Expand Your Business and Horizons!


Cultivating Multicultural Relationships is Good for Business

REALTORS® know the importance of adapting and remaining relevant in today’s marketplace. By developing a business practice rooted in inclusion and equality, you can help buyers of all cultural backgrounds achieve the dream of homeownership.

This two-day At Home With Diversity® (AHWD) certification course teaches you how to work effectively with diverse populations so you can build business success in today’s multicultural real estate market.

2 MA CE Credits Offer: Fair Housing (RE19RC12)

Instructor: Leigh York, 2018 REALTOR of the Year, Greater Fort Worth Association of REALTORS® Texas Real Estate Broker, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRS, TAHS, RSPS, SFR, AHWD,NHS, SRES, MRP, CUE, RFC, RENE
Leigh is a third-generation real estate licensee who has managed staff and hundreds of agents. She now sells real estate and speaks nationally along with some broker and culture coaching. She wants your business to succeed and is excited to share some of her ‘lessons learned’ with you!

Pricing: $45.00*

Register Here!

Earn Your At Home With Diversity Certification!
Article Courtesy of: Inman News 
By: Brandon Dolye

Thriving in a shifting market is all about making adjustments. Here's how one Utah-based real estate group doubled production by adopting gamification — yes, in the midst of this pandemic.
 
The pandemic has been tough on all of us. Some of us couldn’t even show homes. All of us made adjustments. But not everyone took a production hit. Some teams are still on track with their original goals. Others are actually doing better this year compared to last year.
 
I love the saying that’s become common in a lot of Facebook groups I follow: “Yea, there was a 50 percent reduction in transactions during the pandemic — but there was also an 80 percent reduction in competition!”

Surviving the pandemic was about adjustments, but thriving in the pandemic? Is that even possible? 

I saw a lot of cool things from teams in my network, and a lot of lessons to be learned for when markets shift, and times become uncertain. One of the coolest was from a team just north of Salt Lake City that actually doubled its production in the midst of massive uncertainty. (I have the numbers to prove it!)

How Utah Life doubled their production during the pandemic

Before we dig into the numbers, here’s what you need to know about Utah Life Real Estate Group. They have 20 total team members — around 14 full-time agents, a couple part-timers and a handful of administrative staff.

They run a full team model and provide coaching, systems and accountability for all of their agents. A lot of their coaching is around mindset.

Also, they are extremely driven by numbers, goals, and achievement. They are the team around which the idea and concept of Sisu was born. A lot of the screenshots showing their numbers and production are taken from their Sisu dashboards. 
Utah Life has some very cool graphs, which make it super simple to see just how much they crushed it during March and April. 

Take a look at this chart of their signed units. This is impressive, especially considering that they lost one of their top producers in November of 2019.



This is a chart of their under-contract units. Compared to same months in 2019 and 2018, their under-contract units increased in April and March of 2020.


Use of gamification to drive real estate sales

Gamification has become popular in sales because you can tweak the system to produce the exact results you’re looking for.

A lot of other industries rely heavily on their compensation plans and promotion paths to do this — a careful concoction of payments, promotions, recognition and accelerators that align incentives across a sales team and make things work. 

This, of course, happens in real estate as well, but to a lesser extent. Almost all of our teams and brokerages are 100 percent commission-based contractors. It’s harder to create a culture where incentives are aligned, but here’s where gamification comes in. Gamification can help you align incentives, tighten your culture and drive key metrics that you know will create results. 

In this case study, Utah Life focused heavily on a few different leading indicators such as conversations and appointments set. See the huge spike in conversations on their graph above, which pretty much fueled everything. I believe the point system was as follows: 
Conversations: 10 points each.
Appointments: 100 points each.
Client placed under contract: 500 points.
Daily exercise: additional 30-point bonus.

Where this system breaks

You’ll want your most OCD team member running your gamification. That person who’s got your CRM system dialed in to the last one and zero? That’s exactly who should run a system like this. 
They’ll love it, too, because this is the type of thing that actually drives adoption with all of your systems. Didn’t happen in the CRM? It didn’t happen at all. Here’s where teams go wrong: 

You rely on your agents to enter 100 percent of the data. For obvious reasons, there won’t be a lot of enthusiasm around this. Tie it to your CRM so that your agents can stick to their current processes.
You don’t have a live scoreboard. Can you imagine going to a basketball game without a live scoreboard? There would be no drama. No excitement. And a lot less competition pushing everyone to do their best. If you can, get a 24/7 live scoreboard. This alone should create a 30-percent boost in production.
See this case study with Glassdoor sales team on page 125. They increased their booked meetings by more than 50 percent while going from little to 100 percent CRM adoption. Not real estate sales, but similar concepts apply. Make it fun, visible and fair. 

