By Scott Newman
So here’s where you currently stand: Everyone and their mother has been telling you to blog. They say, “it’s so important to connect with the potential clients in your market.” Or more generally, “put yourself out there!” Even asking, “Why aren’t you blogging already? You’re the best writer I know!” (This last one from your mom).
But what’s a newbie blogging REALTOR® to do? Where do you start? What do you say? What don’t you say?
For these questions and more, I hope this blog post and the tips it contains will provide answers. Because while a blog is arguably one of the more daunting personal marketing tools out there, it’s also one of the most effective. Starting and maintaining a blog is an important endeavor for any real estate professional looking for more ways to reach potential clients and—drum roll please—generate business.
Being yourself is the best advice you’ll probably ever get about almost any problem you’re having in life—how’s that for a tip?—but it also holds true with blogs. People want genuine experience, and if you can’t give that to them, they won’t give you their precious time and they’ll go off searching for another blog written by someone who has the realness factor they seek. Oh yeah, and then, when they’re hooked on some other agent’s blog, they’ll wind up buying a home from that agent and not you. Trust me, it can happen. Continue reading »
By Chris Nichols
I love the game of golf! Many lessons can be learned from the sport; and one was learned poignantly on Sunday at the Master’s in Augusta, Ga. Phil Mickelson was within striking distance of the lead in the final round when he was faced with a difficult decision due to an errant tee shot.
The choice he faced was to go back to the tee box and take a penalty or attempt the impossible and play the ball as it lied, covered by plants. Inexplicably, Phil played the ball and got a triple bogey. Had he taken the penalty and gone back to the tee box, he most likely would have shot a bogey on the hole, saving two shots and possibly tying him for the lead at the end of the round.
As I watched Phil play the remaining holes, it was easy to see that the triple bogey weighed heavy on him. He missed a few key putts that might have even put him in the lead. It became increasingly obvious that he should have chosen to reset and start over on that hole.
How many times in our businesses do we find ourselves down an errant path, and instead of taking the opportunity to reset and start over, we continue down the same path hoping it will turn around? Spring is a wonderful time of year when the planet seems to reset and start over fresh. Take this time to do the same with your business and don’t make the same mistake Phil made.
By Dave Robison
Ever had a buyer working with more than one agent? Ever had a seller who you spent a ton of time with, gave them your advice, and then they used a discounted service? Ever had a buyer who kept changing their mind or made offers on a lot of properties?
I knew an agent who had a hard time with one of these scenarios. “Tina” broke down crying one day, saying, “How am I going to pay my bills now that this closing fell through? I’ve worked so hard this past month and now the buyer is backing out? How can they do this?” Many agents have been there. (This is a real story, however, and I changed the name above.) I had to explain a secret to Tina, on getting deals done.
The secret to success is not being emotionally affected or attached to the outcome of the transaction. Whether it fails or closes, you can’t be attached to the outcome you want. It’s a Nordstrom Way Secret.
Eons ago, I had a buyer who planned to purchase a multimillion-dollar property. I remember spending hours on end, educating and reassuring this person about the home buying process, in anticipation for what was about to be their biggest purchase ever. During the process, the buyer was concerned with the inspection. The items did not seem of major importance to me, however, they caused stress for the buyer.
The buyer asked the famous question: “What should I do?” This is the point where many REALTORS® might say something like, “It’s a great time to buy,” or, “I would do it,” etc. A secret to being unattached to the outcome is that you tell yourself: “It’s okay if they don’t buy the home. I still can pay my bills. There will be other buyers.” Even if you feel these statements aren’t true, you are going to have to say this to yourself anyway. There are many buyers I meet who will tell me they felt like their previous agent just wanted them to buy something and get a deal done. Those buyers left their agent to look for someone who would help them, rather than an agent who just wants a deal.
The right approach: Continue reading »
By Marc Guzman
We all know how important your credit score is when it comes to borrowing money for credit cards, auto loans and home loans. But how many of us really take the time to educate our clients on the benefits of preparing their credit score before they buy a home?
