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LANDLORD SURVIVAL GUIDE

A one-stop-shop

The Massachusetts Landlord Survival Guide  is an invaluable tool to help new and longtime owners succeed. Simple, fast and an informative legal resource, the Landlord Survival Guide is the source for owners to navigate the common pitfalls of being in the rental business. Covering topics from fair housing, discrimination, evictions, owners duties, tenant rights, and more, this book is the ultimate resource with all the information you need in one place.
 
New Landlord Survival Guide

 

Article Courtesy of:  Inman News
By: Carl Medford


With multiple offers being the order of the day, buyers are overbidding to outgun their competitors. What happens if an appraisal comes back low? Here are a few important steps to take before writing an over-asking offer.

I had a disturbing call recently. We put one of our listings into contract with a buyer who had submitted a fully non-contingent offer $100,000 over list price. That is not unusual in our market. In this current overheated madness, a significant percentage of offers are written non-contingent, and we can easily see homes go a few hundred thousand dollars over realistically set asking prices.

The call was from the buyer’s agent, who cut right to the chase. “I just talked to my lender,” the agent said. “She let me know that if the property only appraises at list price, our deal will not work. They don’t have enough to make up the difference.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied, “but I’m not sure what you want me to do — we are in a binding non-contingent offer.”

Their response? “We did not discuss our offer with the lender before writing.” Bad move.

No matter who you talk to anywhere in the country, inventory is at unprecedented lows. The result is buyers scrambling to find homes and fighting tooth-and-nail to get a contract accepted on one of the few properties available.

In this unprecedented environment with multiple offers on almost every listing, buyers will do almost anything to land a contract. A prevalent tactic in our market is to submit offers with all contingencies removed.

Most sellers in our region, priming the pump for non-contingent offers, provide full disclosures and inspection reports upfront, and as a result, many buyers feel comfortable removing their inspection contingency. Additionally, with lenders going to extra lengths to preapprove their buyers, many homeowner wannabes do not hesitate in removing loan contingencies as well.

The real rub comes with the appraisal contingency for properties on which a buyer needs to procure a loan. Even with properties that are priced correctly based on past closed sales, it is not uncommon to see multiple offers driving offer prices to dramatic new heights.

In many cases, the offered prices are significantly above comparable sales, which in turn makes the requisite appraiser’s task incredibly difficult. While some appraisers understand the increasing market and try to justify soaring prices, others are not comfortable with the new reality and provide valuations more in line with previous sales.

This difference in appraisal styles adds confusion to the market and increases the difficulty for buyers determining how high they might go for any given property. As an example, if a property is listed at $500,000 but buyers offer $600,000, they are $100,000 over the asking price.

If they have an 80 percent loan approval and are putting 20 percent down, their loan will be $480,000 with a down payment of $120,000. If the property appraises at $500,000, then the lender will only provide 80 percent of the appraised value: $400,000. This means that a buyer needs to be able to provide a down payment of $200,000 to make the deal work.

If the buyers have the extra cash, the deal can proceed. If, eager to score a deal, they write a non-contingent offer and do not have the extra cash, the deal may collapse, and they could forfeit their deposit. These are tough times indeed, and it once again underscores the age-old saying, “Buyer beware.”

As real estate agents, our job is to look out for the best interests of our clients. With this in mind, here are three steps we take before writing an over-asking price offer:

1. Compile a comprehensive picture of a buyer’s true financial capabilities

In addition to a preapproval, we ask for verification of funds on deposit that can be liquid within 30 days. We are sometimes shown fund balances that are in long-term CDs, retirement vehicles or other funds that cannot be readily accessed — these cannot be used.

We also check to see if funds are available from family members, friends and the like. If they are, we gather the details and make sure we have gift letters. With the preapproval and fund totals in hand, we can then set a limit on the buyer’s capabilities.

2. Run a comprehensive comparative market analysis (CMA) to determine a fair market value for any home they wish to purchase

We have discovered that in the heat of the battle, many buyer’s agents fail to determine a fair market value for a listing and, therefore, have no idea what a realistic offer might actually be.

Even though we will most often be offering more than the list price, we run the CMA because we have to know what valuation an appraiser might end up with. The actual market value provides the foundation upon which we base the calculations needed to determine how high a buyer can actually go over list price.