The competition doesn’t have to be inside your team only

One thing that I thought was really cool about the contest was that the competition was not only internal. Too much internal competition can be unhealthy. There’s a fine balance.

But you probably know other real estate teams that are around your size and level. You network with them on Facebook, or maybe they compete in another market that’s not super close to you. 

Creating competition with other teams can be an extremely fun and healthy way to drive results. You can put up a prize (for example, $500 to the top agent) but set stipulations that the losing team has to front the prize money. Have fun with it!

The exact specifications of one of the contests Utah Life ran during the pandemic was the Utah Life versus Bowen Adams Real Estate contest. You can also see their joint scoreboard in Sisu below.
Top agent got $1000, second place $500 and third place $250.
The contest ran for 10 days from April 20 to April 30.
Agents earned 500 points for units placed under contract.
Agents earned 300 points for signing a listing.
Agents earned 200 points for signing a buyer.
100 points for each attended appointment (buyer or seller).
5 points for each prospecting conversation.

On my team, personally, we’ve done monthly and quarterly competitions for things like most open houses, five-star reviews, showings, appointments or even just days of activity logged.

We set it up so anyone would have the opportunity to win something — not just the top producers. Prizes have included gift cards and team swag members could pick from. 

We’ve also done group goals where anyone who meets the goal is invited to lunch or happy hour and other team-wide goals that included a team outing for everyone. Before the pandemic shut us down, we were planning on doing “top golf”!

The three steps to making gamification happen


To sum things up, I think Utah Life’s success during this period boils down to a handful of key elements: 

1. They met daily on Zoom to go over numbers, offer quick training and keep the motivation high.
2. Their leaderboard was highly visible 24/7 via web and mobile apps. 
3. The contest was clearly defined and the numbers were simple to track — often, 100 percent automated from the CRM. 

I see a lot of team leaders and brokers pushing gamification, but this one was an eye-opener as to just how effective this strategy can be. 

Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.

 

Use Gamification to Boost Agent Production
GBREB NEWS

Newton Centre Realty, Inc v David Jaffe

Newton Center Realty, Inc. V David Jaffe
Massachusetts Appeals Court
No. 19-P-1082
Argued 3/3/20-Decided 6/23/20

On June 23, 2020 the Massachusetts Appeals Court decided a case of first impression in the Commonwealth regarding brokerage fees.  The question addressed was does the death of a seller terminate a real estate brokerage agreement between the seller and a broker.

Facts: 
In 2017 a seller entered into three exclusive brokerage agreement to sell two residential properties in Brookline and one in Newton.  The agreements were on standard GBREB forms.  Under each agreement the broker was entitled to a four percent commission.  The seller died and the seller’s son sold the properties independent of the broker, but within the exclusivity period of the agreements that had been properly executed.  The broker sued the Sellers estate and was unsuccessful at trial.  The case was brought up on appeal. This issue had not been decided under Massachusetts law.  

Decision: 
The agreements here created a principal-agent relationship that entitled the broker to a commission if Shirley’s (the Seller) properties were sold within the exclusivity period.  They did not confer an interest in the property.  Accordingly, Shirley’s death terminated the agency relationship, and the broker was not entitled to recover contract damages from Shirley’s estate.  The Superior Court judge properly dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. 
The Appeals Court upheld the lower court ruling that the death of the seller terminated the agency relationship, and the broker was not entitled to a commission.
 



Broker Fee Appeals Court Decision
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jay Thompson

Now is the time to give your web presence a second look. Follow these steps to create a profile potential buyers will gravitate toward

Your real estate agent profiles — those pages scattered about the internet that invariably include your photo, an “about me” section, and maybe areas to display your listings and past sales — are often the first places potential buyers or sellers will find you as they begin the process of deciding which agent to hire.

Given that reality, real estate agent profiles should be crafted with care and consideration. After all, you’re marketing yourself, so you want to put your best foot forward anywhere you have the opportunity to connect with a potential client.
Yet the web is filled with — let’s be honest — some pretty bad profile pages. You know the type: fuzzy images, outdated copy, sales speak. The list of grievances is almost endless.

Why are some profiles disasters while others are marketing masterpieces?

I don’t know. Maybe some real estate agents aren’t sure why profiles matter or don’t understand how to make them consumer-friendly. Crafting a good one probably seems overwhelming. Often, people quickly build a profile page and never look at it again.
Whatever the reasons for subpar online profiles, now is the time to give your web presence a second look. Start pulling up your profile pages, and ask yourself a few questions:

Let’s take a closer look at each of these focal points.

