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How Do Real Estate Agents Get Listings?
As a real estate agent, the lifeblood of your business is winning new listings. Whether you're a new agent or have years of experience, the number and quality of your listings determines your revenue and your local reputation. Top real estate agents get listings and new clients through a variety of lead generation strategies. If you want to get listings, grow your business, and become your local market's go-to real estate expert, consider these 16 real estate home listing generation tips. Build Your Reputation Offline As a real estate agent who wants more home listings, you need to be sure people in your network and community are aware of your real estate services. 1. Tell Friends and Family You're in Real Estate Don't overthink it: Step 1 to getting more real estate listings is to make sure people you already know are aware of your real estate practice. Agents tell us all the time that they started in the business by helping friends and family members sell their homes. Some even make a point of telling new acquaintances that they're in real estate. You don't have to force it: Just by telling people you're in the real estate business, you open yourself up to people's questions about selling homes – and possibly even their business. 2. Learn Your Local Market If you're going to identify yourself as a real estate agent, you'll likely receive questions about the local market. Real estate agents who get listings are those who have learned their local market and can answer these questions intelligently. Consumers want to list their homes with agents who understand the quirks and realities of their local market. Selling a home in December can look much different than selling a home in June. And selling a home when the market is red-hot is different than selling when inventory is high. Above all, selling a home in one city or town or neighborhood may be much different than selling in another – every location has unique considerations, including schools and taxes. Make sure you are up-to-date on the local market and the differences in home selling between different neighborhoods. If you're an expert real estate agent, it will show, and you'll get more home listings. 3. Meet Other Agents Being educated and informed about real estate and your local market is important. It's made easier and is more likely to lead to getting home listings when you have relationships with other agents. Meeting other agents often involves joining local real estate chambers and organizations and attending networking events. Other methods include joining neighborhood groups or real estate charities. By meeting and developing relationships with other agents, you'll learn more about your market and how successful real estate professionals operate. You'll also develop relationships with the people who represent buyers. This allows you to hear about what buyers are going through and what they're looking for – making your listing presentations more compelling and informed. 4. Develop a Community Presence As you learn your market and meet other agents, you should also develop a strong, noticeable, consumer-facing community presence. Having a community presence helps you get listings. The agent name on the back of Little League jerseys, the yard signs, the billboards, the ads in church bulletins, the overall involvement in your community – when it's time to sell and people need to think of a local real estate agent, you want to be who comes to mind. Grow Your Reputation Online At one time, the aforementioned offline methods may have been enough to establish and maintain a sustainable real estate practice. But not anymore. To get listings, you need a strong online presence. 5. Complete and Verify Your Google Business Profile The first and most essential component of a strong online reputation is a verified Google Business Profile. Your Google Business Profile appears at the right hand side of the screen when people search for you online. It includes complete business information, including your contact information, recent listing photos, hours of operation, and reviews. Having a complete, verified Google Business Profile is essential. It tells consumers that you're a credible real estate professional who is ready to do business. 6. Get Google Reviews The next step to building a strong online presence and getting more home listings is to populate your Google Business Profile with reviews. Just as when they're offline, people who are searching for an agent online don't usually have someone specific in mind. Instead, they search for terms like "real estate agents near me." You want to be at the top of these results, and you can, with positive, plentiful Google reviews. Notice that the top agents in this generic search all have dozens of reviews and a high review rating? That's because Google wants to serve searchers agents who are trustworthy. Reviews serve as a proxy, and are essential to any agent who wants to get home listings. With positive Google reviews, you'll appear at the top of Google search results, attract more attention from sellers, and get more home listings than other real estate agents. 7. Appear on Homes.com Getting listings means reaching consumers. And reaching consumers means appearing on the Homes.com agent search directory. Homes.com and Homesnap are both now part of CoStar Group, and tens of millions of dollars are being invested to surge traffic on Homes.com. Already, Homes.com is a leading portal for people looking for an agent to help them sell a home. And the sellers who arrive are valuable: 85% of Homes.com visitors who are planning to sell have not yet selected a listing agent. Clearly, the Homes.com agent search directory is a place you need to be if you want listings. And you can ensure a place at the top with Homesnap Pro+. Pro+ members are automatically boosted to the top of the agent search directory, ahead of thousands of competitors. Your profile, synced with Homesnap agent information, will be ahead of thousands of your competitors – winning you real estate listings. 8. Prospect for Off-Market Sellers Being findable online is important. But particularly during market downturns, being able to effectively and efficiently prospect online for off-market sellers is crucial to getting new home listings. Traditionally off-market prospecting involves knocking on doors or dropping leaflets that ask whether people want to sell their home. The world's become more complex: If you want listings, you should be using Homesnap Pro+ to identify properties that are likely to sell before they hit the market. Homesnap Pro+ members have access to a range of premium filters, including home loan balances, that help you market your services to people who want to sell their home but haven't yet selected an agent. Top agents are proactive, and real estate agents who get listings use Homesnap Pro+ to prospect for new clients. 9. Use Social Media Organically Social media is important for real estate agents, and a component of winning new listings. The benefits of social media are manifold, and include brand and name recognition. But perhaps the biggest benefit of organic – or non-paid – social media is that it allows you to publicly establish yourself as a real estate expert. Post about the market, offer advice, or ask your followers what they're looking for in a home. Either way, you're demonstrating to potential sellers that you think critically and seek feedback about the market – boosting your chances of getting more listings. 10. Run Ads on Social Media After laying the groundwork with strong organic social media, you can use paid social media to draw large numbers of leads into your sales funnel and get more home listings. Our data scientists crunched the numbers and found that consistent investment in paid advertisements pays off for agents. In fact, agents who buy Facebook Ads through Homesnap earn 2.5 times more leads from Facebook than agents who use social media but do not buy paid ads. Targeted, data-backed Homesnap Pro Ads help you zero in on sellers, pitch your services, and get more home listings. Showcase Your Professionalism and Competency As your presence online and offline expands and you get yourself in front of more sellers, don't forget that showcasing professionalism and competency helps you win more home listings – now and in the future. 11. Deliver Compelling Listing Presentations Being recognizable and well-known is great, but for some sellers, deciding on a real estate agent takes more persuasion. Enter the real estate listing presentation. Listing presentations are your opportunity to convince a potential client that you're thorough, professional, and attuned to their needs. Listing presentations are designed to preemptively answer consumer questions such as: What's the background of the agent or brokerage? What's the state of the local market? What homes like mine has the agent sold before? What kind of marketing plan does the agent use? How does the agent plan to price my house? What plans does the agent have for my open house? Does the agent have access to photography and photo editing expertise? Overall, being prepared with a strong listing presentation will win you real estate listings. 12. Always Treat Your Buyer Clients Like Prospective Sellers Winning attention and affection from sellers is always important, but a long-term, sustainable listing generation strategy requires treating buyer clients like prospective sellers. Think about it: Needing to sell a home usually means needing to buy a home. Buyer clients sometimes get a bad rap because of the amount of work necessary to help them find their dream home. But if you do a good job for buyers, you'll be their preferred agent when it's time to sell, and you'll win more listings. 13. Ask for Referrals Hopefully, prospective clients will get a taste of your professionalism, ability, and work ethic through your Google reviews. But winning more real estate listings means being prepared for anything, and that requires referrals. Ask for past clients to refer you to friends, family, and other people they know. Also be sure to ask your clients for feedback. If you're doing a good job, these remarks will be largely positive, and you can share these comments with new prospective clients to get more listings. 14. Stay in Touch With Past Clients Remember that referrals and Google reviews and representing clients multiple times all become less likely if you fail to stay in touch with past clients. The same goes for winning listings. Real estate agents who consistently get listings are usually those who maintain contact with past clients. This doesn't have to suck up too much time: Just periodically check in with your former buyers and sellers to see how they're doing. Simply staying front-of-mind helps boost the odds you'll be hired for their next real estate go-around, and will increase the number of listings in your portfolio. 15. Have a Professional Headshot and Polished Listing Photos Too often, agents appear unprofessional, untrustworthy, and ineffective because they lack a professional headshot and have listing presentations and an online presence that features poor lighting and staging. Those agents cost themselves listings. Don't be one of them. Instead, have high-quality, well-lit, professionally-shot and staged headshots and listing photos. If your brokerage or agency doesn't provide that service, it's still worth it: To be a real estate agent who gets listings, you need people to know you're a legitimate professional with a sharp presentation who is ready to do the job. 16. Host Great Open Houses The last piece of advice to get more real estate listings might seem counterintuitive: Host great open houses. It seems weird. Once you have listings, isn't the focus entirely on getting the best deal by impressing buyers and people touring the home? The answer is yes, but that's exactly why hosting the best possible open houses is a must. Those buyers are very likely to be sellers once they've signed a contract on a home. Some people at the open house are simply getting a feel for the real estate market. When it's time for them to list their home, they'll remember the well-staged open house, and be more likely to give their listing to the agent that hosted it. Get More Home Listings and Grow Your Real Estate Business Getting real estate listings isn't easy. But getting enough listings to thrive as a real estate agent isn't complicated: Develop your offline and online reputation, and consistently demonstrate that you're a professional, thorough agent who is worth consumers' business. Over time, and with the help of this guide, you should find that you have enough listings to maintain a thriving practice and develop a real estate business that gives you pride. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Dotloop Advanced Agent Training
Multiple dates Experienced looper? Join our advanced training session to learn about popular features that will help you streamline transactions even further. How to create form templates How to create task lists How to create an "Easy-Offer" link How to link to a listing with offers How to create a loop via email How to email into templates Register now!
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Friday Freebie: Qualify and Educate with the Home Seller Packet
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New Realtor.com Buying Power Tool Shows What Homes Are Affordable Based on the Buyer's Finances
With interest rates constantly changing and home prices at all-time highs, understanding what you can afford has never been more important. To give buyers a more objective view of their budget, Realtor.com has introduced a new buying power tool to help home shoppers see whether a specific home is "affordable," "a stretch," "difficult" or "out of reach." It uses a home a shopper's specific financial details, current mortgage rates, taxes, insurance and HOA fees to determine if the monthly payments will be comfortable. Buying power labels now appear directly on home listings on Realtor.com, making Realtor.com the first national home search site where shoppers can filter their search by selecting their desired affordability range. Recent Realtor.com surveys found that more than two-thirds (68%) of shoppers were surprised by what they could actually afford for their first home. Additionally, 32% of recent buyers found it difficult to understand how changing mortgage rates affected their monthly payments and 62% were surprised by closing costs. Realtor.com's affordability calculator and buying power tool can help prevent these unhappy surprises during the home buying process. "There is nothing more disappointing than falling in love with a home only to realize that you can't afford it, and nothing more exciting than realizing you can afford that dream home. However, there are many factors that go into affordability," said Colleen Coyle, vice president, product management, Realtor.com. "We introduced this tool to help shoppers better understand how much home they can afford and if specific homes fit their budget given their personal financial situation. This tool is especially important right now with rising interest rates – which can add hundreds of dollars to monthly payments and impact buying power." A home's affordability is more than just the asking price. Many first-time home buyers don't realize the added costs of things such as HOA fees, taxes and insurance, not to mention closing costs, which can really add up. Realtor.com's new buying power features give home shoppers the opportunity to input their monthly income, debt payments and savings to determine their budget. Users can save this information to their buyer profile and then search only for homes that fit that budget. To calculate buying power, buyers can visit the Realtor.com affordability calculator and enter their income, monthly debt payments and available funds. By saving this information to their profile, listings on Realtor.com will include an affordability label – "affordable," "a stretch," "difficult" or "out of reach." Users can also filter their search by homes that are within their desired affordability range. Learn more here.