3. Plug the numbers into an appraisal calculator

We start with the following:
• Offer price.
• Percentage of loan to purchase price.
• Loan amount.
• Down payment amount.
• Projected closing costs.

By adding the closing costs to the offer price and subtracting the loan amount, we end up with the amount of cash required to close. If an offer is being made for $600,000 with an 80 percent loan and $10,000 in closing costs, we will need $130,000 to close the transaction if the property appraises at $600,000.

We then factor in the following:
• The price at which we believe the home might actually appraise (taken from the CMA).
• The new loan amount based on the projected appraisal price.
• The desired offer price minus the new loan amount.

As an example, if your offer is $600,000, but you believe it will appraise for $500,000, and your loan-to-purchase ratio is 80 percent, then the lender will only lend 80 percent of the actual appraised value, which results in a loan amount of $400,000.

If your offer is $600,000, but the lender will only lend $400,000, then you add the projected closing costs to the offer price and subtract the revised loan number ($600,000 plus $10,000 for a total of $610,000 minus $400,000 for a balance of $210,000).

In this scenario, if the home appraises at $500,000, but the contract price is $600,000, instead of needing $130,000, the buyer must bring in a total of $210,000 to make the deal work.

Once we have run this calculation, we go back to the buyer’s available cash — if they have in excess of the amount required if it appraises low, we know we can remove the appraisal contingency. If they are short, then it is a no-go.

Because these calculations can be a bit clunky, we built an excel spreadsheet that quickly does the calculations for us. It takes about 20 seconds to plug in the numbers. We even set it up so it gives us the maximum amount they could offer based on the amount of cash on hand.

At the end of the day, the goal is to get a property for the buyer and protect them at the same time. The worst thing that can happen is getting into contract and then discovering that your clients do not have what is needed to actually get it closed.

Carl Medford is the CEO of The Medford Team.
How to Protect Your Buyers From Appraisal Catastrophes
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced today that it is extending its nationwide eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. 

The order was put into place Sept. 4, 2020, but has been challenged in court across numerous states and localities in the months since. In addition to the court challenges, the National Association of REALTORS® has fought successfully for federal rental assistance—and will continue to advocate to ensure the moratorium doesn’t lead to a spiraling crisis for housing providers and tenants.

“NAR helped secured $25 billion in 2020 and another $21.55 billion earlier this month in federal rental assistance funding, which can be paid directly to property owners,” says Shannon McGahn, chief advocacy officer of NAR. “This was critical to averting a multifamily real estate crisis, as many of our nation’s housing providers are mom-and-pop operations. Our focus now turns to ensuring there is not just enough funding but also a smooth implementation of rental assistance while the various challenges to eviction bans work their way through the courts.”

Under the terms of the CDC order, residents must declare that they have pursued all appropriate government assistance; met certain income and employment requirements; and are using best efforts to make timely partial payments, among other qualifications. Today’s announcement expands the order to include people “who are confirmed to have, who have been exposed to, or who might have been exposed to COVID-19 and take reasonable precautions to spread the disease.”

Covered persons must now provide their housing provider with a copy of a signed declaration form stating that they meet the requirements to be a “covered person.”
 
As with previous CDC orders, property owners may still evict tenants due to criminal activity, damaging property, or for violating other contractual obligations.

“Rental assistance averted two crises—one for mom-and-pop property owners who did not have a reprieve from their bills and relied on their rental income and one for tenants who would have been responsible for months of back rent when the eviction moratoriums expired,” McGahn says. “We must continue to look for ways to protect tenants and property owners from further financial turmoil while ensuring housing in America remains safe and stable for decades to come.”
 
Read the CDC order.

Read NAR’s Coronavirus: Housing Provider FAQs.
 
See all NAR resources related to COVID-19 at nar.realtor/coronavirus.


What the Eviction Moratorium Means for You
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Jimmy Burgess

Real estate farming is a foundational activity for any sustainable real estate sales business. With inventory at all-time lows, the need to generate listings has never been more pressing. Whether you’ve never built a farm before, or it has been a while since you have, these steps will help you create and grow a thriving geographic real estate farm.