Pick the right photo

Have you ever seen marketing material from a real estate agent and said to yourself, “Wow, I wonder how old that picture is?”

You know you have.

Don’t be the person in that photo! You don’t need to update your headshot every six months, but if you’re using an image that looks more like your high school yearbook photo than something taken in the past couple of years, it’s time to make a change. “Glamour Shots” were a thing — 30 years ago. Today, not so much.

Avoid the “headshots” that are simply logos. People want to connect with you, not a logo. Ditto with your dog, your cell phone, a “Just sold!” rider or any other prop. Get a professional headshot, cropped so your smiling face is the focus of the photo. Don’t clutter it up with stuff that doesn’t matter. Just you and your face.

Clarify your education credentials

Think back again to real estate profile pages you’ve seen. Does this look familiar?

Jay Thompson — MBA, ePro, ABR, CRS, CRE, CIPS, GRI, CPM, SRS

Impressive?

Not really. Don’t get me wrong, education is important — crucial, even. But how many consumers — you know, the folks looking at your profile and deciding whether or not to hire you — know what any of those abbreviations after your name mean?

The answer to that rapidly approaches zero.

So, spell it out, but not just by saying, “I am an accredited buyer’s representative!” That still doesn’t mean much. Try something like this:

“I believe in continuing education. It helps me to be a better agent for you. I’ve spent 200 hours in the past two years training, learning and refining my craft — so that I can better serve you.”
If you really want to get into the details of your credentials, consider linking to pages that explain what you learned in those designation classes.

Define your USP

Your USP — unique selling proposition — is what sets you apart in the sea of sameness. Odds are pretty good that there are a lot of real estate agents in your market, all competing for limited buyers and sellers. What makes you different from all of them?

It is not an easy thing to define, but a good USP, if it’s communicated well, will really help a consumer understand what you can do for them. And remember, it’s all about them, not you.

Here is a good article on building a USP. Give it a run-through (be sure to watch the video, too), and get that brain thinking about what makes you stand out from the pack.

Watch the agent-speak

“I closed 43 sides last year — I can sell your home too!”

As real estate sales professionals, we know exactly what that sentence means. But what about that potential homebuyer? The guy who hasn’t bought real estate since he grabbed a cheap condo nine years ago sees “sides” and thinks “baked potato or fries?”

It’s very easy to include words and terms that you see and use every day. Take a step back, and look at your real estate agent profile from the perspective of a consumer. Spell out abbreviations. Define industry-specific terms — or better yet, just avoid them.

Don’t force potential customers to try and translate your agent-speak into terms they understand. The simple fact is they won’t translate; they will move on to the next profile.

Stop the hard sell

Your real estate profile is your biography. It’s a place for someone to learn about you, how you work, and what you can do for them. Although you use it to market yourself, it’s not an overt advertisement. Hard selling on your profile might cast you as “one of those agents” who seems to only care about their next commission check.

I’ll say it again: It’s about them, not you. Your profile is a place for potential clients to get to know you. Real estate is still a very personal, face-to-face business, and your profile may well be your first chance to impress. Don’t make that impression be of a pushy salesperson.

Make it reflect the professional, helpful and caring real estate agent that you are.

Profiles are important. They are often the first thing your potential clients will see, and first impressions count. Many people will use profiles almost exclusively to determine which agent to reach out to. I did, and I am far from alone.

You should have an optimized profile on every available site. Zillow (your Zillow profile is automatically ported to Trulia), realtor.com, your brokerage website, your website, Google My Business. Check your MLS and local association, they might offer profiles pages, especially if they have a public-facing website.

If you’re in Texas, the Houston Association of Realtors provides profile pages for any agent in Texas. See if your chamber of commerce offers a business directory.

Most sites charge nothing to build a profile. Some, like a local chamber, might require you to be a member before you can build a profile. The time you spend building — and updating — profiles is time well-spent, and the return can be significant.

Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree in Seattle, as well as the one spinning the wheels at Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty. “Retired but not dead,” Jay speaks around the world on many things real estate.
Your Profiles Matter! Take Time to Perfect Them
Article Courtesy of: Banker & Tradesman

The Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency have extended their COVID-19 foreclosure and eviction moratoriums for the second time, this time for two months.

The FHA’s measures will expire Aug. 31. A first extension issued mid-May would have expired June 30. The measures cover homeowners with FHA-insured Title II single family mortgages and including reverse mortgages.