Buying a home can be very exciting and a daunting process. Home buyers do a lot from preparing paperwork for the loan officer, research and viewing properties with their REALTOR®, reviewing disclosures and signing paperwork, to saving enough money for the down payment. But in working with many buyers, both first-time and experienced, it is amazing to me how many buyers overlook the importance of their credit score. Many buyers think saving the down payment is sufficient as long as their credit score is above 620. You know that question, “What is the minimum credit score I need to qualify?”
But the truth of it all is, no matter what the credit score, it is important to begin working on improvements 6 months to 1 year before buying a house; longer in other cases. It takes some time to significantly increase the score. You may also want to partner with a company that specializes in credit counseling. Now why place so much emphasis on improving an already qualifying score?
- Average score for buyers using conventional financing is 760
- Average score for buyers using conventional financing in which the loans were purchase by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac was 755
- Only 1 percent of loans were offered to buyer with less than 620 credit score
- 75 percent of loans were offered to buyers with credit score of Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
I often encounter other REALTORS® who see little to no value in developing relationships with their fellow agents, and it just baffles me every time! We are in one of the most challenging real estate markets in U.S. history, not to mention we’re in an environment where rules and regulations change daily, which is only adding barriers to establishing a successful business. I think we need the support of one another now more than ever.
But how do you develop those bonds? Read on, as today I’m presenting a few great tips for building your agent network as a way to grow your business in 2012.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I can possibly share with you. Put down the phone, computer, tablet, and anything else with a power cord if you really want to network with your fellow agents properly.
I love social media, and I owe a great deal of my success to our ability to market effectively on that platform. But when it comes to connecting with other REALTORS®, you simply can’t replace face-to-face interaction with any technology that currently exists. Make it a point to attend one live networking event a week related to our industry, giving you have a chance to meet other agents in person. Bring plenty of business cards and come ready to mingle.
Here’s another great tip: Take some time to figure out what distinguishes you from your fellow agents so you stand out. Whenever I’m around other agents, I make it a point to nail home just how successful and interested I am in working with short sale listings. More often than not, another agent in the room is all too happy to take a referral fee for the few short sale listings he gets each year, which is a win-win for everyone.
Maybe you do leasing, or you’re a luxury specialist — whatever it is, emphasize your specialty and talents to distinguish yourself from the crowd and elevate yourself as the top expert in the room. It will go a long way towards cementing relationships and help you create pipelines through which new business and referrals can flow.
Join Up Continue reading »
By Toby Boyce
It was a hot summer day in late July 2006 as I slipped down U.S. 23 to the Ohio Division of Real Estate testing center. I had made the jump into real estate without a safety net – quitting my job in higher education public relations and knowing that if I failed this test it would be a very-very bad sign.
Well, I passed the test. Actually, I scored a perfect 100 percent on the state portion of the test, a feat that none of the folks working that day had ever seen achieved. So I entered into the world of real estate with a swagger and confidence. “I got this.”
We got through two years when 2-out-of-3 licensed agents aren’t even using their license. And now about to hit the five-year milestone and the only thing I’m certain of is how little I really knew when I said, “I got this.”
While the last five years have been an emotional and financial roller coaster, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. I honestly – even if naively – believe that I’ve learned more during this period than I could have in any other venture.
“I wish you’d made the jump a few years ago,” said a former agent. “It was so easy, the phone just rang and buyers were there.” That sounds like being an order taker to me, so why not work at a local fast food restaurant?
What have I learned in five years in real estate: Continue reading »
By TG Gallaudet
Wait…I’m totally lying. Is there anything more painful? It’s no mystery that short sales can be really tough because of all the variables involved:
* Unclear timelines from the bank.
* Undisclosed liens.
* Back HOA expenses the bank won’t pay.
* Non-straightforward buyer.
* Inexperienced listing agent.
* Cash contributions (increasingly more and more).
* Etc., Etc., Etc…
But the hardest side to represent as an agent is the buyer’s side of a short sale because the buyer’s agent has no control of ANYTHING, and has to hope for a solid listing agent who knows what they’re doing. Right?
