simply outbid you for exposure. If you get screened and earn a Google Screened badge, consistently get five-star Google reviews, and answer when those leads call, you'll quickly outpace your competition. How do I apply for a Google Screened badge? We mentioned earlier that the application process is more involved than any other advertising product on the market. But that should not deter you at all. As one of the only professional service sectors that can apply right now, real estate agents should be running—not walking—to earn the Google Screened badge. THIS is the ground floor if you act quickly, like buying Amazon stock decades ago for $10. Navigating the application process on your own can feel intimidating. Homesnap Concierge makes it easier for real estate agents as one of Google's only trusted third-party partners. When you work with us, you're assigned a dedicated success manager who will coach you through the process, letting you know what information to provide, which specific documents to submit, and when to take the next step. Your success manager will ensure you don't miss a beat and are able to earn the badge as soon as possible. Another important part of the process that real estate agents should be aware of is the requirement of having a verified Google business profile with at least one review. Details from your profile are linked to your Local Services Ads and badge, and Google also uses that information to determine when to serve your ad in search results. As a Google preferred partner, Homesnap Concierge is able to expedite Google business profile verification process for our agents — which can otherwise add weeks to the process. And finally, our Concierge specialists vet every phone call lead and dispute bad leads on your behalf — so you can be sure your ad budget is always being invested in quality leads. It's bound to be a hot summer for residential real estate. Home-buying demand remains strong and inventory could expand as states loosen COVID restrictions and give us a glimpse of a return to normal on the horizon. Now is the time to invest on an advertising strategy that will bring you high-intent, qualified leads by phone. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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How to Use HighNote to Make Your Buyer's Offer Stand Out From the Crowd
In today's real estate world, the offer is everything. Bidding wars are commonplace, properties are receiving multiple offers as soon as they hit the market, and agents are having to find creative ways to make sure their buyers stand out from the crowd. One of the most important things to remember is that offers are about more than just money. Sellers want to know their needs will be met and there will be no surprises during escrow. That's why agents need an easy, organized, and simple way to show a seller that their buyer means business – and sending a HighNote offer presentation is a fabulous way to do exactly that. Here are the things that most sellers are looking for when they review an offer: Highest possible price Confidence that their needs will be met (for instance, maybe they need to rent back from the buyer or rush the closing date) A feeling of security that the deal will close without any problems Photo by Sean Dreilinger When these points aren't met, it's generally a recipe for rejection. However, there are exceptions to every rule. The highest offer doesn't always win. Sometimes the offer with the quickest closing time, the biggest deposit, or an escalation clause wins. It's important to speak with the listing agent before you submit an offer to understand the seller's needs and expectations so that you can meet them (for more information, check out our interview with Jeff Lichtenstein!). Sellers today are inundated with multiple offers, which is why it's important to stand out. When you send a HighNote, you're sending a professional presentation that sets your buyer apart from the rest. It's not handwritten or sloppy; it's organized and aesthetically pleasing. It reflects well on you and your buyer, and helps you get noticed in a sea of other offers. Sending a HighNote offer presentation allows agents to include pertinent information that many other agents aren't sending at all (such as lending pre-approval information and other relevant documentation), or might be sending in a series of messy email attachments which get overlooked. HighNote provides agents with analytics, letting them see what was opened and for how long. This knowledge is critical, and makes it easy for the buyer's agent to follow up with the listing agent. It also allows an agent to inform their buyers that their offer is being reviewed, which keeps them in the loop during the anxious waiting period following an offer submission. HighNote is a beautiful way to send that important information, thereby increasing the likelihood that your buyer's offer will be accepted. Here are some great things to include in your HighNote offer presentation: Summary: A letter or overview sheet that includes the highlights of the offer Buyer notes: What the buyer specifically likes about the house (this is not to be confused with a "love letter," which is frowned upon by the National Association of REALTORS®) Agent notes: What you think about the listing (well staged, how the property blends in nicely with the neighborhood). This is your opportunity to showcase your market knowledge and expertise Signed purchase agreement Proof of funds Lender/mortgage broker overview letter Loan approval letter Signed agent inspection disclosure If you're a real estate agent who wants to give your buyers the best chance possible at getting their offer accepted, then it's time to check out HighNote. Click here to take your business to the next level! To view the original article, visit the HightNote.io blog.
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Take the 30-Day Digital Marketing Challenge
As a real estate agent, one of your most important roles is that of a marketer. You're constantly marketing yourself and your services, your client's properties and marketing your community to potential buyers. The difference between being average and being a top producer is how good you are at advertising yourself and your properties. Top producers know this means having a strong and consistent digital presence. Sixty-two percent of real estate agents said they devote at least an hour a day to marketing themselves and their listings. But what happens if you're not a digital marketing expert or unfamiliar with the best ways to do this? What are top producers doing? And how often are they doing it? Welcome to the Amarki 30-Day Digital Marketing Challenge. We encourage you to commit to the following for just 30 days and watch the results as you up your game in today's digital world. Email Campaigns Did you know email from a Realtor is the number one method buyers cite receiving information about properties? Task: Email all your clients looking for a home with a custom created flyer (IF it's a good fit for your buyer). Task: Create and send two emails (one email every other week) highlighting market trends showcasing your real estate expertise. Text Messaging Ninety-two percent of real estate professionals prefer to communicate with their clients through text messaging because it has an average open rate of 98 percent, and 90 percent of people open a text message within three minutes Task: Once per week, send out two text messages to your clients letting them know where you are going to be. A great example is to send a text message about your open house with the property address and time or an event you will be attending and a second reminder the day of. Social Posts Did you know that social media is cited as the best source for generating high quality leads? Task: Post one social post per day ensuring there is a good mix between: Your Personality – Let them get to know you and your personality by showing them a bit of your everyday life. Your Offering – Whether it's properties available, or you are an expert in each neighborhood, let them know! Digital Flyers Did you know digital flyers are the number one requested item from buyers looking for a quick overview of a property? Task: Create one digital flyer for each property you are looking to promote over your 30-day challenge. Google Ads Did you know 98 percent of millennials began their home search online? Task: Set up a Google Display or Google Search Ad with a small daily budget for 30 days. Focus on your geographic area to keep your name and your brand in front of people who are searching for properties. Take the Challenge The Amarki 30-Day Digital Marketing Challenge can be done by ANY agent regardless of experience or technical skill level. If you're looking to save time, sign up for an Amarki account to access your digital tools in one place, use templates for your everyday tasks and schedule campaigns in advance. Good luck! About Amarki: Amarki was built by real estate experts for Brokerages and Agents based on years of industry experience and firsthand feedback. We developed a marketing tool accessible to anyone, no matter the experience or marketing budget. By providing an intuitive tool that works "for" the agent, Amarki is able to remove the complexity of marketing tasks making agents more active. Learn more about Amarki and register for your account by clicking here.
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How to Use the BRRRR Strategy to Your Advantage
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How Much is That Home Upgrade Worth?
The ability to accurately price a property for sale is arguably a listing agent's most valued skill. For that, REALTORS rely on their local know-how and experience, as well as a host of tools and software, including RPR's flexible CMA tool and RPR Seller's Reports. But when it comes to making tweaks and adjustments, how can you refine value based on upgrades made or repairs that need to be made? RPR's Refine Value Tool is the perfect solution. The RPR Refine Value Tool and Today's Market Today's market is beyond hot, coupled with a severe lack of inventory. While many sellers are still making upgrades and repairs for even more ROI, others know that homes are going above asking and that selling "as is" won't necessarily affect their marketability. Another tricky part of the equation is that during the height and onset of the pandemic, many people put money into projects (mostly exterior) and remodels (mostly kitchens), because they knew they'd be spending a lot of time at home! This made their already valuable homes even more desirable. As such, homeowners are sitting on gold mines and being pushed off the fence and into this heated seller's market. How can you accurately price a property with these factors in mind? RPR's Refine Value tool allows REALTORS® to determine the value of a home based on property characteristics, home improvements made (or not), and market conditions. Here's how it works: Refine Value: Adjust Basic Facts Sometimes public records are out of date and don't reflect the correct number of bedrooms or bathrooms. You can easily update public record basic facts to refine the value. If a field is empty or shows a value of zero, entering data will not change the value because there is no baseline available to refine. Sometimes changing a basic fact will decrease the value. For instance, adding a bedroom without increasing the square footage may be seen as a negative by the system, in turn decreasing the estimated value. Refine Value: Home Improvements Whether it's a simple "fix" like a new automatic garage door opener, or a major kitchen remodel, it's great to be able to show sellers what they can get back for their investment. Home improvement values are calculated by project and region and are amortized. Choose from a list of improvements or add your own custom home improvement. This data is provided by Zonda and is updated annually. Click on the downward arrow to open the first drop-down menu. Select an improvement from the list or click Other to add your own custom improvement. If you selected Other, enter a description in the box that appears. Click the downward arrows in the second and third drop-down menus to select a month and year that the home improvement was completed. Select the downward arrow in the last drop-down menu and enter the cost of the home improvement. Refine Value: Needed Improvements On the flip side of makeovers and rennos is repairs and improvements. With sellers currently in the driver's seat, many of these common fixes, such as replacing a roof or new flooring, are not getting done. And although that may not impact the final closing price, you still need to know how to bake it into your valuation. To decrease the estimated value and identify an issue with the property: Enter a needed improvement in the first field. Next, enter your own estimated cost to complete the improvement in the second field. Click the Add button when finished. The total cost that you entered will be deducted from the estimated value. Refine Value: Market and Home Conditions The temperature of the current market and the current condition of a property can certainly impact the price. RPR makes it easy to adjust for both with slider controls. Simply move the sliders to change the estimated value based on the local market and the condition of the subject property. Finely tuned valuations RPR's property pricing techniques, including the Refine Value tool, should be a part of every REALTOR's tool kit. The ability to adjust and fine-tune property pricing is key to presenting a winning listing presentation and proving your value to clients. Start refining home values with RPR today! To try it out or get started, visit narrpr.com. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Staying in Touch vs. Spamming Too Much
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Do You Own Your Real Estate Photos?
When a home's been listed for sale and arrangements have been made for a photoshoot, who owns the property photos once they've been taken? On the one hand, you have the professional real estate photographer who pushes the camera shutter button and takes the shots. On the other hand, you have the listing agent who's licensed by the state to handle real estate transactions and is ultimately responsible for the images. A professional photographer may be beholden to her artistic integrity and feel strongly about intellectual property laws and copyright ownership. But real estate agents owe a fiduciary obligation to the homeowners and brokerage companies they work with. Not only that, but the agent is most likely the one footing the bill for the property photos. So, the question as to who owns property photos is a polarizing one, to say the least, and many industry professionals have weighed in their opinions. There are legal complications to consider, too, but to present arguments for both the agent and the photographer, we'd rather stick to the guidelines that dictate how property photos get used before, during, and after a real estate sale. Who Owns Property Photos? Answer: it depends on the photo. Some photographers will negotiate the rights to property photos because of their resale values. But just as a car loses value the moment it gets driven off the dealership lot, property photos lose value as soon as the home is sold. For instance, MLS guidelines state that property photos mustn't be reused to market the same home for a future sale. In other words, images that are uploaded to the MLS need to be fresh and current and portray how the home looks today. This governing principle alone already throws a wrench in the photographer's case to own the property photos she takes. Moreover, uploading reused photos can be flagged as fraudulent by the MLS system, especially because aspects of the home may have changed over time. Depicting homes in their current state makes the listing more transparent and authentic. Not only is this an ethical way to do business, but it also helps speed up the sale of the home and protects the listing against "unruly activity" notices from MLS or other marketing platforms. Privacy Consider this: property photos depict someone's private home. The personal property depicted in the photos belongs to the homeowner. Thus, selling or distributing these photos outside of the sale of the home — unless the photographer has signed an agreement directly with the homeowner — infringes on the homeowner's privacy rights. This is yet another reason why real estate agents and homeowners should own the rights to property photos. Once the home is sold, it's up to the homeowner to decide how the photos will be used going forward. More often than not, homeowners will want pictures of their homes' interiors and exteriors taken down once the sale is completed. Every week, homeowners contact HomeJab and ask us to take down images of their homes for privacy reasons. And we happily comply. The Photographer's Portfolio Some photographers argue that owning property photos strengthens their portfolios and helps them attract new customers. This perspective further muddles the question as to who owns property photos. As we mentioned above, due to listings guidelines that devalue property photos once the home is sold and privacy concerns from the homeowner, owning the rights to property photos creates more liabilities for real estate agents and homeowners than it does for the photographer. So, does this mean that photographers can't use any of the photos they take during the shoot? Not necessarily! Copyrights of images in the public domain (i.e., neighborhood photos, points of interest, landmarks, historical buildings, statues, etc.) should absolutely remain with the photographer. For example, if a photographer captures a beautiful shot of a historic landmark from the balcony of the property, he could rightfully request ownership of that photo for reuse in other mediums. What's more, these types of photos could really beef up the photographer's portfolio and do wonders for procuring new clientele. It's become a common practice among real estate agents to demand ownership of all photos taken by the photographer. The agent may even request that the photographer sign away rights to all of their photos. But when it comes to images in the public domain, the photographer shouldn't have to sign off or give away the rights to them, especially because these images have a strong resale value. The photographer could even generate passive income through the reuse of these types of photos. Finally, if real estate agents want to own the rights to these kinds of photos, they should expect to pay a premium. For more info on real estate photography services and pricing, or to schedule a shoot, check us out here! To view the original article, visit the HomeJab blog.
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When Will U.S. Buyers See Relief From Skyrocketing Home Prices?