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How to Create a Memorable Real Estate Brand
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Tips and Tricks for Selling Your Listing for Top Dollar
A home is like a castle, and every castle needs a little TLC once in a while to keep it inviting and functioning correctly. Updated decor, a few smart renovations, and some modern touches can do wonders to make a property competitive in the real estate market. Every seller wants an answer to the question, "How can I sell my home fast?" and your experienced eye and marketing savvy can make all the difference between a quick transaction and a stale listing. It is the little things that are often overlooked when putting a house up for sale, so before placing the call to your real estate photographer to capture 3D images and virtual tours, here are a few tips and tricks to getting top dollar for every listing. Modernization, renovation, and honey-do lists Real estate agents know that upgrading to the latest appliances, a few touch-ups, and some renovations are how to sell a home for more than you would by listing it "as is." All it takes are a few weekends to tick off some of the items on the honey-do list—like cleaning up clutter, tidying the yard, and making a few minor changes. According to an article by CNBC, the greatest return on resale value happens as a result of updated kitchen appliances and freshening up the front facade. Virtual tours are ideal for highlighting the spaces the consumer is drawn to, and having a virtual open house can help move up the possibility of a sale. Incorporating proptech into your real estate marketing plan will show off that new garage door that everyone wants to have, as well as introduce potential buyers to the fit and flow of the property with accurately measured floor plans. Mechanics and material defects If it's not broken, why fix it? When it comes to how to sell a home fast in any market, one of the important things to remember is to make sure the mechanical items in the property are functioning properly. This is not to say that every seller needs to replace their furnace, boiler, and air conditioner to get the house sold. But if you want the transaction to go smoothly after you have achieved a conditional sale, then things need to be in good working order. A cracked heat exchanger or ruptured water line could have the buyer questioning the integrity of the entire home. So before listing, make sure all the material defects have been attended to. Set the stage virtually Presentation is everything in real estate. How you showcase a property determines how quickly and how much it will sell for. To get the highest dollar for the seller in the least amount of time, you need to be using proptech tools for your real estate marketing. Virtual tours, accurately measured floor plans, and virtual staging make a difference in how much time the consumer spends perusing a home. Besides great curb appeal that draws a buyer into a property, staging a home makes it seem more personal and creates an emotional connection to the otherwise regular-looking space. According to NAR, the most important rooms in a house to stage are the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom. But the clincher for locking down how to sell your listing for more is allowing the buyer to visualize the way their personal items will conform to each space. With the help of cutting-edge technology and advanced measurements, an emotional connection forms. Let the consumer play with the floor plan by measuring vertical, horizontal, and 3D spaces to determine renovation costs, furniture placement, and ceiling height for the annual 10-foot Christmas tree. Once the connection is formed, the sale is just around the accurately measured corner. Tech to triumph It is interesting to note the most recent findings from NAR state that a whopping 61% of homebuyers are between the ages of 22-55, and that means they are tech-friendly. Proptech provides the consumer access to virtual tours, 3D images, and accurate floor plans every minute of the day, so it is in the technology that lies the triumph. Not only do virtual tours help win listings and generate leads, but they get homes sold faster and for more. Proptech gives you the stand-out effect combining 3D video, interactive floor plans, virtual open houses, virtual reality, and easy navigation for it all. When selling is your target, hitting the bullseye through the use of technology is a no-brainer. Just because the castle has a few flaws and some dated fixtures, there are still ways to make it stand out. The goal is to focus on easy-to-use technology to grab the attention of the consumer. The journey to selling a home fast requires all information to be accessible online in an instant, and you can accomplish all that by using iGuide. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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3 Tips for Getting the Highest Quality Leads
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RPR: Your Tool for Maximizing Your Commercial Real Estate Business
Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 9:00 AM PDT In this 45 minute webinar, you'll be introduced to a powerful, data-rich commercial real estate tool, which can help you: Search listings from our national partners and your local CIE, CMLS or MLS Explore nationwide off-market properties with access to 55 million plus public records Create an investment analysis with Valuate Generate custom trade area reports powered by Esri Register now!
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5 Things Every Agent Needs to Know About 5G
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Get Better Market and Property Insights with Homesnap Pro+
Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 12:00 PM PDT By upgrading to Homesnap Pro+, you will instantly unlock an advanced set of market insights and productivity tools that will impress your clients and help you work smarter. With better data, including insights informed by AI, you will have an edge over your competition and can better serve your clients' needs. We will walk you through how Pro+ can make an instant impact on your business, including: How to use advanced property heatmaps to prospect for seller leads Leveraging exclusive access to Sell Speed for active listings Impressing clients with listing viewership stats via Who's Viewed Accessing enhanced homeowner demographic data to learn more about prospects Register now!
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[Podcast] My Real Estate Journey with Kirsten Jordan of Million Dollar Listing New York
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24 Hyperlocal Blog Topics to Attract Seller Leads to Your Website
Any marketer will tell you organic traffic is the best traffic. However, only some real estate agents are aware of this. Real estate agents with a strong online presence will continuously generate leads through organic traffic. Blogging is an easy way to generate organic traffic to your real estate website and ultimately capture more real estate leads. Luckily, driving local traffic to your real estate website is relatively easy. Hyperlocal marketing focuses on specialized topics that interest people in a limited area. We've created a list of 24 blog topics for agents to help you start your next blog and capture seller leads in your market. 24 Real Estate Blog Topics that Capture Seller Leads The Best Time to Sell a Home in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Is 2022 a Good Time to Sell a Home in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.)? __ Reasons Now is the Time to Sell in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) What Recent Divorcees Should Know About Selling a Home in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) How to Sell a Home Quickly in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Even with Negative Equity How Quickly Homes Sell in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Average Sale Price of homes in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) How to Sell Your Home While Living Outside of (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Why (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Home Owners Need a Listing Agent How to Evaluate Purchase Offers when Selling a Home in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) What (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Homes Should Include in a Listing Description __ Ways to Prepare Your Home Sale in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) The Truth Behind FSBO Sales in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) What First Time Home Sellers Should Know About the (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Market What (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Home Buyers Look for in a Home Best Day of the Week to Hold a Open House in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) How Many Homes Are For Sale in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.)? _ Reasons a Home Might Not Sell in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Is it a Good Idea to Sell Your Home During the Winter in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) __ Things that Make the (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Real Estate Market Different __ Best Real Estate Agents in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) __ Best Real Estate Brokerage in (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Average Commission Fee of a (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.) Real Estate Agent Preparing Your Home for (insert city/neighborhood/ZIP code/state/etc.)'s Spring Market To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Dotloop Beginner Agent Training
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Shifting Real Estate Market: How to Create a Video That Clears up Confusion
Most agents are pretty aware that the housing market is changing. A combination of higher interest rates and increased inventory has brought the scorching hot seller's market down a few degrees. Consumers are aware too, but most only hear snippets and their main takeaway is sensational terms such as "shifting," "correcting" or "normalizing." Or worse, scarier phrases like "recession," "bubble burst" and "crash." Of course, this leaves clients feeling anxious, uncertain and out of the loop. Now, more than ever, consumers need advice, guidance and a little clarity as to what's really going on. And that's where you, and your awesome new video content, come in. In this article we'll show you how, step by step, to produce a video that helps position you as THE local market expert. Use RPR data to create a video that cuts through Here's how to create a quick video to send to your prospects and previous clients that will ease their fears, erase doubt and build confidence. Both in their situation—and in you! RPR® (Realtors Property Resource®) has the current and local data to help you do it. First things first: yes, you can create a video! You just need your phone or desktop computer, a simple video editing app, and a script (which we're going to give you!). Sure, you could send an email or post to your social pages, but videos work better than anything. Consumers from Gen X on down (even some Boomers!) prefer them and consume them regularly. They're fast, easy to digest and memorable. Here's how to pull it off. Step 1 – Grab their attention: Begin your video with a question or a really compelling statement. Make it short, sweet and right to the point. "How's the market?" I get this question a half a dozen times a day, and here's the truth… Or, Our seller's market has shifted to a buyer's market. What does this really mean? Ask questions or make statements that engage the viewer right off the bat. Step 2 – Introduce yourself: After your opener, tell the viewers your name, and what area you're from or what neighborhood(s) you work in. Don't bother with your brokerage or brand name yet, just keep it casual and friendly. I'm John Smith, and I too live in Silver Pine. (You will obviously enter your name and area.) Step 3 – Use local market housing data from RPR: This is where you set yourself apart from other agents and position yourself as a local market expert. Using up-to-date data from RPR on specific ZIP codes and neighborhoods is the key to your credibility. Check out this article, "Know Your Market and Your Numbers," to see how easy it is to find RPR market trend stats and graphs that back up your opening statement. In our neighborhood, home inventory has increased, while prices have inched up. And even though it's still a seller's market, things are starting to balance out a bit. Step 4 – Include some graphics or charts: talking about data points is one thing—seeing them is much more powerful. Be sure to add a visual representation of your data. You can either screen grab it right from the RPR Market Trends tab, the Housing tab of a neighborhood, or you can enter the numbers into a templated graphic. And you can always use more than one. As you can see, inventory is up over 21%, but still down from its peak just a few years ago and very similar to inventory levels in 2020. The median sales price is up 1.98% from the previous month. And over or under sales have declined slightly by 2.3%. Step 5 – Tie it all together: Now use your premise and your data to deliver a "What's in it for me?" message. Explain how this current market data applies to them and their situation. Point out opportunities and challenges. What's this mean for you? If you're a seller, don't worry. Home values have eased up, but they aren't decreasing. Now it might take 10 days to sell your home, instead of three. That's okat. And buyers, increased inventory means more options. Over-asking bidding wars may be in the rear view, and you might have just a little more time to craft a perfect offer. Step 6 – The call to action: Now that you've delivered all this great information, the crucial next step is to get them to act. Ask your viewers to reach out and ask you questions. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee to discuss their real estate goals. Have them email you or direct them to your website. Give them some type of call to action to get the ball rolling. I hope this quick video helped clear up any confusion you may have heard about the housing market. And if you have any questions about Silver Pine real estate, please don't hesitate to call or email me. I'm John Smith, thanks for watching. Every market's different: use local stats for local updates When deciding what statistics or data to use, the best part about using RPR's Market Trends and housing charts is that you can pull the data for specific ZIP codes and neighborhoods. Most real estate news stories that people are reading about are reports from national sales statistics, which is fine, but they don't tell the whole story as it relates to an individual's situation. However, using up-to-date data and drilling down to your specific, local market puts you in a unique position. You're providing relevant, hyper local data on their market, which makes you a smart, trusted and informed advisor. Almost like you're a local economist giving out free real estate advice! This is a keen way to check in on previous clients, and a super smart way to break ice with prospective clients. The sample script Here's the sample script, all put together: (Note: the items in BOLD would be filled in with your information and statistics, from whatever article or chart you are referencing.) "How's the market?" I get this question a half a dozen times a day, and here's the truth… I'm John Smith, and I too live in Silver Pine. In our neighborhood, home inventory has increased, while prices have inched up. And even though it's still a seller's market, things are starting to balance out a bit. As you can see, [VIDEO GRAPHIC HERE] inventory is up over 21%, but still down from its peak in 2019, and very similar to inventory levels in 2020. Median sales price is up 1.98% from the previous month. And over or under sales have basically declined slightly by 2.3%. What's this mean for you? If you're a seller, don't worry. Home values have eased up, but they aren't decreasing. Now it might take 20 days to sell your home, instead of five. That's okay. And buyers, increased inventory means more options. Over-asking price bidding wars may be in the rear view, and you might have just a little more time to craft a perfect offer. I hope this quick video helped clear up any confusion you may have heard about the housing market. And if you have any questions about Silver Pine real estate, please don't hesitate to call or email me. I'm John Smith, thanks for watching. This script is provided, but of course you can feel free to change or modify anything. It's your script, so it's up to you! Example of agent-produced market trend videos Here's an example to show you how other agents have tackled market update videos. Watch this agent-produced version to get a feel for how it's done: Nicole Nicolay and Robyn Annicchero from Love Livermore of Compass As you can see, this example is brief, friendly and full of local housing market data. In a shifting market, clients need solid advice Build confidence. Build relationships. And build this video! Providing relevant, factual, timely data to your sphere is a solid way to build trust and credibility. A short, casual, friendly piece of communication that clears up the confusion of today's shifting real estate market, by breaking it down in layman's terms, will be remembered and appreciated. We hope you were inspired and motivated to create your own market update video. And we'd love to see how yours turns out! Post your vid to our Facebook group and we'll be sure to comment and offer encouragement. Good luck! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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How Can You Prove You're a Local Real Estate Expert?
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Friday Freebie: Real Estate Call Scripts (That Actually Work)
Calling real estate prospects is easy. Knowing what to say? That's a different beast. Take the guesswork out of connecting with leads with this week's Friday Freebie. We're highlighting a guide full of real estate call scripts that tell you exactly what to say—and that offers best practices to increase your chances of having a positive call that converts. Free copy of Real Estate Call Scripts (that actually work), courtesy of Market Leader Different types of real estate leads require different approaches. What you need to say to a FSBO seller versus a new website lead is, understandably, worlds apart. That's why in Real Estate Call Scripts (that actually work), Market Leader offers scripts for contacting all types of leads. Download the guide to get scripts for calling: Expired listings Calling neighbors of a 'Just Sold' or 'Pending Sale' listing FSBOs Online leads Sphere of influence Current clients asking for a referral upon closing Cold leads And more! Worried about talking hesitant leads through their doubts? This guide also offers scripts for handling common objections and rejections. Take your conversations with leads to the next level. Download Real Estate Call Scripts (that actually work) now!
