By Scott Newman
Every real estate professional has experienced it: those slow times, the off-months, the hot streaks that suddenly go cold… call them what you will but when things turn sluggish at the office, it can not only be a confidence and momentum-killer but also a disaster for your business plan. So how do you avoid the roller coaster of income fluctuations typical of our industry? For me, that question can be answered with one word: networking.
But merely handing out business cards or posting flyers to community bulletin boards won’t put money in the bank. To really make networking your solution to spotty earnings, I propose thinking outside the box. With a little creativity, you can truly use the practice to generate a more consistent flow of business.
As REALTORS®, we all love to schmooze. It’s basically written into the job description. It’s also one of the best ways to meet new people and generate leads. Who’s to say you’ve got to wait for the next Facebook invite to come through before you have an opportunity to stretch your schmoozing skills? Imagine for a moment that you were the one organizing the party instead of just being an attendee. In fact, why wait for an event when you can plan one of your own at the very time your business needs a little boost?
Along with some referral partners, I’ve been hosting a quarterly networking event for the past year that’s gotten rave reviews. Setting up the event is relatively painless; I partner with a local bar or restaurant and bring in sponsors to cover the bulk of the costs. Then, I invite a wonderful mix of local prospects, business connections, and past clients. Everyone has a few drinks and a bite to eat and it’s a great way to stay top-of-mind when it comes time for people to recommend your services. In fact, I have closed several deals with people I’ve met at my networking events already! Continue reading »
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 Jason O’Neil
I was going through our listing system the other day and became amazed at the amount of things we do to list a home. The list seems to get longer and more comprehensive as the years pass. One of these days, I may consolidate it and eliminate things, but for now it works and works well.
This exercise got me thinking of a key differentiator I discuss in my marketing consultations with sellers. I effectively let them know that I do not subscribe to “The Three Ps of Real Estate” — they get a quizzical look on their face, and I say, “You know: ‘Put out a sign, Put it into the MLS, and Pray.’”
A quick laugh or chuckle ensues, a little ice may be broken, and I begin to go through the laborious detail taken to list and effectively market their home. The discussion continuous and we begin to build rapport and see if we are a good fit for one and other.
My point for writing this is not to say that the specifics of what I do when listing a home is dramatically different than my competition. Different, yes; more than dramatically different, hard to say. One thing I do differently is communicate exactly what I am going to do, step-by-step, to get their home to market. Then I communicate when I am doing those steps, when they are complete, and I constantly communicate the results.
I had a professor in grad school once tell our class, “If you’re going to do something great, you had better let someone know. Otherwise, you’ll live in your boss’s (read client’s) mind along with those that did nothing great.” This is so important in our business, we do so much when representing our clients and their interests but we forget to communicate or progress and our results.
If you fail to communicate on an ongoing basis what you’ve recently done to perpetuate the sale of a client’s home, you’ll live in their mind as subscribing to The Three Ps of Real Estate.
Jason O’Neil is an associate broker with Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. Connect with him at jasononeilrealtor.com.
By Lynn Minnick
Late this past spring, fellow Connecticut YPNer Carl Lantz had the opportunity to be on HGTV’s popular series House Hunters. To celebrate the episode, Carl hosted a huge viewing party, and I’m sure he’s added something along the lines of, “as seen on House Hunters” to his marketing! I sent him House Hunters Bingo cards as a fun party favor. It was a really memorable experience for him that brought a lot of attention to his business and brought additional exposure to listings from other agents. He was kind enough to share his experience with me in a quick Q&A session:
Q: How did you get involved? Many agents tell me they’re always applying but don’t hear back.
Lantz: I got involved vicariously through my clients who were on the show with me. In general, House Hunters picks the buyer clients. Then the agent working with them gets to be part of the production. My clients had applied months earlier, and were picked finally around early November. The production company asked me to make a demo video and share it with them. Then about a week later, they gave us an episode number and told us we would be filming in late January.
Q: What was the process and how long did it take start to finish?
Lantz: Once I heard from the producers, we started talking about the two houses beside the one my people already had a contract on. They do their best to pick other homes the clients had seen, and liked, to make it more like the actual process. We filmed for a week in Connecticut and then they filmed a couple days in San Antonio with my clients at their home there.
