Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

Lead generation is the name of the game. Focus on keeping multiple streams of incoming leads and developing follow-up systems that add value to them

Leads are the lifeblood of every successful real estate business, and consistent lead generation doesn’t just happen. It is a process that involves multiple strategies for systematically producing buyer and seller prospects.

No matter how many lead sources you currently have, an additional one or two sources can help your business grow. Additional lead sources provide stability to your business as all strategies can have seasons when they are less productive than they were in the past.
The following is a list of seven streams of incoming real estate leads to help your real estate business stay consistent and grow.

1. Geographical farming

Farming is the most fundamental way to consistently generate listings in real estate. I’m not aware of a single top-producing agent that does not have a neighborhood or area where they consistently add value and are known as the real estate expert. The process really involves three steps.

The first step is identifying the right neighborhood. The right neighborhood to farm includes, but is not limited to the following:

• A neighborhood you love to sell and believe in as a great place for homebuyers.
• Adequate size to make sure your investment of time, money, and effort is worthwhile.
• No dominant agent with over 20 percent market share of current listings or listings that have sold in the past 12 months.

The second step is to develop a marketing plan for the neighborhood which includes, but is not limited to the following:

• Monthly or bi-monthly postcards / mailers to all owners in the neighborhood
• Just Listed / Just Sold campaigns
• Sponsored special events for the neighborhood like food truck nights, family photography events or family movie nights in a neighborhood park

The third step is to execute your plan, stay consistent and measure your results over the first year. Farming is foundational for creating consistent listing opportunities.

2. Online leads

Online leads are a great way to generate a consistent flow of leads coming into your database. There are several different ways to generate these leads that include, but are not limited to:

• Paid site options like Zillow, Realtor.com and other easily accessible sites to purchase leads.
• Hiring someone or learning to run ads yourself for sites like Google, Facebook or any of the other social media platforms.
• Sites like Opcity will send you leads with no upfront costs, but a referral fee will be due at the time of closing.

The best way to optimize your conversion of online leads is to have a system for follow-up in place that includes reaching out to the leads quickly and consistently. Odds are if you can secure these leads online, they are also being sold to or captured by other agents.
Online lead generation is a great way to generate several leads every month.

3. Referrals

When asked what the top lead sources are for their business, top-producing agents almost always include referrals. Referrals can come from your sphere of influence, past clients or people that see you actively providing value through your content on social media.

If you are looking to increase your referrals, focus on consistently providing value to your sphere of influence. This should be through a monthly or a weekly email newsletter that adds value to them and keeps you top of mind.

This newsletter should also go to your past clients, but they should receive additional attention since they already know, like and trust you due to working with you. Check-in calls to see how they are doing and to deepen your relationship with them cues them to think of you when they have the opportunity to send a referral your way.

Social media opened up an additional way to generate referrals that was not available just 10 years ago. By consistently adding valuable content to social media that is entertaining, educational and engaging, you will be the first agent your friends or followers think of when they hear someone discussing real estate or that is looking for an agent.

Referrals are not given, they are earned. Go deeper into the value you provide the people that already know you, and they will help your business go wide.

4. Expired listings

Expired listings are a group of homeowners who have raised their hand saying they want to sell. They simply didn’t have the right agent to give them professional advice on pricing, staging or marketing. This is a lead source that was limited over the past few years as prices soared and the tremendous demand for homes meant nearly everything sold.

That is not the case now. Anticipating the increase in expired listings that is coming makes this an opportune time to develop an expired listing strategy. Yes, calling expired listings is a part of the process, but developing a systematic plan that clearly states your unique value proposition is critical for success.

This is a lead source that will naturally see the number of opportunities rise as the market normalizes.

5. Circle prospecting

Circle prospecting is the process of calling the homeowners surrounding a selling event like a new listing, pending contract, or a home that just sold. These should be informational calls where you provide the homeowners relevant information about the activity on the sale of their neighbor’s home that affects the value of their home.

A typical script would be the following:

Hello Mr./Mrs. Homeowner. My name is (agent name) with (agent’s brokerage). I’m not sure if you got the details yet, but your neighbor’s home just four doors down from yours just sold today, and it really helped the value of your home. Have you heard the details about the sale?

This will lead to your ability to share the details of the sale and how it could affect the value of their home. Somewhere in the conversation, you will have an opportunity to say:

Do you have any intentions to move in the next few years?

Or

I would be the worst Realtor in the world if I didn’t at least ask if there is a price where you would consider selling.
Circle prospecting is a classic way to generate leads and build a database of homeowners that never goes out of style.

6. FSBO listings

For Sale by Owners (FSBOs) are another group of people that have clearly identified themselves as someone who would like to sell. Most will eventually list with a Realtor, so this is a great group of people to target with a follow-up system. A system that includes providing the homeowners with value while they are a FSBO leads to opportunities when they are unable to sell the home themselves.

If you add more value and stay in contact the longest with FSBOs, you will get listings.

7. Agent referrals

Agent referrals give you the opportunity to tap into the trust already earned by the referring agent. These referrals can become one of the most fruitful streams of leads when strategically targeted. Here are a few strategies to help you generate more of these referrals:

• Send handwritten notes to agents in feeder markets where buyers moving to your city often come from asking them to keep you in mind for referrals to your city.
• Farm agents in these feeder markets just like you would a neighborhood. Postcards, emails and calls keep you top of mind.
• Develop an email list of agents in other markets that you consistently give tips on what is working in your business that they may be able to use in their business. Then thank them for keeping you in mind if they know of someone moving to your area or relocating to their area that might have a house to sell.

Offering a 30 percent versus the typical 25 percent referral fee is another way to capture their attention. Just like all the other sources listed, the more effort you put into generating agent referrals, the more you will get out of it.
Lead generation is the name of the game. Focus on keeping multiple streams of incoming leads and developing follow-up systems that add value to them. If you get these two things right, your business can’t help but grow.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida.

Are Your Leads Drying Up? 7 Was to Get Them Flowing Again

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Ben Fox

As independent contractors, agents can hang their licenses wherever they want. As brokers, it’s incumbent on us to create a beneficial environment for agents to flourish


With the summer coming to a close and fall on the horizon, the real estate industry is gearing up for the high season of recruiting. While agents can change brokerages at any time, we typically see more activity in the last quarter of the year. As the market resets, we can also expect that agents may be exploring other opportunities.

As a broker-owner, I consider retention a far more valuable use of my time than recruiting. That’s why I am always looking for signs that an agent may be thinking about leaving the company. While some signs may mean a move is inevitable, other signs create opportunities to open the lines of communication and reinforce the firm’s value to the agent. I also take many preventative measures to mitigate the likelihood of agent churn.

An ounce of prevention

In my experience, company culture is one of the main ways to prevent an agent from leaving. Being approachable as managers means that agents can feel comfortable coming forward with questions or concerns.

Another measure we have put into place in our company is a steering committee comprised of agents. When a new agent joins the company, we provide them with a copy of the steering committee charter which explains that agents can come to the steering committee, which serves as their voice with management. 

Another way we make sure agents feel connected to the company is through weekly, deliberate communication with each of our 65 agents. Every week, agents receive a phone call or face-to-face interaction with either an owner, manager or key staff member. It’s a great way to re-engage with agents who may have drifted — especially if it’s been a busy time and they haven’t been to the office much. 

We also create compelling reasons for agents to come to the office, whether it’s a guest speaker, a bagel breakfast or a community service effort.
That said, while culture is very important in retention, there may be some other reasons agents are “looking.”

Here are seven signs you should be looking for:

An agent starts withdrawing from company events and training

When I notice this, I don’t call and say, ‘Why haven’t we seen you?” Instead, I take a positive approach, such as inviting them to present at a sales meeting or chair a food drive. The goal is to get them connected again and make them feel appreciated and valued.