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Friday Freebie: Homebuyer Packet Template
It's a tough time to be a home buyer--and a buyer's agent. While you can't fix today's inventory problems, you can make the home buying process as smooth as possible for both your clients and yourself. In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a homebuyer packet that you can use to educate buyers, qualify buyer leads, and more. Read on to learn how to claim your free download. 2021 Homebuyer Packet Templates, courtesy of Zurple Between record high home prices, cash buyers, and competition for scarce homes, you and your real estate buyers are going to need whatever advantage you can get. That's why Zurple is offering RE Technology readers a free homebuyer packet. Download it and share it with your clients and leads so everyone is as prepared as possible to face today's intense market. The packet consists of four editable documents, including: Homebuyer Timeline - Educate your buyers on the process of buying a home, all the way from mortgage pre-approval to the final walkthrough and beyond. Homebuyer Terminology - Buying a home involves a lot of legalese and jargon new buyers likely haven't heard before. Help them understand important concepts with this real estate glossary. Homebuyer Questionnaire - Your time is precious. Don't waste it on buyers who aren't a good fit. Give this questionnaire to buyer leads to qualify them before moving forward. Homebuyer Checklist - What does your buyer want in a home? Learn the particulars of their needs to save time on the home search process. Remember, information is power. By educating your buyers—and by learning as much as possible about their wants and circumstances—you place both of you in a position of strength. Download the 2021 Homebuyer Packet today!
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Top Tech Issues Every Real Estate Pro Faces
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Are iBuyers Good for Consumers?
The real estate industry has faced disruption before, but remains extraordinarily relevant. Why? Because the work of agents and brokers help individual sellers maximize the value of their homes at points of life transitions, and help individual buyers achieve the valuable goal of home ownership. An open, publicly accessible, and transparent market for residential real estate remains a cornerstone of financial self reliance and familial stability in America, now more than ever. But what should we do when we encounter an existential threat to home ownership? A threat that could also destroy the fabric of the real estate industry and its ability to help consumers? We read it in the news every day: For-Sale inventories are declining and prices are exploding. Cash-rich corporations are out-gunning desperate individual consumers with all cash offers to snap up more and more of the fewer and fewer homes available for sale. Voracious and insatiably hungry, these corporations are now increasingly soliciting sellers directly and buying homes before they ever reach the MLS. And increasingly these corporations are selling these homes to corporate landlords, off-MLS, and without ever making them available to families seeking homes to buy. Once these homes are converted to single family rentals, they rarely come back to the home ownership market. The end result: Home sellers are often denied the fair market value for their homes, and would-be home buyers are denied the opportunity to achieve home ownership. In the process, these corporations are undermining the listing agent, their broker, and the MLS. The resilient system of cooperation and compensation that has delivered unparalleled consumer access to homeownership for generations of Americans is at risk of being eliminated. Before we look at the numbers, let me address the most common responses. Corporate buyers offer home sellers fair value for their homes Perhaps, but when sophisticated corporations buy homes directly from individual sellers who are not represented by experienced listing agents and brokers, the power imbalance makes it very difficult for such sellers to negotiate a fair deal for their home. While the initial offer price may be fair, negotiating with a sophisticated corporation demanding large concessions after the offer is accepted can be very hard for most consumers. Think of an anxious consumer in need of fast cash and a certainty of sale, accepting a cash offer...which is then quickly followed by a demand for large concessions. Without representation by an experienced real estate professional, how likely are they to push back on the concession demands and negotiate a fair value for their home? The "bird in hand" psychology of loss aversion makes it very hard for an unrepresented consumer to walk away from a cash offer they have already accepted, and push back on a predatory demand to negotiate a fair deal with a sophisticated corporation. Traditional home buyers can successfully compete with corporate buyers and achieve home ownership When corporations buy homes directly from unrepresented sellers and sell them to corporate landlords, inventory levels of homes available to the public through the MLS shrink. How can would-be home buyers compete with all cash offers made by sophisticated corporate buyers, who reach sellers before they even talk to a listing agent or list the home on the MLS? While brokers and MLSs struggle to create and enforce pro-consumer policies, such as the Clear Cooperation policy, to eliminate pocket listings and improve social fairness in housing, the rapidly growing numbers of single family homes "pocketed" by corporate buyers can readily dwarf the number of listings "pocketed" by agents and brokers. The cost of so many homes never getting listed on the MLS is not "merely" the inequitable exposure to the select groups of home buyers, but the "locking out" of numerous consumers from the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership. Now for some numbers. Almost one in four of all sales in Houston and San Antonio are iBuyers and other corporate buyers, according to a new Investor Mania 2.0 report. In Los Angeles, one in five homes were bought by institutional investors, and in Seattle and Nashville, it is nearly one in six. iBuyers may control as much as half of all home sales in markets like these within their buy box. iBuyers are driving the explosive volume of pre-MLS and off-MLS sales. Bloomberg reports that one investment firm managing 24,000 rentals bought 200 homes in the first quarter: 138 were from OpenDoor, 52 were from Zillow, and 28 from Offerpad. "The pipeline to Wall Street from Silicon Valley often means the homes never hit the open market," Bloomberg notes. iBuyer business methods are not just cutting out listing agents and denying consumers representation by a professional fiduciary; they are putting first-time home buyers on the endangered species list. During the Great Recession, institutional buyers bought the least desirable homes, often foreclosures in poor condition. Today they are buying the most marketable homes, those most sought by would be home buyers. Thousands of these homes are being turned into rentals, removing first-time home buyer inventory at a record pace. That's kicking first-time home buyers in the head as they are already lying on the ground, and all of this is happening in the name of serving consumers by arguing that fast cash is better than fair value for your home. Like off-MLS consumer purchasing, institutional purchasing also fuels systemic inequity in homeownership, but on a far more massive scale as large numbers of homes are not exposed in the MLS to everyone. (Read this column by Redfin's Glenn Kelman about what happens when listings skip the MLS.) Perhaps the greatest tragedy in this vicious cycle: taxpayers, through the Federal Reserve's low interest policies, are subsidizing the low-cost of capital that Wall Street is using to beat tax-paying consumers in the competition for homes. Social policies designed to help every day Americans get through the pandemic, are also supporting Wall Street firms as they out-compete home buyers and turn homes into single-family rentals and erode homeownership. The industry is in a fight for its life as these companies try to eliminate exposure in the MLS. As Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, told Bloomberg, "In that sense, the investors are an obstacle to the everyday buyer." This battle is just beginning. Bloomberg reports that JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s asset-management arm, Nuveen Real Estate and Brookfield Asset Management Inc., have committed "billions in new capital to single-family rentals since the pandemic began." The impact is widening. As Redfin's Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather observed, "Flush with cash, investors are able to snap up the homes that are available, and then turn around and rent them out to folks who can't find a home or are priced out of homeownership. This is likely making the housing shortage even worse, and also means that individual homeowners sometimes end up competing with investors in bidding wars." As more corporations buy pre-MLS and sell off-MLS, the value of the MLS itself – which is often woefully underestimated – is further eroded. There are many different views on the MLS, but it is hard to refute the consumer value the MLS industry creates by facilitating Broker Reciprocity – a massive "peer-to-peer" marketing platform for agents to market homes for sellers at very low cost. Sellers in most other countries must pay large fees to market their homes because they have no MLS. When corporate buyers cut out the listing agent, they create an unfair negotiating disadvantage for home sellers, but they also tear the fabric of Cooperation and Compensation – the low cost foundation of equitable access to homeownership. The BPP's mission is to help brokers and agents provide an exceptional consumer experience, and to do so, we must support the listing agents and brokers' ability to represent sellers and help them get fair value for their homes. We must also support the MLSs so they can continue to facilitate Broker Reciprocity and deliver fair and low cost access to homeownership. Brian Boero at 1000watt once told a story about how people may lose their business but can retire with dignity because they owned a home. In America, we believe in homeownership because it offers every person a path to self-reliance. That's why we put the tax breaks for real estate in place – not for Wall Street to exploit. Please share your comments and thoughts on this topic by sending us an email at [email protected] Alon Chaver, Chair of the BPP Board, is a serial entrepreneur, long-time industry tech executive and thought leader. Alon most recently served as the Chief Information Officer at HomeServices of America, following highly successful exits as Trulia's Vice President of Industry Services and iHomefinder's Chief Executive Officer.
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Finally, Seller Lead Generation that Actually Produces Listings
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25 Real Estate Video Marketing Ideas
Lights, camera, action! Today's article is a simple one. We give you 25 ideas to give your on-camera personality some inspiration. We have also included a free download of our Guide to Online Video for Real Estate Agents. We discuss video editing, video platforms, camera options, and everything you need to get started. Here are 25 video marketing ideas for real estate agents: About You Introduce yourself to your leads Explain any specialties or niche markets you focus on Reveal three traits that help you stand out from other agents Read some of your client testimonials Explain any unique marketing or real estate services you provide About the Community Provide a visual tour of local hotspots in your neighborhood Discuss highlights of the community Highlight independently owned small businesses in the area Explain why your town is worth living in compared to others nearby Discuss benefits of each neighborhood in your area in detail Have an interview with long-time residents Illustrate popular architectural styles in your area Discuss median cost and advise buyers on where to look for properties that fit their budget Explain market trends and provide timing advice Create seasonal videos to highlight the best events and places to visit throughout the year Videos About Real Estate Provide tips and best practices for first-time home buyers or sellers Announce an upcoming open house and highlight features of the property Offer advice to leads considering selling on what home improvements provide the best ROI Do a video walk-through of a newly listed property Ask past clients to submit questions and explain the answers in your videos Discuss mortgage prequalification and home loan opportunities Offer advice on how to identify serious issues vs. cosmetic damage on home tours Talk about the foreclosure market in your area Discuss the timeline of a traditional sale Provide advice on how to prioritize needs to land on the perfect neighborhood (school district vs. commute time, etc.) Need advice on online video marketing? Download our guide for real estate agents! To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Time is of the Essence for First-Time Home Buyers and Fresh Listings
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What Should My Real Estate Marketing Budget Be?
If you ask ten different agents, "How much do real estate agents spend on marketing?" you will likely get ten different answers -- but the method to calculate that sought-after number might be the same. That's because the general rule of thumb across industries is to base your marketing budget on your total revenue. The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends allocating 7-8% of your revenue to marketing if you do less than $5 million in sales for the year. Although this is a general recommendation that isn't specific to the real estate industry, it's consistent with the way many agents determine their marketing budget. It's common for real estate agents to allocate approximately 10% of their gross commission income to marketing activities. How much real estate agents spend on marketing will differ by each individual or team and must also take their goals into account and how their current transaction activity aligns with those goals. For instance, an agent might decide to pivot their 2021 strategy and double-down on "Just Sold" and "Coming Soon" digital ads to reach more seller leads if listings are flying off the shelves in their market without any digital advertising. The calculation is the easy part: The more difficult part is deciding where to invest each dollar for maximum return. What marketing activities should my budget cover? You could spend all day, every day, carrying out marketing activities. There's always another email to write, lead to follow up on, digital ad to publish, focus group to talk to, and newspaper reporter to pitch. Real estate agents don't have time for every promotional activity under the sun. There are a handful of tried-and-true tactics that should be on every agent's list, however, whether you're a seasoned vet or just starting to dabble in marketing your business. Email Marketing Emails aren't optional, and Gmail isn't an option (or AOL, Yahoo, etc.). Real estate agents are running a business, and that business needs the ability to set up automated workflows that nurture leads and send market updates, e-newsletters, open house schedules, and other valuable, local market content to their sphere. Cloud-based email marketing software isn't very expensive (unless you're managing many thousands of contacts). Likely, you will pay less than $1,000/year for your email service. Before you sign up, compare competitors and their plans. Many offer a free base level that could sustain you for several months as you build a rich email program. Then you may consider upgrading to access additional tools or add more contacts that exceed your current limits. Here are a few established brands to give you a sense of service costs (rates are valid as of April 2021): MailChimp is a go-to option for small businesses across industries. Its pricing plans range from free for a basic plan to $299 per month for a premium subscription (with up to 500 contacts). More than likely, you'll start at the free plan and upgrade to the mid-range $9.99/month or $14.99/month plan when you need to activate more features. ConvertKit is another popular option with monthly pricing, as well as yearly rates that will give you a two-month-free discount. The baseline plans allow for up to 1,000 contacts and include a free tier and two paid tiers ($29/month and $59/month). And though it isn't a full automation system, agents should know that contacts they invite to Homesnap will be automatically signed up to receive a branded newsletter — all free to Homesnap Pro agents, so you don't have to work this extra into your budget. Plan to spend up to 15% of your real estate marketing budget on email marketing activities. Online Presence If leads and prospects can't find you online, do you really exist? To most digital-savvy buyers and sellers, who rely heavily on the Internet, the answer is a resounding "no." Think about it: If you looked up the local Italian restaurant to see its menu and it didn't show up in search results, wouldn't you wonder if it had closed? The same is true for your real estate business. You need a robust online presence to prove that you're an active, successful agent and to build trust with those who are considering working with you. With so many agents in the industry, you don't want to be unfindable online. The two best marketing activities to build your online presence are website maintenance and Google Business Profile management. All real estate agents should have a website that is modern and responsive across devices, has engaging and valuable content for buyers and sellers, and hosts lead capture pages for all your active listings. Make sure your website is optimized for search engines so that it shows up near the top of results when someone Googles your name. Another top tool to improve your online presence is the Google Business Profile. This profile takes up the right column on the Google search results page. It contains your business contact information (including a link to your website), your business's bio, photos, content posts, and, arguably most important, your star rating and online reviews. However, you cannot just set up your profile and leave it be. It's imperative that you keep it updated and active on a weekly basis. This helps improve SEO and the odds that your profile will appear in search results for a wider range of search terms, such as "real estate agents near me." Compare these popular options that will help you boost your online presence (rates are valid as of April 2021): Homesnap Pro+ is a bundle of upgraded benefits designed just for real estate agents, for just $99 for the first year (regular price is $599). A premium version of the free Homesnap Pro account, this membership includes additional features like a Google Business Profile (verification, assembly, and management), a custom responsive real estate website with a unique domain, advanced MLS search capabilities and custom lead pages for every one of your listings. Placester is only a website creation and hosting platform, and therefore doesn't offer Google Business Profile services (we aren't aware of any other marketing platforms that combine the two). There are three plans—$100/month, $190/month or $200/month—that include a responsive website, unlimited pages and posts, lead capture, and IDX listing display tools that may incur an additional fee. Plan to spend up to 15% of your real estate marketing budget on building a robust online presence. Digital Ads There are many benefits to running digital ads on platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Waze. These include: expanding your reach, building brand awareness, generating leads and promoting your listings (active and coming soon), open houses, price cuts and closed sales. Digital ads should be a core part of how much real estate agents spend on marketing. As such, your all-in costs could be as much as 50% of your available budget. This will include actual advertising fees, as well as costs from designers and lead qualification services, if you plan to outsource those functions. Advertising fees can fluctuate month to month, making the cost of this marketing activity a bit less predictable than the other tactics we covered. One way to keep costs flat and consistent is to work with a trusted marketing partner, like Homesnap Pro Ads or Concierge. These ads services will manage everything from design and copy to optimizing the settings and spend throughout each ad's run. Concierge goes a step further and also includes live, direct phone call leads from high-intent leads via Google's Local Services Ads. Plan to spend up to 50% of your real estate marketing budget on digital ads. Final Thoughts You'll notice that our calculations leave 20% of your budget remaining for other activities. This could be spent on things like branded freebies, postcard prospecting, newspaper ads, etc. It can also be reallocated to the tactics we already mentioned if you need a boost in one of those areas in a given month or year. Keep in mind that there is no silver bullet that will generate overnight success, and the same is true for your marketing. The return on investment will be high when you're able to maintain the activities over months and years. Choose your tactics, budget, and third-party partners carefully, and then stick with your plan to see results. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Why Builders Can't Keep Up with Home Sales