Step 1: How do I find the right neighborhood?

Success in farming hinges on choosing the right neighborhood. Agents should base this decision on two factors: The first is whether there is a dominant agent in the neighborhood already, and the second is seeing whether there are enough sales in the area for the numbers to make sense. 

If more than 25 percent of the homes listed in the neighborhood over the past 12 months have gone to one agent, then I would consider that neighborhood to have a dominant agent.
We aren’t afraid of competition, but why attempt to take market share when another agent already has a foothold in the neighborhood? The ideal farm does not have a single agent with more than 15 percent of the previous 12-month listings taken. We would consider this a segmented market and ripe with opportunity.

The next step is to evaluate the numbers. We want to make sure there are enough listing opportunities over the next 12 months to merit our investment of time and effort. Here is the formula I use for an example neighborhood of 300 homes with an average sales price of $400,000.

We anticipate in normal market conditions that at least 10 percent of the homes in a neighborhood will sell in a typical year. For this example, we would estimate 30 listings available to agents for the year. Based on an average sales price of $400,000 and 30 listings anticipated in the coming year, there is $12 million worth of listing-side sales volume expected in the coming year.

For this example, let’s use an average listing-side commission rate of 2.5 percent, meaning an average gross commission of $10,000 per average $400,000 sale. For this example, let’s use an agent’s split of 75 percent, meaning each listing-side net commission would be $7,500 on a $400,000 sale.

Because we chose a segmented market, we anticipate with the marketing plan (to follow) that we should be able to take at least 10 percent market share, so in this case, three listing sides sold for a net commission to the agent for the year of $22,500. We should take more market share and pick up a buyer or two from having the listings, but we want to be conservative for this example

What are our expenses to farm this neighborhood? It might not be on the front of the marketing, but I like to use $2 per month per house. This will be a combination of marketing expenses to be discussed in the next section. So, in this case, that would be $600 per month or $7,200 for the year.

Based on this evaluation, the breakeven point is selling one listing for the year. With our plan of action and understanding that we should be able to take at least 10 percent market share in 12 months, the numbers for this neighborhood appear to make enough sense to proceed.

Step 2: Become the most knowledgeable agent of your farm

This marketing plan will yield listing appointments and conversations with sellers. To take advantage of those opportunities, you must have an in-depth understanding of this neighborhood. 

Having in-depth knowledge means you should:

• Study historical sales data to be able to speak intelligently with owners about the last 10 sales in the neighborhood.
• Know the average days on market and the average price-per-square-foot of those sales.
• Have seen every home currently for sale in the neighborhood.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure you know every detail of home sales in the neighborhood. This will give you the confidence to speak boldly and with clarity when a potential seller calls to ask your opinion about their home.

Step 3: Gather contact information for the homeowners

The next step is harvesting the contact info for all owners in the neighborhood. The mailing lists should be easily available through your local county’s property appraiser’s website. To effectively market to a neighborhood, however, we need phone numbers as well.

To obtain phone numbers, you can use a service such as Cole Realty Resource or an app such as ForeWarn. An accurate database will help maximize marketing effectiveness. 

If you are going to farm a neighborhood you personally own a home in, you may be able to obtain an owners list from the HOA. These lists can be golden because they often include email addresses, phone numbers and accurate mailing addresses.

Step 4: Develop a marketing plan of action

In marketing, “the seven-times factor” says that people have to see an ad seven times before they notice it on average. The key to effective farming is consistency. Your marketing repetition will build your reputation as the trusted source for real estate information in the neighborhood. 

The marketing to the neighborhood not only needs to be consistent but of value. Ask yourself, “What would I find valuable as a homeowner?” Also, ask, “What form of communication would I prefer?” Our plan of action will include direct mail, email if you have addresses, phone calls and special events.

The core marketing principle for farming is direct mail. We want to send one direct mail piece to each owner at a minimum of one per month. These should be a mixture of sales activity pieces, just-listed/just-sold cards, open house announcements, trend explanation pieces for the neighborhood, and special events announcements.

Always include a call-to-action of free CMA or automated email every time a home comes on the market, goes under contract or sells in the neighborhood.