An agent exhibits a sudden change in demeanor or attitude

If you notice someone who was previously positive is now negative or someone bubbly and expressive is quiet and withdrawn, it’s probably a sign something is going on either personally or professionally. I make a point of reaching out and saying, “I notice you haven’t been yourself lately. Is everything OK?”

This comes from a place of genuine concern, whatever the reason may be. The goal is to create an opening for the agent to feel comfortable telling you what’s on their mind.

An agent asks for a copy of their compensation agreement

This likely means they are in conversations with another firm and looking to compare offers or negotiate. I make a point to ask whether they are checking to see where they are in their plan or if they are being recruited. If it’s the latter, I always compliment them on getting noticed by a competitor, then ask them to come back to me after they have an offer.

I use that conversation as an opportunity to revisit why they chose to work with us in the first place. Sometimes there are intangible benefits that aren’t captured in a comp plan, and I like to remind agents of those things they will be missing if they explore another opportunity. I also offer to sit down with an agent to talk about what’s good for the agent and their business and serve in a consultative role.

An agent downloads their database from the company system

You may not be alerted that an agent has exported their contacts, but if they do, it’s likely they are already on their way out. You have the opportunity to reach out and ask if they are thinking of leaving — similar to the conversation I have when they ask for a copy of their comp plan.

An agent requests a meeting with you in the next day or two.

These requests are usually vague or non-specific about the reason for the meeting. In my experience, this is often how agents announce they are leaving. I ask what led to the agent deciding to go. Again, it helps to be prepared to discuss why the agent joined in the first place.

An agent asks questions about other business models.

This is usually a sign that the agent is talking to another company with a different business model from ours. I have taken preventative measures to minimize this by transparently discussing other business models at a sales meeting or training session.

In addition to explaining the different ways brokerages are set up, I discuss why our company is set up the way it is. This way, agents get it straight from the horse’s mouth, reducing the likelihood a competitor can twist things to their benefit.

An agent who is part of a team starts questioning the company management

This is a tricky situation as there is potential breakage on two fronts: the team and the company. It’s important to give the team leader a heads up that one of their agents might be in conversations with a competitor. This can also be a sign that a team member is considering going solo.

I do everything I can to keep talent in-house, but I am completely transparent with the team leader. We have open communication about the financial impact such a move could have, and we come to a mutually beneficial agreement. 
As independent contractors, agents can hang their licenses wherever they want. As brokers, it’s incumbent on us to create a beneficial environment for agents to flourish.

But beyond company culture, it’s critical that we are always paying attention, making ourselves available and keeping lines of communication wide open. The better job we do of retaining our agents, the greater likelihood the red flags don’t get raised.

Ben Fox is the broker-owner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Journey in Arkansas.
Is It Too Late? 7 Red Flags Your Agent is About to Jump Ship

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Berince Ross

If you met someone today, would they be able to look you up online six months from now when they need a REALTOR®? The answer depends on the effectiveness of your brand identity

 
Effective branding is at the heart of every successful business, but it is a rarity in the real estate business. If you’re ready to generate more leads from your branding efforts, here are the Do’s and Don’ts you need to know. 

Build your brand on your strengths

Before you decide on your branding strategy, go through your current and past client list looking for patterns in the types of clients you have attracted. If they’re clustered in one or two primary price ranges, locations, or property types, etc., then part of your branding should be focused on serving these specific niches. 

Discover what your customers say about you 

To create an effective brand, you must have clarity about what your past and current clients think of you and your business. Use the following process. 

• Contact at least 10 to 20 past and/or current clients and ask, “What are the three to five words that best describe me?” 
• Follow up by asking, “What are the three to five words that best describe my business?” 

The words you consistently hear will let you know what they love (and dislike) about you. Use those words in the process of creating your brand as well as your marketing materials. Any reviews that past clients have posted online are also great resources.

What constitutes a great brand?

A great brand does each of the following: 

• It’s memorable.
• It immediately brings the product being sold to mind.
• It identifies a specific target market.

Three examples of great branding from outside the real estate industry include: 
• Netflix (Provides “flicks” or movies on the “net.”)
• “The happiest place on earth” (Disney’s irresistible brand slogan and value proposition)
• “The Ultimate Driving Machine” (BMW)

What constitutes an effective real estate brand? 

In terms of major real estate brands, the best branding in the business belongs to “NextHome.” Notice how their logo and branding clearly convey what their company does.

Now compare these major real estate brands that could be mistaken for businesses other than real estate:  
• Is Coldwell Banker a bank? 
• Is Compass in the GPS business? 
• Does Redfin sell fishing gear? 

What constitutes a great brand for a real estate agent? 

Great branding for individual real estate agents does the following:   

• It references the words “homes,” “real estate” or “properties.” Examples are “Savannah Historic Homes” or “Lake Travis Waterfront Properties.” 
• It helps agents “get rich in a niche.” In their classic book Marketing Warfare, Al Ries and Jack Trout explain that large companies lack the financial resources to compete for small slivers of the market. Avoid being a generalist. Instead, laser focus on a very specific market to become the go-to expert in that niche. 
• A great brand often uses a specific market niche based upon geographical location, city and zip code. For example, “Live in Westwood 90024” or “Key Biscayne Homes 33149.” 

The most common branding mistake agents make — branding with their name

Here are just a few of the issues associated with using your name to brand your business. 

• People have a difficult time remembering names because they are constantly bombarded with thousands of names of people, products, places and services. 
• Memory research shows that we forget 70 percent of what we have learned within the first 24 hours after learning has occurred. Consequently, even though a lead may remember your name today, there’s a 70 percent chance they won’t remember it tomorrow.
• Your company brand normally has much higher name recognition than your personal brand, especially if your company has lots of advertising and signs in your local market. Furthermore, if you’re branding with your name and you work for a company like Keller Williams, a potential client must remember four names rather than two.  
• Using your name to brand your business greatly diminishes the desirability and value of your business if you hope to sell it when you exit the business. 
• If you are using your name to brand your business, simply expand your branding to include the specific niches and types of clients you serve. 

People remember functions rather than names

How many times have you met someone, and you couldn’t remember their name but did remember what they looked like and what they did for a living? 

For example, if we met at a Little League game and I introduced myself as “Bernice Ross” and was wearing a cap with my company’s logo on it, chances are you would remember where we met and probably that I was wearing a baseball cap. The probability you would remember my name six months from now when you need to move is less than 10 percent. 

On the other hand, if I introduced myself as Bernice Ross from Austin Probate Sellers (and had my logo on my hat), you still may not remember my name but you would probably remember the “blond lady who sells probates in Austin.” If I have properly branded my site with “AustinProbateSellers.com,” chances are I will be easy to locate on the web. 

People search for homes based upon the city, state and ZIP code

According to Oodle, which powers major classified advertising websites for companies like AOL, the New York Post, and Wal-Mart, the three keywords most people use when searching for property are “street name,” “city” and “zip code.” 

The biggest omission Realtors make on their websites is leaving off the state where they work. A great example is “Springfield, Illinois” and “Springfield, Oregon.” The most notable example, however, is the 46 different cities named Riverside. Your website visitors need to know that they are searching in both the right city and the right state. 

Using these guidelines, you can turn the specific branding above into a URL that will maximize the number of searches you receive. Examples include: 
• HorseshoeBayNewHomes78657.com
• LiveInCherryCreekDenver80126.com. 
• WestlakeVillageGolfProperties91371. 

These pages can be standalone websites or they can be added as additional landing pages on your current site. 

Always test your new brand before creating any marketing material

Be sure to check with your clients and sphere of influence to determine if your new brand is easy to remember. If not, keep working on refining your brand until it’s easy for people to recall six months from now when they need your service. 

You can have multiple niches with different websites and marketing campaigns

When it comes to creating URLs for your brand and marketing your services, one-size-fits-all simply doesn’t work. First-time homebuyers obviously have very different needs and expectations as opposed to a luxury buyer or a senior who is right-sizing. 