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Win Clients with Real Estate Photography and These 6 Features on Facebook and Instagram
In real estate, buyers and sellers hope that the perfect home is out there—ideally, it's within an arm's reach. In 2020, 76 percent of home buyers initially viewed the homes they purchased online using a mobile device. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Pew Research says seven in 10 Americans consider using Facebook as a part of their daily routine. Knowing this, it's no wonder real estate agents cited social media as the best source for high-quality leads, followed by MLS websites. Now the question is no longer "should" you use social media for your real estate listings. Instead, it's "How do you use social media to portray your experience and personality in one shot?" For most real estate agents, the secret to a professional social media presence is using extraordinary photography. Done right, it gets high-value clients to envision working with you by bringing their thumbs to a screeching halt. From there, your job is to move the conversation into the real world. In this post, you'll learn how to use features of Facebook and Instagram to captivate serious buyers and sellers. It's a good idea to save this page now, so you can refer back to it as you learn the ropes of social media. Why Are Facebook and Instagram the Best Platforms for Real Estate Agents? Facebook and Instagram are two of the most widely-used social media platforms. There's a good reason for this: Here, content creation is user-friendly, versatile, and appeals to multiple generations of buyers and sellers. Research shows that people on both platforms, young and old, are more likely to interact with visual content like photos and videos. More importantly, people remember information better when it's paired with relevant images. That means people will remember the way a stunning house listing made them feel—days after the first impression. Facebook and Instagram both use multiple computer learning models, or algorithms, to personalize what people see on their news feeds. In other words, these social media platforms distribute your content based on how viewers interact with it—or don't. Social media success doesn't always come easy, but using professional real estate photography can help you conquer algorithms and delight homebuyers. For social media to be a worthwhile investment, you must know who your ideal client is, and what they're looking for as a buyer or seller. The visual component simply gives your hard work the credibility it deserves. 3 Features for Success with Real Estate Photos on Facebook Facebook is an enormous network—only second in the country to YouTube—with a user base of mostly adults between 30 and over 65 according to Pew Research. It's the most popular social network for older folks, and its steady growth means it's not going away any time soon. As a real estate agent, you need to create a Facebook Business Page. This is separate from the personal profile you might use to share family pictures, vacation photos, and information unrelated to your work. What People Like to See on Facebook People like Facebook for its informative approach to community development. There is more room for text, links, and smaller images. You should use Facebook to influence existing communities where your potential buyers and sellers are already active. According to the social media pros at Buffer, Facebook users want to see content that is immediately relevant to them, so it makes sense that the current algorithm for posts looks like this for most people: Family and friends Subscribed pages and groups Suggested pages and groups Paid advertising When using Facebook to promote property listings and other content, keep these features in mind: Facebook Reactions: Post extraordinary photos to influence emotions Facebook Groups: Connect with local enthusiasts Share Links, Multimedia: Create your business page experience 1. Facebook Reactions: Post Extraordinary Photos to Influence Emotions Scrolling through Facebook updates can be an emotional roller coaster. People enjoy aimlessly scrolling because the ups and downs of emotional reactions are seriously entertaining. Facebook users can react to posts and comments with a full slate of emotions — Like, Love, Care, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. The more emotional reactions you get, the more favorably your content is sorted by the algorithm. Few things evoke emotion like stand-out photography! Aim to flaunt the "stunning curb appeal" of your listings by opting for professional real estate photos that stand out with color, perspective, and a dynamic composition. The concept of Facebook emotions seems silly, but it drives decision-making in the real world. It only takes one 'Wow' or 'Love' reaction to influence the high-quality leads of serious buyers. Other ways to get more emotional reactions with real estate photos: Write your brand story: Share advice, industry tips, and lessons learned as a real estate agent. Use photos from previous listings, or re-share posts from years past to celebrate new milestones, memorable properties, and advice for best practices 2. Facebook Groups: Connect with Local Enthusiasts When you manage a Facebook Business Page, all of your home listings and regular updates about work should be posted there. You can take your Page a step further by using it to join Groups of people with shared interests, locations, and careers—to name a few. The example shared here is from "Fairfax County Realtor Forum," a public Group with 5.4k members interested in what real estate agents have to say about the housing market there. Regular Facebook users can join these groups too. You should use your Business Page—not your personal profile—to join or start professional groups. This way, people interested in working with you have an appropriate place to contact you. In using social media, a little good judgement goes a long way. Some Facebook Groups are specifically made for networking, and others have strict rules against soliciting or self-advertising. You can still build a positive reputation and gain followers by joining conversations that aren't directly about buying and selling homes. This is a great way to ensure your page following keeps expanding. Learning more about your community can also give you good insight on what people are looking for in a home. You can learn to anticipate who's moving in, who's moving out, and the problems folks encounter along the way. One common problem for sellers doesn't appear until their items are long gone from the property. It's harder to generate interest in homes that aren't staged with furniture. It's easy to see why a buyer would hesitate to pass on an online listing where the function and feel of a space just aren't there. You can use virtual staging to show buyers how the rooms in a property will effectively end their search. A couple of Florida-bound retirees will be looking for a completely different layout from a young professional who needs a home office. At HomeJab, our team can take the lead on virtual staging, or real estate agents can choose some particular pieces or styles of furniture and decor from an online catalog. More tips for interacting with Groups: Use photo posts as conversation starters: Asking open-ended questions gets your followers sharing their ideas with you, and chatting with one another. Start a new group where one doesn't exist yet, if you see the need and the opportunity. Tag the people, businesses, and locations where relevant and appropriate: This can help grow your network of followers. Your clients get the satisfaction of sharing official updates for things like buying or selling a home, while you get an instant referral for like-minded friends, family members, and acquaintances that are seeking a good realty experience. 3. Share Links, Multimedia: Create Your Business Page Experience Stunning aerial views of this unique property are worth a double-take. The real estate agent here includes multiple photos, and links to different resources with information that Facebook users will appreciate. Another great way to expand your Facebook Business Page audience is to spend as much time sharing useful information and posts from other relevant accounts as you spend creating your own content. Link sharing is one BIG advantage Facebook has over Instagram. When you share links on Facebook, it is formatted with the information, pictures, and headlines you want to share. Sharing links directly to your Page gives people a reason to keep following you. It diversifies the type of content people see from you, making your Page more useful to your followers, and more favorable for the algorithm. That's why HomeJab introduced Property Pages to help real estate agents drive traffic to one convenient branded profile. Sharing this link on your Page gives your followers a way to share home listing information with their network—without the hassle, distractions, and tediously retracing steps. One of the best perks of having a Business Page on Facebook is the Insights tools, where you can get a clear picture of your social media performance. At the same time, you can keep an eye on the Facebook Business Pages of competitors to quickly compare your data with theirs. And it's not a bad idea to occasionally share the news updates and personable posts from your competitors. Doing this can actually boost your reach—the number of people who engage with your content. Plus, watching and learning from other successful Pages—especially ones that are successful in your niche—is a great way to inspire and re-shape what you do. It's an easy way to assess your audience's interest without completely straying from your social media strategy. More on sharing likable links: Multimedia content is key – A healthy mix of text posts, images, and interactive content is best for a better algorithm. That means sharing a blend of links to your home listings, albums of home walkthroughs, and video content will keep you cycling in more feeds. Experiment with the built-in features like Facebook Marketplace and Targeted Ads when your strategy allows. Video Engages Audiences – When you upload videos of home listings directly to Facebook, your engagement can skyrocket. Videos should be between 3-5 minutes for a favorable algorithm treatment. Remember that Facebook is all about effectively sharing information worth revisiting later. Managing a Facebook business page should enable your clients to keep you in the loop, and contact you as seamlessly as possible. 3 Features for Success with Real Estate Photos on Instagram The Instagram user base is largely made up of younger adults aged 18-29, and older adults are significantly less active on this platform in general. It's considered more of a niche platform, but don't underestimate the value of it—millions of people are on Instagram at any given moment. What People Like to See on Instagram Importantly, the Instagram algorithm does not favor timeliness, so creating relationships is as important as creating content. The Instagram algorithm is determined by these factors: Interest – General topics, themes, and lifestyle trends that users follow. Recency – How often a user is on Instagram, relative to the accounts they follow. Relationship – This is measured by the number of comments, tags, and shares between accounts. Less frequent users will simply get a brief "greatest hits" feed with just a few posts that are relative to the factors above. Use Instagram to share your all-time favorite photos, and aim to foster an intimate audience connection. On this platform, you can share photography with minimal distractions. The interface is best suited for mobile devices, where graphics take up the majority of the screen. Here are some features to keep in mind when posting real estate listings to Instagram: Explore Feed: color welcomes viewers to your listings Carousels: More images, more fun Link in Bio: Inspire with your call-to-action 1. Explore Feed: Color Welcomes Viewers to Your Listings Each user on Instagram has an Explore feed. Find yours by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of your home feed. This feature looks like a digital quilt of posts from other accounts you may be interested in following. Here, it's the sunny blue skies or hazy purple at twilight that will lure curious homebuyers to your posts. The professional photographers at HomeJab can take care of the color grading for you with a virtual dusk treatment that highlights the property, and maintains its real-life features. HomeJab has digital photo processing down to a science, so you'll receive a package of photos ready for posting. Consistently using professional photography in your real estate listings means you don't need to worry about getting the filter right. More ideas for showing up in the Explore feed: Follow and interact with accounts like yours, and the clients you want to attract. Pay attention to the hashtags folks in your niche are using, and cycle through them with your own posts. The Instagram algorithm favors posts that use hashtags relevant to the text in the post Celebrate Social Media Holidays – It's the best place to make vibrant, thematic posts celebrating social media holidays like #NationalHomeownersDay 2. Carousels: More Images, More Fun When you post multiple images—up to 10 at once—you can encourage users to thumb through them with the carousel feature. Seeing a home online is always going to be different than seeing it in person, but convincing people to take that step is vital! You can get creative with the strategy behind using a carousel to inspire action. One of the most difficult things to do on Instagram is to entice people to interact with you beyond the platform. Imagine seeing the first few images of a stunning virtual tour or an upcoming open house—swiping through a carousel of photos that show just the outside of a beautiful home could be what convinces someone to seek a full walkthrough. Here are more ways to play up the interactive elements of Carousels: When you make Carousel posts, re-share them in the app with Stories. This is another great way to link your followers directly from their home feed to your profile. If you have a wide-angle photograph that doesn't quite fit into one Instagram slide alone, split it up into multiple images for one carousel post. The easiest way to do this is by going into your photos and saving the original image to your phone three or four times. Make a Carousel to progressively show the wide angle photo. Oddly satisfying—right? Add minimal graphics that give details about the listing. The 'Just Listed' digital sticker here subtly adds to the impact of the photo. Canva is a free and simple graphic design tool. 3. Link in Bio: Inspire with Your Call-to-Action If you don't see the level of engagement that you want from Instagram, consider rewording your messages to ask for it. It can be tough to convince people to navigate away from Instagram because there aren't many ways to share direct links. That's why having a consistently updated and relevant link in your Instagram profile—your *link in bio*— message is so important. If you're ever worried about the ephemeral nature of social media, you're not alone. But that investment of time and resources doesn't have to be wasted just because a home listing goes off the market. From there, it becomes useful for your branding and portfolio as a real estate agent. That's why it's important to—as often as possible—plan and create 'evergreen' content in bulk. This kind of content is always going to be relevant to your audience's needs, and it's always going to be worth sharing as a part of your brand story. Good evergreen social media content can include photos from your successful sales, like the example used here. This is an effective way to throw in a personal anecdote, a quote, or experience that represents your philosophy on the industry. Here are more ways to make the most of your bio link: You can make the bio link more dynamic with other free services like Linktree. This is an effective way to link relevant new listings, news and market data, links to your contact information, and your other social media profiles. Or, skip the separate link service, and routinely update the link in your bio with a limited-time feature. Of course, this means planning out the details behind posting and removing a link when it's time, but it's one way of pressing the urgency of clicking the link to a limited-time offer, like an event page for an open house. These are just a few of the features on Instagram that naturally attract high-value homebuyers and sellers seeking representation. You can use Instagram to help others envision what a dream home looks like. Remember: Time + Consistency = Success How long will it take to be successful with Facebook and Instagram? Your success depends on the quality of posts on your platform, and how closely you tailor a strategy to use it. Use professional real estate photos consistently to build your following from the ground up, whether you're revamping an old business profile or starting from zero followers. You will always benefit from learning the ropes of real estate and communication in the online market. Choose a social media platform, and explore all of the built-in features to make your profile stronger. Over time, you'll enjoy the free or low-cost marketing opportunities social media brings. Contact HomeJab for Picture-Perfect Real Estate Listings At HomeJab, we know that one snapshot can completely change the first impression you make on clients. Social media is a free or low-cost tool you can use to exponentially grow your marketing audience. Hardly anything compares to the reach and convenience of a strong social media presence. Our team will set you up for success in representing buyers and sellers by raising the bar for professionalism in real estate. Contact HomeJab to learn more about what captivates serious homebuyers who are searching for that picture-perfect home. To view the original article, visit the HomeJab blog.