The next core piece of farming marketing is phone calls. Meaningful real estate-related conversations drive our business. These calls should not be sales pitches but rather informational.

For instance, call to let the neighbors know when a house is sold for a record price in the neighborhood. Simply say:

“This is Sally Agent with ABC Realty. The house at 123 Oak Street just sold, and it has really moved the home prices for the neighborhood. We are just calling to let you know your home’s value has gone up. Also, the sale had multiple offers, and we have other buyers who are wanting to buy in the neighborhood. Would you happen to know whether any of your neighbors might consider selling?” 

Other calls include letting the neighbors know about new listings, open houses or special events planned for the neighborhood. 

Although personal calls are best, you can use a tool such as Slydial to record a single message and send it to all neighbors’ voicemails. Slydial allows you to upload a group of phone numbers and record one voicemail to drop in the owner’s voicemail box for around 10 cents per number. This is a great way to leverage your time in a large farm area. 

The last way to increase your recognition and influence in the farm area is through hosting or coordinating special neighborhood events. 

Here are a few of the best examples I’ve heard of special neighborhood events:
• Coordinating a food truck night in the neighborhood and providing free desserts with branding.
• Host a movie night in an area park.
• Schedule an ice cream truck at the pool or some other amenity area in the neighborhood for adults and kids on a Saturday.
• Hire a photographer to provide free family photos to families who schedule an appointment in a neighborhood park.
• Molly Slagle in Houston, Texas, used an exciting spin to provide pet photography for the neighborhood.

The bottom line is that real estate is a contact sport. The more you contact and connect with your targeted farm, the more relationships you will build and the more business you will ultimately do. Take action! Develop a farm! Nurture your farm, and you will reap a harvest of listings.

Jimmy Burgess is the Chief Growth Officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida in Northwest Florida. Connect with him on Facebook or Instagram.
Looking For Listings? How to Build a Real Estate Farm Step-by-Step

If you offer to start a new marketing program where you decide to give a rebate to either my buyer or seller client, would that be legal?  Would it be ethical?


It is both legal and ethical; however, the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Brokers and Salespersons place clear requirements and limitations on the use of offering gifts or incentives.

From a legal standpoint, REALTORS® cannot share in their commissions, fees or other valuable consideration with others who are not licensed and are performing brokering activities. REALTORS® may, however, offer gifts to the buyer or seller in a specified real estate transaction.  An example of providing a gift within a real estate transaction is either the payment of closing costs or a cash rebate at closing to the buyer or seller.  The gift or incentive, however, must be paid to someone within the transaction; it cannot be paid to an outside entity such as a charity on behalf of the person within the transaction.  

Ethically speaking, Article 12 of the National Association of REALTORS ® Code of Ethics states that the offering of prizes or merchandise discounts is not unethical even if it requires a person to list or purchase a home through a REALTOR®. This Article does require that all advertisements clearly state what the customer must do in order to receive the gift (e.g. Must he/she buy a home that is one of the REALTORS’ ® listings? Must he/she purchase a home when you are acting as a co-broker on another firm’s listing?). 

GBAR advises all REALTORS® who provide gifts or incentives to consult an accountant or tax attorney regarding potential tax consequences resulting from this practice. 

Furthermore, the rebate should be disclosed on the Closing Disclosures.
Legal and Ethical Dilemmas Associated with Rebates

Article Courtesy of: RealTrends
By: Sue Johnson
 
May a real estate broker, lender, or other settlement service provider give a gift, rebate, or discount to a consumer for purchasing its services (or its affiliated services) under Section 8 of RESPA? 

“Generally, yes,” says the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in its RESPA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) published on October 7.

The FAQs were released in the same CFPB blog post that rescinded its controversial 2015 Marketing Services Agreement (MSA) Bulletin. As discussed, in the November and December 2020 REAL Trends Newsletters, they also provided guidance for MSAs and for gifts and promotional activities.

The CFPB FAQs on Consumer Incentives

The CFPB’s new FAQs provide the following regarding consumer incentives under RESPA: 

Q: Under the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA) Section 8, may a lender or other settlement service provider give a gift, refund or discount to a consumer for using that lender or provider? 