I just ended a painful short sale transaction where I represented the buyer that lasted 7 months and went nowhere. Granted, it wasn’t the easy one-loan in equator kinda deal, but we had absolutely no worthwhile answer from the bank after 7 months, which is totally inexcusable in 2011 as far as I’m concerned. The main problem, in my opinion, is that the listing agent saw this sale as a small income producer and pawned the negotiation responsibilities over to his part time TC. The TC had little-to-no experience with short sales, or negotiating any deals, and therefore little experience in working with banks. Because of her inexperience, I think she had little confidence in dealing with the bank and their personnel and couldn’t push back or demand results when she was entitled to do so. After being a listing agent on several short sales, I’ve come to understand that the burden of success lies heavily on the listing agent and specifically how s/he communicates to both the buyers’ agent and buyer, how she sets expectations and what answers she deems acceptable from the bank. Continue reading »
By Brett Caviness
I simply couldn’t wait two more years to graduate college before entering my dream career as a REALTOR®, so I didn’t. I went active as a real estate agent in Cedar Falls Iowa in 2009. Since entering the business, I have worked hard to manage my time. With class, work on campus, activities and friends I was able to make time to schedule showings, and close deals in-between. There are a lot of things I wish I knew before I got into the business; I mean this is hard work! So I made a list of a few things I wish they told me about the real estate world in my weekend classes.
1. A real estate license doesn’t mean sales. Your office doesn’t just hand you over some magic list of names of people ready, willing and able to buy or sell. You have to find them yourself.
2. Even if you are a part time agent, this is a full-time job. I didn’t realize between classes I would be on the phone with clients, offices, the abstract company, lenders and others while reviewing important documents on my Blackberry.
3. Starting a career in real estate is like starting your own company. I have quickly learned to be my own boss, marketing director, web master, public relations manager, and accountant while always working in research and development. Continue reading »
Consumers who’ve been through foreclosure may think their days of owning a home are over. Not true. Share the “5 Steps to Owning a Home Again After Foreclosure” from the November “Foreclosure Resource Guide” now available at the REALTOR® Content Resource. Here’s just some of the information:
1. Rebuild your nest egg. Establish a safety net. Since you’re coming out of foreclosure, having six months of living expenses in a liquid account is a minimum to show stability and that you’re able to pay your bills if you lose your job.
2. Raise your credit score. After foreclosure, your credit score, according to myFICO, probably dropped by about 150 points. Raise it with perseverance. Pay bills on time, and keep your credit card balances below maximum levels. The foreclosure will stay on your credit report up to seven years, but it will become less of a red mark as years go by.
With new enhancements to the REALTOR® Content Resource, you can now share this and other articles with consumers via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail directly from the REALTOR® Content Resource.You can also search more easily for content by themes (formerly “Collections”) or keywords.
While you’re at the REALTOR® Content Resource, log in to enter the REALTOR® Build-Your-Business Sweepstakes, featuring monthly drawings for an iPad and weekly drawings for a $150 Visa gift card.
The REALTOR® Content Resource, brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, is an exclusive member benefit that entitles you to download free home ownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.
HouseLogic is the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’® comprehensive consumer Web site geared to helping home owners make smart decisions to enhance, maintain, and protect the value of their home.
By Kelly Reark
I have been representing a buyer since June of this year when he made the decision to put in an offer on a short sale. We aren’t closed yet, and it has been a bumpy road. Our journey actually began in January of 2007, but who’s counting?
There are many ways that this deal could die along the way. Here are my top five buyer bail scenarios that could stop you in your tracks.
1. Before actually writing the offer, counsel your buyer on what a short sale will likely involve. Make sure they are prepared for the waiting game. It is up to you to keep them interested and excited about their purchase.
2. Buyer’s remorse. Are the buyers seeing other properties sell for the same amount or less than the one they have the offer in on? A longer waiting period between the offer and the acceptance can issue a set of military spec cold feet. Keep a working CMA for your buyer that you can update during the waiting period. Point out the benefits to the home they have chosen.
3. Work with the lender to get your buyer’s finances in order ahead of time. If they are serious about making a purchase, they should begin the paper trail for their loan package long before hearing back from the seller’s representative. State your contract in such a way that there will be ample time to complete a mortgage after the seller’s approval comes back. (And lock in that great rate!) In the case that their offer is denied, they will be ready for the next one. Continue reading »