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Nearly 3 Out of 5 Realtors Say Limited Inventory Prevented Clients from Buying Homes in 2021
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4 Free Virtual Editors that Can Improve Your Writing
Have you ever rushed to send a client an important email, only to realize you made crucial punctuation or embarrassing grammatical error right after hitting the "send" button? We've all faced that frustration. But there's a simple solution that technology can fix for you! Increasing in popularity, artificial intelligence-based virtual editors, such as Grammarly and others, can immediately identify errors as you type. As a real estate professional, do you realize the benefits of ensuring your communications are error-free? According to the National Association of Realtors, 95% of agents use email daily or nearly every day. In addition, email is the preferred communication method for 89% of all clients. More importantly, strong communications skills are crucial to what clients expect from today's agent. Using a virtual editor can save you from struggling with grammar and punctuation. Even if you're a talented agent with excellent writing skills, you'll know that everyone makes mistakes, and these new tools can help you catch a minor error you missed before hitting send. How virtual editors work A virtual editor is similar to a word processor as they both allow you to generate, edit, and save text documents on your computer. Powered by artificial intelligence, this new tool predicts the edits you make for your text based on your use of language and writing style. As it takes in the data of written work, the AI built into a virtual editor can understand Natural Language Processing (NLP) and can comprehend written words like a human does. The more writing you do with a virtual editor – because it uses machine learning ­– the more intelligent, more robust, and accurate it becomes over time. A virtual editor develops the ability to edit your prose by checking the tone of the writing and then offers ideas and alternative word choices to improve the clarity of your content. It basically becomes your full-time copy editor. The benefits of virtual editors Having virtual editing software is easy to add to any computer. Versions exist for both PC and Mac operating systems. First, a virtual editor doesn't just highlight your spelling and grammatical errors but also shows you how to correct them by providing solutions, and often more than one option, with a click of a button. Its error checking is faster than using a standard word processing program, offering revised sentences, different word choices, and corrected punctuation – all to increase efficiency and save you time. The second benefit of virtual editors is that they can help you improve your vocabulary. Virtual editors will point out if your word choice is weak or if you are using a particular word too often or are repeating one in the same sentence. It instantly suggests alternative words that improve your writing flow. Virtual editors can also "teach" you better writing skills by helping you avoid poor writing habits. For example, it highlights the weaker use of passive voice to suggest rewriting in the active voice. In addition, it offers alternative phrasing to shorten your sentence structure and tighten your communication. It also helps by providing absent transitions to improve the readability of your writing. Finally, virtual editors are user-friendly, and some offer options to work on mobile devices. They are also compatible with the most popular browsers, including Safari, Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. Others can work inside your email program to help you write crystal clear communications to customers. Lots of choices While the most well-known virtual editor program is Grammarly, and it is by far the leader in its category, there are other choices. Some, including Grammarly, offer a free version. Programs such as ProWritingAid function similarly to Grammarly, but it works to enhance the flow of your writing and provides stats based on sentence structure and vocabulary. In addition, ProWritingAid also contains several unique implements, such as a built-in thesaurus for offering different synonyms. Finally, it offers a free Chrome extension and more than 20 types of detailed graphics that help analyze your writing style. On the downside, the full versions of ProWritingAid are expensive and incompatible with mobile devices. There's also Wordtune, which is easy to use and is powered by an AI that will automatically show rewriting suggestions to improve the clarity of your writing. This virtual editor will also detect if your writing tone sounds casual or formal and centers on shortening or expanding your text when needed. It's a significant advantage: you can add it to your Chrome browser as an extension. That means it will work on Gmail, Google Docs, Outlook Web, and social media platforms. However, there's no desktop app, and it's not available for mobile or offline use. Another option provided is Readable, which like its namesake, works to improve the readability of your prose. By analyzing your text, it points out grammatical and spelling errors, along with signs of weak writing such as run-on sentences. Like Grammarly, it also scores your writing in real-time based on how easy it is for your audience to read your writing. Readable then explains how you can improve it. However, Readable does not offer a free version, so after a seven-day trial period, you'll have to pay to continue to use this virtual editor. Protip: Grammarly's premium and business versions can be expensive, but you can buy them at a significant discount through a website such as StackSocial, often offered at about half-off the standard price. A hidden bonus Perhaps the best thing about using a virtual editor is that you forget it is even there after a while, like autofill. You come to expect it to catch minor errors, and it's likely to help you correct some bad writing habits. In the end, by using a virtual editor, your clients receive clear and accurate communications from you. This matches what your clients expect when they hire a professional to help them with the most significant transaction in their lives. If you need help installing or setting up a virtual editor, contact Tech Helpline, and an analyst can walk you through what you need to know. To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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LinkedIn SEO for Real Estate Agents
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How to Convince FSBOs to Use an Agent
The FSBO. Yeah, you know this acronym inside and out--the challenge is how do you explain to the "for sale by owner" consumer that using a Realtor is more than paying a commission to sell their house? Plenty of homeowners try to sell their own residences by sticking a homemade sign on their front lawn and listing some inaccurate data and self-edited photos online. But when it comes to selling their home privately, the risks outweigh the rewards. Is the consumer really informed about what services and safeguards are offered by you when listing and selling a home? Perhaps it's time to focus on more than being just a typical agent—it is time to get real and highlight the benefits that come with your professional real estate services. The high cost of saving on real estate commissions One of the initial things that comes up when you mention a Realtor is commissions. While selling your home privately may seem like a good idea, it can cost the seller more than the real estate fees associated with an agent's services. First off, the market is not always hot, but whether it's booming or busting, your experience and access to statistical information keeps you in the know about the current market value of a property. Overpricing or underpricing a home can cost the FSBO seller time and/or money. As an agent, you know how to get a property sold by making good use of proptech like 3D tours, floor plans, and comparative market analysis data. According to a recent NAR report, a FSBO sale is very likely to end up netting the seller a lower price than if they worked with an agent. You know how to get top dollar for a home because of your access to information, excellent real estate marketing plan and negotiation skills. Not only do you save the seller the hassle of a FSBO transaction by setting up virtual tours and virtual open houses, but using proptech tools, like those from iGuide, gets the seller the best market price in the least amount of time. When you work as a real estate agent, it is your full-time occupation. Life experiences in the profession have given you a sixth sense about potential home buyers. A FSBO consumer is keen to open their doors to anyone who comes knocking—after all, that is how you sell a house right? An open-door policy is great when you are working in a secluded space amongst trusted associates, but allowing everyone and anyone to enter when selling your home privately may lead to some trouble. Realtors have safeguards in place to protect the consumer from theft, inaccurate information, and misrepresentation. Crimes during open houses are easily avoided with the implementation of virtual tours and virtual open houses. Targeting qualified buyers using proptech tools allows you to bring serious contenders to a physical showing. And when it comes to providing the most accurate information about the dimensions of a home, interactive floor plans and advanced measurements have got you covered. No need to entertain the snoopy neighbour or the would-be thief sniffing around. Protection for the transaction Mistakes happen. But when they do, someone is going to pay the price. A smooth transaction begins with presenting all the facts and figures as accurately as possible. Precision measurements on floor plans, combined with 3D tours, allow you to present a clear understanding of the space to potential buyers. On the flip side, a FSBO listing does not offer any proof of actual size, opening the seller up to misrepresentation. Real estate agents know the value of using disclosure statements to provide information about patent defects or latent defects that could affect the sale of a property. When selling a home privately, these defects could end up causing a lawsuit against the homeowner in a FSBO situation. Failing to disclose a known problem such as mold or previous basement flooding is grounds for seeking damages through the courts. Realtors know how to ask the right questions, follow through with solid marketing plans, and can get the property sold quickly all while protecting the interests of the seller. Should an unexpected mistake occur, your Errors and Omissions insurance is in place to shield you, the seller, and the buyer from costly damages. Ease of process and access According to NAR's 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, 89% of all home sellers and 87% of all home buyers use a real estate agent for their real estate transactions. One of the top reasons for a seller to use your services is to help sell their home at a competitive price and in the least amount of time. How does a Realtor satisfy the needs of the seller? Make the process easy with minimal disruption to the seller's life. Real estate marketing includes using proptech tools that provide access to the home 24/7 via online 3D tours and laser-accurate floor plans. Intuitive navigation makes it easy for a buyer to uncover the inner beauty of a home without interfering in the seller's daily activities. Selling a home privately only results in a sale about 10% of the time because a FSBO consumer is limited by the lack of skill, proptech, and experience with the whole process. Time is of the essence when you work in real estate. Achieving a sale quickly is dependent on your use of tools to provide a smooth and successful transaction for the consumer. Your expertise, skills, and service are no match for the novice FSBO. The answer to the question of whether or not someone should sell their home privately is to forgo selling by owner for the reasons above. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog. Futher Reading True Confessions of a FSBO 184 Things You Do for Real Estate Clients (and they don't even know it) Combating FSBO: 3 Reasons Why Agents Rule
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It's Mid 2022. Have You Started Working on Your Real Estate Business Yet?
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Is Your Real Estate Lead Follow-Up Persistent... or Annoying?
Florida broker Beth Atalay offers advice on best real estate lead follow-up practices that will prevent leads from getting annoyed with you. Here's Beth: Most of us receive phone calls, emails, text messages and even Facebook messages asking for our business. I don't know about you, but the companies I receive solicitation calls and messages from are typically not large companies like Apple, Microsoft or Bloomingdale's. The ones that consistently call are the ones I do not want to do business with, and truth be told, their constant phone calls are very annoying. To remedy the situation, I block their calls and send their emails to my spam. For the past few weeks, I'd been receiving calls from one company on a daily basis. Finally, today, I asked the person who was calling if he enjoyed annoying people. I understand that he's following orders and has to meet his quota — but I also understand that you should follow basic rules of common sense in how often you reach out. So is it okay to follow up? Absolutely! In fact, it is expected that we do so, but the method of delivery makes all the difference. While there's nothing wrong with being persistent, it is very easy to cross the line and begin to annoy people we're trying to get business from. To avoid this common pitfall, here are some tips I use when it comes to following up the "right way." Tip 1: Being Persistent Doesn't Mean Every Day If you show up in my email, on my phone, in my LinkedIn inbox and on my Facebook page every day asking for business, you're not getting a dime from me — because you are annoying! We all have busy schedules, and it's normal to prioritize our tasks. When you contact a lead, don't worry if you don't get an immediate response. Give them time to catch up and if you haven't heard from them within 3-5 days, then you can follow up. Tip 2: Ask If You Should Stop Contacting Them Politely ask unresponsive leads if they'd like you to stop contacting them. If they say yes, be sure to leave the ball in their court so they know how to reach out to you if there's ever a change. They will appreciate you for asking. Tip 3: Try Different Methods of Reaching Out Some people simply don't read emails, they prefer phone calls. Others don't like the phone and prefer face-to-face contact. Ask leads which method of communication they prefer, and be sure to cater your outreach to suit their wants and needs. Tip 4: Be Different Than Others There are hundreds of other agents who can reach out to the same lead you're trying to engage and claim to be the best of the best. Be different and showcase why leads should work with you in your follow-up communications. Our time is valuable and we don't appreciate those who waste it, so be conscious of your leads' time when you follow up with them. Be persistent in a good way, but don't be annoying! To learn more about Beth Atalay, visit her website at www.wheretoliveinorlando.com. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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This One Trend Indicates the Housing Market is Finally Returning to Normal
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Minimize Buyer Frustration with Adequate Education Upfront
The WAV Group's recent study on homebuyer frustration reveals many pain points that homebuyers have been experiencing in the recent seller's market. While some of the frustration is unique to the market conditions of 2020 and 202, like multiple bid situations, there are still many insights that can help agents prepare their clients for the process regardless of market conditions. To download a copy of the report, click HERE. Setting expectations and education about every step of a transaction right from the start is a key opportunity to improve service levels. Certainly first-time home buyers don't know what they don't know yet, but even experienced homebuyers need to know how different the process is in the extreme seller's market we're experiencing today. Embroiled in so many stressful and unsuccessful transactions today, agents may lose the perspective of the average person who purchases just a few homes in their lifetime. When asked about improving the homebuying experience, one respondent said, "It is far too complicated and involved. A regular person can barely grasp all the hoops you have to jump through." With that in mind, agents may want to consider a buyer education session before beginning the process of purchasing a home. Most agents use a listing presentation to win the listings, but few take the time to sit down with their buyers and talk through the entire process from start to finish. What should be in your pre-purchase buyer education presentation? Timeline Under perfect conditions, this would be the relative timeline of events from initial home search online all the way to unpacking the dishes in their new home. Checklists can be very helpful in this section of the presentation. Be sure to cover the common time periods in your local market for appraisals, surveys, and home inspections. This is also the perfect opportunity to set expectations for showing appointments, your availability on nights and weekends, and preferred communication methods. Current Market Conditions Normally, finding a new listing online on a Thursday, then going to see it on Saturday, and then making a reasonably below asking price offer the following Wednesday is a perfectly acceptable timeline. Not in today's market. Are houses selling in weeks, days, or—as we saw recently—in hours? What price range should they be looking in to be able to stay on budget in a bidding situation? Should they get pre-qualified for a mortgage? Do they fully understand homeownership costs BEYOND the mortgage and downpayment? Some respondents said they stretched to buy the home at the top of their price range and now they're struggling to afford maintenance, utilities and general repairs. Common Hurdles You Can Warn Them About Don't shy away from sharing the challenges in today's market, and in any real estate market, that have derailed past clients. Remember, they are hiring you for your experience so that they don't have to learn the hard way. Some of these situations, like lower than expected appraisals or major repairs needed, may not be pleasant to talk about, but your clients need to be prepared for possible scenarios and know that they will have remedies available to them if those situations occur. Many of the frustrations with the homebuying process can be mitigated by education and communication. As another respondent said, "Wish there was more explanation of the timeline for when things happen and what the next steps would be." To see all the insights and data from the WAV Group Homebuyer Frustration Report, download the full report for free by using promo code Frustration at checkout. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Hosting Open Houses That Get Better Offers
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Basic Real Estate Photography Tips: Identifying and Correcting Vertical Lines
Are you just starting out in real estate photography and want to know the easiest and fastest way to get good results? The fast answer is to start by making sure your vertical lines are straight. What vertical lines you ask? Here are a few examples: Vertical lines can be seen most easily at the intersection between two walls and they are important because they affect the perceived value of your photographs. You will have happier clients if your photos have a consistent look and feel, and the easiest way to do this is by having perfect vertical lines. How is this done? There are two ways to achieve perfect vertical lines. 1. Level your camera When your camera is level, all the vertical lines in a house should appear as close to vertical in any image you take. Houses aren't always straight, but they are close enough most of the time to make this work. You can use the camera's built-in level or use a spirit level attached to the camera. Spirit levels are a great choice because they are inexpensive and easy to see while attached to the base of the camera or the hot shoe mount. To get the best results, it's also helpful to use a tripod. Any tripod will do as long as it's sturdy and can accommodate the weight of the camera you are using. Using a tripod will allow you to make precise adjustments and achieve consistent results by eliminating camera shake while shooting hand held. 2. Fix your images in post-processing software Using Adobe Photoshop or similar software, you can transform images to get results that are as close to perfect as possible. This is done by using a combination of rotation and the vertical transform tool. Here is a quick video demonstrating the process: Can you both level the camera and tweak things in post? Of course! Combining a level camera with fine adjustments in post processing is the method most real estate photographers use to get the best results. Contrary to popular belief by the lay person, it isn't enough to just own a high end camera. Amazing photographs are a part of every successful real estate business. Providing your clients with strong images shows the value you bring to the real estate transaction—and to do this, your images must look the part. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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To Bot or Not? The Modern Way to Engage Real Estate Leads
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NFTs in Real Estate: Temporary phase or an enduring fixture?