A: Generally, yes. RESPA Section 8 does not prohibit a lender or other settlement service provider from giving a consumer a gift or an incentive (e.g., a discount, refund of fees, chance to win a prize, etc.) for doing business with that entity. However, RESPA Section 8 prohibits, for example, giving an incentive to a consumer in exchange for the consumer referring other business to that lender or other settlement service provider. Other federal and state laws may also have restrictions that apply and should consulted.

The CFPB’s interpretation is consistent with guidance provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when it was responsible for administering RESPA.

Examples of Consumer Gifts, Rebates, or Discounts

While consumer incentives in the real estate industry can take many forms, here are some examples of gifts, rebates, and discounts provided by real estate brokers and agents that could be allowable under RESPA given the right circumstances:

  • Closing gifts: A real estate broker or agent may give a $500 gift certificate to the client as an expression of the broker’s or agent’s appreciation for the client’s business without violating RESPA. But, the gift certificate should not be an expression of appreciation for referring other clients, even under an unspoken understanding. The basic rule of the IRS is that if you give someone a gift for business purposes, your business expense deduction is limited to $25 per person per year. 
  • Real estate commission rebates: Real estate agent or broker commission rebates to borrowers would not violate Section 8 of RESPA as long as no part of the commission rebate is tied to a referral of business.  However, many states, including Massachusetts, forbid sharing fees with anyone who doesn’t hold a real estate license.  Keep in mind though, under Massachusetts law real estate professionals may give gifts to their clients.  For further information and guidance, read this Q&A from the MAR Legal Dept. and consult your attorney and/or a closing attorney to the transaction.
  • Discounts on a package of affiliated services: Since 1992, RESPA regulations have said that the offering of a package or combination of settlement services or the offering of discounts or rebates to consumers for the purchase of multiple settlement services does not constitute a required use, which is prohibited under RESPA affiliated business regulations. However, any package or discount must be optional to the purchaser, the discount must be a true discount below the prices that otherwise are generally available, and the discount must not be made up by higher costs elsewhere in the settlement process.

Beware of State Restrictions!

The CFPB FAQs make clear that one should always check with state laws and regulations when offering consumer incentives, even if they are allowed under Section 8 of RESPA. As noted above, some states forbid sharing fees and/or providing gifts to anyone who doesn’t hold a real estate license, and many states that permit it require that any rebates be disclosed to all parties in the transaction. Some state regulators may totally prohibit consumer incentives in a particular industry. As always, consult with your attorney before proceeding with a consumer incentive program. 

Sue Johnson is the former executive director of RESPRO, the Real Estate Services Providers Council Inc. She retired in 2015 and is now a strategic alliance consultant.

Consumer Incentives Are Generally OK Under RESPA
REALTORS® can be a great resource for their clients to properly manage their waste.  When a resident is moving or downsizing, recycling and proper hazardous waste management can be a low priority and potentially result in environmental problems for our communities.  With support from Covanta, the Center for EcoTechnology (CET) created outreach materials for REALTORS®, downsizers, clean-out companies, and others to provide information to clients on the identification and proper disposal of elemental mercury, mercury-containing items, and other difficult to manage materials. This can reduce unwanted surprises at inspections and closings. 

Covanta and CET have developed a pre-recorded training video for GBAR members to learn about these resources. By intervening earlier in the process, you can help keep mercury and other hazards out of the waste stream, and keep your clients and the environment safe. Depending on their location, your clients may be able to receive a free pickup of elemental mercury through Complete Recycling Solutions or by contacting CET at 413-586-7350.

Additionally, Covanta and CET have developed resources REALTORS® can share directly with their clients, including: Tips for Identifying and Handling Difficult to Manage Items in your Home, Hazardous Hand-Me-Downs, and a Mercury Recovery Poster. MassDEP resources for the management of mercury and hazardous materials include: Map of Where to Safely Dispose of Fluorescent Bulbs and Other Mercury Products and Safely Manage Hazardous Household Products Webpage.

CET is an environmental nonprofit partnered with Covanta to keep mercury out of the waste stream.  Covanta energy from waste facilities in Rochester and Haverhill generate enough electricity to power over 100,000 homes with clean renewable energy.  Covanta’s MassDEP approved Material Separation Plan addresses identification and management of mercury and other difficult to manage items and the information is available for any resident, business or community to use.  
 