In its announcement, the FHA encouraged mortgage servicers to: halt all new foreclosure actions and suspend all foreclosure actions currently in process, excluding legally vacant or abandoned properties, and cease all evictions from FHA-insured single family properties, excluding actions to evict occupants of legally vacant or abandoned properties.

“While the economic recovery is already underway, many American families still need more time and assistance to regain their financial footing,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Our foreclosure and eviction extension means that these families will not have to worry about losing their home as they work to recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.”

Homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages should continue to make their mortgage payments during the foreclosure and eviction moratorium if they are able to do so, HUD said, or seek mortgage payment forbearance from their mortgage servicer under the terms of the CARES Act , if needed.

Under that legislation, mortgage servicers are required to:
Offer borrowers with FHA-insured mortgages up to a year of delayed mortgage payment forbearance when the borrower requests it. FHA does not require a lump sum payment at the end of the forbearance period.
Assess borrowers who receive COVID-19 forbearance for its special COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim before the end of the forbearance period. The COVID-19 National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim puts all deferred mortgage payment amounts owed into a junior lien which is only repaid when the borrower sells the home, refinances the mortgage, or the mortgage is otherwise extinguished.

The FHFA also extended its single-family moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least Aug. 31. The foreclosure moratorium applies only to single-family mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The current moratorium was set to expire on June 30.

“To protect borrowers and renters during the pandemic we are extending the Enterprises’ foreclosure and eviction moratorium,” FHFA Director Mark Calabria said in a statement. “During this national health emergency no one should worry about losing their home.”
FHA and FHFA Extend Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium
REALTOR® DAY ON THE HILL GOES VIRTUAL! 

If you have never attended REALTOR® Day on the Hill then here’s your chance to participate in the comfort of your own home without going into Boston. REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill is YOUR chance to let legislators know your opinions and concerns facing the real estate industry. Learn about the key legislative issues in 2020 that will affect the real estate industry and private property rights. Attend REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill to get up close and personal with legislators and make an impact on the legislative process! 

2020 Legislative Priorities Talking Points

 
We encourage you to register and attend one or more of our upcoming meetings with state legislators from GBAR’s local regions:
All virtual events begin at 10:00 a.m.
 
 DATE             REGION
Wed., July 8    Metro Boston  
Mon., July 13    Central Middlesex
Thurs. July 16   Eastern Middlesex
Mon., July 20    Metro West
Mon., July 27  Southern Norfolk  
Find your region by town via the map below!

GBAR Regional Map

Click here to register!


Questions? Contact Jeff Pappas at 617-224-9303 or jpappas@gbreb.com
REALTOR® Day on the Hill Goes Virtual
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Bernice Ross

As COVID-19 cases have begun climbing again, and you can no longer door-knock, hold traditional open houses or attend face-to-face networking events, now is a great time to consider how to make phone prospecting a key part of your business plan. 

Greg McDaniel has been in the business for over 20 years, and to date, he has made almost 500,000 cold calls. If you use the phone to prospect, his scripts, strategies and tactics are pure gold. Major caveat: Always make sure to scrub the list of names you call against the do not call list.

1. Make a plan

Before you begin prospecting by phone, you need a plan that includes who to call, what benefit you will provide to the person you are calling and a specific script or strategy for converting that call into a viable lead. 

2. Provide more value than just a CMA


When agents call for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs) and owners of expired listings or cold call into a geographical farm, most offer a competitive market analysis and not much else.

You can enhance your CMA by providing the reports from NARRPR.com (free to all NAR members) and HomeDisclosure.com, which provides a wide variety of additional data about the property. These reports will generate over 25 pages about the owner’s property and will definitely make you stand out from the competition. 

3. Call FSBOs

McDaniel uses RedX for his lead generation and to scrub his contacts against the do not call list. He often makes 500 to 750 calls per day using their triple line dialer.

In terms of converting FSBO leads, McDaniel has had great success explaining the landmines sellers face due to the pandemic. For example, most homeowners in California are unaware they are required to sign a special disclosure statement every time an agent shows their house. Many are also unaware of the cleaning and other showing protocols currently in place. 

To use this approach in your business, investigate the guidelines for your state, and share them with any FSBOs you call.  

4. Prospect for-rent-by-owners (FRBOs)

McDaniel’s top tip is to call FRBOs. These people are often investors who own multiple properties. Most are interested in expanding their portfolio, which means they’re constantly on the hunt for the next property to purchase. Others may want to sell and trade up or invest in a different area. 

When you connect with a FRBO, ask about their current property. Follow up by asking where they would like to be five to 10 years in terms of their property portfolio. If they express an interest in growing that portfolio, dig deeper to see what types of properties they would like to purchase. 