To illustrate how this works for a subdivision with a lot of entry-level condos and homes, provide information on down payment assistance, facts they need to know about purchasing, and be sure to use photos, videos and a URL targeted to the needs of this group. The more highly targeted your brand and marketing is, the more effective it will be in attracting the right clients for your business. 

When it comes to creating an effective brand for your business, going hyperlocal and following the “Do’s and Don’ts” in today’s column will give you a huge advantage when it comes to potential customers finding you, no matter when or where you meet them. 

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Do's and Don'ts of Creating an Engaging Real Estate Brand
Article Courtesy of: Bankers & Tradesman
By: James Sanna and Colin A. Young | Banker & Tradesman Staff and State House News Service

With the final match-up between Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candidates now clear, the stakes for the real estate industry in November’s general election are starting to come into focus.  But the race is scrambling some traditional ideological lines that the industry may have gotten used to.

For the last eight years, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has been the state’s biggest cheerleader for housing production in the face of reluctance from Democratic supermajorities in the state legislature. It’s a mantle that Attorney General Maura Healey looks to seize as she tries to become the first Democrat in the State House’s corner office since 2014.

Meanwhile, Republican nominee Geoff Diehl has made decrying a much-heralded reform aimed at building more housing a core element of his campaign.

Republican primary voters opted for Trump-backed candidate and former state legislator Diehl as their choice for governor of Massachusetts on Tuesday, kicking off a nine-week uphill battle against the Democratic ticket of Healey and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, the latter of whom emerged Tuesday from a three-way primary to be the party’s lieutenant governor nominee.

Healey, a Boston Democrat who has been the state’s attorney general of the last eight years, cleared the gubernatorial field after she entered the race in January and has been able to largely waltz to the doorway of the governor’s suite since Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz ended her Democratic primary campaign in June.

The corner office is up for grabs by virtue of Baker’s and Lt. Gov Karyn Polito’s joint decision announced last December to not seek a third term for their popular Republican administration. Polito’s decision not to seek the governor’s office herself left no heir apparent to assume Baker’s mantle on the Republican side.

Diehl Would Scrap MBTA Communities Law

The Associated Press called the GOP primary for Diehl at 10 p.m. when he had about 56 percent of the votes counted to 44 percent for Wrentham businessman Chris Doughty, whose campaign focused on affordability issues and mostly eschewed federal political issues. Diehl said Tuesday night that his campaign will be the first to focus “specifically on we the people – our freedoms, our rights and our prosperity.”

“Maura Healey as governor would lead our state in the wrong direction, down a path of higher taxes and radical legislation. We don’t want that, right? Under her leadership, Massachusetts would be more expensive, more excessive and more restrictive,” he said. “So when it comes to your rights, your freedoms, your wallet, your businesses, your kids’ education, I declare Maura Healey to be the people’s worst nightmare and I’m here to stop her from ever bringing her radical policies to the governor’s office.”

Diehl’s “Blueprint for the Bay State” pledges to enact the tax reform proposals made by Baker, suspend the state gas tax whenever the pump price is above $3 per gallon, create a statewide “jobs boss” who would focus on attracting new companies to Massachusetts and growing existing companies, increase mental health care capacity, repeal the state’s new transit-oriented zoning regulations, increase the presence of police officers in schools, and create a new state agency to monitor schools for the promotion of a political agenda. He also has vowed to rehire state workers who were fired for refusing to comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

In a column published in Banker & Tradesman last month, Diehl reiterated his opposition to the MBTA Communities zoning reforms.  “Streamlined permitting is often cited as a major need in order to jump-start the creation of more housing. I support efficiency and streamlined service for permitting and other government functions. But I also favor local control over the process,” he wrote.

GOP Running Mate Knocks TOPA

Diehl hasn’t specifically spoken out on issues important to real estate lobby groups like transfer taxes, rent control or tenants’ right of first refusal legislation – also called TOPA – that failed in the legislature this year, but made it through in 2021 only to be met with a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker.

His running mate for lieutenant governor, nurse and former state legislator Leah Cole Allen, spoke in general terms at a virtual candidate forum held by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board last week about how legalizing accessory dwelling units statewide might fit in with the campaign’s opposition to “excessive regulations.” She also articulated opposition to low-carbon construction requirements, which she called “greenlining,” real estate transfer taxes and TOPA legislation, although she said she had only passing familiarity with the latter concept.  

However, Allen also endorsed the idea of rent stabilization legislation, which she distinguished from rent control. She described rent control a bad solution to the state’s housing problems and said increasing housing production would let the market “correct itself.”  “Rent stabilization is something that maybe we could explore if we exclude smaller landlords and new construction so we’re not hampering development that will increase housing,” she said.

Healey Promises ‘Zoning Barrier’ Pushback

Once Healey’s place as the Democratic nominee for governor was cemented Tuesday night, she told supporters at a Dorchester union hall wedged between the Red Line and the Southeast Expressway that she’ll cut taxes, and fix roads, bridges and the MBTA. She also touted her bipartisan working relationship with Baker, whom she said “has led with respect and worked with both parties,” and cast herself as a politician in his mold.

“Unfortunately, Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty will put us on a different path. They’ll bring Trumpism to Massachusetts, and they both already said they’ll support Donald Trump in 2024. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of the anger, the vitriol, the division. That’s not who we are. That’s not what Massachusetts is all about,” Healey said before her Republican opponent became clear. “I want a different path. My path is one of optimism; working together with urgency and intention to get things done.”

Healey has said that her gubernatorial administration would tackle “local zoning barriers” to build more housing. It’s a key area many industry leaders, housing advocates and academics have blamed for the shortage of apartments for rent and homes for sale statewide that’s sent prices for both skyward, with Boston’s suburbs coming in for the harshest criticism.

However, she has also said she would support local-option rent control or rent stabilization, like those Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has said she’ll bring before the legislature in 2023, but would not push for any statewide policies.

Driscoll, Healey Back Local Rent Control

With Healey having endured little opposition until now, the lieutenant governor’s race became a forum this summer to try and divine some of the Democratic gubernatorial ticket’s policy priorities on hot-button issues affecting the real estate industry.

Driscoll, the mayor of Salem since 2006, got into the lieutenant governor’s race in January promising a “new focus from Beacon Hill” on the needs of cities of towns. She bested two members of the legislature in the primary, defeating both Sen. Eric Lesser of Longmeadow and Rep. Tami Gouveia of Acton. As Salem’s mayor, Driscoll won plaudits from the real estate industry for her relentless focus on increasing housing production in her city, in the face of stiff opposition from some politicians and residents’ groups.

During the GBREB forum last week, Driscoll echoed Healey’s position when she told moderator Lynn Bora, executive vice president at Winn Residential, that she sees rent control measures as having “drawbacks” when trying to incentivize housing production, but that she saw a need to promote “local autonomy” in solving the housing crisis.  “I don’t think [rent control or stabilization] is the answer, for sure, but I wouldn’t want to hold back a local community that thinks it‘s a necessary part of the toolbox” to address housing costs, she said, citing her own experience as a municipal leader.  

Driscoll also expressed concerns about TOPA laws which, she said, can be “onerous” for homeowners and small landlords.  “One of the things that worries me about TOPA is it’s so reactive,” she said. “[In Salem,] we’re reaching out proactively to buy right of first refusal, then working with our housing nonprofits to assemble funding.”

When GBREB CEO Greg Vasil asked Driscoll about her support for increased transfer taxes, an idea that’s emerged on Beacon Hill as one way to fund affordable housing, Driscoll was similarly noncommittal.  “You’re always worried about adding additional fees and costs. Myself, as a mayor, I like having the autonomy over the tools I have at my disposal,” she said. “Maybe it’s for building affordable housing, maybe it’s leaning in on the issues we’re just talking about [like housing affordability]. I wouldn’t want to take that away.”
 
What Do Diehl, Healey Wins Mean for Real Estate?
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

September is a fantastic time to refresh your listings and create unique, eye-catching marketing campaigns that will get your listings sold now

 The kids are back to school and fall selling season is upon us. September is a fantastic time to refresh your listings and create unique, eye-catching marketing campaigns that will get your listings sold now. 