Keeping Your Clients and the Environment Safe
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Berince Ross

Here are a few ways real estate agents can proactively persuade potential homesellers to put their properties on the market now

One of the hottest topics at Inman Connect was how to cope with the low-inventory market. Here are 12 ways to proactively persuade potential sellers to put their properties on the market now.  

Strategy 1: Listings hiding in plain sight

How many buyer leads did you ignore last year? According to the National Association of Realtors, about half of those buyer leads had a property they needed to sell to purchase. If you’re not following up on every buyer lead you receive and asking if they need to sell their current property to purchase their next home, you’re losing one listing for every two buyers you ignore.  

Strategy 2: Overcome the contingent sale problem 

Knock’s Home Swap program has a powerful solution for those owners who need to sell their current home to purchase their next property. Home Swap establishes a value on the homeowners’ current home and also qualifies them for a new mortgage on their next home. 

This enables the homeowners to purchase their next property as an all-cash buyer. Knock provides up to $25,000 in repairs. If the property sells for more than the price Knock placed on the owner’s home originally, the owner receives the overage. 

This type of alternative lending program has become extremely popular with new-build homebuyers. Buyers can stay in their current home until their new home is ready rather than having to rent or obtain a bridge loan. Because these programs profit from the mortgage, escrow and title fees, the costs are significantly less than most other programs. 

To illustrate how this approach can work in your business, take a look at how Realty Austin is marketing its “Buy Before Your Sell Program” and their “Cash Bridge Program.”   

Strategy 3: Referrals are still the name of the game

Regardless of “threat” from iBuyers and Zillow, the 2020 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers reports that 67 percent of sellers either rehired their previous agent or obtained a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative. 

Consequently, you should spend at least two-thirds of your time and marketing dollars on converting leads from past clients and your sphere of influence. 

Strategy 4: The first one who gets face-to-face wins

The 2020 profile also reported 77 percent of recent sellers only interviewed one agent before listing their house. Previous NAR profiles have consistently found the agent who gets the listing is the first one who sees the sellers when they decide to sell, which is why it’s critical to be in face-to-face contact at least once a month with your top 150 contacts who are most likely to refer or do business with you.  

Strategy 5: Mind the ‘loyalty gap’

According to the 2020 NAR Profile of Buyers and Sellers, 89 percent of the sellers said they would rehire their agent for future services. Only 26 percent actually did because their agents failed to stay in touch with them. To avoid having a “loyalty gap” in your business, here’s a quick get-back-in-contact script:

Hi John, it’s Sally Agent. It’s been way too long since we caught up in person. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee. Does Friday morning or Saturday afternoon work for you? 

Strategy 6: Monitor their social media accounts for significant life changes

People are more likely to move when they go through a major milestone life event such as a wedding, birth, divorce, death, job promotion, etc. At Inman Connect, Lobb suggested using Facebook lists to track these events for your past clients and those in your sphere who are most likely to refer business to you.  
When someone is undergoing a difficult life change such as a death or divorce, reach out and ask how you can help. Be caring and supportive. This is not the time to discuss selling. Remember, the agent who is there face-to-face when they decide to sell has a 77 percent of getting the listing.    

Strategy 7: Prospect old expireds

This tried-and-true strategy has worked for decades. Search your MLS for listings that expired one to three years ago. Cross-check the public records to determine if the property has sold or changed title during that time. 

If not, contact the owner and offer them a complimentary evaluation of what their house is worth. Many owners have no idea how much prices have increased. Moreover, very few are aware of the various types of programs that eliminate the contingent sale problem, letting them become an all-cash buyer without selling their current home. 

Strategy 8: The boomer migration is on

Although many boomers are choosing to age in place, a substantial portion of homesellers are selling their current home to right-size into something smaller or to move closer to their children. To identify who these owners are (or create any list you would like to prospect), use REI Source. Here are three categories to consider searching:  

• The prime time to buy a second home between ages 50-60. Prospect past clients in your database and homeowners in this age bracket who make at least $100,000 per year. 
• Look for homeowners age 60 or older who have two-story homes or homes that are over 2,500 square feet. Due to mobility problems related to aging, many are searching for one-story homes, while others are interested in a “lock-and-leave” lifestyle in retirement. 
• Look for older single homeowners, especially women who own single-family residences. Many cannot adequately maintain their properties due to financial or other constraints and may opt for a condo or a lock-and-leave property. 