5. Use scripts that work

What will you say to the person you’re calling? Always introduce yourself, give your company name, and say why you are calling. Here are McDaniel’s five best scripts: 

1. The direct approach
This script gets straight to the point — is the person you’re calling considering transacting right now? Here’s what McDaniel says. 

“My name is Greg McDaniel with ABC real estate. Because I know you’re busy, I just want to call and quickly ask: Are you considering selling your home this year or buying an investment property?”

2. The indirect approach: Have some fun
A classic script cold callers have used for decades asks, “Who do you know who is thinking about buying or selling a house now?” Here’s McDaniel’s twist on that script. After bantering with them for a few moments, he asks: 

“Which one of your neighbors should I call to see if they would want to move — you know, which one would you like to see leave?”

This gets them laughing. At that point, offer the report with the NARRPR and HomeDisclosure.com data. This gives you a reason to stay in contact with them and ultimately become their agent when they’re ready to transact. 

3. Go for ‘no’ coupled with ‘FORD’

The third approach McDaniel uses is doing a “pattern interrupt.” In this case, you’re actually seeking a “no” answer. To do this, ask the person a question they have never been asked before. The one McDaniel recommends is:

“You know what Sally, I bet you’re not thinking about selling your home this year.” 

No matter how they respond, you reply:

“That’s exactly why I’m calling today.”

The next step is to use “FORD” or “FROG” to continue the conversation and get to know them better. These stand for: family, occupation, recreation and dreams/goals. 

McDaniel says this is the most powerful approach he has ever used to build rapport. Questions to ask include inquiring about their interests outside of work, local recreational spots they may enjoy or their long-term dreams about where they would like to be in five or 10 years. 

Be sure to ask questions that begin with “how” or “what.” These are known as “open-ended questions” and will give you the most information. 

Sooner or later in the conversation, real estate will come up. The most common question you will hear is, “Well, how’s the market?” Again, offer the enhanced CMA that includes the NARRPR and HomeDisclosure.com reports. 

4. Let neighbors know when a house goes ‘pending’ on the MLS

The public can see when a house is listed or when it has sold, but they don’t have access to the pending sales. Here’s what to say:

“I’m just calling to let you know the house at 123 Main Street has just gone under contract. I was wondering if you might like to find out how much your house is worth?”  

Send them your enhanced CMA, or if possible, preview the property to have a better idea of what it’s worth. 

5. Invite them to a virtual open house exclusively for neighbors

This is a twist on traditional open house where you invite neighbors to attend a private open house with refreshments that runs from 12-1 p.m. before you open the property to the public from 2-4 p.m. 

The first step is to use your phone to create a video where you walk around the outside of the property and then in each room. Second, call neighbors who are not on the do not call list, and say the following: 

“With everyone social distancing these days, traditional open houses are no longer possible. I’m not sure who you may know who might be thinking about moving into the area, but I wanted to personally provide you with the opportunity to view my live walk-through of the property on Sunday at 1 p.m. At that time, I can answer any questions you may have. If you do know someone who may be interested in viewing the property, you can send them the link to the video as well.” 

This approach helps you to: 
Grow your database.
Show potential clients you respect their health. 
Minimize your seller’s exposure to people physically viewing their home. 
Create the visibility and exposure you need to sell the home. 

McDaniel’s final piece of advice is to realize that in most cases, you won’t convert a person from a single call. While that does happen occasionally, what you’re really doing is building a relationship so that when they are ready to transact, they will call you. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. If you’re ready to List & Sell Real Estate Like Crazy, learn more about how to do it
https://realestatecoach.com/training/list-sell/ If you’re a new agent who wants to successfully compete even against even the best agents, check out our online new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent 

10 Scripts and Strategies for Today's Prospecting Agent
Dear Greater Boston REALTORS® and Friends,
  
The death of George Floyd and the subsequent acts of violence and civil disobedience that have taken place across our country during these past two weeks are upsetting and difficult to watch. They point to the anger, frustration and pain being felt by so many who have witnessed or been the victim of discrimination and injustice. Unfortunately, these experiences are all too common and have persisted for far too long across our nation.
  
As REALTORS® we pledge ourselves to uphold the fair housing laws and to provide equal treatment to all persons in the housing search and sale processes. And, as an association we are committed to a culture of inclusion and respect, fostering a welcoming environment for all types of business models, and advancing public policies that ensure diverse, cohesive, and safe communities for everyone.
  
It is in this spirit that we support the rights of the courageous protesters speaking out against inequality in our society and the many voices demanding change. No one should ever be made to feel excluded, treated unfairly, or be in fear for their life because of their race, skin color, or any other demographic factor. 
  