Are the crypto world and NFTs sunsetting? Or is what's happening simply a reset shaking out the con artists, scams, and the hyperbole that had run amok? If you ask Joe Jesuele, he will tell you it's the latter. And Joe knows crypto and NFTs. Joe is a real estate entrepreneur, a tech innovator, a passionate problem solver, and a remarkably humble leader. Yet, he's purposefully remained an under-the-radar type of guy – until recently. As the Founder and CEO of HomeJab, the leading on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros, Joe is one of the foremost experts on visual real estate content. From standard to 3D video home tours, floorplans, aerial footage, virtual staging, and more – he's remained at the forefront of evangelizing the importance of real estate imagery. He was an early real estate video pioneer, and his penchant to innovate manifested most recently in the debut of the first NFT platform for real estate images. Powered by HomeJab, Joe created an innovative alternative to stock photo services. Most importantly, and crypto world enthusiasts will understand this, the platform gives participating professional real estate photographers 96 percent of all sales proceeds – the highest compensation available from a major stock photo platform. People don't realize that the big stock imaging firms only pay photographers pennies in royalties on their images. The NFT marketplace for professional real estate photography images is now at real.art. The next phase of NFTs in real estate Because Joe knows crypto, he can see the forest for the trees. In March, he wrote a blog about real estate photography and the need for NFTs. It's an excellent primer for many real estate pros trying to wrap their heads around this industry. Most recently, he began another NFT-related effort in real estate. HomeJab launched a novel real estate agent marketing method that uses a real estate-backed NFT to promote the sale of a home. Unlike many blockchain efforts, Joe isn't trying to displace real estate agents. On the contrary, his approach keeps agents at the center of the transaction – and enhances the need for outstanding professional real estate photography. He's just creating a new way to reach crypto enthusiasts who want to buy a home with crypto. You can see the first NFT listing at nft.homejab.com. The cream is rising to the top The shakeout in the crypto world has not deterred enthusiasts like Joe. On the contrary, what is happening benefits efforts like the ones Joe is undertaking. That's because the NFT-related innovations he is creating offer practical value. As a pragmatist, Joe is looking for ways that NFTs could be used in real estate to provide real-world benefits. With his latest effort, for example, he is not trying to change the primary path of how real estate is sold. Instead, through the new HomeJab NFT platform, Joe explains that rather than change the legal ownership of the property, the title is still transferred into the buyer's name by a title company, just like a normal transaction. "Purchasing the NFT is like sending in an instant offer," Joe explains. "It doesn't change the title; it gives you an option to purchase." HomeJab sends the funds used for the NFT purchase to a title company, and then the transaction is completed in the usual way – and it also gets recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. Joe says, "I think it makes sense to do both. It's not feasible right now to remove the government entirely from the transaction (considering current security issues we've seen in crypto). But I also think it does not make sense to rely entirely on the government and solely on the traditional way. Our approach is a step toward decentralization: Not an overhaul of the entire system." Joe adds that the overarching goal of HomeJab and its NFT platform was to keep the process similar to how it is now. "We want to add a new way for crypto enthusiasts to use their portfolio to submit quick offers. I think this is the most scalable way to onboard as many real estate professionals and homeowners as possible to the blockchain. Setting up LLCs for each property does not appear to be as practical with large volumes," noting his firm shoots thousands of homes every month. The one thing Joe wants to make crystal clear is the new NFT platform is a service for real estate agents, not a FSBO site. "We're promoting NFTs from the photo shoots we complete for the real estate agents that hire us. Therefore, our service becomes a way for the traditional real estate industry to engage with the crypto community. Anyone who hires us for a photo shoot can get a free NFT listing," he added. Joe sees what he is doing now as a possible bridge to the future. Finally, it's worth taking a minute to review the "How it Works" section at the bottom of nft.homejab.com and the FAQ page. Then you can decide for yourself: Is crypto dead? Or is this a Mark Twain moment, and the reports of its death are greatly exaggerated? Decide where you find yourself on this question, but time will tell. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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How the Real Estate Transaction's Weak Link Became Its Strength
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Why IDX Sites Are Better than Non-IDX Sites for Real Estate Websites
We understand it may be overwhelming having so many different companies pitching you their real estate website services. We get it. As an agent, you want a website that will bring you results. Something to consider when choosing a website host is if you want a website with or without IDX. There are pros and cons of using any website service. Normally with IDX sites, you will have to work with the template they give you. With certain website providers such as Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly, you can create beautiful non-IDX websites, but need to find a third-party home search service. The aesthetics of a site aren't always equivalent to their results. Here is why we recommend an IDX website: Website Hosts Are Informed About Real Estate If your website host has built-in IDX solutions, they have invested money and resources into building relationships with your local multiple listing service and integrating the data. This will mean that your website is more likely to be MLS-compliant. If you choose a website host that focuses on real estate branding, you are already in better hands than if you choose your college friend that designs websites. Better for SEO Website hosts that don't offer IDX solutions require you to "frame in" an IDX home search. This workaround will allow visitors to search for homes on your website. However, it will take more work to get visitors to your website in the first place, because they will not be finding it on their own. Frameable IDX solutions are websites hosted by a third party that can be embedded into your website (a website within a website). People will be able to go to your site, and see the home search—but the home search is a separate entity from your website, and not indexed by search engines. Your site is less likely to show up in the search results of a user typing in "Homes for Sale in Birmingham" because the search engines do not index foreign aspects of your site. They will only index native content. Built-in IDX solutions will have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of pages on your site for Google to index. Each search result will have its own page, and each listing will have its own page. This strengthens the search engine optimization of your website. Easier Customer Experience With built-in IDX solutions, customers will only need to sign up once. For many IDX sites, the lead capture can track the user's IP address to determine if they have been there before and allow them to do a few searches before prompting a capture form. Non-IDX sites that frame in their home search are not able to track if the visitor has already done a home search or not, because it is not tied to your website. Most importantly, framing a third-party home search into your non-IDX site is not always mobile friendly. Easier Agent Experience Would you rather ask a lead searching for homes what they are searching for OR have your website tell you what they are searching for, so leads can continue to research? Automated Lead Nurturing With IDX websites, they'll help you maintain a database of leads. The best IDX web hosting services will track what your leads are searching, send them listings, and nurture them with emails to get them to continue searching on your website. This effectively babysits leads that are at the top of the sales funnel, while you can personally cater to leads that are ready to transact. It is possible to be successful with a non-IDX website, but why would you put yourself at a disadvantage? To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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It's a Sellers Market. So Why Aren't More People Selling Their Home?
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72% of Recent Homebuyers Report Feeling Some Level of Frustration with Their Home Purchase
WAV Group's new study reveals high levels of frustration among recent homebuyers competing to secure their next dream home. It is often said that for most people buying a home is the single largest purchase of their lives. A decision of that magnitude should be made with time and careful consideration, but recent buyers have been rushing from one house to the next, making offers as quickly as they can. It should be no surprise then that the chief complaint revealed in the WAV Group Homebuyer Frustration Report was feeling rushed to make an offer on the house, with 49% of frustrated buyers pointing to this issue. Overall 72% of the respondents reported some level of frustration either with the purchase process or with the home they actually ended up purchasing. The number of houses toured seemed to be in line with historical norms with 83% touring less than 10 homes before making a purchase. However, 75% wrote more than two offers before getting one accepted and one in five buyers submitted more than six offers. This cycle of decision making, waiting for a response, and ultimately discouragement when the first few offers are not accepted takes an emotional toll on buyers. On a positive note, only 19% of frustrated buyers were upset with their agent, pointing to the high level of care and professionalism displayed throughout the industry, even in the most challenging of markets. As any great agent would agree, selling real estate is just as much about the people as it is the property, maybe even more. Conducted at the end of January 2022, the WAV Group Homebuyer Frustration Report surveyed 277 consumers who had purchased a home in the previous 18 months, which covered one of the hottest markets in recent history. While indications nationally point to a more normalizing market, this study highlights many of the frustrations that buyers often experience and that agents can help mitigate. For a limited time, use promo code Frustration at checkout to receive a free copy. Get the full report here. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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You're Losing Lead Conversions Because of These Mistakes
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How to Answer the Top 3 Questions Clients Have About eSigning
The last few years have been a boon for the popularity of esignatures. With remote transactions skyrocketing and the need for more digital tools to keep the real estate industry vibrant, the adoption rates for esigning soared. In addition, many municipalities -- the last bastion of handwritten or "wet" signatures -- got on board the esignature train during the pandemic. Researchers say this is only the beginning. The digital signature market is projected to grow from $4 billion this year to over $35 billion by 2029. Over the last five years, the number of real agents who rarely or never use esignatures dropped in half. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2016, 15% of agents mostly avoided esigning. Last year, that number dropped to just 7%. Today, more than three out of four agents use esignatures frequently: from daily or nearly every day to a few times a month. It has become the No. 3 most-used business software by real estate agents, topped only by the MLS and electronic contracts and forms. The question to ask now is: Are all your clients comfortable with esigning? During the height of the COVID outbreak, agents realized the indispensable value of esignatures. However, while most buyers and sellers are probably comfortable with an esignature, not all of them are. Also, keep in mind that brokers and agents should research the esignature solution they offer because only the most reputable firms offer bank-grade security features that protect everyone. Here are three questions often asked by those who are resistant to signing on the dotted line – without a pen in hand – and how to answer these questions: 1. Are esignatures signatures really safe and secure? Did you know it is easier to forge a paper document or falsify a wet signature than to alter a digital version? Unlike wet signatures, documents with esignatures come with an electronic record that provides proof of the transaction and an audit trail. This digital record includes everything that happened with the digitally signed file: when it was opened, viewed, and signed. In addition, many esignature systems record the geocodes to provide a location of where the document was signed too. Many esignatures go beyond providing a digital record and include a certificate of completion. For Form Simplicity users, it's known as the Certificate of Authenticity. This digital certificate offers additional information, including details about each signer of the document, confirmation that the person signed a disclosure agreeing to provide a digital signature, a signature image, key event timestamps, the computer's IP address, and other identifying information. Finally, the documents that use esignatures are sealed using a Public Key Infrastructure or PKI. The key indicates the validity of the esignature and offers confirmation that it has not been tampered with or altered. A traditional "wet" signature offers zero authentication and has no built-in protections, making it far less secure than an esignature. 2. Are esignatures legal? The U.S. federal government passed the ESIGN or Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act over 20 years ago in 2000. Along with the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, which most U.S. states have adopted, an esignature is legally binding in every U.S. state. They have the same legal status as a handwritten signature. The ESIGN Act stipulates: Any legal document that requires a signature may be satisfied by an electronic signature. Executed agreements that are esigned can be presented as evidence in court. An esigned document cannot be denied or invalidated solely because it is in electronic form. However, some states have adopted their own laws related to esignatures. New York, for example, is one of the few states that exempt certain documents from esigning, including records related to the disposition of an individual, or their property, upon death. This exemption includes wills, trusts, and orders not to resuscitate. It has taken time – during the first 10 years after the ESIGN Act, FHA did not allow esigning – but for real estate transactions, esignatures are legal nationwide. 3. How are esignatures verified? The verification process for esignatures is essentially the same as what is required to verify a handwritten signature. With a digital signature, the intended signee must prove their identity, as the signer can be the only person who owns their signature. The verification procedure ensures that the right person used the eSignature. Esigned documents record the location, time, and date when the esignature was made. This information helps determine who signed using the eSignature and if the right person did it. Technology also assists with esignature authentication, offering measures to authenticate the person signing digitally. Two-factor verification is the most common to verify one's identity. Bottom line Agents must be as comfortable with esigning as their clients. Advanced transaction management programs such as Form Simplicity helps, with built-in, unlimited esigning as a core feature of its best offering. If you are like most busy agents and use digital transaction management software for all your deals, you know it's valuable to educate clients about how safe, secure, reliable, and legal esignatures are. And when they discover the added convenience, speed, and accuracy that digital signing provides, they will also become fans of digital signing. If you want to learn more about esigning for you and your clients, check out these related articles: Which of These 3 Reasons Convinced You to Use THE Software Tool Brokers Encourage Most? 3 Easy Ways to Help Your Clients Get Comfortable with eSigning Understanding the Advantages of Digital Signatures Top 5 Things You May Not Know about Form Simplicity's eSign Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors® and manages both Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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How Real Estate Agents Can Decrease Interruptions in the Home Selling Process
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The Introverted Real Estate Agent's Guide to Networking