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Sealing the Deal With the Follow-up Presentation
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Friday Freebie: 2021 Referral Lead Strategy Guide
Inventory these days is looking a little lean, but commission checks are fatter than ever. Business is booming--if you can get it. Seller leads are hard to come by, and so are buyers that can compete against today's cash offers. So what's an agent to do? In times like these, it's best to turn to what—or in this case, who—you know. Your friends, neighbors and business associates are rich sources of referral leads. In this FREE referral strategy guide, you'll get the recipe for turning those leads into closings. Download the 2021 Referral Lead Strategy Guide, courtesy of Zurple In Zurple's free guide, you'll learn everything about referrals—from customer service to hosting in-person events, and even how to choose the closing gift. Download the guide today to discover: The basics of starting a referral program A calendar of monthly referral event ideas Referral lead strategies for social media Neighborhood lead generation techniques How to earn referrals via business partners Closing gift ideas and more! Plump up your bottom line this summer with a solid lead generation strategy. Download Zurple's 2021 Referral Lead Strategy Guide today to get started!
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New iOS 14 Update: What Does It Mean for Your Real Estate Facebook and Instagram Ads?
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Tech and Mental Health: It's been a long pandemic
Do you remember the moment you went into pandemic lockdown? No one had any idea how long it would last. A few weeks? A couple of months? In Florida, the first detection of the coronavirus came on March 1. Soon, Disney World announced that that it would close on March 15. Bars and nightclubs started closing two days later, and by April 1, the Sunshine State was under statewide stay-at-home orders. After more than a year, the impact on our mental health is undoubtedly on many Realtors' minds. Many are parents, and the effect of the pandemic on their kids and remote learning certainly is taking the spotlight as students finally return to part-time and full-time in-person classes. While tech stress and Zoom gloom are real, some positive tech improvements have emerged related to mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that mobile devices have provided a new gateway for doctors and researchers. Mobile mental health support rapidly emerged during the pandemic, providing better and swifter access to health support. New mobile apps appeared to allow Telehealth medical appointments, monitor physical activity, track dietary consumption, digitally record weight changes with smart scales, and more. This is the upside of technology during the pandemic. Today, anyone needing mental health support can send a text message to contact a crisis center. New apps are promising to improve memory and thinking skills. Apps even use built-in sensors to collect information on our behavior patterns. All of this new technology brings pros and cons, which need individual evaluation. New Telehealth tools increase access and convenience to medical care and mental health support. For those who put off seeing a medical professional – such as a real estate agent with an insanely busy schedule – using an app might help overcome that hurdle. With more than 10,000 mobile medical apps in the market, the biggest concern with these new apps is their effectiveness. Obtaining supporting science takes time, and how well they work and whom they work best for are questions that loom. Privacy is another primary concern, as these apps tap into highly sensitive and personal information. Yet, the mobile medical movement is creating new partnerships between clinicians and engineers. Apps based on science and powered by exceptional technology are emerging that can help someone stop smoking or assist with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For real estate agents who thrive on face-to-face interaction, the pandemic has been particularly brutal. Reducing stress levels has become more crucial than ever, and there are some great apps to help agents do just that. Here's a link to more than a dozen. One of the most popular stress management apps is Calm, available in the App Store and Google Play. With 100 million downloads and 1.5 million 5-star reviews, it has become the top-ranked app for mediation, relaxation, and sleep. Calm features music and the sounds of nature to help you "focus, relax, and sleep." Video lessons focus on movement and stretching. Masterclass audio programs help strengthen mental fitness, addressing topics including stress, depression, insomnia and anxiety. The prevalence of Telehealth also has soared in use during the COVID outbreak. With more and more doctors and therapists offering Telehealth appointments, accessibility has never been greater. Telehealth also is making care more affordable. Offering live, highly secure (no Zoom bombing issues here) video conferencing, getting an appointment with your doctor for consultations and treatment is more accessible and often faster than scheduling an in-person meeting. New technology is extending the benefits of Telehealth with remote patient monitoring. RPM tools electronically record personal health and medical data and send it digitally and securely to your health professional. With these new tech tools do come new tech challenges. Fortunately, if your association or MLS provides Tech Helpline as a member benefit, analysts are available to help you with your technology challenges – even non-real estate related ones! If you are trying to set up one of these new apps and need assistance in trying to figure out how to install it or configure your settings, you can call, click or text to reach a Tech Helpline analyst for support. Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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How to Get More Seller Clients and Win Every Listing Appointment
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How Are Sellers in the Current Market REALLY Doing?
We've all heard about the on-fire housing market and how it's positioned sellers to ask for much while conceding little. But just how much are sellers in the current market really reaping hefty benefits? How are they feeling about the selling process? What desired outcomes are guiding their selling decisions? Homes.com surveyed 1,600 respondents from across the country to find out. Survey Findings Snapshot The current market is paying hefty dividends for sellers, prompting many homeowners to put their homes up for sale sooner than planned to take advantage of market conditions. Our survey found that 82% of homeowners who sold in the last six months accepted offers at listing price (33%) or above (49%), nearly half of them sold in less than a month, and a quarter of them had five or fewer showings before finding a buyer — reflecting both the low supply of available homes and the rush to buy when new listings hit the market. Shortage? What Inventory Shortage? One of the major hesitancies homeowners have in today's market is a concern about low inventory — and for good reason! Who wants to sell their home without the guarantee of finding another home to buy? But, as our survey found out, this wasn't as big a problem as might be expected. Significantly, of the sellers we surveyed who intended to sell and immediately buy a new home to move into, 86% were able to do just that, despite limited inventory. The rest cited a move into rentership while continuing to house shop. Of the sellers who didn't have any plans to buy after selling, 24% said they moved into their secondary home, 19% had already purchased a new home build and rented while waiting for construction to complete, 11% began renting simply because they wanted to, and 9% decided to move in with family or friends. Smooth Sailing Sellers haven't just enjoyed the success of buying new property; they've also reaped the benefits of smooth selling processes. Looking at finances, our survey found that 49% sold above listing price, while 33% of sellers sold at their original listing price. In fact, 27% wound up accepting offers $10,000, even $20,000+ higher than their requested sale price. Cha-ching! Glancing at the process between listing and offer acceptance, 27% of sellers said they had five or fewer in-person showings before selling, while 26% had between six and ten. Amazingly, nearly 10% had no in-person showings at all. But, this is perhaps not as surprising as it might be in previous years; thanks to the growing prevalence of virtual tours, there's been an upward trend in buyers' openness to purchase a home sight unseen. We also found a strong correlation between the number of showings sellers' homes had, and the number of offers they received. A third of sellers said they sold their homes within the first five offers received, and nearly two-thirds wound up selling within the first 10. This roughly correlates to the number of showings, indicating that sellers received bids after virtually every walkthrough. It also offers a glance into why homes are flying so quickly off the market so soon after being listed! If you've been helping clients on the hunt for a new home, you've likely encountered this scenario: your buyers find a home they love, you schedule a tour for as soon as you can, but by the time you get there, the home has already been sold. You're in good company; this blink-and-you-miss-it issue has been plaguing buyers across the country for months, and doesn't show signs of slowing down! When we asked sellers how long their homes were listed before they sold, 22% said the process took less than two weeks, 25% were on the market between two and four weeks, and 27% for between one and two months. In other words, only less than a third of sellers' listings were on the market for longer than two months. Calling the Shots Another story dominating headlines in the real estate sphere lately has been just how much power sellers have over the purchase process. A mix of sharp demand and low inventory have left sellers holding all the cards, and our survey found they're using them to their full advantage! Many of the sellers surveyed indicated they refused consideration of contingencies and other strings-attached offers; 28% of them required all-cash payments, no contingencies and/or less than 30 days to close, while 14% opted for selling their homes completely "as is," leaving buyers without the flexibility available in less competitive markets. Interestingly, we found that they were more amenable to making repairs requested after showings or home inspections, with 56% agreeing to perform repairs, upgrades or replacement requested by buyers as a condition of sale. Of those who made those adjustments, 34% spent $10,000 or more, but one in four were able to recoup those costs by selling for $10,000 or more over listing price. Why Did They Sell in the First Place? As if the initial adjustments to pandemic life weren't stressful enough, our survey found that COVID-19 challenges were major drivers for homeowners deciding to sell; 43% cited financial impacts from the pandemic as their primary reason for selling. Other reasons included job relocation (14%), upsizing or downsizing needs (14%), a desire to move to another neighborhood (8%), retirement (4%) or a transition to remote working providing the option to relocate (4%). For many sellers, the market itself was influential in their process, with one in three entering the market only because they saw the opportunity to sell quickly and profitably. Twenty-three percent said their local market opportunities sped up their planned timeline to sell, while a surprising 11% actually hadn't planned to sell at all, but changed their minds in hopes of cashing in on the booming demand. And yes, this did happen; 5% actually received unsolicited offers on their homes, and they wound up selling them! What Can We Expect Moving Forward? It's not likely we'll see immediate relief from this blistering market any time soon; however, Homes.com will continue this survey series with a focus on homeowners who are planning to sell in the coming months. What types of homes will they be listing? At what price will their homes be listed? Will they be more willing to negotiate terms? Stay tuned to find out! To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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How to Write the Perfect Real Estate Agent Bio
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Want to Win More Listings? Learn the Art of the Pre-listing Presentation
Successful real estate agents work hard, hustle, network and pursue all leads. All of those things are great, and extremely necessary. But when you're trying to "wow" a potential client, you have to stand out from the crowd. Winning a listing is a multi-step sales process. There's the introduction, the meeting (in person or remotely), seeing the property, and the follow-up. Sending a pre-listing presentation ahead of your first meeting acts as a "door opener," and is your opportunity to set the stage and make a great first impression. Before we dig into the details of the pre-listing presentation, take a moment to imagine yourself in the shoes of a buyer or seller. They're looking for an agent who will represent them in the best way possible. Someone who will answer their questions, negotiate on their behalf, and be their advocate in today's cut-throat real estate market. They're bombarded with information about real estate agents in their area, most of whom have great reviews. So how do they choose the best person for the job? Enter the pre-listing presentation. It's a way to deliver the information that every seller wants to know. It's a way to introduce yourself and establish credibility. You can be as creative as you like, but here are the sections that you should definitely include: Information about you and your team – This should include your professional credentials and experience, as well as some personal information to show who you are outside of work. Do you like hiking on the weekends? Is your dog your best friend? Do you go crazy for Taco Tuesday? Include those facts in your pre-listing presentation! Testimonials and awards – It's okay (and necessary) to brag about yourself, but potential clients also want to hear from buyers and sellers who have used you as their agent in the past. And don't be shy about sharing any real estate or business awards you've won! Video of you and your team – If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth a million! Show potential clients that you're a real person who is personable, professional, and can get the job done. Sales and marketing process – Sellers want to know how hard you'll work to make sure their property sells for the best possible price. Share your entire process with them, from your online marketing tactics to postcard mailers and beyond. Additional services – If you go above and beyond for your clients, let them know! For instance, if you stage every home so they can look their absolute best, share that information. Include anything you offer that other agents don't. Sample listing – There's no better way to show a seller how you market a property than by providing them with a sample listing. This can showcase the great photography and videos you use, as well as 3D tours, staging, and other "wow factors." The pre-listing presentation is an invaluable tool that can make all the difference when it comes to winning a listing. Need inspiration? Check out this HighNote pre-listing presentation example!Ready to take the plunge? Click here to start making beautiful pre-listing presentations with HighNote.
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5 Tasks Every Real Estate Agent Must QUIT to Close More Deals
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Why Real Estate Photography Is Important In A Seller's Market
It's a hot seller's market! Real estate listings are scarce. Meanwhile, buyers are lining up around the corner, ready to make an offer on their dream homes. With homes flying off the shelves, real estate agents may be tempted to forego professional real estate photography altogether. They figure that the home will sell itself. "I can skip a few steps," the agent says. "I don't need photos." But just because homes are selling like hotcakes doesn't mean that agents should ignore a crucial marketing step: To include high-quality real estate photography in their listings. To prove our point, below are five solid reasons why real estate photos are super important, even in an aggressive seller's market. The Stats According to Realtor.org, 92% of homebuyers surfed the internet while searching for a home. Not only that, but a 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors found that among buyers who used the internet to search for homes, 89% thought that clicking through property photos was useful. Moreover, listings that featured just one photo averaged 70 days on the market compared to the 32-day average of listings with over 20 images. These stats show that professional real estate photography can help sell homes faster no matter the state of the market — whether it favors the buyer or the seller. Get More Listings A listing without professional photos is like a waffle cone without ice cream. One feels incomplete without the other. So, to set yourself apart from other agents, ensure that your listings are loaded with high-quality real estate photos. Not only will this bode well for your brand image, but it could also expand your sphere of influence among prospective buyers and help you score more listings! After all, when sellers research you online (and they will), they'll expect to see quality media. If the listing is between you and another agent, you can emerge victorious by making sure that your listings are packed with superb real estate photography. But don't stop there: if you really want to sweep the seller off her feet, you can include real estate video content, 3D tours, and exciting aerial drone footage in your listings. Take that, Other Agent! Get More Leads Want to rank higher in Google? You'll need to host exclusive, high-quality, and eye-grabbing media that'll generate more clicks and drive more traffic to your site. To optimize your presence in Google search results, you'll also need to apply some SEO best practices. For starters, edit the image filename so that it's searchable and SEO-friendly. Be descriptive without going overboard. For example, instead of a filename titled "IMG_001.jpg," try "2-story-townhouse-Boise-Idaho," if that's what you're going for. The latter has a nice (clickable) ring to it, don't you think? Also, make sure that your Alt Tags are optimized for SEO so that the image can define itself to web crawlers and appear more relevant against search queries: Classic townhouse with modern gourmet kitchen Boise Idaho. Lastly, why spend money on paid social and Google Ads when you can generate organic traffic using impeccable real estate photos that convert leads into customers? Virtual Open Houses In today's tech-driven world, hosting a virtual open house, or offering 3D real estate tours, can help sell the property even faster. Better yet, a virtual tour can take the legwork out of showing the property in person, especially when a potential buyer sends you a last-minute request to view it. Thus, the advent of the virtual tour allows you to work more efficiently. For example, you can send the prospective homebuyer a link to the tour to sustain their interest in the property while sorting out your schedule behind the scenes. What's more, some sellers may not be comfortable with the thought of others visiting their homes post-pandemic, which is why a virtual tour comes in extra handy. At HomeJab, our virtual tour services can offer seamless 3D real estate experiences for your customers. Homeowners Deserve the Best When asked why he hustled on plays that had little effect on a game's outcome or on his team's standing, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio said, "Because there's always some kid who may be seeing me for the first time… "I owe him my best." At HomeJab, we believe that homeowners also deserve the best, no matter the size of their homes. Although a lower-end home might be a small deal for the agent, it's nonetheless a big financial investment for the homeowner. Therefore, it deserves as much energy and hard work as one would pour into a higher-end home. And there you have it — five solid reasons why professional real estate photography matters in a seller's market. Ready to schedule your shoot? To view the original article, visit the HomeJab blog.