Q: How were the homes picked? Did the buyers choose them or was it you or the producers? Continue reading »
By Alex Milshteyn
Unpredictability is a big part of our careers as REALTORS®. I have been selling real estate for nearly 12 years and as soon as I get comfortable with, the market the rug is pulled right from underneath me and my business is thrown into disarray.
After five years of negative media coverage on our market and a downward pricing of homes, I was used to the negativity. I was used to calling my sellers every week and not having anything to talk about other than the need to drop their price. I was used to buyers taking their sweet time with no sense of urgency to find a home. I was used to showing 50+ houses to a buyer just to get through the short list of houses meeting their criteria. I was used to negotiating the deal then renegotiating the deal after inspections then renegotiating the deal at the appraisal and then again renegotiating the deal prior to closing. I was use to apologizing for this market. And last but not least, I was use to being content with what my job had become.
Like many REALTORS®, I think we got use to the negativity and we did the best we could. I saw many friends go out of business, and the sad story is I saw some friends lose their homes like many of our clients because of this market and the economy.
All in all, what we all went through was sad. But we all knew things would eventually change. I am happy to report that the rug was pulled from underneath me once again. This time it’s for the better.
In my travels throughout the country, I am happy to report that it seems most markets are rebounding, especially in the hardest hit states like Florida, Michigan, Nevada, California, and Continue reading »
By Scott Newman
With the market picking up steam, buyers are out there scooping up homes and they’re counting on you as their agent to help them navigate the treacherous waters of their transaction. When they are buying a condo, that path can be filled with even more landmines, and you have a whole new realm of elements to account for when advising your buyer clients. I’ve outlined some best practices for agents below who are representing buyers purchasing a condo.
Understand the Financials
Nothing will make you look more foolish than advising your client to make an offer, having it accepted, and then finding out there is something wrong with the building that prohibits financing. Review condo documents and know what’s going on with the overall health of the building your client is interested in — this is not just your attorney’s job post contract execution — it’s your job before your client ever puts pen to paper! Request a 22.1 disclosure, call the management company, speak to the listing agent — do whatever you need to do to ensure that the building your client wants to buy in qualifies for the type of loan your client is applying for.
Know Your Client
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had a listing that gets put under contract, only to have the deal fall apart for ridiculous reasons that could have been brought to light long before an offer was made. Again, as the buyer’s agent, your job is to stay on top of these situations to ensure that you come across as a professional and that your client isn’t wasting their time. The only way to do this is to ask the right questions!
Do your clients have a dog or are they planning to buy one during their residency in the building? Are they planning to smoke inside their unit? Do they like to host company during very late hours? These can all be potential issues for a client as the rules in condo buildings can vary wildly, so it’s never safe to assume anything!
All of the above are examples of questions you should be asking to ensure that your client isn’t wasting their time. Get the right information ahead of time and call the HOA or listing agent personally to ensure that your client’s unique needs will be met by the building.
Do Your Homework
The time to find out whether or not the building has a pool or how nice the gym is should not be when you show up to the property with your client. Continue reading »
By Brooke Wolford
It could just be me, but are you questioning why we still run into bad photos and poor property descriptions? It seems like a slight epidemic in my world lately. Every single time I run into this I always get a little frustrated and wonder how this happens.
A few examples:
1. A listing description that said, “Great starter home, just needs a little loving care.” When I arrived at the property, there was extensive fire damage and I would assume it was unlivable. The pictures shown were obviously taken prior to the fire, but when I spoke to the agent to schedule the showing, there was absolutely no mention of it.
2. A showing note: “Small/friendly dog (Tinkerbell) on the property.” When my clients and I walked in, the dog was not even close to small, it was a large Rottweiler and we were not able to view the property at all because the dog was in attack mode.
3. I once saw an agent do a drive-by to take a photo in my neighborhood. Get out of your car, people!
4. Some really great listing photos…
It’s frustrating to me that this still happens. How does this serve your seller? Nonetheless, how does any of this help the listing sell and get you paid? I provide the same basic services to all of my sellers regardless of price or condition. How does this help you get buyers? I just don’t get it! Take some time and do some work. It really shouldn’t be this difficult.
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Coldwell Banker Burnet in Woodbury, Minn. Follow her blog at adventuresinrookierealestate.com.