Everybody thinks that all real estate agents are outgoing, talkative, and lack inhibition (in a good way, of course). While that may be true about some of the population, real estate agents come from all walks of life. One demographic you might be surprised that exists in real estate are introverts—and you'd be surprised at how effective introverts can be at networking. Are you the type of person that is "shy until I get to know somebody," then you might be an introvert. Introverts might not be the best at commanding the attention of an entire room, but they are experts at building authentic relationships with their potential clients. If you are an extrovert, some of these tips may offer perspective or even give you an alternative strategy for networking! Don't Go to Networking Events Networking events are filled with people that want to meet as many people as possible for future possible collaborations. You might not thrive in this environment, because there are many people that come to these events to increase the quantity of their network, not necessarily the quality. Instead, you should attend events that you enjoy where networking opportunities are present. Meeting a lender at a networking event is great, but being in the same bowling league as somebody who happens to be a lender is even better. Wear Something You Get Complimented on Often Do you get complimented on that fancy red scarf? Or your floral necktie? Wear that more often! This will make it more likely that people will initiate conversation with you, instead of the other way around. Think of your fashion as a fishing hook. Once you get a compliment, reel them in with a short story. "Thanks, I'm wearing it because _________." Then continue the conversation from there! Get People to Talk About Themselves Getting people to talk is about themselves is a great tool to have in your toolbelt. This will help prospects become more comfortable in sharing information with you. As a person starts talking more about themselves, you will be able to gauge if that person is likely to move soon and thus become a buyer or seller! Some easy questions to ask are: What brings you here? What are you hoping to get out of this? What do you have going on right now? Be the Connector When it comes to networking, most people will be in it for themselves. It really stands out if you do something for others. After getting to know people on a more personal level, everybody else you meet is an opportunity to connect people. The more you are the connector, the more you become the connective tissue in this mini-community you inadvertently created. Everybody knows each other through you, so when one of their friends or family is ready to buy a home, you will be the first person they recommend. They will remember the value you brought into their lives by introducing that plumber, contractor, fellow sports fan, etc., into their life. Use Facebook! Social networks are a goldmine for introverts. By posting content that people can engage with, or engaging with other people's content, you can get to know people and build a stronger rapport for when you meet them in real life. A great place to start adding comments is on posts from your local news station about local areas. You don't need to comment about real estate, just your thoughts on whatever topic they are talking about. The more people see you, the more people you are engaging with, the more they are likely to work with you! To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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Setting You Up For Social Media Success
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Marketing 101 for Real Estate Agents
Do you have a pulse on the latest trends in marketing for real estate agents? Don't feel bad if your answer is "no." You already have a lot on your plate, and being an expert in marketing in addition to real estate may not be high on your priority list. That's ok! We'll give you a crash course in the basics so you can create a marketing plan and start generating leads in your sleep. There are three main areas to focus on: discoverability, repetition and positive social proof. We'll cover what each means and why it's important, as well as provide actionable takeaways based on our own firsthand experience in marketing for real estate agents. Discoverability What it is Discoverability is being easily found online. Yes, online. No one is looking through a phonebook anymore to locate an ad or phone number. Buyers and sellers are turning to Google to research agents and learn about their business. Specifically, they are looking for a Google business profile and your real estate website. If you haven't heard of a Google business profile, it's like a living resume that sits to the right of search results. It takes up major real estate on the page, and consumers have become used to looking through the profile—at photos, reviews and bio information—to learn more about businesses. Why it's important Do you really exist if you aren't on Google? We aren't joking! More than 90% of organic searches happen on Google. If someone has a few agents they are researching and can't find you on America's largest search engine, why bother looking for you elsewhere (and where else would they even look)? It's imperative to your business that you are easily discoverable on Google and that the information presented is accurate, up to date and plentiful so you leave no doubts in the minds of those researching you. What to do right now Claim, verify and create your Google business profile. This is one of those marketing tactics that won't just pay off now, but builds over time for tremendous benefits in the future. Our research shows that after just six months of regularly updating your profile (with new reviews, photos and content posts weekly), your appearance in search results can increase by as much as 22x! If you don't have even a basic real estate website, that should be the second action you take. A very good website will yield tremendous benefits. With good SEO, it will show up high in search results. Even without good SEO, you can link to it from your Google business profile. Repetition What it is In some ways, this is the opposite of discoverability because you are proactively getting in front of buyers and/or sellers on a regular basis. This is typically accomplished using always-on digital ads that target your farm area and a custom audience that includes leads, prospects and your sphere. You could also achieve repetition by continuously sending postcards to the same neighborhoods. Whichever tactics you choose, the key here is setting aside a budget that will allow you to advertise repeatedly so your brand stays top of mind for your target audience. Why it's important Do you notice specific brands following you around the internet or always appearing in your social media feed? You must strive to be one of these brands! Repetition improves memory. The next time someone from your audience is ready to start their real estate journey (or knows someone else who is), you'll come to mind immediately. What to do right now Get your digital marketing machine running. Determine a single platform to start. We recommend Facebook given its wide reach, highly engaged user base and advanced advertising capabilities. You can set your ads to run continuously and cap your budget at a daily max so you don't run out of money too soon (which can happen easily if you aren't experienced on this ad platform). Facebook has flexible click-through options, so you can collect lead information on a form or send clickers to a specific landing page, like an active listing. Positive Social Proof What it is Social proof is essentially validation from other people's experiences with the same product or service based on information they provide, such as through reviews or testimonials. Think about the last time you bought something from Amazon. If you haven't purchased that product before and don't recognize the seller, you may have scrolled to the reviews to see if other purchasers say the product is low or high quality. The overall trend of reviews—positive or negative—is social proof. Why it's important Positive social proof gives you credibility, while negative comments could go so far as slowing or even ruining your business. As an example, if someone wants to work with you, they will more than likely read reviews that others have left about you online. If they see a pattern of positive experiences, they will feel more confident in moving forward with working with you. If there is negative social proof, then you can say goodbye—93% of people admit that online reviews influence their decision. What to do right now No social proof can be just as damaging to your brand as negative social proof. If you don't have any reviews online, get started right away. This is made easier after following our first recommendation (claiming your Google business profile). You can then share your profile link with past clients, colleagues and friends who can give you five stars along with a written professional or character reference. Google is the most important location to build up reviews on, as there's a high likelihood that this will be the first destination for most buyers and sellers when they start their real estate research. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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6 Tech Tools for Agents
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[Podcast] Growing Your with Technology with Matthew Kuchar
In this episode of It's Closing Time, Matthew Kuchar of Showami sits down with RentSpree CEO Michael Lucarelli to discuss technology tools for real estate agents and how agents can extend their professional network with PropTech tools. Showami is a service that connects licensed real estate agents with other licensed real estate agents to assist with buyer showings. Learn more about Showami at www.showami.com.  
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Friday Freebie: Get Sellers into the Game with this Cheat Sheet
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Future Proof Your Business by Knowing Your Market and Your Numbers
Markets move, and if you read the tea leaves, changes are coming. Rising interest rates, among other things, are cooling home sales in many areas and experts believe that housing inventory will rise from its historically low levels. As a Realtor, you need to be informed of any market changes so you can deliver local market expertise that highlights the opportunities of today's real estate market. One way to do that is to keep a constant tab on your market, and the corresponding statistics and data. And RPR (Realtors Property Resource) provides that knowledge in big, heaping spoonfuls. Read on to see how RPR can help you stay up to date and in the know. Markets, trends, charts and graphs In true RPR fashion, we're constantly striving to improve your user experience. Your input, feedback and suggestions fuel our designers and developers. And it's why we keep making access to property data, and how to understand and share that data, better and better. And now we make it easier than ever to answer the question, "How's the market doing?" Case in point: the new "Summary" and "Housing" sections of the Neighborhood details pages, and the new "Market Trends" tab on any Property Details page. To see these new charts, check out our recent blog post: RPR Unveils New Charts and Graphs in its Neighborhood Pages. All of these new layouts present local market activity, sales stats and inventory details, and package them in a new, easy-on-the-eyes layout and presentation. Pro Tip: Locating the New Charts All of the new charts are on the Neighborhood pages (Summary and Housing tabs) On any Property Details Summary page, there is a new "Market Trends" tab that replaced the old "Charts" tab These updated charts are a snapshot of local market stats, including months of inventory, list to sold price, median days in RPR, and much more. You'll find this collection data, graphs and statistics incredibly helpful in explaining local market trends to your buyers and sellers. It's also an easy to understand topline that you can share with clients and prospects, which positions you as THE local market expert. For example, in the Neighborhood "Summary" section, you can save or print out the "Market Trends" charts. (To include these new charts in an RPR Report, click the "Print" button, and then under the "Destination" pull down menu, you can choose to save the file as a .pdf. Save the file (chart) and then you can attach it to other RPR reports from the Reports generation page.) This "Market Trends" chart is something home sellers and buyers will really appreciate. You can save the page to add to reports, or simply send it an email or text, or even post it as a graphic to your social media channels. Sharing this information to potential and past clients is a solid strategy to position yourself as a market expert. Send it over and then connect with prospects or clients to walk them through the key details of Months of Inventory, List to Sold Price %, Median days in RPR and Median Sold Price. It can help sellers see how the market is shifting, and help buyers prepare competitive offers. The RPR Market Activity Report When one chart won't do, you can also send complete, comprehensive reports that are packed with housing data for a particular area. The Market Activity Report showcases what is happening in the local real estate market. You can include new listings, closed sales, price changes, expired listings, open houses, and more. Market Snapshots display data for estimated home values, sale price, and list price, in the form of stats and map layers. A Market Activity Report can be generated for almost any area, including; neighborhoods, zip codes, cities, school attendance zones, and even custom areas you create and save on the map. Run it for 3 days, a week, a month, 3 months, or 6 months Choose which property statuses to display Select property types, then filter by property characteristics For a detailed how-to, check out: How to Create a Market Activity Report for any Neighborhood. "My Markets" in RPR Another smart way to keep tabs on local markets is to set up the "My Markets" area from the RPR homepage. This section is located just under the RPR "Shortcuts" icons, and is clearly labeled "My Markets." This customization feature offers you "at a glance" updates on specific neighborhoods. Just hit "ADD" or "EDIT" to get started. Now, every time you visit RPR, your chosen markets will be waiting for you. From there, you can easily track activity within the area. And while it's pretty intuitive, here's a My Markets How-To if you need more detailed instructions. Market awareness and preparedness Wherever the housing market is headed, you need to be prepared. Be open with your clients about inventory levels, days on market, and whether homes are going for above asking price. Share your insight on emerging trends and how they can use this info to their advantage. After all, they count on you to be a trusted adviser when it comes to their (most likely) largest investment. Knowing these important metrics and statistics can help you prepare for the ups and downs that are sure to come. And keeping tabs on local markets with up to date charts, stats, data and graphs from RPR is one of the best ways for you to do it. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Real Estate Agents: Cash in on the Money in Your 'Trash'
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Guide to Delivering a Winning Listing Presentation
Some would say that a winning listing presentation is your one chance to create a first impression with real estate clients. A recent study suggests that over 97% of buyers look for properties online and are searching online for up to 90 days before even contacting a real estate agent, as per another Google statistic. If that is the case, once you get to the kitchen table, it's almost too late. So what is the goal of a listing presentation, and how do you create one that makes a real impact? The truth is, most of your competitors see this as an opportunity to talk about themselves. Some may even feel like they have to "sell themselves." But I'll let you in on a secret: that's not what your customer is looking for at all. Have you ever had a piñata at your birthday party? You are blindfolded, handed a stick, and told to swing at a paper mâché figure that is hanging somewhere in front of you. You swing at it with all your might while being shouted at from every direction. All the while, the target is being pulled and bounced out of your reach. All you really want is for someone to tell you exactly what to do to get to the candy. This is what it feels like to buy a house. A winning listing presentation is your chance to tell the customer exactly what to expect, and how you can make the process less painful. In short, it's about taking off the blindfold. Start Before You Arrive What you do before you get to the kitchen table can be the most important part of any winning listing presentation. Having a solid pre-listing process is key. Start by asking some critical questions: Will all of the decision-makers be present? What are their expectations? Have they met with others, or are they meeting with others after you? These are relevant questions in the real estate world. Next, give them some homework. Provide them with an action plan—a checklist for each room, with suggestions as to items that may need to be cleaned, decluttered and repaired. This sets the tone that selling a home is a team effort and they will need to actively participate in the process. Lastly, provide them with sample listing agreement documents. Highlight the sample clauses and terms and note that these will be the items you will be discussing. Give them a chance to read and prepare ahead of time. Pre-appointment Checklist Cover letter – Introduction to you, your brand and what you do Testimonials – Quotes from past clients Seller's Action Plan – Prep work for the customer to complete Sample Forms – Highlight clauses and terms that will be discussed Have a Plan Every great story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A winning listing presentation follows the same formula. Having a system keeps you on track. First, tour the home. Ask lots of questions and listen closely to the answers. Take notes. This is your chance to learn the seller's motivations, concerns, and timing. Next, set expectations as to what you need to discuss and the items you will cover. This is where you explain your WHY, your values, and how you do business. Resist the urge to jump right into the comparable sales or the marketing – this is important stuff! But, this is your opportunity to set expectations for how you work, your communication style, and what your past clients say about you. Be prepared to discuss stats and numbers. Your competitors will also show comparable sales, so come equipped with more information. You should compile your own stats, such as your average list to sale price ratio vs. local average, or even your average days on market vs. other listings. Present these as case studies or visually for the most impact. Remember, you are educating the sellers on the real estate market trends at this stage. You aren't just promoting yourself. This is where you start to set expectations about the local market, inventory, pricing trends, and days on market. Include your real estate industry partners — stagers, home