The market has already peaked in many areas. Motivated sellers are now dropping their prices to make sure their properties under contract as quickly as possible. Here’s what to do to make sure your listings garner the attention they deserve now as well as into 2023. 

Check Zillow to determine how much down payment assistance is available

DownPaymentResource.com and Zillow have partnered together to provide Zillow users with access to all the down payment assistance programs available for each active listing on Zillow. 

To locate this information for your listings, do a property search on Zillow. Directly below the “Request a tour” button you will see another menu that says: 

Overview, facts and features, price and tax history, and “Month” (for “Monthly cost.”) 

Hit that tab and next to it you will see “Down Payment assistance.” 

Here’s what was available for a listing priced at $489,000 in the building where my brother lives.  

To refresh your current listing, add this information to the comments section in your local MLS. You can also use it on your

brochures, open house flyers or for any other types of marketing you’re doing for this property. Here’s what to say:

According to DownPaymentResource.com, you may qualify for up to 13 different down payment assistance programs with up to $24,495 in down payment assistance for this property.

Before using this information, however, review the types of programs available so you’re clear on what’s being offered. By the way, this can be a fantastic tool to use on listing appointments, as well.
 
For any leads you generate, whether or not the lead is interested in a current listing, direct them to the DownPayment Resource site to view the types of down payment assistance they may be qualified to receive. 

Listing refresh — new photos, new price

Whenever you do a price reduction, make sure that you take new photos and post them to the MLS. Additional suggestions include:

Use a service like BoxBrownie.com to turn some of your existing photos into twilight photos or to improve the lighting on poorly lit photos.

Do a 360 virtual tour using the service from Matterport.com or from another virtual tour company.

Add a drone overview of the local neighborhood to your listing. While drone photography can be a bit expensive, if you do a fly-over for the neighborhood, you can use it on any listing presentations you do in that area. You can also use it with a link or QR code for both print and digital marketing. 

Virtual staging

Today’s buyers want homes like the ones they see on HGTV. For vacant listings, use BoxBrownie to virtually stage the property. If you have a tired or cluttered listing, BoxBrownie also provides a service that allows you to virtually declutter your listing. 

Update the garden and landscaping

If the yard looks terrible or needs a landscaping update, Small Biz Trends has a list of its top 15 best landscape apps. Their top-rated app is iScape which is $299 per year and is available for iOS and Android. The top alternative to iScape is the Better Homes and Gardens “Plan a Garden” app. 

An additional benefit to using these virtual landscaping apps is you can make the exterior of your listings look as good as possible, no matter what season it is.

Capture the end of summer 

Now that we’re in September, you only have a few short weeks left to capture the green summer foliage and the fall-blooming plants for your future marketing campaigns. You can also take pictures and videos of your area’s unique outdoor lifestyle, whether it’s a cookout, biking, hiking, sitting poolside, water skiing, etc. 

To illustrate the power of this approach, one industrious agent in the Midwest photographed the front of every home in her farm area. That winter her work really paid off. Her summer and fall photos made her listings stand out from the snow-covered competition. The great shots you take in September can form the foundation for your marketing throughout the year.

In terms of your listings, get in the habit of taking seasonal pictures throughout the year. This is a powerful way to update your marketing materials and make your listings look fresh on the multiple listing service.

3 fall holidays in 4 weeks — take advantage of them

In addition to capturing the changing colors this fall, the three fall holidays provide a wealth of opportunity for both face-to-face as well as print and digital marketing campaigns. Some marketing ideas include: 

Many agents have had great success with costume parades or pumpkin carving contests for Halloween. If you want to go the scary route, hold a haunted house or a contest for the scariest yard decorations. 

For Veteran’s Day, search the local newspaper archives for Veteran’s parade pictures or for stories about local heroes from 50-100 years ago. 

At Thanksgiving, send out paper or digital “Happy Thanksgiving” cards to your present and past clients. Other alternatives include doing a food drive for needy families or inviting your past clients to pick up a free pumpkin pie for their Thanksgiving dinner. 

Themed open houses 

Themed open houses are a tried-and-true tactic that has worked well no matter what the holiday. For example, at Halloween, you may have hot chocolate, hot apple cider, Halloween candy, and mini pumpkin pies. Supplement these with Halloween-themed plates, cups and napkins. 
If you’re doing a pumpkin-carving contest, costume party or haunted house, arrange for a food truck and fun prizes for the kids. 

Use Spac.io for your open houses

In my opinion, Spac.io is the best open house lead conversion system ever. To use Spac.io, load all your listing information into the app, including any 360 tours, drone flyovers, market data, photos, etc. 

When someone attends your open house, ask them to sign in on your mobile device to obtain the property information. Whether the lead provides their email or mobile number, you just converted the lead.

Spac.io also provides, “eye-catching and impressive seller reports to keep clients informed with information on attendees, the quality of leads, and much more.” 

In today’s slowing market where the number of price reductions is soaring, Spac.io allows you to notify everyone who has signed in at your open house on the Spac.io app to be notified immediately about the price reduction. There’s no better way to generate additional interest from those who have already visited the property.   

Help them lower their property taxes

As 2022 wraps up, many people will receive a tax bill based on prices from earlier this year, even though those prices may have dropped substantially. This is especially true in areas that saw a major surge in prices during the pandemic and are now experiencing significant declines in value. If this is the case in your area, your buyers who paid top dollar should no longer be assessed at a purchase price that is greater than what they can sell for today. 

To help your clients appeal their valuation, provide them with copies of the documents they will need from the county tax assessor along with a copy of your personal CMA. 

Also, gather the estimated values of their home that are posted on the Chase Home Price Estimator (often the lowest) as well as the estimated values posted on Redfin, Realtor.com (there are four of them), as well as Zillow.com. Use the prices that best illustrate what’s currently happening in your market as support for a lower valuation. 

The hottest new real estate marketing innovation launching this fall

Foiye is currently in a soft launch right now. Their mission: To enrich the lives of the real estate and home design enthusiast.
Look for Foiye to be a powerful alternative to marketing your listings and your business on YouTube or on any other video marketing channel. 

To get started on the site, create your Folio on Foiye at no charge. You can then begin posting your videos, photos, blog or other real estate-related content. Best of all, there’s much more in the pipeline with Foiye’s formal launch later this fall.

September will fly by before you know it. To make sure your listings obtain the maximum exposure possible, use the 10 unique strategies above to create the buzz that will enhance the probability of selling your listings right now. 

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com 
10 Fresh Ways to Make Buyers Fall in Love with Your Autumn Listings

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Darryl Davis

Wondering what to do about that 'stale bread' listing? Here's how to get it noticed for all of the right reasons

As we head out of what has been a sizzling hot seller’s market in most areas, the return to a reality of listings that don’t sell in the first five minutes — or even five weeks — is here.

A little time on the market is good for you — your listings can be a little like your billboards and help brand you in a neighborhood as the agent to call. Too much time without any offers, however, and your listing will lean more into what I call the “stale bread” category.  

What happens when bread sits too long on a shelf in the store? They slash the price to move the product. It’s usually one of the first things I suggest when a listing gets stale as well. Why? Because almost any listing, priced at, or better yet, just below, fair market value will put your seller in a position to negotiate up because of multiple offers instead of negotiating down because takers are few or far between.  

 So, if you find yourself in a “stale bread” situation, here are eight things you can do.  

1. Drop the price.

This can be tricky right now. Some sellers are still in sky-high ROI mindsets. One thing I tell my students is that it’s not your job to decide; it’s your job to lay out all the options and coach people to make good decisions.

I love metaphors and analogies for helping people connect their options to real-world situations. That’s why I would use the stale bread analogy and explain, as I just did, what happens to bread that gets stale in the grocery store. You can also explain that the longer a house sits on the market, especially when inventory is still relatively low, the more people question what is wrong with it. That question will translate into fewer offers and less money. 