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With RPR, REALTORS Give First-time Home Buyers First Class Guidance
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What's the Big Deal about Google Local Services Ads?
If you're in the real estate business, there's a good chance you've been hearing a lot about Google Local Services Ads, or Google LSA. The industry has been buzzing with talk about how this new seller lead source can generate a lot of inexpensive ready-to-transact leads and even produce inbound "come-list-me" calls. The question is -- is this lead source actually worth it? What Is Google LSA? Let's start off with the basics. What is Google LSA and why should you care? Google LSA is a resource provided by Google that allows users to use Google to search for service providers that Google essentially prescreens and then recommends to the user. For example, you could go to Google right now and search for "plumber in Santa Monica" and immediately Google will show you three prescreened and "Google Guaranteed" plumbers in Santa Monica. These prescreened companies pop up right at the top of the search results page (even above the pay-per-click advertisements) and are usually accompanied by numerous positive reviews featured front and center. Google LSA has been around for quite some time for other industries, but just in the last couple of months it has become available for real estate. So, why should you care? If you were looking for a real estate agent in your area, wouldn't you most likely pick one of the three real estate agents Google recommended who had already been prescreened and showcased excellent reviews? It seems like a no-brainer, and the fact is, it's already working. What Are the Benefits of Using Google LSA? There are a few key benefits to using Google LSA that you're not going to get with other lead source providers in the real estate industry. The most important benefits are that you receive high quality leads at a low cost. 1. High Quality Leads Google LSA leads primarily come in the form of inbound phone calls. That means no more chasing leads! The leads coming in are high intent prospects with short transactional timeframes. Google LSA leads are primarily sellers and out of town buyers. 2. Low Costing Leads With Google LSA, you only pay for inbound phone calls that last longer than 30 seconds. Google refunds you for any irrelevant and out-of-area calls so you're only paying for legitimate leads. The per-lead costs are inexpensive. How Does Google LSA Generate More Seller Leads? So you might be asking yourself, "How does this lead source generate mostly seller leads?" The answer is simple. Google is doing it organically. Typically, people who are local and looking to buy a house are not searching online for a real estate agent. Usually buyers will look for homes for sale in their local area straightaway. The only people who are really searching for real estate agents off-the-bat are people looking to sell their homes, people who are from out of town looking to relocate, or other out of town real estate agents trying to refer clients. All of these scenarios are highly desirable for lead generation. Okay, What's the Catch? At this point you're probably wondering, "Okay, so what's the catch with Google LSA?" While there isn't really a "catch" per se, there are a few key things you will need to do to be successful with this lead source. 1. Forty percent of the leads will be irrelevant. That number might seem high, but keep in mind that this means 60% of the leads coming in through Google LSA are relevant and have high intention to transact quickly. 2. You need to pick up your phone. With Google LSA, your ranking is controlled by a Google algorithm and how often you answer incoming calls from Google LSA is a major influence on how far up on the list you appear as a Google recommended provider. 3. You need to have an optimized Google My Business page. Ninety percent of Google LSA profiles are linked to a Google My Business (GMB) page. Your GMB page should be complete with an accurate address, hours of operation, and any other required profile information. 4. You need to have business reviews. Another really important influence on the algorithm that determines your Google ranking and ultimately how many leads you receive with LSA per month is reviews. For perspective, a real estate agent with 10 reviews will get less than six lead calls per month, whereas an agent who has 100 reviews will get upwards of 20 lead calls per month. That's a Lot to Take in. Feeling Overwhelmed? If you're starting to feel like you're in over your head, you'll be happy to hear that you can get help setting up your Google LSA and GMB page with Ylopo. Ylopo has set up over 800 clients on Google LSA already and can help you get rolling with LSA fast. Here are some of the things Ylopo can do to help you get started with Google LSA: Ylopo automates the process of getting you credited for irrelevant leads. As a client, you can take advantage of Ylopo's Instant Response Call Center that will pick up the phone for you so you don't have to worry about missing any inbound calls from LSA (something that would normally negatively impact your Google ranking). Ylopo provides a Google LSA integration that links directly to your CRM so you can seamlessly get your Google LSA leads funneled right into the system you use daily to manage leads. Ylopo provides direct assistance with optimizing your Google My Business Page so you can improve your rankings on Google LSA faster. Ylopo automates the review collection process for you, helping you to quickly and effortlessly get your well-deserved reviews (something that also positively impacts your ranking on Google). Still on the Fence? If you're still on the fence about getting your business set up with Google Local Services Ads, here's some advice. Start by getting your Google My Business page set up and then head over to Google and search for real estate agents in your area to see which of your competitors is already taking advantage of Google LSA. It might be just what you need to see to get on board. To learn more about Google LSA and the other seller tools Ylopo has to offer, check out www.ylopo.com/seller.
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Top 10 Tips for Attention-Grabbing Listings
In this fast-paced world of online searches, you have mere seconds to grab the attention of a potential buyer or seller, but you don't have to be a professional writer to get the results you want. Start with the following tips for crafting your listings and watch the online visibility you receive expand! 1. Spend Time Crafting Your Headline An attention-grabbing headline is the first introduction to your audience. If they don't like the headline, they won't read further. But great headlines don't fall from the sky. You need to spend time crafting and testing them to determine which ones work best. Start by writing out five to 10 headlines and testing them. Once you discover which headlines get you the highest open rate, you can use them as templates to accommodate other properties you are looking to promote. You can use these headlines repeatedly with just a little tweak depending on the property you are selling. 2. Learn from Headlines That Get Results Learn from what works. Currently, attention-grabbing headlines tend to use a couple of descriptive adjectives to highlight the home or a feature of the property. They also may showcase price and location. They are short, with fewer than 10 words and fewer than 50 characters. And, they may target people's FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Here are some examples: Homes for Sale in ___________ Under ___________ Waterfront Homes for Sale in ____________ Lowest Prices for Sale in __________________ Luxury Homes You Don't Want to Miss! Just Came on the Market…Don't Miss Out! Enjoy This Resort Lifestyle with Water Views Lowest Priced One of a Kind Home in __________ Gorgeous Residence Selling Below Bank Valuation Designer Renovated Home in Outstanding Location 2021 Renovated Floor Plan for Working at Home Private Couryard with Landscape Views in ________ Corner Family Home on a Sunny Block Smart, Energy-Efficient Designer Home Demolish, Re-Build or Rent – This Bargain Could Be Yours! Iconic Waterfront Home in High Demand Community Quick tip – Avoid using all uppercase caps on your headlines. Rather, capitalize the first letter of each word. This includes the copy in the description also. Using all caps in your entire description gives the impression that you are screaming and is off-putting to readers. 3. Stand Out from the Crowd Review similar homes for sale being advertised in your MLS. You can also check out what the top real estate agents in your area are doing. The idea is to not be identical or blend in. Put your own individual style to it and stand out. 4. Use Photos That Wow Property photos are an important feature along with the headline and listing copy. The featured first photo is the most important. It is what will draw prospects in to learn more about the home. Consider using a professional photographer to best showcase the home. Homes that have professional photos taken can sell faster, as photographers take the time to capture the entire room along with lighting that amplifies the features of the home. You can have the greatest home to sell. If the property photos are not sized correctly, well-lit, or feature only a part of the home, it can put your seller at a huge disadvantaged. Real estate is a visual art, and now more than ever, people are searching online before ever reaching out to you. 5. Describe the Property with Love Instead of just listing features and amenities, give the property some personality. When possible, ask the seller(s) what they love about the home. This can give you an idea of what to write. Use adjectives to create a feeling and continue with the specifics that make your property stand out. Remember to speak to your target audience as you describe it. 6. And Don't Beat Around the Bush Although you do want to give the property personality, you don't need to write a fiction novel. Get straight to the point in the first few lines. Keep the important information on top. Then go on to describe the amenities (if any), location and benefits of living there. 7. Write a Longer vs. Shorter Description When writing the listing features and description, make it a couple of paragraphs long. Show your audience that you care. Especially in a sellers' market, if you want to get the highest price or above market value for your client, write a detailed description which includes the primary features (the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, inside square footage, lot size, extras such as pool, garden, dog park, beach, etc.), recent renovations, unique characteristics such as the material used to construct the home, energy efficient features, views, nearby amenities and of course location. Write about all the positives of the property. 8. Proofread Your Writing Before pressing the post button, make sure you have proofread every word of the listing. It is so easy to overlook an error, especially when spending so much time looking at your screen. To assist you also, consider using an app on your computer that will automatically suggest grammar changes. There are free ones available. Remember that these are not 100% accurate. Sometimes it's best to take a break and go back to it and review it a few minutes later or print it and read it out loud word-by-word. 9. Share Your Listing on Social Media Platforms, Website and Email Every time you get a listing or sell a property, it is a great time to promote it on at least three platforms. It's an opportunity to not only market the property, but also market yourself. Use those platforms that you feel most comfortable with using. Create a list of all your clients and people in your database with whom you would like to share the information and share it with them. This is another great way to become known in your market area and have people reach out to you to learn more about services you provide. 10. Measure Your Open Rates Currently, do you track the open rates of your listings on the various real estate websites, including your own? If you are also sending out the listings via email and social media, it is important to track which sites are getting you the most results. The idea is not to waste time or money on places that do not get you the best results. Janice Zaltman is a Realtor, LEED AP, marketing coach and writer with more than 20 years of experience in the sales, marketing and media fields. To view the original article, visit the Form Simplicity blog.
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Open House Ideas That Bring in Leads
With Memorial Day behind us and the country easing back to normalcy following more than a year of shutdowns and social distancing, open houses are set to be a big--and we mean big--part of the summer of 2021. You're probably gearing up to host plenty of them in the near future, so why not make sure you're taking every opportunity to delight prospective buyers and win as much future business as possible? Leverage Waze in Your Open House Marketing More than a year since the pandemic began, many people are still opting to use their cars over public transportation and ride-sharing services. So like any good marketing strategy, go where your audience is. Think of Waze — the largest community-run navigation app, with more than 140 million monthly active users — as the digital equivalent of roadside billboards and top-of-neighborhood yard signs. Just as those are intended to lure in passing drivers, so too is Waze. Only Waze has a much, much broader reach—meaning you'll attract far more interested prospects to your open house. In short, it's a much more efficient use of your marketing spend. It works like this: You advertise your open house on Waze during open house hours. As drivers use Waze to navigate around town and monitor traffic patterns, they'll get a notification to attend the open house when they pass within a specified radius of your advertised property. If interested, they can click on the advertisement and get step-by-step directions to the open house. Read this article for a more in-depth look at setting up a Waze advertising campaign. Optimize Your Open House Sign-in Sheet We covered this topic in a previous post, which we encourage you to read to get a more thorough account of what an optimized open house sign-in sheet looks like, but here's the general gist: Too many agents throw a piece of lined notebook paper on an end table and hope it's enough to farm potential prospects. But, it's not. Every open house sign-in sheet should include the following: Address Ask a question Leave a comment or provide feedback to the agent and/or seller What do you like most and least about this home? Real estate needs: Want to buy ASAP Want to buy within the next 12 months Want to sell Just looking Are you working with a real estate agent? What type of property are you interested in? __ beds __ bathrooms Single-family home Condo/Townhouse Specific features: ___ Have you been pre-approved for a loan? Would you like me to send you a free home evaluation for your home? If yes, home address: ____ Do you want to receive a free market report to learn about homes in this area? If yes, zip codes of interest: ____ Make Instagram and Facebook Stories of Your Open House If 2020 taught us anything, it's that we were all pretty efficient at switching to digital equivalents of in-person events. Even as we try to put the pandemic in the rearview, a proportion of prospective buyers remain reluctant to attend open houses. So why leave them out? Why not give them the opportunity to see what happened virtually? With Homesnap Stories, you can add unique, engaging marketing content right to your active listings through the Homesnap Pro app. Add text, emojis, and even use augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind marketing content that you can also share on Facebook and Instagram. Record a voiceover or add music to personalize your Stories even more. Then, once complete, you can push these stories directly to your Facebook and Instagram. Want to get more exposure? Put a little ad spend behind either type of Story on Instagram or Facebook easily with Homesnap Pro Ads. Use Video Ads to Generate Buzz About Your Listing You can also take those video tours and walkthroughs and turn them into Video Ads on Facebook and Instagram. This is a great way to gin up buzz for your open house, show your listing in a more interactive light, and give prospects a taste of your personality. Uploading your videos from your computer or phone and turning them into Video Ads just takes a few minutes. Or, Stream Your Open House Live If you'd rather host a virtual open house live rather than after the fact, it's possible with Homesnap. Using the Homesnap platform, you can promote video tours of a property and schedule and host open houses virtually, much in the same way you would an in-person one. Once complete, scheduled virtual open houses will appear as a purple-colored pin within Homesnap's map view, and property card banners will display the date and time of the virtual open house. Potential buyers can simply click to attend. Read more about how to set up a virtual open house here. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Friday Freebie: 200 Real Estate Flyer Templates
You know how people like to say, "Less is more"? Well, throw that out the window (just for now), because in this week's Friday Freebie, more is definitely more. We're sharing with you a whopping 200 flyer templates that you can download, customize, and market with to your heart's content. Read on to learn more. 200 Real Estate Flyer Templates, courtesy of TORCHx Listing inventory is low, so agents can use all the help they can get in drumming up new seller leads. TORCHx is offering RE Technology readers 200 free flyer templates that you can print and mail or share online. You get: 50 For Sale Flyer templates 50 Just Sold Flyer templates 50 Recently Sold Homes Flyer templates 50 Testimonial Flyer templates All flyers are beautifully and professionally designed and 100% customizable. Add your name, contact info, listing photos and other custom fields for a flyer that is perfectly suited to your marketing needs. Flyers are available as PowerPoint files and come with full instructions on how to customize and edit the templates. Ready to dive in? Download 200 FREE real estate flyer templates here!