However, there also is no justification for those persons who have used recent public demonstrations to destroy public and private property. These actions have been disheartening and they should not be a distraction from the message of the protesters.
  
REALTORS® have long been known for being good neighbors, whether it be through their investment in civic and charitable causes, support of community improvement and revitalization projects, or volunteerism serving in elected and appointed roles in local government. The adversity we’re facing today offers an opportunity for all of us to do our part to change the course of history through positive action and leadership in our communities. 
  
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® 
 
A Statement on Equality from GBAR
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Nicole Solari

Answering these questions live will give your prospective buyers the best virtual tour experience

The French have a saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

In pre-pandemic world, on-site property tours gave agents the chance to point out a property’s specific features and field client questions. If you focus on replicating that experience in your live virtual showings now, by the time a virtual tour is finished, your clients will have the answers to the 10 most-asked questions:

1. What is the neighborhood like?

Your virtual tour shouldn’t be their only source of information, of course. Buyers need to do their homework in advance via Google Earth or similar apps that allow them to toggle around the neighborhood from bird’s-eye and street-level views.
After “strolling” the neighborhood remotely, buyers can ask you to provide close-up views of neighboring homes and neighborhood features, take routes between points of interest, or focus on potential problem areas such as nearby commercial areas or street noise.
Clearly, it’s imperative to avoid answering any questions in a way that might be problematic from a fair housing standpoint. You can learn more about that here.

2. What does this specific property look and sound like from the street and as you walk toward the entry?

The condition of lawns, hardscape, trees and shrubs is hard to assess from online photos. So, be prepared to field questions and provide close-ups of these property features. Consider operating front door locks and opening doors, including the garage door, live so buyers can assess for themselves how well these features look and work. Also, be aware they will hear every ambient noise your video picks up. So, factor that into your camera use and voiceover comments.

3. How does the interior flow?

If possible, give your clients a floor plan of the property they will be touring virtually ahead of time and preferably on grid paper (even a rough drawing that’s not to scale is better than nothing).
Then, make sure you do an initial or final walk through that demonstrates the convenience of the entry (and where coats go), how the work triangle functions in the kitchen, how close the kitchen is to dining area(s), where the laundry is relative to the bedrooms and how accessible the bathrooms are to the rest of the home.
Even if your buyers don’t have a floor plan available to them in advance, they should be able to sketch one by the time their virtual tour ends because your tour will be just that good!

4. What are fittings and finishes?

Formica can look like granite and quartz like marble in listing photos. Laminate floors can photograph like hardwood. Low-end or dated appliances and plumbing fixtures can look better than they are online. A good virtual tour is “reality TV” at its finest provided you home in on the details.

5. Are the home’s systems (like HVAC) up to date or on their last legs?

A virtual tour allows you to offer close-up views of the furnace and A/C unit, the water heater, electrical panel and other systems so your buyers come away feeling they’ve done a thorough visual inspection themselves. Plus, future inspection reports that call for expensive system replacements won’t be as shocking.

6. How spacious do rooms feel?

Spaciousness is subjective. But, in general, the taller the buyers, the more head and elbow room they need to feel comfortable. So, even though the difference between 8- and 10-foot ceilings may not seem that notable in listing photos, it can feel that way in person. Agents can give a space human perspective by pulling out a tape measure or by standing next to a feature such as a fireplace whose dimensions clients can automatically visualize.

7. Will our furniture fit?

Buyers may ask for room measurements. But whether they say so or not, they specifically want to know whether their sofa, king-size bed or the baby grand piano will fit in any new property they’re considering buying. Provide any measurements they ask for live, on camera.

8. Are the bathrooms big enough to accommodate our family?

Agents can save themselves and their clients time if they find out in advance whether bathrooms have the potential to be deal-makers or deal breakers. A professional couple is apt to want double sinks and a large, updated shower in the master. A family is going to want more than one bath. Previewing and pre-screening before virtual tour day arrives is beneficial to everyone.

9. What’s the view like?

Curtains and blinds can simply be installed for decorative or privacy purposes. Or they may be hiding a neighbor’s recycling centeresque backyard. Nobody will wonder what’s behind that curtain if you push it aside and show your buyers what the window overlooks.
In a similar vein, any “view” described in the MLS listing deserves a good reality check. If you have to stand on the toilet lid to enjoy the view, that’s useful information for your buyers to have.

10. What does it smell like?

One person’s bouquet is another person’s stench. Scent is another judgment call, which makes previewing and pre-screening advisable — along with strongly encouraging in-person buyer (or surrogate) visits if there’s the slightest doubt. Our rule of thumb is simple: If the place smells like last night’s stew, it’s a go. If it smells like cat pee, it’s a no.