2. Swap the pictures.

I’m a fanatic about listing photos. It is mind-boggling to me how little effort some agents put into photos.

We live in a world where almost everything is searched online first. I’ve seen listings with six photos of the house exterior and not one of the interior. Take photos of every room, and label them (front bedroom, dining room, etc.) before uploading them to the MLS.

If possible, get a professional to take the photos — especially over a certain price point. Use a tool like BoxBrownie to enhance your images or virtually stage when necessary. 

3. Add a floor plan.

I love the idea of putting a floor plan in every listing. This one little addition helps buyers plot and plan how they can make a space their own with more ease, making your listing more attractive because you help take the guesswork out of the space.

4. Up the commission ante.

In a competitive market, money talks. Remember, your job as an agent is first not just to market the property to buyers — it’s to market the property to other agents so they’ll bring the buyers. Bump up the commission, and you’ll help move your listing from stale to star in the attractiveness to your fellow agents. 

5. Don’t skimp on your descriptions.

We had a wonder writer do two powerful training sessions for our coaching members, all about the importance of writing captivating property descriptions. You’ll probably note the name Christy Murdock as she’s a valued contributor here on Inman. She’s a master at helping agents.

• Lead with the wow factor copy. 
• Weave powerful stories into descriptions that compel buyers to say, “That’s the house I want to see!”  
• She reminds you to please spellcheck, use Grammarly, or have someone with a keen eye review your descriptions before you hit “submit” on that listing. 
• Always use a CTA (Call to Action) to invite action. Examples: “Call for a Tour!” “Join us for our Open House.”  

6. Lean into feedback.

If you’re getting showings but no offers, chances are that you are getting at least some feedback from the buyers and their agents about the root of the problem. Dig in and discover what people are saying so that you can adjust your listing accordingly.  

7. Host an open house.

I’ve always been a fan of the open house, but more now than ever. I prefer agents do a neighborhood open house first to get the lookey-loo neighbors out of the way.

By doing this, you not only help separate lookers from buyers, but you have a chance to offer all those nice people a “Neighborhood Market Report.” This is a fancy, family-friendly way of saying CMA, which could lead to more listings for you.

8. Call agents who specialize in the price range.

If you know agents in your market who have repeatedly sold in your price range before, call them up. Share the details of your listing, let them know what makes it special, and ask if they know any buyers who might be interested.  

We are moving into a market where inventory is going to start to reemerge. It’s vitally important for you to lean into your best listing skills now.

That means knowing your listing conversation inside and out. Understanding pricing and explaining your value in new and elevated ways and learning how to communicate these things using metaphors and analogies that help make sense of it all for your sellers. This can be your time to shine. 

Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. He currently hosts weekly free webinars to help agents navigate market change and design careers worth smiling about. 
No Offers On Your Latest? 8 Ways to Kick Start a Stale Listing
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Sotheby's International Realty

Making the perfect listing is no easy feat — especially when incorporating search engine optimization. Here’s how to maximize your next listing with the keywords your clients are looking for


In luxury real estate, prospective clients have always had exacting requests. In recent years, not only have their wish lists become more specific, but the overwhelming majority of property searches begin with online listings long before buyers ever engage with a seller or an agent.

How can you capture their attention at this early stage so your listing stands out? Make sure to mention the qualities that matter most to this affluent audience.

This doesn’t have to be a rigorous or technical process. “Most of my data is from in-person networking, talking to agents, or talking to buyers,” says Susan Schall, Real Estate Associate at Venture Sotheby’s International Realty.

Samuel Wilson, Real Estate Professional with Sotheby’s International Realty – Cape Cod Brokerage, agrees. “I collect most of my keyword insights via conversations with other agents and prospective buyers,” he says.

Through these relationships and exchanges of information with colleagues and clients, Schall and Wilson have seen patterns emerge — patterns that they can savvily incorporate, if relevant, when listing new properties.

5 terms that homebuyers frequently search

1. Name the specific neighborhood: Though smaller than a town or a village, many residential areas are known by distinct monikers or epithets. In Wilson’s Cape Cod market, which is steeped in history, these have existed for generations and garner great interest. “For example, buyers want to know if a property is within the Hyannis Port Civic Association, which brings additional amenities in the form of beaches and yacht clubs,” says Wilson.

2. Emphasize the property’s privacy: Now more than ever before, buyers want peace and space. “Privacy is the biggest request I get when buyers are searching homes in luxury communities,” says Schall.

3. Note the home’s swimming pool: Another trend seeing increased traction is the swimming pool, — though in some markets, such as Schall’s, this isn’t new. “In the luxury category, a pool is almost a requirement — or at least a lot that can accommodate one,” she says. “This has been consistent throughout my 16 years in Pleasanton, California.”

4. Mention parking or garage space: Newer than the need for a pool is the ability of a property to accommodate car collections. “I’m getting more requests for homes with large garage spaces in the luxury category,” says Schall.

5. Be clear about the school district: “I think it’s important to note which school district the house is assigned to,” she adds. “In our area, the internet is often wrong and some prospects will skip over a home because they believe, incorrectly, that the house goes to the neighboring city’s schools. I often note, ‘award-winning Pleasanton Schools.’”

4 additional factors agents should consider

 1. Separate dwellings: The guest cottage appears to be gaining popularity, as many buyers may have family or domestic help moving onto their property in the short- or long-term — but bear in mind that buyers might use different terms when scanning for it.

2. Rental opportunities: “We are getting more questions about summer rentals and Airbnb, especially with the ever-changing ‘sandbars’ of local regulations and taxes,” notes Wilson. “Therefore, we are very careful to properly present rental opportunities for prospective buyers.”

3. Gated communities: For a range of reasons, public safety is top-of-mind for many, and the concept of a gated neighborhood holds appeal. Schall sees this conspicuously among out-of-town buyers, with many former residents of Silicon Valley relocating to Pleasanton.

4. Recreation access: Buyers want readily available activities close by, either for them or for their children. Schall started noticing this trend when more people in her area began searching for golf access.

3 ways that agents should exercise caution

Along with capitalizing on the terms that will pique a prospect’s curiosity, here are a few other pieces of advice that Wilson and Schall share with their fellow agents:

“With many homes being over a hundred years old, we’re careful to present older, less-updated homes as opportunities for buyers to make their own history at the property,” says Wilson. “We avoid terms such as ‘investor’, ‘fixer-upper’, or ‘handyman special’.”

Choose descriptors that are on-brand for the high-end real estate market — for example, exceptional rather than great. “Read luxury listings from other upscale areas, and model text after some of those listings,” suggests Schall.

While sometimes agents tap into a particular zeitgeist — for instance, buyers in some markets may be looking for homes that are “modern” — Wilson discourages chasing fad words. “Luxury buyers are smarter than that,” he says. “Be truthful but optimistic about the property.”

And remember that keywords are just one piece of the puzzle. “Luxury is a small category and inventory is low, so searches tend to be in price ranges rather than specific features,” explains Schall. But by being specific around the features clients favor, agents can help to expedite their search and find their dream home faster and easier.

5 Keywords Clients Want to See in Listing Descriptions--And What to Avoid
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Luke Babich

Staying safe as a real estate agent is your first priority. Make these 17 best practices into your new daily habits

Being a real estate agent may seem like a safe job, especially when you compare it to dangerous occupations, such as commercial fishermen, tree trimmers or law enforcement. But performing the responsibilities of a real estate agent does involve risk, and crimes aren’t uncommon. 

Showing a property alone, meeting new clients, and throwing open houses for dozens or even hundreds of strangers exposes you to a lot of people — not all of whom have your best interests at heart. 

As discount and online brokerages have swelled the ranks of agents, there’s never been more of a need for vigilance and awareness of safety. Here are 17 safety tips that can help agents avoid trouble and maintain their personal safety.