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A Review of the Zillow 3D App
Recently, one of HomeJab's real estate photographers had an eye-opening experience using the Zillow 3D app. The events that unfolded during the photographer's interactions with the app and Zillow's customer support team led to this review. From lack of content control to flaws with the 3D view, read on to determine whether or not the Zillow 3D app is best for your real estate business needs. Source Files Are Not Yours Last week, we held a photoshoot in Olympia, Wash., near Zillow's headquarters in Seattle. The photographer accidentally used the Zillow 3D app to capture 360° images instead of using the app that the customer requested. Upon realizing his mistake, the photographer contacted Zillow asking for the 360° files (these aren't saved to the camera when using Zillow's 3D app.) He wanted to use the files on another software platform. But Zillow denied his request, refusing to send him the source files. As a result, we had to reschedule the photoshoot, and the photographer then had to drive an extra 100 miles out of his way. Content Control Because Zillow feeds off of content to survive, they'll want to control it every time an agent uses their 3D app. Therefore, while using the Zillow 3D app, the real estate agent or photographer should know that there's a point of no return: Once files are sent to Zillow, whether accidentally or not, Zillow owns them. What's more, Zillow has primed their website to be the only place where content submitted to them can be viewed. As a real estate agent or photographer, surrendering control of your content can be detrimental to your business. For instance, to gain a better sense of the agent's listings portfolio, customers might want to browse the agent's transaction history, real estate photos, virtual tours, etc. If these are not readily available on the agent's website, the customer might want to browse elsewhere. 3D Flaws Allow us to point out that "Zillow 3D" is a misnomer. That's to say, there's no 3D view (whoops!). Indeed, no 3D models will see the light of day from Zillow's app. Instead, Zillow 3D organizes panoramic images into a "virtual tour." On a different note, Zillow's newest iBuyer platform, "Zillow Offers," is yet another service that claims ownership of your content. And by marketing directly to the consumer, Zillow Offers positions itself more like a competitor than a support system. That said, at HomeJab we agree that's there's nothing wrong with publishing the basic listing data on Zillow through MLS. But if buyers wish to access an agent's virtual tour, which is critical these days when time is money, then they should be able to access it on the listing agent's website. This is why it's crucial to keep exclusive control of your content rather than handing it over to Zillow 3D or other top competitors in the business. A Solution to the iBuyer Problem Despite these bad tidings, there's a practical solution to the Zillow 3D app and the larger iBuyer problem: You should use a platform of independent content creators where you, the real estate agent and business professional, keep exclusive ownership and control over your content. Out of the myriad virtual tour providers out there, many offer free software and hosting services (emphasis on the word "FREE"). At HomeJab, our customers hire (and trust) us to capture the images and produce a seamless 3D real estate tour. When all's said and done, every single file belongs to the listing agent. The agent can then download the individual source files and use them on any other software platform of their choosing. Not only that, but the agent can control where the tour is hosted and viewed, which, in turn, will maximize their leads! Last but not least, there's free lifetime hosting to boot! (Check out our FAQs section for more on our services.) Growing your business freely and exponentially while thwarting Big Tech's hostile takeover of the real estate industry means that you'll have to keep outwitting Zillow 3D and other iBuyer models that aren't keeping your best interests at heart. This might seem like a great feat to accomplish, but fret not — HomeJab's got you covered! To view the original article, visit the HomeJab blog.
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10 Secrets of Success for Single Agents and Small Teams
Whoever said that being on a large team is the best way to be successful in real estate might have missed the memo about these powerful single-agent and small team success strategies. If you're a single agent or on a small team and you feel like you've been spinning your wheels in this challenging market, you're in the right place. In this article we will outline the top 10 success strategies of some of the fastest growing single agents and small teams in the country—and the good news is each strategy is something you can take and implement for yourself for your own unique business and in your own unique market. Let's jump in. Secret #1: Level the Playing Field The first thing you need to do as a single agent or small team in order to be successful is find ways to compete with the big guys. Large and mega teams might have more marketing dollars, more agents, and more aggressive strategies, but you can compete by: leveraging the power of your digital marketing technology having the flexibility to quickly change as the market does having the personal touch with clients that the big guys can't achieve More on numbers two and three later; let's focus on number one. If you have a digital marketing company that can provide you with dynamic advertising, customized reports, artificial ISA intelligence, and other smart tools that optimize your customer experience, you'll be shocked at how fast the big guys stop feeling like a threat. Secret #2: Don't Get Overwhelmed With as many hats as you're likely wearing every day to keep your business afloat, not getting overwhelmed might seem like a laughable concept, but it's super important and totally avoidable. The idea is to start slow. Pick just one thing to implement at a time and allow yourself time to get comfortable with each new thing before you incorporate something else. Creating a new habit can take about two weeks, so plan on a buffer time of about two weeks between each new thing you implement. The other way you can avoid becoming overwhelmed is to reassess your business. Eliminate unnecessary activities, automate as much as you can, and then delegate tasks are left over that you don't enjoy doing yourself. You might be surprised with how much more time you win back. Finally, make sure you are time blocking on your calendar and being productive during those time blocks. This time blocking is a great way to hold yourself accountable when you're working as your own boss. Secret #3: Know Your Numbers This secret is key and very simply stated. Successful single agents know their numbers and review their numbers at least once per week. Every night when you get into bed, you should know what your lead generation numbers look like, what your lead conversion numbers like, and know what contracts are closing. Secret #4: Focus on the Three Rs As a single agent, it's vital that you focus on the three Rs: relationships, referrals and reviews. You don't have the organic exposure that a lot of the bigger and more well-known teams have, so you need to focus on providing elevated personalized service—something that the big guys can't compete with. The biggest focus for you should be relationships. If you put your time and energy towards nurturing the relationships you have with your clients, your friends and the community, business will naturally happen for you. If you continue to focus on building your client relationship throughout the entire transaction and beyond, referrals often happen organically. Reviews, on the other hand, usually have to be manually requested. Regarding reviews, there are three really important things to remember. First, never be afraid to ask for reviews. Second, always ask for a review in the moment when your client is the most happy and excited about you or the service you're providing; you don't have to wait to be at the closing table to ask for a review. Third, give them easy options for submitting reviews like email, text, or video. If you focus on making the review submission process for your clients as simple and convenient as possible, they will be more likely to do it. Secret #5: Get Involved Next, it's time to put your best foot forward and get involved in your community. As a single real estate agent, you know from the last secret that you need to focus on the three Rs. Being actively involved in your community makes up a big part of that. Your goal is to be the person that everyone in your community thinks about first when they have any real estate related need. How can you achieve this? There are many ways you can be at the forefront of your community as the local real estate expert, but the most effective way of achieving this is to be present. Make sure you're at local events, socializing, donating your time or money to local charities, talking with neighbors, and even heading up local social groups like a running club or dog walking group. The more you're around, the more people in your community will know you, like you, respect you, trust you and ultimately refer you. Secret #6: Advertise Locally Make sure you're advertising in your local area. Right now, the best two options for local advertising in real estate are with Google. First, create your Google My Business page. This is where prospective clients will land when they put your name into the Google search engine, so you want this page to be as complete and accurate as possible. One pro tip is to set your business hours as "open 24/7." Most agents will set their business hours to be from 9AM-5PM and all of the people with real estate inquiries after 5PM will be calling you instead of the competition. Don't forget to build out your reviews here as well. Reviews are the first thing people will see when coming to your Google My Business Page and will greatly impact your ranking with Google. The next way to execute local advertising is to invest in Google Local Services Ads (Google LSA). Google LSA is the highest performing and most cost effective lead source in real estate at the moment. Learn more about what Google LSA is and how it works here. Secret #7: Don't Overlook SEO Don't neglect looking at some of the finer and more hidden aspects of internet marketing, specifically SEO. By focusing on your SEO, you can quickly repair and boost your Google rankings. There are many things that go into SEO and we recommend having a professional help you out if you're unfamiliar—but for starters, make sure you don't have any dead links associated with your business' website. A common way you might end up with dead links associated with your website is if you use a professional photographer to help you take pictures and create landing pages for active listings and once the listings sell, the landing pages end up being deleted. When a web page is deleted, the web address to that page still exists but leads to a dead site. That dead website is still backlinked to your active business site and will be actively hurting your online ranking. You can fix this common problem by making sure that the links to all web pages that have ever been associated with your business remain active and properly backlinked to your website. Another thing you can do is make sure all of the photos on your website are properly geotagged. For example, if you have a professional photographer take your headshot photos and their office is located somewhere else, there's a good chance that the location tied to your headshot photo doesn't match your physical business address. If the address on your website and the geotagged location of your associated photos don't match, Google's algorithm will see this mismatch and it will negatively impact your ranking. Secret #8: Create Your Own Inventory As a smaller scale real estate business, you may need to get creative and find ways to create your own inventory, specifically by finding "shadow inventory." The best way to find shadow inventory is to look for listings that expired over six months ago and try to revive those opportunities. By digging into these particular opportunities, there's a good chance that you'll find someone who tried to sell their home a year ago, failed with another agent, and is willing to give it another shot with you. For more reading about ways to create your own inventory, check out this other article. Secret #9: Change with the Market One of your main superpowers as a single agent or small team is that you're nimble and you can move quickly. A lot of the bigger teams have to move much slower and have a harder time adapting to fast-shifting market conditions. Always be aware of what is working for you at any given time and what isn't and then don't be afraid to change as needed. A year ago, a successful single agent may have found the best opportunities to be with buyer clients and new construction. As the pandemic emerged, that agent would have seen that line of business quickly drying up and moving towards a hyper seller-focused market. Proactively seeing this trend, a single agent is able to quickly shift their strategy and immediately start putting their efforts towards gaining more seller clients and listings without missing a beat. Bigger teams, on the other hand, have various bureaucracies to overcome before even thinking about implementing a shift in strategy. Secret #10: Challenge = Opportunity The final secret is to remember that each challenge you face will always equal a new opportunity. It's easy to be negative and get stuck on ideas like, "There's no inventory" or "The pandemic is preventing me from doing business like I used to." While both of these statements might be true, they are short-sighted and hold you back from success. Instead, try to focus on the potential that each new challenge provides. Try to keep a positive mindset and spend time thinking of ways you can use each unique challenge to reform yourself or your business. You may come out on the other side of it in an even stronger position. One Last Piece of Advice Make sure you implement systems and processes into your business. This advice applies to big teams, small teams, and single agents alike. If you don't have consistent ways of working, organizing, and running your business, you're setting yourself up for failure from the start. If you're open to leveraging technology, you'll only make your life easier in the long run. Most importantly, whatever systems you choose to apply, make sure the tools and features make sense and are functional for your business. Your systems should be straightforward enough to be something that you will commit to using every single day. Ensure this by determining what your core business priorities are first and then make sure that whatever powerful system you choose wholly supports your core priorities, goals, and principles. To get more great advice for single agents and small teams, check out this video.
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Ask the Industry: What Are Your Top Negotiation Strategies?