inspectors, professional photographers, contractors, pest inspectors, lawyers, mortgage reps — the list goes on. You won't be helping them navigate the sale of their home alone — you have a team of people who will assist them too. Each of them plays a really important role. Once you have explained the value of great photos and visuals, it's a good time to explain the ways you'll be marketing the home to get the maximum number of eyeballs on it. Include examples from previous sales. Because the potential buyer is likely looking at the listing online, explain the value of a virtual showing experience. Features like floor plans will help the buyers emotionally move into the home, even before seeing it in person. Remember the piñata? At this stage in the conversation, show them a sales process flowchart, outlining all of the steps in selling a home. Include everything that could happen along the way. Take the time to educate the seller not only on all of the potential challenges along the way, but also what your role will be in helping them navigate each one. Don't forget the details. Keep in mind that most people don't sell a house every day, so they'll need a refresher on the showing, offer, and negotiation process. Lastly, a winning listing presentation needs to include your pricing strategy. Outline how and why you will suggest pricing the home above, below, or at market value. Once you have talked about pricing strategies, it's time to show them their competition in the market. Prepare your CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to showcase all of the recently sold properties in the area. Then show them what is currently on the market, and how it is similar or different to theirs. Take a look at the prices. Here is where your neighborhood experience and expertise come into play. Your goal is to show them where in the spectrum their home would fall, and why. Presentation Checklist Home Tour – Refer back to the Seller's Action Plan Stats and Numbers – Local factors that might affect the value Vendor Partners – Stagers, photographers, carpenters, etc. Marketing Examples – Include visual samples The Sales Process Flowchart – Map out the selling process Pricing – Identify your suggested strategy Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) Listing agreement documents and sample offer documents Follow Through Once you have discussed the price, the time has come to look at the listing agreement documents and get started on the signing process. This is also where you explain how you are paid for the work that you'll do. So, it's important that you explain this. Your seller may have some objections, but the key to objection handling is to be prepared. Create a list of common objections you've encountered, and be ready to validate and respond to them. Consider each question as an opportunity to educate and set expectations. After all, the more you educate them on the process and your role along the way, the fewer objections you will face. Remember, the key to a winning listing presentation is to look at it as an opportunity to educate your sellers. Do your homework and be prepared with your system ready to go. Demonstrate your value as a real estate agent, not by "selling yourself" but by explaining how you will contribute with your experience in every step of the transaction. And lastly, go the extra mile by looking for ways to do what your competition isn't doing. This is what will truly set you apart and help you create and deliver a listing presentation that wins each time! To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Grow Your Business with Monday Morning Mentor
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28 Topics to Theme Your Real Estate Newsletters
Real estate newsletters can be very effective in connecting and engaging with your lead database. Whether you send email or hardcopy newsletters, it's always important to give your readers valuable content, so they associate your name and brand with helpful information. Since inboxes tend to flood with emails on a daily basis, newsletters should be unique and catchy. When creating newsletters, you can use several tactics to make your message stand out, one of which is by theming your content or message. Here are some topics to help you brainstorm and get started! Real Estate Newsletter Topics: 2022 Real Estate Trends to Be Aware Of Predicted Buyer Profiles of 2022 Predicted Mortgage Rate Trends for 2022 Real Estate Scams to Be Cautious Of Safety Tips for Homeowners When Is the Right Time to Sell or Buy? Latest Trends in New Construction Local Real Estate Trends (TIP: Tailor your content to the local market to provide relevance) Local Community Events DIY Design Tips to Update Your Home Fix-It Tips For Small Projects Around the House DIY Tips for Landscaping Your Backyard Best Practices for Keeping Your Home in Good Shape with Pets What to Look for When Shopping for a New Home First-Time Buyer Advice Green Home Tips Selling Scams to Be Cautious Of Feature a Luxury Listing Interior Design Trends Moving Tips - Recommend any companies? Home Staging Trends Common Selling Questions and Answers Top Reasons to Move Open House Advice What to Look for in a Seller's Agent How to Increase the Value of Your Home Seasonal Tips for Selling a Property Holiday/Season Inspired Pro tip: Try creating your newsletter as a real estate infographic. Readers are drawn to images over text, keeping them engaged longer! Whether you're informing leads about real estate trends, DIY tips or buyer and seller insights, make sure to provide compelling newsletter content (like these!) that your readers will find valuable. To view the original article, visit the Zurple blog.
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What Makes a Successful Real Estate Agent?
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What Are the Most Popular Listing Photos? How Computer Vision Helped Answer This Question
The positive impacts of technology on our daily lives continues to help us become more productive by saving us time. Think about it. Before the internet, if you wanted to research something, you walked, drove, or biked to a library. Then you asked a librarian for ideas of where to find what you needed. Next, they would send you to the "card catalog," which stored books sorted by Dewey Decimal numbers on index cards. After you find the card with the book title and its number, you meander through aisles of books to hunt down the right one, hopefully, filed in the correct place. Or, at the very least, you had to crack open an encyclopedia: World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica, depending on what information you needed. Today, you just "Google" or ask Alexa for the information you need. Making us more productive Sometimes, technology gets a bad rap, especially when you consider what used to take hours – like the trek to a library – now takes minutes or even seconds. Computer vision is a massive breakthrough in time savings and increased productivity. It takes care of some of the most mundane tasks, freeing resources to do more important things. We discovered the value of computer vision firsthand at HomeJab when we wanted to answer the question, "What are the most popular real estate listing photos?" Now we could have answered this without enlisting the help of artificial intelligence firm Restb.ai. We had the sample data: 14,000 professionally shot photos contracted by listing agents for properties listed for sale in early June 2022. To accomplish this, we would need a team of people to manually go through every photo, look at each one, determine what was in the picture, and sort it into a pile. Later, we would have to count all the photos in each stack to decide which images of homes for sale were the most popular. It would take a team to sort through thousands of photos to accomplish this study. However, Restb.ai did it in a matter of minutes. Compiling the results Using the power of computer vision, Restb.ai explains its founder and CEO, Xavi Hernando, can sort through thousands of photographs from homes currently for sale, use its computer vision technology to identify the type of photo, and then classify and sort the images. It helps that HomeJab can provide them with the highest quality images, as all are by professional real estate photographers. But it is still stunning to watch how fast everything comes together. The process Restb.ai uses also compiles the results, eliminating the need to do the math and figure out the ranking of the most popular photos. The science for all of this is built-in. Admittedly, most experienced agents – and professional real estate photographers – might not find many surprises in the results. But the truth is, before we studied the photos, all we had were assumptions, not facts. Because before the HomeJab study, no one took the time and effort to figure out the most popular photos. And there were a few surprises in the data. But most importantly, perhaps, is we have a new benchmark and can look at photo trends in the future. And we have a fast and smart way to accomplish the task. What are the most popular photos? The new data from HomeJab finds that the most popular real estate listing photo is not the home's front exterior. Instead, bedroom photos were ranked first, barely nudging out kitchen photos. Front exterior shots placed a distant fifth. Living room photos landed third. What's interesting about that is that a couple of decades ago, home builders kept making the living rooms smaller. Some folks believe that the living room, at the time, was headed for extinction; some still do. However, photo popularity shows that's not the most likely outcome. Here's a recap of the HomeJab Top 15 most popular photos used to sell homes: Bedrooms – 11.92% Kitchen – 11.90% Living room – 10.79% Bathroom – 9.75% Front exterior – 8.70% Dining area – 4.48% Aerial – 4.32% Yard – 3.00% Back exterior – 2.48% Patio terrace – 2.10% Home office – 1.84% Laundry room – 1.81% Deck – 1.72% Hallway – 1.39% Foyer – 1.26% The bottom six: Basement – 1.22% Garage – 1.12% Front door – 1.11% Pool – 1.11% Stairs – .93% Walk-In closets – .66% Note: Other miscellaneous photos comprised the remaining 16.38%. It will be interesting to see if – and how – these numbers change over time. The number one trend to watch out for is drone footage for aerial photography and video, especially with the increased accessibility and affordability. And because of the pandemic, will we see more photos of home offices in the future? Time will tell. A summary report on this new HomeJab study is available here. Joe Jesuele is the founder and CEO of HomeJab, America's most popular and reliable on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros and architect of the real NFT Marketplace at real.art. HomeJab delivers over 4,000,000 images to help agents sell and rent more than $35 billion in listings.
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[Free Download] Data Security and Privacy Toolkit for Your Business
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RPR Unveils New Charts and Graphs in Its Neighborhood Pages
With users in mind, RPR (Realtors Property Resource) has made some really appealing changes to its Neighborhood pages. In this latest product release, we've added new charts and refreshed some existing ones. It's the same robust data you expect from RPR, but the presentation of it has been revamped and redesigned. It all adds up to a more eye-catching, interactive and responsive experience. Here's a quick look at all the new charts available in late June: Market Trends New Listings Active Listings New Pending Listings Pending Listings Sold Listings Months Supply of Inventory Sold Public Records Top Five Occupations These new charts and graphs are perfect for research and staying on top of your local market trends, and for sharing with clients and prospects to position yourself as THE local market expert. Here's how to find the new charts in RPR: RPR charts a new course in data visualization To start, go to RPR and click the Research dropdown. Select Neighborhood Search. Under Neighborhood Search, enter a neighborhood name, city or zip code. Select Exact, Within or Nearby from the dropdown. Now hit the magnifying glass icon to search. Once you've selected the neighborhood you want to view, you'll be redirected to the Neighborhood Details page. The Neighborhood Details is broken up into five areas: Summary, Housing, People, Economy and Quality of Life. Let's look at the summary overview first. To summarize… From the summary tab of the Neighborhood Details page, the first thing you'll see is the new Market Trends card. This view showcases key metrics for any neighborhood. It's basically a quick, at-a-glance snapshot of the local market. The first area is full of important and relevant information about your chosen housing market. The type of market (seller's, buyer's or balanced) is represented on a sliding scale. To get more details on how this is measured, click the About this data link—it's in blue right under the Market Trends title. It's an industry standard that is determined by months of inventory. Then you'll see the Key Details, which include the Months of Inventory, the List-to-Sold Price percentage, the Median days in RPR, and finally, the Median Sold Price. This provides four key metrics about how long homes have been on the market, whether they're going above or below asking price and, on average, how much they're selling for. Green (up) and red (down) arrows below these stats also give a month over month up or down percentage rate, too. Median Estimated Home Values In the next section, you'll see a graph for the Median Estimated Home Values. This shows monthly and yearly changes in property values, as well as the ability to compare your area to values within cities, counties and the state. Also, be sure to notice the Property Type pulldown menu, where you can specify which types of properties you want to focus on. The default is SFR + Condo, which is Single Family Residence and Condo properties (this property type also includes townhouses and apartments), but you can choose many other options. You can also choose to change the property type for that particular chart, or all of them. Again, if you're curious as to how these metrics are determined, just select About this data to see how the market types are defined, as well as the source and update frequency. Rounding out the Summary page is the AARP Livability Index, and the Top Five Occupations in the area and nearby neighborhoods. Both provide population, community and demographic stats and information on your chosen neighborhood. Housing Facts and Stats Now let's visit the Housing tab to take a deep dive into the housing metrics of the neighborhood. The top chart highlights the neighborhood's housing characteristics compared to the county, state and nation, including comparisons for home ownership, rent, and information about permits and buildings. Next up are charts for listings, including New Listings, Active Listings, New Pending Listings, Pending Listings and Sold Listings. These charts provide an in-depth look at several housing market statistics over a period of time. New Listings: Anything listed within that month Active Listings: Still active at end of month regardless of when it was listed New Pending Listings: What went into pending status that month Pending Listings: What was still in pending status as of the last day of the month Sold Listings: What was sold the previous month, but most importantly, how much over or under the list price is going for in the Avg. List to Sales Price % section Rounding out the Housing tab is Months Supply of Inventory, Sold Public Records and Sold Home Stats. In these sections, you can select the property type you want to view. Choose whether to change just the chart you are viewing or all the charts on the page. Again, the About this data link will give you full descriptions of how these stats are configured. The big takeaway here is being able to track and monitor the volume and the details of housing inventory. Another key metric is being able to see whether homes are selling for over or below the asking price. People, Economy and Quality of Life Pure housing statistics and data are essential in identifying and communicating housing market trends. However, you can dig even deeper into what makes up a neighborhood by checking out these other qualitative types of categories. Go to the People tab to get to the heart of who lives in the neighborhood. Find a side-by-side comparison chart that measures population counts, densities and changes, median age, gender, and education levels. See the population of children and adults by age group, households with children and the income brackets making up the area, as well as occupational categories and voting patterns. The Economy tab displays data such as job growth, unemployment rate and cost of living. Lastly, the Quality of Life tab displays data, such as weather and water quality, commute times, transportation options, monthly temperatures, the AARP Livability index, and walkability scores. This tab is particularly helpful when working with relocations. RPR's neighborhood data can be used to evaluate a target neighborhood and search for the right area for your clients. Get a feel for the trends in a particular neighborhood by examining the data and charts presented. How to print and save RPR charts Just a note: the new chart metrics will not display on RPR reports at this time. To print a specific chart or set of charts, use the Print button, which resides in the upper right navigation area. If there's a chart you don't want to include, simply collapse that chart and it will not show. To include these new charts in an RPR Report, click the Print button, and then under the Destination pull down menu, you can choose to save the file as a .pdf. Save the file (chart) and then you can attach it to other RPR reports from the Reports generation page. This is done through the Manage Custom Pages Link, which you can read about here: Learn more about Custom Pages. Share charts to your sphere Number crunchers and data nerds are sure to love these new charts! Be sure to grab them and share them with your sphere of influence. And if your clients prefer less information over more details, just send along the easy to digest Market Trends chart and walk them through it. You'll look like a housing data pro and be sure to impress. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Rush or Renovate: What's the best advice to give your sellers?