Strategy 9: Remote workers

A different type of list to search on REISource.com are owners of lofts and small condos who make $100,000 per year and would like to be in a larger space. Target industries like technology where employees will continue to be able to work remotely after the pandemic ends. 

Strategy 10: Non-owner occupied

I started training this approach back in the mid-1990s when we still had to search the public records using printed books or microfiche. One of my new agents found a single-family rental property and searched for the owner. She then cross-searched to see if he owned any other properties. It turned out he owned 12 other rental houses. 

Let’s say investors purchase two properties per year on average. Compare this to a traditional homeowner who will only move about once every 10 years. That means one investor client can be worth 20 times as many transactions as working with single-family owners. Your title company can usually pull up a list of non-owner-occupied properties. 

When you approach this type of investor, ask if it’s time for them to do a 1031 exchange into a different property to take advantage of the low interest rates plus maximizing the amount of depreciation they can claim for tax purposes. 

Strategy 11: Prospect the rental expireds

Greg McDaniel has used this strategy for years, and it’s been a tremendous boon to his business. 

If your MLS posts lease listings, you need to note two different dates:

• First, if the property does lease, note the date it leased. Contact both the renter (with a postcard discussing down payment assistance to help them become homeowners rather than renters) and the owner who may be interested in selling or doing a 1031 exchange about two months before the lease would expire. 

• Second, prospect rental listings that did not lease. Those owners may be much more likely to list now. Send them an update on their property value, or better yet, contact them by phone or in-person to see if they are interested in selling or doing a 1031 exchange. 

Strategy 12: The ‘under contract’ opportunity

Although you can track when a property goes under contract on the MLS, the public doesn’t generally have access to this information. (Realtor.com does show whether a listing is “pending” or “contingent.” Redfin, Trulia and Zillow do not.)

Consequently, when you see a property go under contract, call 100 surrounding properties. Explain that you are calling because a neighboring property has gone under contract, and you were wondering if they would like you to contact them with the final sales price when it closes (provided this is legal in your state). Be sure to offer a CMA.

Alternatively, you could also do a postcard campaign that says, “A property near yours just went under contract. Contact me for details and to see the current value of your home.” 

The bottom line is you can persuade homeowners to list with you by tapping into their current needs, wants and any pain they may have in their current living situation, as Lobb and Staub discussed at Inman Connect. 

Also, focus on being in regular face-to-face contact with your past clients and key people in your sphere. You want to be sure you’re the one they’ve seen most recently face-to-face when they’re ready to list. 

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 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.
12 Ways to Generate Listings in a Low-Inventory Market
Article Courtesy of: Inman News
By: Katie Lance

Be more intentional with your social media strategy. Here's where to start and how to keep it consistent all year long while growing your reach
 
Are you working on your social media game plan for 2021? I was honored to be a virtual speaker at Inman Connect where I gave a presentation all about putting together your 2021 social media plan. Whether you are a real estate agent or broker looking to up your social media game this year — I know you will get a lot out of this article based on my presentation. 

Social media often becomes this “bolt on” that we add onto our business when we have time. Instead, let’s be more intentional with our strategy! Here’s where to start. 

1. Time-block on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis

Start with time-blocking 10-15 minutes a day to “focus 5.” Scroll through your feed, and connect with at least five people. Don’t be a drive-by liker. Take a few minutes to like, comment and interact with others. These steps are so crucial because every platform has an algorithm. What we see depends on what we are engaging with on the platform. 

If you want to increase your engagement, spend as much time posting as engaging with others. Also, when you comment — leave meaningful comments. A meaningful comment is at least four words. So, instead of “Congrats!” say “Congrats Laura, I’m so happy for you!” 

Also, take the time daily to respond to all of your comments and notifications.

Set aside 30-60 minutes for the week ahead. What’s coming up next week? We don’t want to set it and forget it, but it’s essential to plan ahead. 