They key with all questions is to stick to the facts and try to give your buyers the best information without stepping over any ethical or legal lines.

Be sure to check out GBAR's new member benefit, eyeSpy360, which creates 360° virtual property tours, 3D models, and 2D floor plans with room measurements for a discounted monthly subscription price of under $20 per month! Read More.


Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.
A Superior Virtual Tour Will Answer These 10 Questions
With social distancing, virtual showings, and online meetings and communications the new norm, GBAR is pleased to announce a timely new member benefit with EyeSpy360, a technology firm that creates virtual property tours. Under a new marketing partnership agreement, Greater Boston REALTORS® can obtain unlimited 360° virtual property tours, 3D models, and 2D floor plans with room measurements for a discounted monthly subscription price of under $20 per month. 
  
Significantly, through the use of EyeSpyLive technology agents can host multi-property and multi-person remote viewing sessions on any mobile device or computer. Additionally, you have the ability to personalize tours with your brokerage’s branding and can add-in street maps, customized hotspots within a room to navigate, and info labels that enable you to provide additional information on specific appliances or other notable home features. Further, as a subscriber you own all the data related to each of your property tours, and once produced, you’re able to share your 360° tours instantly to your website, property portals, and social media. 
  
There is no minimum monthly commitment to make to start enjoying the benefits of EyeSpy360. The monthly subscription is just $14.99. A $1.00 processing fee per photo image also applies, with a minimum $10.00 fee per property tour created. This all-inclusive option for virtual tour creation requires that the property tour, along with related floor plans and 3D model, be produced by EyeSpy360.
  
To learn more, check out the video demonstrating the EyeSpy360 tour technology and features and tutorial on how to make use of EyeSpyLive video viewings. To take advantage of this technology and begin utilizing property tours in your business, visit our EyeSpy360 Member Benefits webpage where you can access EyeSpy360’s portal and place your subscription order.



 



New EyeSpy360 Partnership Offers Virtual Showing Platform
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Nicole Solari
  
Buying a property without seeing it in person is hardly ideal. But, in the new world created by COVID-19, virtual touring is becoming increasingly common.

Here are 10 ways to help your buyers land a property they’ll love — whenever they see it live for the first time — while keeping yourself from being the person they blame for selling them a property they hate.

1. Be specific and realistic about wants/needs and expectations

We all try to establish upfront what buyers want and need from their next property before they begin their home search. That’s even more crucial if they’re only seeing properties online. As agents, we rely on visual cues when we’re viewing  properties with our clients to give us our bone-deep understanding of what buyers hope to find (and what they wouldn’t have if you gave it to them).

Without your buyers beside you, discovering that information is going to take in-depth conversation — and a lot of it. Even then, you can only see the things that jump out at you, smell the scents you notice and hear the sounds that annoy you. There is no guarantee your reactions will mirror theirs, and they need to know that.

2. Measure furniture before it’s packed

Instead of buying furniture to fit their new home, most clients try to buy homes that fit their furniture. So, buyers need to provide you the measurements of their must-have pieces so you can tell whether they’ll fit through the door and into their prospective new home.

Advise them to keep those measurements with them instead of packing them away in a box. They’ll need them at the other end of their move.

3. Buyers need to master online search tools

Whichever listing site your clients use, encourage them to look beyond the property photos. On realtor.com, for example, the map feature offers various views of the property along with overlays providing additional information on schools, crime rates, distance to services and so on.

Google Earth enables buyers to view the neighborhood from varied levels. Buyers may try to pass on the job of exploring the neighborhood to you. Don’t let them.

4. Use phones for interactive visual tours

We’re all getting a bit more accustomed to this new way of “showing” property, but it’s crucial to use virtual tours as buyers zero in on properties they may decide to purchase. The pre-purchase “tour” (which you may need to do several of) is aimed first at giving them insight into the way the home’s rooms relate to each other.

At the end, your clients should be able to sketch a rough floor plan. After that, your visual tours should focus on details such as how well-lit various spaces are, whether there are cracks in ceilings or walls that don’t show up in photographs, finishes in kitchen and bath, and so on.

5. Bring in the surrogates — with tape measures

Ideally, your clients have friends or family members who can view properties on their behalf and take the measurements your buyers need most. You want to bend over backwards to accommodate these folks, even if they need to measure a single window. These folks are gold — for your clients and you.

6. Write contingent offers

Sellers, naturally, are wary of accepting offers from people who have never seen the property. So, you may not want to make an offer contingent on your buyers seeing it. But the standard inspection contingency (and loan approval) periods provide opportunity for an on-site visit by the buyers or their surrogates.