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Want to Start a Podcast? 4 Things Every Agent Should Know
In the past 15 years, podcasts have flourished. Today, there are more than 100,000 English language podcasts alone. If you have thought about starting your own podcast, you'll be pleased to know that it's never been easier. But before you take the plunge into sharing your knowledge with your local community – or beyond – there are a few things you need to consider. Here's a quick primer on four things – as a real estate agent – you will need to know: 1. Podcasts take time to record, edit, distribute, and promote The first step in creating a podcast is asking yourself how much time do you have? Professional podcasts often involve a team, so you need to understand the time commitment required if you are doing this solo. Generally, there are two kinds of podcasts: serial and evergreen. A regular podcast – once a week or once a month – is a series. A series can take an enormous amount of time and commitment to produce. You don't want to spend the time it takes to produce and distribute your first episode to have it be the only one you ever create. It's akin to starting a blog on your website and winding up with just a few posts. Most active agents don't have time for a serial podcast and instead create an evergreen podcast. They are called "evergreen" because the subject matter is timeless. The real estate business is filled with evergreen topics, such as Top 5 mistakes buyers make, or 4 things not to miss when getting your home ready to sell, or How to choose a real estate agent, or What the internet won't tell you about local real estate, and so forth. But an evergreen podcast doesn't necessarily have to be centered on your real estate business. You also can share your expertise about your community. For example, you could create a podcast about the top 5 things people can discover in your community, such as the Top 5 Picnic Places, Top 5 Parks, Top 5 Instagram Spots, etc. The key to a successful evergreen podcast is to think about how you can share your expertise with others. 2. Tools of the trade Online shops like Amazon makes this part super simple. Assuming you are creating solely audio and not recording video for your podcast, you'll need just a few extra tools. If you have a newer smartphone (i.e., iPhone, Samsung, or another top model), you have all the audio recording software you'll need built right in. More importantly, smartphones accept external microphones. Sites like Amazon will tell you which mics are compatible with your model. Most microphones that plug into a smartphone are either omnidirectional or unidirectional (also known as cardioid). Omnidirectional mics pick up equally well in all directions. Unidirectional or cardioid mics are designed only to pick up your voice. The best choice for podcast recording when you are the only voice that will be recorded (versus interviewing guests) is cardioid or unidirectional. After you record on your smartphone's built-in audio software, you will need to transfer the audio file to your computer for editing. Audio recording software from firms like Adobe is excellent, but is often expensive or requires a subscription. Again, more good news here: there is a terrific free audio editing program that is easy to learn, has many user-created how-to videos on the web, and is free. Audacity works with just about every type of computer and is terrific for creating your first podcast. If you want to add music to give your podcast a unique signature, add introductory music. Today, there are many ways to obtain free music: just Google "free music licensing sites" or use a low-cost service such as Audio Jungle, now called Envato Music. Adding a sound clip to start and end your podcast makes it sound more professional. In addition, Audacity makes it easy to combine music with the voice track you recorded on your phone. Remember that editing takes time, especially when you are a newbie. Even for experienced editors, one minute of fine-tuning and editing an audio file can take as much as one hour. So keep your evergreen podcast content short – five minutes or less – if you are starting out. You also can use Audacity to take out your uhs, ums, and repeated words, and fix other recording glitches. If you get stuck and don't know how to do something, Google what you are trying to do with Audacity, and you are likely to find a step-by-step video showing you how to do it. Best of all, you can easily export your finished file as an mp3, the audio format you'll need to distribute your podcast. The final artistic element you need will be cover art to accompany your podcast. If you don't have Photoshop skills or are unfamiliar with the do-it-yourself art site Canva, you can hire someone to create low-cost cover art for your podcast at Fivver.com. 3. Podcast distribution services You could host your podcast and then go to each podcast outlet, from Apple to Google to Spotify or others, to distribute your podcast. But that would be one service at a time and a terrible use of your time. Instead, invest in a turnkey podcast distribution service, and you'll set your podcast up once, and it appears everywhere. A great example is Simplecast. For $15 (Basic) or $35 (Essential) a month, this service is an agent's best friend for podcast management. Podcast services like Simplecast host your podcast, distribute it everywhere, and provide you analytics to see the usage of your podcast. It walks you through all the steps you need to take – from setting up and connecting an Apple account if you want to be on Apple Podcasts, to a dashboard that lets you control the name, cover art, and description of your podcasts and its episodes. 4. Promoting your podcast The final step in your podcast journey is getting people to listen to it. Fortunately, social media is an excellent, low-cost, high-impact way to promote your local podcast. Using a distribution service like Simplecast will give your podcast significant exposure by being searchable on all the major podcast sites. In addition, these sites often promote new podcasts and episodes. But the most important thing you can do, as an agent with a new podcast, is to market your podcast like how you sell a property. Tell your sphere about it: promote it in your newsletter, add a link below your email signature, create social media posts, and spend money to boost them. Treating your podcast as a new listing will drive awareness, and if your podcast has good content that connects with your target audience, it will be successful. As you can see, even with an evergreen podcast, it takes a significant time commitment. But if you do have great content and are willing to put in the time, an evergreen podcast can help you build awareness and new business for you and your brand for years to come. Remember, if any of this technology trips you up, reach out to an expert at Tech Helpline and get back on track! To view the original article, visit the Tech Helpline blog.
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Generating Leads and Boosting Business
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Mortgage Rates Are Soaring. So Are Home Prices. How?
As Americans sour on the economy and the Federal Reserve continues to fight inflation with interest rate hikes, a strange aspect of the housing market is attracting attention: Mortgage rates are increasing – but so are home prices. How is this possible? Why are home prices higher than they were a few months ago, even though the cost of borrowing has skyrocketed? Basically, we are still living through a mismatch of housing supply and demand. But be aware that signs point to this leveling out soon, and to the housing market approaching something close to a pre-COVID normal. 1. Home Supply Remains Low If the housing market seems distorted, or at least strangely resilient, much of the responsibility lies in persistently low housing supply. Quite simply, the supply of available housing remains historically low. Supply-chain slowdowns, challenges finding laborers, and the high cost of building supplies mean that new home building remains low, too. Such low supply means that there is still more buyer demand for homes than available properties to purchase. Prices may not rise as rapidly as they did one or two years ago, but homes are still so scarce that they are still inching upwards. 2. Demand for Homes Remains High With mortgage rates having gone up a startling 3% in the past year, why do people still want to buy homes? For one, mortgage rates only seem primed to increase further. The Federal Reserve has promised more interest rate increases over the course of 2022. And if inflation doesn’t drop soon, the rate a buyer gets now might be the best they’ll see for years. Additionally, a large swath of millennials are entering the first-time home buying market. Those with the means to navigate higher rates still indicate the desire to buy a home. Finally, people concerned about a substantial housing market correction have expressed motivation to sell now, while prices are still high. The flip side: People who sell a home usually also need to buy one, ensuring that there is still demand in the housing market. 3. The Party May Be Winding Down The past two years have been historic and hard to process – for real estate and society at large. But just as other aspects of business, finance, and daily life have slowly moved past the COVID-19 pandemic, simultaneously rising mortgage rates and home prices may be the last gasps of a turbocharged real estate scene. Consider that applications for new mortgages have dropped significantly. Even amid low demand, so many fewer new prospective buyers will, over the course of months and years, cool the market to some extent. Consider, too, that inflation is increasing the price of everything. If home price spikes in the recent past were tied to high demand and low supply, home cost jumps now may be more attributable to the higher cost of building new homes. Inflation has also contributed to higher wages, which means buyers may be able to afford a $400,000 home, whereas last year they were only willing to spend $350,000. Overall, the Federal Reserve seems intent on bringing inflation under control – even if it means increasing unemployment. If rates continue to rise, mortgages will become harder to afford, and the housing market will be due for a correction to normalcy. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Will Your Listing Benefit from Drone Footage? Look at These 4 Factors
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth millions. Research confirms what many agents already know: video can be a powerful real estate marketing tool. We also know Google loves video: video appears in 70% of the top 100 search result listings. In addition, a study by Kissmetrics revealed that websites that use video on a home or product feature page dramatically increased sales between 64% and 85%. According to MLS research, properties with aerial images sell about 68% faster than homes using standard photographs. Most importantly, drone costs have decreased significantly, and most experienced professional real estate photographers provide aerial imaging services. But should you use professionally shot drone photography or video to help sell your listings? It depends. Drone footage for most properties can be a blessing, but a curse for others. The question is, "Does it meet the 'CLIP' test?" These four factors help you quickly evaluate if aerial photography and/or video could benefit your listing: Context: Every property has a story to tell, from unique features that provide essential benefits to the buyers to its design or how the property is positioned on its lot. Agents often seize on this in their listing descriptions. Could aerial imagery help tell the story of your property? If you can visually showcase a benefit in a way that significantly enhances a key property benefit or feature that your words alone can't accomplish, adding aerial imagery is a plus. Location: Real estate is all about location; seeing where a home sits in relationship to community amenities can be priceless. Could it help a prospective buyer see how easy it would be for their child to bike to school or shop at a local grocery and other stores? Does aerial imagery reveal that the home is just a couple of rows of houses away from the water or a golf course? Would it help to showcase a property's abundant outdoor space and how it sits in relation to other homes? Location is often a significant reason you should include aerial footage with your new listing. There's probably no better way to show the surrounding neighborhood than aerial shots. Impact: Aerial footage has an instant "wow" factor. Seeing a home from above is cool, especially with video footage. In the right hands, drones shoot stunningly high-quality photos and video. The versatility of the images captured by drones is unsurpassed. Drone footage reminds us of Hollywood filmmakers, and the professional footage makes a listing look more important and the home more valuable. When you can wow your seller, you can win the listing, and drone footage can help agents win listings. Perspective: You can see things from 50 feet above a home you can't adequately capture any other way. Buyers viewing a home from above get a better sense of the house size and the property layout. It also helps buyers get a better understanding of the home's design. Drones also give buyers access to normally inaccessible areas, such as an up-close look at the roof, outbuildings, dense trees on the property, and more. The downside to drone footage is that it can be unforgiving. While a professional real estate photographer can bring out the best features in any home, aerial imagery could enhance the weaknesses of many homes. But the CLIP test demonstrates that drone footage should not be limited to million-dollar listings. While real estate agents listing high-end homes often use drone footage, it should be a consideration for any home that can benefit from drone shots. Today, drone footage is often a "nice to have" addition to a real estate listing photo shoot. But as competition among sellers re-enters the real estate marketplace, we can expect more professionally shot aerial photos and video. For properties where drone footage can boost the prospects of a faster sale, a better offer, or help an agent make more sales, aerial footage should become a "must-have." Joe Jesuele is the founder and CEO of HomeJab, America’s most popular and reliable on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros and architect of the real NFT Marketplace at real.art. HomeJab delivers over 4,000,000 images to help agents sell and rent more than $35 billion in listings.