1. Meet new clients at the office or in public

It’s not wise to meet a client for the first time at a property, especially if you’re going to be alone with them. Invite them to the office to discuss their real estate goals, or meet them at a coffee shop. 
When you do meet them, use a prospect identification form to record all their personal information, and take a photo of their ID for your records.

2. Do daytime showings only

Take clients to properties during the day, preferably during normal business hours. If a client insists on a nighttime showing, tell your manager or a colleague where you’re going and whom you’re going with.
During the showing, turn on all the lights at the property, and open curtains and blinds to maximize visibility.

3. Do your due diligence

Before you meet with new clients, look at their social media accounts to get a sense of their personality, and do a quick Google search of their names to look for red flags. If there’s cause for concern, but you don’t want to lose a potential client, consider running a full background check.

4. Let people know where you’re going and who you’ll be with

Real estate agents don’t sit in their offices all day. They’re generally on the move, going to showings and meeting clients. If you’re not in the office, no one may notice your absence — unless you make your schedule known. 

Make a shareable schedule, such as a free Google calendar, that will let your colleagues know where you’re going. If something happens to you, they’ll know where you were.

5. Never advertise a property as ‘vacant’

Telling the public a property is vacant is inviting trespassers. Everyone from mischievous high school kids to vagrants will be looking for a place to crash. Avoid this inconvenience by keeping a vacancy quiet.

6. Treat vacant properties with caution

If possible, give a tour of a vacant property from the outside only. If you must go inside with the client, tread carefully in case there are unexpected people inside. Surprising trespassers can provoke rash and sometimes dangerous reactions. 

7. Familiarize yourself with a home before touring it

Before you take a client on a walkthrough, visit the house alone and familiarize yourself with the layout. Note any narrow spaces, dead ends or other potential problem areas. Strategize ways to avoid them. 

Also, note if you have a phone signal in all areas of the property.

8. Let the client walk ahead of you

Try not to turn your back on clients, especially if you’re showing the property alone. Allow them to enter rooms before you so you can track their location at all times.

9. Avoid rooms with only one entry and exit

Don’t enter rooms with only one door, especially if they’re small. This can include walk-in closets, basements, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Invite the client to enter and examine the space while you remain in the hallway.

10. Use a panic button app

Safety apps let you notify the police or emergency responders with the press of a button. Many of them also incorporate GPS tracking that will automatically transmit your location.
These apps can be a great tool for agents working alone. If a client starts acting in a threatening manner, or you suddenly realize you’re not alone in a vacant property, just hit the panic button instead of fumbling with your phone’s keypad.

11. Shield your personal information

Don’t put your personal phone number or home address online or on your marketing materials. That could lead to unprofessional and unwanted contacts. If you use a lot of digital devices for your business, consider cybersecurity strategies to protect your data from being hacked. 
This rule applies to sellers during open houses, too. Ensure they don’t leave documents, such as utility bills or bank statements, out during showings. They could be misused for online identity theft.

12. Be sensitive to the unexpected

If a client shows up with unexpected guests, asks to go to a second location, or is acting in an erratic or suspicious manner, don’t be shy about terminating or delaying the appointment.
The same applies if you arrive at a property to find it open, unlocked or showing signs of unauthorized occupation. If something feels strange to you, it could be a legitimate cause for concern.
Don’t ignore your gut just because you want to close on a big commission.

13. Have an exit strategy

Rehearse an excuse to end the showing if something seems off. You could say another client is due to arrive any minute, that you have to call your manager about an important matter or that you forgot something in your car.
Just have some kind of cover story ready, so it seems convincing at the moment if you have to use it.

14. Be watchful when parking

A lot of safety tips focus on showings, but arriving or leaving an appointment can be a dangerous time. When you’re getting into or out of your car, you’re generally distracted and probably holding something in your hands, making it a perfect opportunity for someone to surprise you. Be extra vigilant around your car, and try to park in busy, well-lit areas. 

15. Avoid parking in driveways

If you park in a home’s driveway, another vehicle can easily block you. Park on the street instead.

16. Leave valuables at home

When you’re at a showing, don’t wear expensive, ostentatious jewelry because this could make you a target for thieves. Try not to carry a purse either. Lock it in the trunk of your car. 

17. Finish an open house safely

Just because a home seems empty after an open house doesn’t mean there’s no one there. Carefully search the entire property, including potential hiding places such as closets and bathrooms, before you turn out the lights and lock up.
Ideally, you’d be accompanied by a colleague or friend. If not, consider carrying some pepper spray.

Learn more about RELATOR® Safety at our virtual real estate safety seminar, Prospect or Predators: Reduce The Risk Of Being Targeted on Friday, September 16!


Luke Babich is the CSO of Clever Real Estate in St. Louis.
How Safe Are You? 17 Essential Safety Tips For Real Estate Agents

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Carl Medford

In a shifting market, the right price is everything. Here's how to make sure you're helping your sellers crunch the numbers effectively from the get-go

 

In a super-heated market, almost any price will do — competing buyers will do what they need to do to land the property. In a downturn, however, nailing the price is absolutely critical.

Although the timing of the recent market shift varied from region to region across the U.S., it arrived in Northern California the first week of May 2022. Some sellers understood that a day of reckoning would be coming at some point, but its sudden appearance caught most off guard resulting in confusion, frustration, anger and disbelief.

On the positive side, due to easy access to extensive online real estate market data, we live with the most educated sellers of all time. Consequently, a decent percentage of sellers saw the shift occur and were aware they would have to deal with the new reality. Others, however, have refused to acknowledge the changing market and insist their home be priced at pre-shift levels.

Coupled with this are a group of real estate agents who either do not understand the new market or are unwilling or unable to educate their sellers in setting effective prices. We also have a large group who have had their licenses less than 10 years and have never been through a significant shift before.

The result is properties placed on the market with prices that stretch the boundaries of reality which, unfortunately, languish for extended periods. The net result is properties being categorized as “stale” and typically selling for less than they would have had they been priced correctly at the beginning.

When the market is heading in a downward direction, buyer behaviors change dramatically. Whereas a few short months ago almost any home sold in a few days, homes that are in “iffy” condition, a poor location or that do not show well are being overlooked as buyers, who finally have a modicum of choice, are going after the premium homes first.
At the end of the day, in a declining market, price is the only thing that will get some properties sold.

Here are our 6 critical rules for effective pricing in the midst of a shift:

1. Explain the new reality

Like it or not, the market that existed prior to May 1, 2022, no longer exists. This is extremely bad news for sellers who made plans based on the price they hoped they would achieve had the market continued upwards.

A friend of mine came up with a great analogy for explaining why pricing from just a few months ago no longer applies. “Think of those previous sales as lottery winners,” she explains. “In every lottery, only a handful of people end up winners. Since there was almost no inventory,” she continues, “Only a handful of sellers actually cashed in at the peak of the market. Like all lotteries, once the draw has been made, it is over no matter how many tickets you are left holding.”

The second consideration is the evolution from an emotionally-driven market to a data-driven market. As prices continued to spike upwards at the beginning of 2022 and interest rates started their upward trek, some buyers, believing they would soon be priced out, threw all their assets on the table in a last, heroic Hail Mary attempt to land a home.

During this period, from February through April, we began seeing unprecedented sales prices as buyers, operating on adrenaline, did whatever it took to win in a multiple offer scenario and land a home.

Once the interest rates rose beyond many buyers’ expectations, cooler heads emerged and the market tipped. As a result, buyers are no longer buying with emotions; they are using emerging data and logic. Using online market data, they are able to extrapolate current values and make offers accordingly.

Those homes that are visibly overpriced are being ignored en masse, as are properties that are less than ideal. Now more than ever, sellers need to understand that property condition matters and effective preparation will help a home move while others nearby remain stagnant.

The third consideration is for those buyers who think they can lob in lowball offers. If you look at the Absorption Rates or Months of Inventory numbers, we are still in a seller’s market.

As an example, in California’s Alameda County, there was only 1.8 months of inventory at the end of July 2022. In fact, many believe that once buyers come to terms with the new higher interest rates, we will see a resurgence of sales.