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Real Estate Leads Exposed: Inside the Mind of Today's Home Shopper
When it comes to making a purchasing decision, consumers go through a process, coined by inbound marketing company Hubspot as "The Buyer's Journey." In this article, we're going to take a look at each stage of the buyer's journey, discuss how it impacts the home buying process and your real estate leads, and provide ideas on how you can use each phase as a guide to help you maximize your effectiveness in generating and converting new buyer leads online. This journey is made up of three stages: Awareness Stage Consideration Stage Decision Stage 1. Awareness Stage In the awareness stage, the buyer has realized and expressed symptoms of a problem or opportunity. A. What your leads are thinking... Think of this stage as a symptomatic stage. Let's say, for example, a potential homebuyer has realized that paying high rent is becoming increasingly frustrating. They are at a point in life when making an investment with the potential to build equity is starting to become a priority. Perhaps they have recently gotten married, or are coming up on the end of a lease and are going to have to make a decision on what their next move will be within the next few weeks or months. B. What your leads are looking for... At this point, leads are looking for basic information that correlates to their specific situation. An example would be looking up benefits of renting versus buying or investigating whether or not it's statistically beneficial to buy a property when relocating to a new city. C. How you can help attract leads at the Awareness Stage... In the awareness stage, your lead is nowhere near ready to choose an agent. In fact, they haven't even decided if it makes sense to commit to buying yet. But you still have an opportunity to be helpful and influential by providing information someone in this situation would be searching for – whether it's tips on a successful relocation or information on home equity vs. other types of equity. This type of content is great in blog format. When you publish these types of posts, known as "top of funnel" content, use keyword-rich copy to gain visibility and drive the right type of leads. 2. Consideration Stage In the consideration stage, the buyer has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity. A. What your leads are thinking... Now, your lead has decided that purchasing a property is almost definitely in their future, but they still aren't ready to pick up the phone and call an agent. At this point, they are working on making critical decisions on location and are looking for information on how to get started with the process. They may also be mulling over what their life would look like in different areas – considering things like how their commute would be impacted, whether they want to be a city-dweller or suburbanite and whether they would prefer a condo or single family home. B. What your leads are looking for... Now that your lead is committed to the idea of purchasing a home, they want to understand what all of their viable options are. At this point, your lead may be looking for mortgage calculators that will help them clearly define a budget or they may be doing research on interest rates and what types of financing are available. Furthermore, they will be looking for data that will help them start to hone in on more specific details regarding location and housing preferences – searching things like "city vs. suburbs" and "condos vs. single family homes." C. How you can help engage leads at the consideration stage... Once again, you can attract the right types of leads by serving as a valuable resource and community expert. Consider putting together comparative data on different local areas that will help potential homebuyers decide between city A and city B, write a blog post that provides details and statistics on local schools in your area, or offer content that helps buyers choose which financial options make the most sense for their current situation. 3. Decision Stage In the decision stage, the buyer has defined their solution strategy, method or approach. A. What your leads are thinking... Now your lead is fully aware of the viable options and is ready to start digging deep and making some serious decisions. They have narrowed their search to a couple of specific areas, have a budget in mind and are settled on what type of property they'd like. Homebuyers are unique because even as they near a decision point, they may still take several weeks or months to search and collect information on their own in order to get a good feel for the market prior to bringing in a third party (A.K.A., an agent) for help. It pays to be patient during this time – be helpful where you can be, but don't push. B. What your leads are looking for... Your lead is searching for a specific type of property in a specific price range in a specific part of town. At this point, your local market knowledge really comes into play as a valuable asset to their journey. C. How you can help convert leads at the decision stage... At this point, you should be providing local market snapshots, details on available properties that match your lead's search criteria and data on average closing costs, property taxes and mortgage payments for your area. The goal at this point is to prove that you are the best, most knowledgeable agent in your area in the hopes that your lead will come to you and ask you to represent them in the home buying process. Relevance is directly correlated with effectiveness, so keep these stages in mind when developing your real estate marketing strategy for better results and bigger payoffs. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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6 Tips for Strong Real Estate Marketing Email Campaigns
Being a successful real estate professional is all about maintaining and growing your client base. Whether you're at an open house, a meeting, a social event or even a dinner party, you know you've got to make your brand known. But how can you possibly nurture relationships with everyone you meet along the way? Email marketing for real estate is the answer. A study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® about real estate in the digital age showed that 92% of Realtors prefer to communicate with their clients via email, with 93% using it every day. In fact, 63% of real estate email marketing campaigns receive a positive engagement. These are stats we simply can't ignore! Amarki will explore the varieties of email marketing tips real estate agents can use to convert leads, nurture prospects, and earn continued business from past clients. 1. The Actionable Welcome Email Probably the most important email is your "Welcome" email. Your welcome email is a great way to introduce both cold and warm leads to your services and yourself. Your leads may have come from an open house, your website, or, better yet, directly through a referral. Regardless of how you connected, Amarki recommends sending your welcome email after your first contact. Your welcome email will thank subscribers for opting in and give them two critical pieces of information: What kinds of emails to expect from you in the future; and, Why you're the best agent to help them buy or sell their home Your welcome email guarantees to give you a jumpstart on your competition. And, with nearly two million active real estate agents across the U.S., we know there's no time to waste in positioning your brand for success. 2. Use Newsletters to Add Value Your leads and clients want to know that you're the expert. There's no better way to prove this than in an email newsletter packed full of relevant and insightful information. Not only will newsletters highlight your expertise, but they will keep you front of mind when deciding how and with whom to move forward with. Newsletters also keep you connected with your past clients – and as we know happy clients are the best advertisements that money can't buy! A positive impact left on leads and clients with your informative newsletters will increase your chances of conversion. Amarki suggests sharing: Recent or upcoming events New homes listed or sold Open houses Focus on local restaurants and/or businesses Mortgage news and advice You'll be sure to capture their attention and be a resource they'll turn to time and time again. Just remember, your newsletter is a marketing device, so it's okay to softly sell your services, just don't make it the focus of your newsletter. 3. Nurture Your Buyers It's important to make sure you're connecting with potential buyers to keep them updated with the most recent listings in their desired neighborhoods through weekly or more frequent email blasts. Although they may have signed up to receive email alerts from your website, you should also follow up with them personally to see if anything they've seen in the market has caught their eye. As you know, buying a house is a major decision and often requires you to nurture your leads for quite some time before they're ready to take the next step in their buying journey. 4. Captivate Interested Seller with Emails Home buyers are one side of real estate, but we can't forget about the sellers. Amarki noted that 70% of home sellers interview just one agent before signing a contract. That means you have to put your best foot forward and showcase your knowledge and expertise. Sellers want to know what their house is worth and if you're the right person to sell it. It's important that you're able to address both of these concerns via email to prompt them into action. Offering a comparative market analysis of their home and neighborhood will help you to stand out from the crowd and form a meaningful relationship with the seller. Your end goal is to meet your client in person to discuss their needs, so all emails should be leading them to this with a good call to action. 5. Care for Your Past Clients Referrals are another important avenue for growing your real estate business. Real estate referrals can come from current and past clients and from colleagues, friends, family and suppliers. Consider the following: 25% of real estate agents generate more than 50% of their annual business entirely through referrals 88% of buyers claim they would use the same agent or refer them The average real estate agent earns 42% of their business through referrals 82% of ALL real estate transactions are from REFERRALS! You need to plan carefully when marketing to past clients. Instead of sending them current market updates, Amarki recommends including newsletters relevant to them focusing on DIY projects, local events or home and landscaping trends. Sending personalized emails for holidays or the anniversary of their move will let them know you value their relationship beyond just the close. 6. Use Automation Maintaining connections with your leads and clients is critical to move your business forward. Adding an automated email system triggered by customer behaviors, or adding a tool that allows for scheduling, will free up your time to focus on growing your business. Use automation where possible, but always remember, personalization is the key to more conversions and can increase the return on investment of your email marketing campaigns. Bonus Tip: Leveraging a tool like Amarki will keep all your marketing in one place allowing you to create, schedule and deploy all your marketing campaigns in three easy steps! Learn more about Amarki and register for your account by clicking here.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Building Spot-on CMAs
As a REALTOR, your clients hire you for many reasons: your experience and expertise, educated guidance and advice, your local market knowledge, and help guiding them through the process. One other big reason is your ability to price a property. That's where knowing how to put together a solid CMA comes in. A CMA (comparative market analysis) is a process agents use to establish home values and set listing prices. You create CMAs by looking at comps (short for comparable properties). These comps are similar properties, mostly in the same neighborhood, and tend to have the same square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, features, upgrades, etc. You want to compare things that are equal, or at least as equal as possible, to help price your listing. Creating a spot-on CMA is crucial to your skills and success. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to do it in RPR. How to Create a CMA Start at the RPR homepage by visiting narrpr.com. Then switch the toggle to "Residential" and type the address of your subject property. If you don't have that, RPR will also search by APN. Once you've executed your search, you'll arrive on the Property Details page. Under the property map/photos, you'll see the Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM®). The RVM estimates displayed in RPR are the product of multiple Automated Valuation Models, each uses proprietary algorithms and arrives at its own estimate. The analytic goes beyond the traditional automated value by incorporating listing and sales data into the equation. The RVM can be a great starting point for pricing discussions with clients. The RVM is accompanied by a 5-star Confidence Score. A confidence score of 5 indicates that the different automated valuation models yield similar estimates for this property. Building Your CMA Now let's move on to the CMA to further determine the price. From the Property Details page, click Create CMA. You'll arrive at the CMA tab with a 5-step wizard to guide you through the process. In the first step, press the blue Confirm Facts link on the CMA page. This is where you'll confirm the basic property characteristics for your subject property such as living area and number of rooms. These characteristics will also be used in the search for comparable properties in the next step. The facts you change are highlighted in blue. Once you've made your changes, select Confirm Facts & Close. A checkmark and confirmation will appear where you've completed the first step. Searching for Comparable Properties Otherwise, select the second radio button, Search an area for several properties, to enter the search criteria for our comparable properties. You'll notice the criteria auto-populates based upon the subject property's characteristics, but you can easily change it to meet your needs. Narrow your search based on sales timeframe, property status (active listing, off-market, recently sold), distressed status, beds, and baths or living area, and many other parameters to really fine-tune your search. To add geographic search restrictions, use the search tools directly above the map, such as Use a Custom Area or Use a Geography. After choosing Search, the results will be displayed below the map. Comps returned in this search that were also used in the RVM® calculation are flagged with a blue star, but are not weighted differently than any other comparable property. Now check each of the properties you want to include in your analysis. As you select each comparable property, it will be added to the list of selected comps in the sidebar. Once you are satisfied with your comp selection, choose Update Valuation and Close. The average price of your comps will appear at Step 2, with the ability to edit if you want to make any changes to your comp selection. Make Adjustments to the CMA Next we'll adjust the comparable properties as they relate to the subject property. Here the comps you selected are presented in a grid. Specify which order you'd like them to appear in your reports. Choose from the dropdown to change the order. These sliders allow you to rate each comp relative to the subject property. Decide whether the property is worse, the same, or better than your subject property. Your changes are previewed on this page, so you can see their effect before you complete them. Select Update Valuation and Close once you are done with your adjustments. Your adjustments will now show on Step 3, with the ability to edit this result, if you choose. The final step before generating the Seller's Report is to review the results of your analysis. If needed, you can override the supplied valuation. To do that, simply enter your own value or round the suggested price up or down. Also, choose to keep the value range, or edit/remove altogether. If you bypass this step, the comp analysis result from step three will appear in your report. The result will also appear on the Summary tab of the Property Details page. If you complete step 4, the new value and range will appear in those locations. Create Your Seller Report Now you're ready to generate the Seller's Report. Select Create Report to be directed to the Reports Generation page. The Seller's Report showcases the subject property, condition of the local market, comparable properties, and pricing strategy. Select the "+" symbol to expand the report details section. Now choose which elements to include or omit in the report based on your seller's specific needs. For example, you may choose to suppress the estimated value for the subject property and/or the estimated value for the comparable properties. Next, on the right side of the page, choose which cover page elements to include. Now personalize your report if you intend to send this directly to your client. Choose your delivery method and select Run Report. Now you have a perfectly priced property with the best deliverable to send to your client! As you can see, RPR can really help you in determining property valuations and creating killer CMAs. Watch the Video! Pricing a property with RPR To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Texting: One of an Agent's Greatest Tools
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How to Blog: What to Write About
Creating and maintaining a blog is a lot of work, but there are still a lot of busy real estate agents who take the time to hash out new content each week. Have you ever wondered why? It's because of leads. Blog content is an ideal way to work relevant local keywords, backlinks, and other content search engines can pick up on into your website so that you can show up in search results. Blog content is also a helpful way to provide buyers and sellers in your area with information demonstrating you are the local expert. So, yes, blogging is important. But what should you write about? Real Estate Content As a real estate agent, real estate content is obviously going to be very important on your blog. Just remember to balance it out with other types of content rather than relying on it as your main content type. When choosing real estate relevant topics, think about the kind of information that will help buyers and sellers get ready transact. Buyers may enjoy information about improving their credit, different types of loans, and tools to help them figure out how much they can afford to pay for a home. Popular seller topics may include information about getting their home ready to sell, staging, and what to expect from the home selling process. Neighborhood value trends and information highlighting recent sales and pricing trends in your area are also great information to share with buyers and sellers. Local Content Adding fresh, unique local content to your website is one of the best moves you can make if you want to improve your rankings in search results and attract more leads. Information about local news and events, upcoming roadwork, area attractions, school information, restaurant recommendations, and things to do are all popular subjects that can position you as the local expert and attract potential buyers and sellers to your blog. Try to make local content a fairly large part of your content calendar to attract more top of funnel real estate leads. As they get used to accessing your content for their day-to-day information needs, your blog will become the obvious source of information when they start thinking about buying or selling a home. General Content To get the best results from your blog, you'll want to keep past clients in mind when you prepare content. DIY projects, home-improvement ideas, and maintenance schedules are a great way to keep your past clients coming back to your blog so you can capitalize on any referrals and repeat business they have to offer. You can also include ideas about activities, projects, and hobbies in with your content to provide more interesting content topics. Holiday/Occasion Content Holidays and special occasions generate a lot of web searches around the time of the occasion. You can capitalize on those searches to pull more traffic to your blog and social channels. Some occasions like graduations, weddings, or the birth of a child may signal possible interest in making a move or buying a home while holidays like Christmas, Mother's Day, and New Years can generate massive traffic opportunities if you create the right hook. Whatever the holiday or occasion, be sure to promote your content on social media to help it attract attention at the right time. Free Resources Consistently posting fresh, original content on your blog is a great way to attract new readers, but whether they visit from a link on your social channels, search results, or because you told someone about the blog and they decided to check it out, you're dependent on them choosing to come to your blog. However, you can take charge and take initiative to reach out to your audience if you get their email addresses. That's where free resources come in. People like free things. Offer special guides, checklists, and other downloads to people who sign up to receive your newsletter or emails. You can find a large variety of personalizable consumer guides you can add your information to in the Homes.com Consumer Resources library, or you can create and share your own guides. While you're checking out the free consumer guide, you may also want to grab your free copy of 300 Content Ideas for Your Blog and Social Channels. It has specific holiday, real estate, and general topic ideas for your blog and social networks. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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Friday Freebie: 5 Real Estate Checklists to Share with Clients and Prospects
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3 Steps to Create More Listing Inventory
Dealing with low housing inventory is an ongoing pain being felt by every real estate agent and buyer client in the current market. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to help create more inventory. You're hearing it everywhere -- from real estate agents you talk to, your buyer clients, your seller clients, on the news, on social media: "Inventory levels are at historic lows." This low inventory situation is proving to be quite problematic because not only are there a limited number of properties on the market, but home prices are astronomically high. These two factors are acting as deterrents for both buyers and sellers alike, essentially freezing the market in a real catch-22 situation. So what are the successful agents doing to cope? Instead of spinning their wheels and complaining about how low the inventory is, many agents are finding creative ways to both scale their businesses and create more inventory for themselves. By following three simple steps outlined in this article, you too can win more listings and generate more inventory in your market. Step One: Generate Seller Leads This may seem obvious, but there are a few different ways you can really zero in on generating seller specific leads. First, you need to diversify your lead sources and then refocus your remarketing efforts to specifically target sellers. Here are some of the best lead sources you can use to generate seller specific leads: Google PPC seller ads Facebook seller ads Google Local Service Ads (Google LSA) One thing to remember when generating seller leads: don't neglect calling through your existing database, even if you think most of your contacts are buyers. You'll be surprised how many of your buyer leads are also needing to sell first. Step Two: Nurture, Nurture, Nurture You know the drill! Keep in touch with your leads by calling, emailing, texting, sending video messages regularly, right? Absolutely! But there's even more you can do to step up your nurture game when it comes to sellers. First, leverage the power of social media. We're talking about things like regular social remarketing and pushing out social branding videos. In case you don't know what remarketing is, simply stated, it's marketing to people through the use of dynamic digital advertisements that aim to keep you and your brand in front of your target audience consistently. The second thing you can do to boost your nurture strategy is to get the help of either a virtual ISA or in-house ISA. With the help of an ISA, you are able to respond to more people, nurture more leads more often, and win more time for yourself to focus on other dollar productive activities in your business. The last thing you should consider doing is taking steps to improve your overall seller experience. By offering the seller an experience that no one else can provide, you can more effectively entice them to list with you. Some ways you could improve your seller experience include: automating the home evaluation process, providing sellers with regular market trends, listing data and other actionable insights which all can help your homeowner clients track and build wealth with their home. The better the seller experience and the more options, visibility and control the seller has, the better. Step Three: Leverage Technology Finally, evaluate what tools you have available in your technology platforms to use to win more business from sellers. For example, can you use your CRM to do a reverse lookup and show your potential sellers how many buyers you have in your database that are looking to buy a home just like theirs in their local area? Most CRMs can do a reverse lookup and this kind of information can be very powerful when it comes to a seller having to make a decision between you and another agent. Another piece of data you can provide is a seller report. A seller report is essentially a custom blueprint outlining your marketing reach and visibility so they can see just how effectively you're able to market their property to potential buyers. Listing video ads and reporting are some other tools that can be very impressive to prospective home sellers. Listing video ads are social ads of your listings that run on Facebook and target all of the right people automatically and are followed up with a detailed performance report. The performance report allows you to see the ad's reach, number of clicks, and engagement -- all of which can be shared with the seller. By creatively using these types of features that certain technologies provide, you effectively separate yourself from the competition and ultimately win more listings by being the agent with the most to offer the seller client. How to Execute All of This We covered a lot here and you may be wondering how to realistically execute on all of these steps without becoming completely overwhelmed. The answer is simple. The best way to put this three-step plan into action is to rely on a pure-play digital marketing company, like Ylopo, to do it for you. With Ylopo's complete suite of highly effective seller tools, you have all of the data, ads, reporting and expert support that you need to consistently generate more seller business, build more inventory, win more listings and make more money right at your fingertips. Learn more about the groundbreaking seller system provided by Ylopo at www.ylopo.com/seller.