Even buyers who have toured properties in person need to revisit them during the inspection period. So, urge your absentee buyers to visit, if at all possible, personally or through surrogates during the inspection period.

7. Talk to the inspectors

Home, pest and other inspectors make great surrogates. And buyers almost never use them that way, despite every inspector welcoming questions. You’ll do yourself and your buyers a favor if you press absentee buyers to talk one-on-one with the authors of the inspection reports you need them to read and understand thoroughly.

8. Prepare buyers to walk into a smaller, uglier reality

Not seeing a property firsthand before closing just about guarantees reality won’t compare with the mental image homebuyers have created of it. The property will look smaller and emptier. It will look shabbier, as virtually all pre-owned homes do. It will smell like someone else’s home.

And the neighbor’s house will be a disturbing shade of school-bus yellow, which appeared much lighter on Google Maps. They will feel like they paid too much. You can’t change those feelings, but you can assure buyers they’re normal — preferably in advance.

9. Grid paper rules

Despite your best efforts, your buyers may still feel let down when they walk into their new empty house. Help them cope by stocking the entry with a pad of grid paper, a tape measure, a ruler and several brand new sharp pencils. Let them know their first job is to measure the rooms and create a scale drawing of each room on the grid paper. Their second job is to haul out their furniture measurements and start arranging furniture on paper before their moving truck pulls up.

If you have a handyman you rely on, share contact information with your buyers. In other words, give them the tools to see that the house they just bought can be the home they love sooner rather than later.

10. A great agent is the key to success

Representing buyers purchasing properties sight-unseen is one of the most difficult challenges any agent faces, because so much can go wrong. Plus, you can easily get sucked into viewing endless numbers of properties, sketching multiple floor plans to email your buyers, and getting mired in the search without ever approaching the finish line.

In general, you don’t want to take on absentee buyers unless they face a near-term purchase deadline, and they understand what you can do and what you can’t.

Agents, for the most part, are can-do people. We’re not accustomed much to focusing on what we can’t do. But in the case of absentee buyers, that’s a crucial step in defining your role upfront. You can only do you; you can’t be them. And everybody needs to accept that.

Nicole Solari is owner and managing broker of The Solari Group in Solano and Napa Counties in Northern California. Nicole runs one of the highest producing brokerages in all of Northern California.
10 Tips For Buyers Putting in Offers Sight Unseen Amid Coronavirus
GBREB NEWS

MEMBER RESOURCES

Information is rapidly changing.  GBREB will update this post as new information becomes available. There's a lot of information about government's response to COVID-19, however we have narrowed the focus of this page to issues impacting the real estate industry to serve as a resource for our members. 

Additional information, including legal advisories are available to members here .

MASSACHUSETTS EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND ADVISORIES
Reopening in Massachusetts 5/18/19
Phase 1 Re-Opening Safety Standards For Workplaces , EOHED, 5/12/20
Re-opening: Four Phase Approach, EOHED, 5/12/20
Advisory on Residential Evictions , Massachusetts Attorney General, 5/8/20
Short-term residential rentals, Department of Public Health, 3/31/20
Mortgage Loan Borrowing , Division of Banks, 3/25/20
Constuction Letter With Guidance  3/25/20
COVID-19 ESSENTIAL SERVICES  Order of  the Governor Assuring Continued Operation Of Essential Services  
Essential Services FAQ
SMOKE ORDER Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Inspections for One and Two-Family Dwellings and Three to Five-family Apartment Buildings
Standing Order Housing Court
DHCD Resources For Renters and Homeowners

BOSTON EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND ADVISORIES
Rental Relief Fund
Guidelines For Open House and Apartment Showing Policy
Construction Update 5.6.20
Construction Notice 3/25/20
Construction Permitting 3/16/20

DIVISION AND AFFILIATE RESOURCE PAGES

Building Owners and Managers, BOMA Boston, BOMA International
Multifamily Apartments, Massachusetts Apartment Association, National Apartment Association   
REALTORS, Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, Massachusetts Association of REALTORS, National Association of REALTORS
Commercial Brokers Association
Real Estate Finance Association






COVID-19

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GBREB Leadership Conversation With Mayor Walsh
Free Webinar
3:00pm
 
GBAR Spirit Award Presentation Webinar
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10:00am
 
GBAR Good Neighbor Award & Housing Grants Presentation
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10:00am
 
GBAR Affiliate Of The Year Award Presentation
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10:00am
 
GBAR Andrew F. Hickey DSA & Life Member Awards
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10:00am