Even with the recent increases in inventory, we are still dramatically under the numbers that indicate that we have shifted to a buyer’s market. With this in mind, buyers trying to score with ridiculously low offers will be left out in the cold.

2. Prepare an effective comparative market analysis (CMA)

The general rule of thumb we use in preparing a CMA is to stay in the same neighborhood as the subject home and go back three months. We then set the search parameters at 100 sq. ft. above and below the home we are trying to value.

Since we have gone through a period of time with relatively few sales, we use as few parameters as possible to pull up comparable homes. If we do not come up with enough properties, then we begin to open up the parameters.

In my mind, the perfect number of homes is 10. Some like the Rule of Three: three actives, three pendings and three solds. Personally, I like to have more than three previous sales to deepen the data set I am working with. I prefer a couple of actives and pendings and at least five solds.

While there are a number of great CMA products out there, we prefer CloudCMA because of its ease of use, pricing calculator and the fact you can set it to include all of the pictures from comparable properties. These pictures often communicate more than the actual pricing data because sellers have an opportunity to view the condition and upgrades of previous sales.

In the current market, we are running two CMAs: one that goes back to the beginning of May and a second which goes back to the beginning of the year (and in some cases, back into 2021). The purpose is to show the change in the markets and to effectively eliminate the homes with ridiculously high prices.

While a bit of extra work, the side-by-side comparison helps sellers see that what happened between February and April is an anomaly.

3. Produce a comparative AVM

One of the issues in the current market is the inability of AVMs (Automated Valuation Model – think Zestimate) to keep up with the emerging market. Consequently, a seller may try to use an AVM from Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com or another website to set the price of their home.

Not only is the data skewed due to the sales earlier in the year, AVMs from different websites typically differ radically from each other when providing suggested valuations.

In a previous post, I explained that an effective way to downplay this strategy is to produce a document that shows four AVMs for the subject property side by side. In most cases, sellers will be able to see that on any given day, AVM valuations are not an effective way of determining a price in this new market.

4. Show trends over the past 6 months

We use TrendGraphix to help us view data in a graphical form. This gives us the ability to present the market trends in a format that can be easier for sellers to understand than a slew of numbers.

While some Realtor associations or brokerages provide access to data services such as TrendGraphix, NAR (the National Association of Realtors) provides data through RPR (Realtors Property Resource) which can also provide local trends in graphical form.

As a last resort, sites like Zillow provide some limited regional data in their Market Overviews. We want to be able to show sellers charts showing trends in actives, pendings and solds, price per square foot, average or median list price vs sales price, average days on the market, percentage over or below average list price and market saturation.

Some MLSs and Realtor associations provide market snapshots, as well. The only issue is that they show the entire market city-by-city, not a specifically defined neighborhood report.

5. Price ahead of the market

In an increasing market, you can price slightly higher than previous sales. When prices are trending downward, effective prices are slightly lower than the last closings. Unfortunately, pricing in the current market is a bit more tricky than normal.

In reality, current price reductions are not actually declining prices; they are simply prices as they should have been had we not had the ridiculous sales in February through April.

In other words, if you pull those months out of the equation and extrapolate prices based on trends starting back in the fall of 2021, you will come up with pricing as it should have been had the market continued in a normal fashion.

6. Tell the truth

In keeping with our code of ethics, communicate with sellers that you will not give them a fake price to score the listing. In the same way, a medical doctor ascribes to the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm,” let your clients know you will tell them the truth in order to give them the best chance for an effective sale and that your desire is to prevent them from the financial harm that could occur if their listing stays on the market too long.

If your sellers insist that another agent has promised them a higher price, then encourage them to go with that agent but to only give a short listing period. Tell them, “If they promise you a higher price but cannot deliver in a short period of time (no more than six weeks), then please come back to me to list your home to honor the fact that I told you the truth in the first place.”

Some sellers will honor this; others, once they figure out the reality, will either pull their listings altogether or work with their existing agent to lower their pricing so as not to have to change agents.

This is a long play. I have lost out in listing appointments and watched sellers struggle with their agent of choice all the way to an unhappy close, only to have the sellers refer other clients to me instead of the agent that actually sold their home. I may not have gotten the first listing, but with my integrity intact, I sold their friends’ houses later on.

In the new reality, effective pricing is everything. Work with your prospective clients to set realistic prices – those homes that are prepared properly and priced competitively are the ones that are currently selling.

Carl Medford is CEO of The Medford Team.
Move That Listing: 6 Right-Pricing Tips for a Shifting Market

 

Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross


As the market shifts, it's important to make every penny count. That starts with getting the most out of your current tech budget

As we move into a market with fewer transactions and potentially falling prices, it’s more important than ever to zero in on what works and eliminate every unnecessary cost in your business. A great place to begin is by doing a tech audit that identifies where you’re wasting both time and money. Before discussing the steps in conducting a tech audit, there’s one key point to always keep in mind: your No. 1 goal is to get a face-to-face appointment. The 2021 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers showed that 82 percent of the sellers and 73 percent of the buyers only interviewed one agent — the one that they subsequently hired. 

Taking full advantage of the tech tools that work best for your business keeps you top-of-mind when that buyer or seller decides to transact. Whether you provide a property report, use an email newsletter, or post photos and videos on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok, be sure to provide the user with a reason to give you their contact information. 

Here are the steps to conduct a tech audit for your business. 

Eliminate unnecessary apps from your mobile devices 

Begin your audit by reviewing all the apps on your mobile devices and deciding which category each app falls into:

• Essential to my business.
• Frequently used.
• Used occasionally.
• Haven’t used in the last year

Delete all apps you haven’t used in the last year. For example, I signed up for Clubhouse and stopped using it after 90 days. I also eliminated approximately 40 other apps I’m not using. 

I then arranged my essential and frequently used apps on the first page of my mobile devices so I can quickly locate what I use the most often. This approach increases your efficiency and saves valuable time. 

Cut costs by eliminating subscriptions and tech you may have forgotten about

Have you ever signed up for a company’s 30-day trial at no charge, provided them with a credit card, and then forgot to cancel the subscription? To spot subscriptions and software where you are being charged monthly or annually, go through each of your credit card statements for the last 12 months and look for numbers that end with 95 or 99 cents and/or $95.00 or $99.00. Pay special attention to anything that is on autopay. 

When you locate these, determine whether you’re using this service and if so, is it contributing to your bottom line? If not, cancel the service immediately. 

If the company refuses, contact your credit card company and explain the situation. In most cases, the credit card company will block any additional charges to your account. 

Identify technology your clients use and like 

Have you ever asked your clients which tech tools were the most and least useful? Examples to ask about include:

• 360-degree virtual tour technology
• Brochure box with QR code that captures the potential lead’s phone number
• Digital signing software
• Digital staging tools
• Drone photography
• Open house conversion software
• Tools that track how often a listing is viewed online
• Transaction tracking software
• YouTube, Instagram and other sites where you post videos and track pageviews

For those clients who aren’t tech savvy, face-to-face and telephone contact is an absolute must. In contrast, your technologically sophisticated clients will be excited to use the most advanced tech tools available. 
If your clients are not using or not responding to the tech tools you provide, you have two options. The first is to dump the tech tool entirely. The second is to search for a different provider that may be easier for your clients to use. 

Find great tech services at no cost

One of the biggest complaints the leadership of most major companies have about their agents is:

We spend millions of dollars a year providing our agents with tools and services to grow their businesses, and they don’t even bother to learn how to use them. 

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to revisit the tech tools your brokerage provides. Taking advantage of these can save you money as well as providing your clients with better service. 

Many Boards of Realtors and MLSs also provide extremely useful services to their agents at no charge. 

For example, many MLSs provide language translation for all of their listings. The problem is that even if the agents know about the service, most never take the time to explain the tremendous benefit this provides to potential clients who don’t speak English as their first language.