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Is Your Website's Branding THAT Important to Home Buyers?
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Organizational #ProTip for Your Real Estate Lead Generation
It's good practice to diversify your lead sources. Meaning, don't put all of your eggs in one basket. The most successful real estate businesses tend to have a variety of lead sources, from internet leads to referrals and drop-ins, to some more classic tactics like cold calling and open houses. But your prospecting plan is going to look different for each source. Here's a tip for how to organize or "bucket" your lead sources so you can build out the perfect lead generation strategy. Internet/Online Leads These leads are top-of-the-funnel, meaning they're a bit colder and will have a longer "incubation period" before they convert. You'll need a strong engagement and nurture plan to convert as many of these as possible! (Which a CRM like BoomTown can help you out with.) Lead gen strategies for online leads are: Digital advertisements on Google and Facebook Organic website traffic Online testimonials Custom landing pages on your IDX website Prospect Leads These are more mid-funnel leads that don't fall into the internet lead category. Lead gen strategies for these types of leads are: Hosting events Open houses Cold calling Expired/FSBOs Sphere Leads These are going to be your warmer leads that are already somewhere in your sphere. This could even include leads that already live in your database but that you haven't engaged with in a while! Lead gen strategies for sphere leads could include: Hand-written cards Automated Smart Drip emails through your CRM Video text messages Facebook messages Voicemail drops The name of the game is to organize your leads appropriately and understand where they fall into the funnel before making a plan for how to engage with them once you have their contact info. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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What Are Home Buyers Looking for in 2021?
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Real Estate Agents Can Attract More Clients with These 5 Tips
Being a real estate agent means that you sell more than property, you sell dreams. While this is a great sentiment, getting clients in real estate isn't always easy. To make this a little easier, you need to figure out the best marketing strategies and how to differentiate yourself from the nearly 2 million licensed real estate agents in the United States. It's important to find the top current ways to do this, and here's what Amarki found: 1. Advertise with Google Ads Did you know that 90% of home buyers use Google to start their search for a home? Google Ads allow you to position your ad within the first results on Google through pay-per-click campaigns. Google Ads use geo-targeting, allowing you to target your ads to specific areas where you are more likely to find the right customers while simultaneously restricting it in areas where you are less likely to find them. Consider the following when creating your ads: Device types: new home buyers like to use mobile devices for their research, so optimize your ad by adding a clickable phone number Create attractive copy: you only have one chance to make a first impression, so make sure the content of your ad is creative and appealing 2. Make Quality Videos Producing high-quality videos will help you stand out from your competitors. According to a NAR study, it was found that only 11% of sellers use videos of their property to market it, despite the fact that 61% of homebuyers believe that videos are a useful feature while searching for their ideal home. Creating quality and eye-catching content with distinct messaging will help you stand out from your competitors and allow you to connect with your buyers and sellers. The best video results Amarki has seen come from short and simple videos grabbing the attention of the viewer, like: Introductory videos: Tell your clients who you are, your background, awards or achievements, allowing them to get to know you on a personal level Testimonials: Create genuine testimonial videos that highlight positive stories from clients who have had a pleasant experience working with you to buy property Neighborhood videos: Buyers want to know about the location they're considering, so showcase the neighborhood Property Listings: High-quality property videos will transport your buyers to feel like they're at home from the moment they open the front door 3. Start a Blog Blogs allow you to create and promote meaningful content on a regular basis. Consistency and volume of content really matter here, so consider posting several times a day, giving yourself more opportunities to connect with buyers and sellers and making sure you're consistently at the top of their feeds. A study by HubSpot showed that companies who publish more than 16 blog posts per month got 3.5 times more traffic than those that did not publish anything. Despite that, only 11 percent of real estate agents have a blog. If you want to differentiate yourself and stand out today, this is what top real estate agents are doing. 4. Use Social Media Social media is an absolute goldmine for real estate, but with so many platforms you need to choose the ones that make sense. A NAR study concluded that Facebook (97%), LinkedIn (59%) and Instagram (39%) are the top picks for agents. Facebook remains a top choice because of their user demographics, which represents your target audience. Facebook also offers paid ads that allow you to directly target demographics and users that have shown interest in buying in your area. Although LinkedIn is primarily B2B, it's the place to network with fellow Realtors and show off your experience. Setting up a profile and company page helps with your online presence. Instagram is booming for the real estate industry with high-res property photos, videos, stories, client testimonials, industry and market news that can all be liked and shared instantly. 5. Create Newsletters Newsletters allow you to generate interest and, if it's relevant and provides value, will be shared with friends, family and contacts. Sending a weekly newsletter to your contacts allows you to remain front of mind. To make your marketing strategy successful, follow these suggested patterns: Gather your top-performing content throughout the month and add it to your newsletter to showcase your industry expertise Share topics of interest that are informative Highlight some of the best properties you've sold and promote current properties available Don't forget—keep them connected to your brand by inviting them to follow you on all your platforms, reinforcing your brand awareness Bonus Tip: Leveraging a tool like Amarki will keep all your marketing in one place, allowing you to create, schedule and deploy all marketing materials in three easy steps! Learn more about Amarki and register for your account by visiting www.amarki.com
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Staging the Exterior of Your Home for Real Estate Photography
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Don't Make These Listing Presentation Mistakes
With the market in its current inventory-deficient state, listing presentations are an increasing rarity. So, when the opportunity to win new business does arise, you want to make the best impression possible. Below, we've compiled the five most frequent (and avoidable!) flubs agents make when pitching to a prospect, so you can avoid these mistakes and win that seller's business. Talking Too Much About Yourself … And Not Your Expertise It's an old sales axiom: Sell yourself. But what are you really selling? Prospective homesellers aren't so much interested in you, your career, or your passion for real estate. Instead, they want assurance you're capable of selling their home—and that you can do it faster and for more money than other agents they're considering. That's it. That's the bottom line. So don't spend all your time waxing poetic about yourself or your love of the industry. Show your prospects cold, hard evidence of your ability to get the job done for them. That means: Digital marketing reports: If you've advertised listings on Facebook, Google, or Instagram, show prospective homesellers your reach (leads generated, impressions, etc.). Let them understand how far and wide you can promote their property. Previous success: Have you brought a home to contract in record time? Closed a deal well above asking price? Detail both your results and your process for selling homes effectively. Digital adeptness: The pandemic has brought an increased focus on digital adeptness. Many potential sellers are still wary of opening up their homes to potential buyers and are curious about virtual tours, open houses, and walkthroughs. Can you demonstrate you know how to effectively market their property both online and off? Not Understanding a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words You know good-quality property photographs can be the difference between an effective listing and one that flounders. The same holds true for your listing presentation. The only difference? You need to show prospects the before and after of your work. What do we mean? If you've staged a home in a way that would make HGTV producers impressed, employed a professional photographer or used state-of-the-art equipment, and downloaded an app or two to polish your photos in post-production, detail the process to your prospects. Clearly show how effective and intentional you are in sprucing up a space, and let their imagination run wild with what you can do for them. After all, showing is much more effective than telling. Not Shoring Up Your Online Reviews and Presence Your perception of how well your listing presentation went doesn't close the deal: Prospective homesellers are still going to Google you. They need independent, unbiased assurance that you're actually the agent for them, and not just some smooth-talking salesman or woman. So why let your reviews undermine your potential to land new business? If a prospect Googles you and they find negative reviews, it will deter them from hiring you. Eighty-four percent of consumers view Google reviews—not Facebook, Yelp, or any other site—as equivalent to a personal recommendation. On the flip side, what if they can't find any reviews or information about your business? Well, given the choice between an agent with reviews vs. an agent with no reviews, an overwhelming majority of sellers would prefer to avoid taking a risk on an unknown. Additionally, according to recent research: 80% of consumers say they're leery of working with you if you have no easily findable contact details 50% would rather take their dollars elsewhere if you have poor-quality or out-of-date photos And 51% would opt for a competitor if you lack consistent hours of availability Lacking Insight Into the Market at Large Can you speak about how quickly similar homes in your market went under contract and for what price? Can you wow prospective sellers with accurate pricing models? Can you give data-backed advisement to clients on pricing strategy, so they can strike an ideal balance between asking price and days on market? Can you push back against client's sometimes unrealistic demands or expectations and convince them you have their best interests at heart? If you can't confidently answer yes to the above questions, you're not going to have much success in wowing more savvy sellers. With such competition in the market, it simply isn't enough to promise you'll deliver the best deal—you need to show clients the requisite market expertise necessary to demonstrate you can. In other words, be an expert in your sphere. Not Having a Command of Your Tech This mistake was somewhat implied in the bullet points of the first entry in this blog, but it's worth reiterating. At this point, a year into the pandemic, an agent worth their salt understands the digital adeptness needed to win new business. Prospective sellers are overwhelmingly looking for those agents who can bridge the analog-digital divide. If you're conducting a virtual listing presentation, make sure you have full command and understanding of whatever program you're using. Fumbling around with Zoom or Skype isn't going to instill confidence. Nor is having a professional website that looks like it was last updated a decade ago. The same also goes for a lack of social media profiles. Digital technology can sometimes be cumbersome, and it can be easy to think it's superfluous to the actual selling of a home. But this stuff truly matters to the majority of today's homesellers, particularly Millennial ones, so make sure you're taking the time to put your best (digital) foot forward. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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You Need Customer Reviews on Your Site
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Friday Freebie: Lead Conversion Masterclass
There are a lot of "how to" articles out there on how to convert more real estate leads, and they all offer some variation of "respond quickly, be persistent." That's all well and good, but we're sure you've heard that advice so much that you're bored by it (we are too). So in this week's Friday Freebie, we're going to point you to lead conversion instruction that's actually helpful—and not the same ol' song and dance that you've heard a million times already. Even better? It's a full-on, six-class series taught by two real estate experts. Free Masterclass on Lead Conversion, courtesy of Ylopo You've probably heard a lot of lead conversion expertise that's focused on processes. While process is important, it's nothing without the human element that actually forges a connection with a lead. Ylopo's free masterclass focuses on just that—lead conversion as a carefully mastered interpersonal skill. The masterclass can be completed online, all at your own pace, and consists of six lessons: Mindset Reframe the Conversation Digging Deeper Challenge Their Thinking Mirroring and Matching Putting It All Together The lessons are led by Barry Jenkins, a real estate agent who ranks in top 10 of Real Trends Top 1000 Agents, and Robby Tefethren, a top real estate coach and trainer. Sign up for this FREE lead conversion masterclass now and learn how to win more clients!
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