Every month, plan two to four hours to batch create your content (video, graphics, etc.), and plan one or two days annually to evaluate your plan from the year before and create your new plan for the year ahead. 

Just say no to generic content in 2021! Remember, the best content you can post is the content you create that is in your voice.

2. Create a pillar content plan that you can commit to each month

What is pillar content? Pillar content is something that might require time, money and resources. It’s valuable information in your voice (with your opinion). It’s not canned, boring or automated! For example, it could be recorded video, Facebook Lives, podcasts or blog content.

I recommend that you decide what type of content you’d like to create consistently. Pick a day once or twice a month that you will publish — add it to your calendar. Batch create your content once a month — schedule one day a month to create this content.

3. Brainstorm what your brand is all about, and find your voice for your content

Although you are most likely part of a brand with your office or franchise — you are your own brand too. 

Here are three questions to ask yourself to help you find your voice for your content: 

1. What type of clients do you love to work with (or not love)? Why?
2. Why do you love what you do?
3. What is most important to you professionally? Personally?

These questions will help you with your content, social media and all of your marketing. Remember, we can’t be all things to all people. Lean into who you are, and don’t be vanilla! 

4. Think beyond the now 

Next, decide on your distribution plan for your pillar content plus the type of content for the rest of your social media posts. 
If you decide to publish a video once a week — consider how you can repurpose it. 

Here’s a sample schedule:

Tuesday:
• Upload a new video to your Facebook business page 
• Upload the same video to your YouTube
• Upload a 1-minute version of the video to Instagram, and add a YouTube link to your IG profile 

Friday: 
Reshare the video as a new post on Facebook
Create an Instagram Story about the video

Sunday:
Upload the video to IGTV and promote on IG Stories 

In the example above — you can see how you can take one video and turn it into multiple posts. 

Then, you can fill in your schedule with additional posts such as:
• Monday market update post
• Wednesday wisdom
• Throwback Thursday
• Feature Friday
• Community info

5. Evaluate what has worked in the past (and what has not) 

Look at your Facebook, Instagram and YouTube analytics at least once or twice a year. Reflect and see what content is working on which platform. Review which posts received the highest level of reach, views and engagement. 

Did certain pieces of content perform better on one platform over another? Only by looking at analytics and the data can we get an accurate picture of what’s working and resonating with our audience.  

Lastly, I want to share a few of my favorite go-to apps I love!
1. Canva: For graphics
2. WordSwag: For graphics
3. Videoshop: For video editing
4. Videorama: For video editing
5. InShot: For video editing
6. Later.com: For social media scheduling
7. HootSuite: For social media scheduling

Remember that people do business with people they know, like, trust and relate to. This is the business reason behind social media for real estate agents and brokers. 

Katie Lance is the author of #GetSocialSmart and founder and CEO of Katie Lance Consulting, a social media strategy firm and founder of the #GetSocialSmart Academy. She’s been recognized by Inman News as one of the 100 most influential people in real estate and is a featured keynote speaker at many industry events. Katie is also is the author of the best-selling book, #GetSocialSmart.
How to Make 2021 Your Best Social Media Year Ever
 

Education & Events

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CE Webinar - Fair Housing Training - City Of Boston
Apr 12, 2021
Live Webinar Course
YPN Panel Discussion: Legends Vs. Millennials - Webinar
Apr 13, 2021
Live Webinar Event
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
Apr 15, 2021
GBAR Webinar
Real Estate Professional Ethics - Webinar
Apr 20, 2021
Webinar
The Way Home - Fair Housing Event - Live Webinar
Apr 21, 2021
Live Webinar Course
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
Apr 28, 2021
GBAR Webinar
RENE Certification Course - Live Webinar
May 04, 2021 - May 06, 2021
Live Webinar Course
Real Estate Professional Ethics - CE Webinar
May 12, 2021
Webinar
CE Webinar - Residential Inspections
May 17, 2021
Live Webinar Course
 

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CE Webinar - Fair Housing Training - City Of Boston
Live Webinar Course
9:00am
 
YPN Panel Discussion: Legends Vs. Millennials - Webinar
Live Webinar Event
10:00am
 
GBAR New Member Orientation- Agency Webinar
GBAR Webinar
10:00am
 

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