The National Association of Realtors Real Property Reports (NARRPR.com) is another excellent resource that provides detailed property reports at no charge. These reports are especially helpful when you meet someone when you’re out prospecting, at a meeting or at an open house. The beauty of using this RPR reports is that you can provide them with the information they want instantaneously. 

What’s exceptional about this service is the RPR app. When you meet someone and they would like to know about their home, all you need is their email or their cell number. The app immediately sends them the reports. Best of all, it only takes about a minute and that lead costs zero to obtain. 

Determine if your CRM is the right fit for your business

For essential apps such as a CRM, deciding to stay with your current provider or switching to a new provider involves much more than cost. Changing CRMs can be a huge disruption to your business — but being stuck with a system that is not working for you is even more costly. 

Craig Grant interviewed most of the major CRM providers and the services they offer. If you’re ready to select a CRM or if you’re considering replacing your existing CRM, visit his site to evaluate which CRM(s) are best suited for how you conduct your business. 

Customize your tech offerings to fit individual clients 

The latest advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered tech now allow you to provide data specific to each individual homeowner. In addition to the RPR property reports for individual properties, here are three other AI-powered tools that will allow you to stand head and shoulders above the competition. Best of all, these property tech tools are available to you at no cost.  

Obtain customized property report from Attom Data

Homedisclosure.com provides a detailed property report that is available online or as an app. They provide local crime statistics specific to each address, nearby environmental hazards, plus the risk of various types of natural disasters. Offering this report on your website or in your digital marketing is a great way to motivate potential clients to contact you. 

Determine whether down payment assistance is available for a property

In December 2021, DownPaymentResource.com and Zillow partnered to post all the down payment assistance programs available for properties actively listed on Zillow. This is a tremendous resource for buyers who are struggling to come up with a down payment. 

To locate this information, search the property address on Zillow. Directly below “Request a tour” click on the arrow on the far right of the line that begins with the word “Overview.” 

That brings up the following box where you can click on down payment assistance. 

In this case, there were 11 programs available with up to $24,995 in potential down payment assistance. In a slowing market, buyers are the name of the game, and this is one of the most powerful tools to attract both first-time and repeat buyers.         

Obtain 5 years of pricing history at your fingertips for almost any home in the country

For the first time ever, you can quickly access three different Automated Valuation Models (AVMs) on Realtor.com from three different companies displayed in an interactive chart dating back five years to 2017. (Visit Realtor.com, search on “home value,” and then enter the address you want to search.) 

In terms of the three companies listed, CoreLogic relies primarily on MLS data. Consequently, their pricing may lag behind the other two AVMS by 60 days or more.

Collateral Analytics has 12 different AVMs customized to fit their clients including appraisers, banks, hedge funds, mortgage companies, and real estate brokerages.  

Quantarium is currently the most sophisticated AVM available because it not only evaluates the factors the other AVMs use, it also factors in up to 900 other interior factors as illustrated below: 

What’s great about these AI-powered tech tools is you can offer sellers a customized evaluation of their property value that goes far beyond a normal CMA. Moreover, you can use this tool on listing appointments to set more accurate prices, as well as when an appraisal comes in too low. 

Be willing to test new technologies, but avoid ‘shiny object syndrome’

When you eliminate the tech and the apps you’re not using, you have room to try new technologies. It’s important, however, to avoid “Shiny Object Syndrome” or getting sucked in by the claim “It’s only $29.95 per month.” 
Instead, determine if any agents you know are already using this tool, the ease of use, as well as whether their clients like using this technology. Give any new technology 90 days to see if it works for you and your clients. If not, drop it and go on to the next tech or app that may be a better fit for you. 

There’s no better time than right now to do a tech audit. Double down on what your clients like using and dump what isn’t working for your business.  

Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.
Cutting Expenses is Critical: 10 Steps for Auditing Your Tech Stack
Article Courtesy of: Inman News 
By Wendy Forsythe for Fathom Realty

Use these scripts and reports to talk to your clients about navigating the shifting market
About 20 years ago, there was a popular book called, Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson. The book’s premise was a business parable about how the characters dealt with changes they had no control over. Sound familiar? The recent rise in interest rates and other economic factors impacting the housing market may have you wondering who moved your cheese, and questioning how you will navigate these changes successfully in your business.

It’s time to flex your professional development skills and ensure you are prepared to offer your clients the best advice and guidance to navigate today’s market. Preparation is key — the conversations you had six months ago won’t apply to the decisions facing buyers and sellers today. As a trusted advisor, you need to be ready to have the following conversations.

1. Addressing interest rates and affordability

A Cost of Waiting Analysis is a tool lenders use to calculate the amount of equity a buyer would accumulate if they purchased a home now, versus the amount of equity lost by waiting to buy. This can also be summed up with the phrase “marry the house, date the rate,” which has become popular recently. There are several key elements to having a cost of waiting discussion with your clients, and it’s time to make sure you understand each of them.

2. Will housing prices go down?

The best way to address this concern is to look at the data. For example, if a buyer plans on owning a home for seven to 10 years, even a short-term dip in house price appreciation will not impact the equity built over the long term.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is a great resource for data to include in consultation materials you present to buyers and sellers.

3. Is now a good time to list?

Today’s homeowners have benefited tremendously from the housing market over the last decade. As a result, many people have large amounts of equity in their home.

Working through a Move Up Comparison can help your clients determine their options. For example, if a client owns a $750,000 property and owes $450,000, they have $300,000 in equity. They could sell their current home and buy a $900,000 property, with 25% down ($225,000) and still have $75,000 in cash. Now they’re living in a new home that better matches their current needs. This is an appealing option to many, but clients need help working through the math to truly understand the opportunity.

4. Renting versus buying

Renters who are considering a home purchase should look at a Rent Versus Buy Analysis. In 2021, about 28% of the market was attributed to first-time home buyers. Helping these buyers understand the impact of renting versus buying is essential. It’s helpful to have several comparisons of these costs worked out and presented in tables for easy discussion during your consultations with buyers.

5. Price reductions

Real estate agents haven’t had to deal with price reductions much recently. The best strategy is to get the property priced correctly from the get-go — however, some sellers will want to “try” a higher price, which is understandable. We can debate whether you should walk away from an overpriced listing another time. But, for now, you’ve had the property on the market for a while, and it’s not selling. Your seller is getting anxious, and you know it’s time to have the price reduction conversation. How will you approach this often challenging topic?

Are you ready to have these five fierce conversations with your clients? Then check out our download 5 Scripts You Need Right Now, where we elaborate on each conversation, provide details on how to structure the dialogue, and share the resources available to help you advise and guide your clients.

About Wendy Forsythe: Wendy is the Chief Strategy Officer for Fathom Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: FTHM), a national, technology-driven real estate services platform integrating residential brokerage, mortgage, title, insurance, and SaaS offerings to brokerages and agents by leveraging its proprietary cloud-based software, intelliAgent. Wendy has spent her career helping top brands, brokerages, and agents build their businesses. She has become a branding and growth leader by combining operational excellence with an agent-first philosophy.
5 Conversations You Need to Have With Clients Right Now
GBREB NEWS

GBREB Public Statement:  Proposed Boston Gas Ban

On August 16, 2022, Greg Vasil, CEO of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, issued the following statement in response to Mayor Wu's move to seek to ban fossil fuels in the construction of new buildings in Boston: 

“While we share and admire Mayor Wu’s dedication to combatting climate change, we are deeply concerned by fully banning fossil fuels from new construction and the negative impacts such a blunt change will have on the critical need for housing production. Construction costs are already too high due to inflation and national supply chain challenges. Banning fossil fuels in new developments will only increase costs further. This ban would be especially problematic in a city like Boston, which produces huge levels of housing and is an economic engine for all development. Housing production is key to overcoming our state’s housing crisis. Instead of taking part in the state’s pilot program to ban fossil fuels in new developments, we believe the city and state should await the results of the pilot program before considering if and how Boston may implement this ban.”

GBREB Public Statement: Proposed Boston Gas Ban

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