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Investing in a Real Estate CRM? Consult These Tips First
It's no secret that a real estate CRM can be a big investment, especially if you're partnering with one of the industry's leading CRM software. We know that partnering with a new CRM is a giant leap. But, performing software-specific due diligence can help you feel confident and excited about the newest addition to your tech stack. Software Shopping 101: How to Analyze a Potential CRM To help make sure that the CRM you choose has all of the features you need to streamline your workflow and drive more success, you should always spend time evaluating the system. One of the most important aspects to focus on is usability. In other words, you can only maximize the returns on your CRM investment if your team is using the system to the fullest. Before making the purchase, you should know which CRM will be the best fit for you and your team. Pro Tip: CRMs are not one-size-fits-all. You'll need to analyze what challenges you're trying to overcome to determine which software will best suit your team. For example, if you are losing too many leads because you're not following up properly, you'll want to shop for a CRM that automates and streamlines lead engagement — allowing your team to follow up quickly and effectively every time. 3 ROI-Boosting Tips for Adopting a New CRM 1. Master Lead Follow-Up If you're not following up with your online leads, you're likely not converting them. According to the CRM + Agent Adoption study from REAL Trends: 92.13% of brokers named follow-up and relationship marketing as the most-used CRM feature. 86.52% of brokers named drip marketing as their most-used CRM feature. 70.79% of brokers named follow-up reminders as their most-used CRM feature. Warming and engaging leads are critical for the long-term success of your CRM. BoomTown's data has revealed that the most successful agents are typically the most responsive agents who provide stellar service to all of their clients. As a result, BoomTown's features improve agent response rates — helping users reach, warm, and convert more leads. 2. Invest Time in Software Training and Agent Support Investing in a CRM does not end once the purchase has been made. If you want to see strong returns from your CRM, you need to continue investing time, energy, and work into the software. When first introduced, your team of agents need to be thoroughly trained to use the CRM. As you continue using the CRM, your agents need continual technical support and additional training sessions to ensure that everyone is familiar and confident with the new system. Further down the line, agents need to be held accountable for using the CRM properly. To see results, the agents on your team should be working with the CRM and integrating it into their daily workflow. Pro Tip: When teaching agents how to use a new system, make sure that you make time for individual training. Ask each agent on your team if they have any questions, or if they are struggling with any aspects of the new system. This allows you to address the specific points of confusion that may be holding your team back. 3. Be Patient Success takes time. When adopting a new CRM, be patient and wait for the results. Once you integrate the CRM into your workflow, you may identify areas of your real estate business that need to be optimized. For example, you may find gaps in the lead warming process and learn that you need additional support. As a result, you may need to create an ISA team or recruit new agents. In these cases, you may need to wait until you've hired and onboarded the new talent to see the whole system work seamlessly. Perfecting the way your CRM works for your business is a work in progress. Give it time, be flexible, and continue monitoring how the software is working for your business. What to Do if Your CRM Isn't Generating Returns If your CRM is not generating returns even after you've followed these three steps, there might be a bigger issue with how your team is using the system. In some cases, your team could be using the wrong system that does not integrate with your business. In this situation, it may be best to re-evaluate your purchase and determine if it's time to switch to a new, more effective platform. Or, your team members may not be using the CRM how they should be. If this is the case, working on agent accountability may be helpful. Your team needs to consistently invest the time and energy into the CRM to achieve a strong ROI. Identify the problem and then seek a solution that will set your business up for success. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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Grab Previous Clients' Attention with the RPR Equity Update
In the last few years, home values have risen in every market in the country. In fact, "stratospheric," "torrid" and "skyrocketing" are commonly used terms to describe what the real estate industry has been experiencing month after month for the last couple of years. In 2021, median existing-home sale prices rose 14.6%, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. And this year, it looks like home prices will jump another 11%, and 3% in 2023. And of course, those numbers are averages. In many markets, prices have jumped even higher—up over 40% in some areas. As a REALTOR®, this should come as no surprise to you. However, there are some homeowners out there who might not be aware—or, at least, not fully aware. They know their homes have appreciated, but they're not exactly sure how much. Sometimes they simply need to see that number to nudge them a bit. That's where you and RPR's (Realtors Property Resource®) Equity Update come in! RPR's Equity Update: the ultimate lead conversion tool Most homeowners have gained significant equity in their homes. And now is the perfect time to capture their attention! As a REALTOR®, you're in a unique position to be able to keep them in the loop on what may be their largest single investment. Consider sending them a deliverable and leave-behind that's all about their home, how much it's currently worth, and more importantly, how much equity they've gained. Pointing out this figure is a surefire way to garner interest, and possibly spark the idea of putting their home on the market. RPR's Equity Update, also commonly referred to as an "equity checkup" or "equity assessment," is a great conversation starter and conversion tool. Why? Because current homeowners never get tired of hearing how much their home is worth. And if you catch an owner who isn't exactly sure, after seeing the equity figure, chances are they will be very curious. This technique really works well with previous clients (past sellers or buyers) and as a prospecting touchpoint. The RPR Equity Update How-to Figuring out an owner's equity isn't really that difficult to do if you have the right resources. It takes just a bit of digging, running a CMA and some easy math. And as a REALTOR®, you have exclusive access to RPR (Realtors Property Resource®), so as far as resources go, you're all set! To create an Equity Update, the first thing you'll need to do is get the current mortgage balance of a property. This is where your past relationship with the owner will come in handy. You simply have to ask them for their mortgage balance. Some may be apprehensive, because they consider that figure to be private, while others will have no problem giving it up. If one of your previous customers does balk a bit, let them know that you're working on a special packet, created especially for them and their property, that they will find very appealing. This tactic will hopefully pique their interest and get you the number. PRO TIP: Use the original loan balance as a starting point. Often this information will be found within RPR in the Mortgage Records section. Then using RPR, perform a current CMA on the home. Once you have a solid understanding of its current value, your next step is to create an RPR property report. (Customize and trim down the report to just showcase the essentials.) Check out this article, 3 Report Customizations You Should Be Doing Now, to learn how to add custom pages and how to trim down your report (steps 2 and 3). Now comes the math, but don't stress—it's easy! Simply take the home value and subtract the mortgage balance to arrive at the total equity in the home. This is the figure (slash carrot) that you want to dangle in front of your prospect. Delivery and message templates Your next step is to deliver the package to the homeowner. Some agents like to print out the report, bind it, include a cover letter, and either mail it or hand it off in person. It presents very well this way! The other option is to go digital and either email or text it as a PDF file. It depends on your style and the recipient's preferences. At this point, you should know how your clients like to receive information. You also need to remember to include a personal message to the owner(s). This can either be done with a custom cover page that has an area where you can include some text, or you can send an email or text attachment, and then create an email message in the body. Sometimes agents need help putting together the right message. Below we've included two templates for you to copy and paste. Do make sure you update and change out the information that goes to the homeowner. In other words, fill in the blanks (owner names, property address and the equity number) with their information and numbers, and don't use the template examples or the "Xs"! Email template #1 This one comes from REALTOR® Julie Toy, who has a whole strategy for reaching out to her previous clients. Check out her message: Hi Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner! Attached is a property report for your home at 123 Main Street. What a difference a year makes! I don't know if anyone could have predicted the seismic shifts our real estate market has seen — even in the last 12 months — but I sure am happy for homeowners like you. You may not be thinking about selling, but if you were, now could well be one of the best times to pull it off.​Here's a fun fact for you: your home equity is up to $XXX,XXX. That's no small potatoes any way you slice it!​Anyway, if you need anything or know anyone thinking of buying or selling, please let me know.​-[YOUR NAME and CONTACT INFO] Email template #2 We penned this one ourselves just for RPR users: Hello Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner at 123 Main St! I'm sure you've heard the news about the housing market. To sum it up: it's hot! Home values are skyrocketing… and so is the equity that you've built up in what is probably your biggest financial investment.​So I decided to crunch some numbers to let you know that you have $XXX,XXX amount of home equity. And that your home is currently valued at $XXX,XXX. ​Even if you're not thinking of selling or buying, I thought you would appreciate having this information. If you do have any questions about the market or about real estate in general, please don't hesitate to call me. I'd be happy to have a conversation with you to discuss your options.​Thanks for your time,​-[YOUR NAME and CONTACT INFO] Feel free to use these examples word for word, or make edits to fit your voice. Or, write your own version from scratch—it's up to you. Just make sure to include the equity number, and ensure that your tone is centered around helping them out with this information. You're doing them a kindness. Don't push too hard, just dangle the information and let them know you're available if they have any questions. The RPR Equity Update checklist and wrap-up Now you know what to send and what to say when you deliver the RPR Equity Update. This approach to getting new clients from previous ones has a high probability of response if you target previous owners who have built up loads of equity. Use RPR to pull the data, make your CMA, and create your property report. Then include your personal message and the equity number, and you'll be on your way to positioning yourself as a trusted expert who can answer all their questions. If done right, you could soon be sitting down to talk about listing their home. Good luck! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Slow Searches? 4 Simple Steps to Optimize Your Web Browser
Is your internet experience slow, yet you have a speedy connection? A sluggish web browser may be causing you problems. Browsers are so ubiquitous we take them for granted. Until we can't because we discover they are slowing us down. Nowadays, websites contain more complex content than ever: images, video, audio, and other elements that can decrease your browser's speed over time. Unfortunately, you may not realize it until you find your browser stops working correctly. But some methods can improve browser speed and keep it that way. Today, two browsers have more than 1 billion users: Apple Safari and Google Chrome. These web browsers are likely an indispensable part of your operating system. Browsers allow you to manage your email, post on social media, and even write, edit, and store your work documents. Here are four things brokers and their agents can do to optimize their web browsers and improve their online productivity: Delete Cache The more you surf the web, the more web pages that your browser will cache – or store locally – to accelerate your internet experience. Your cache builds up when you visit new websites. Eventually, an overload of web data can noticeably slow your web browsing experience to a crawl. A simple fix is to click on your browser's settings and find the "Clear browsing data" option, which will allow you to select and delete data that may be clogging up your browser. Right afterwards, you may see your internet speed drop a bit, but will soon be back to normal. It would help if you also made it a habit to clean your cache every few months to maintain your browser's optimal speed. A hidden benefit of clearing your cache: Certain webpages may also contain hidden malware that could wreck your computer. Deleting your cache helps you remove potentially harmful files from your system. Update Your Browser Usually, your web browser will automatically update itself to the latest version. But there are times when technical issues prevent that from happening, forcing you to update it yourself manually. A best practice with web browsers is to confirm automatic updates whenever prompted. New updates often fix recently detected security issues, offer new features, or improve browser performance. It's also good to double-check that your automatic updates are on for your browser. The process is different for each browser and type of computer operating system (Mac or PC) you are using. If you need assistance, contact Tech Helpline, and an analyst will walk you through the steps. If you have not regularly updated your browser, you may have to install a brand-new version from scratch instead of updating it. You'll know you have an old browser when websites don't display everything on your older browser. Perhaps the most significant incentive to keep your browser current is the older your browser, the more vulnerable it becomes to security issues. Viruses and malware can slip by. So keep your browser current to ensure hackers won't steal your info, wreak havoc on your email or social media, or worse, take control of your computer. That's why it is always better to update now than update later. Less Tabs = More Speed Learning to manage the number of tabs you have open is vital in making sure you have an optimal browsing experience. The more tabs you use in your browser, the slower the speed will likely be. While your web pages may load swiftly with a single tab open, they can start to slow down when you have an increasing number of tabs. Plus, the most popular browsers purposefully slow down tabs that are not in the foreground and can load up to 20 times slower than the tab you are currently using. A rule of thumb is only to have a few tabs open to improve your browser performance. If you need to access more websites quickly, it is better to bookmark the links you need. Remove Unneeded Browser Extensions If you have cleared your cache, are using the most recent version of your favorite web browser, don't have any extra tabs open, have a speedy internet connection, and you still have a poor browsing experience, the source of your problem might be a browser extension. A browser extension is a small piece of software that adds a specific function or capability to your web browser. Also called a plug-in, extensions can improve your web experience. AdBlock is an extension that helps you filter out unwanted content. Online shopping browser extensions such as Honey, Capital One Shopping, or American Airlines AAdvantage eShopping are designed to save you money or earn you miles. But sometimes, these extensions can cause a conflict. The easiest way to see if extensions may cause a web glitch is to delete them one at a time and restart your browser. Again, feel free to contact Tech Helpline if you need assistance. As a benefit to 725,000 Realtors, odds are Tech Helpline is your member benefit at no additional cost. As a reminder, Tech Helpline is just a click, call, or text away. On the go? Take us with you! Download the Tech Helpline mobile app available on Google Play and the App Store. Search "Tech Helpline." Other related topics of interest: Smartphone Running Slower? Here Are 4 Helpful Tips Top Tech Issues Every Real Estate Pro Faces Tech Helpline Tips: Is It Time to Update or Replace Your Computer? Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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5 Top Tips for Better Real Estate Photo Composition
Real estate photography follows the same basic compositional rules as other types of photography. It's similar to portraiture, landscapes, and sports in most technical aspects (i.e., focus, exposure, white balance) but can differ in composition because of scale and industry requirements. Here are some of the top tips for improving your real estate photography composition. Tell a story with every photo Each photo should serve a purpose and communicate something relevant to the intended audience. It's a good idea to think about what every photo is communicating to avoid shots that don't achieve this. This image tells the story of a relaxing spa-like experience in a luxurious master bathroom. The image below tells a story of being perched precariously at the top of a stairwell. Although being at the top of the stairs is a common occurrence in a two-storey home, it's not a compelling story and therefore doesn't make a very compelling image. This is by far the most important tip in the list because it will affect every other image in some way. Choose one subject for each image Try to focus on one space at a time. It may be tempting to show open concept houses as large connected spaces. This can make it difficult to get the details you want to see for each space individually. Above is an example of an image that shows a single space with one purpose. This next image is less about a single space and is more about the larger area. This is a weaker image because it shows the dining room less effectively. The dining room is more important than the hallway and deserves to be the priority. Keep the camera low and level Keep your camera lens between 3 and 4 feet in height. This will result in images that have a nice floor-to-ceiling ratio. If the camera is too low, you will see under furniture. If the camera is too high, it feels as though the viewer is unnaturally tall. This is subjective and will differ depending on your personal preference, but a good rule of thumb is to keep your camera at about the height of your elbows. A level camera will result in nearly vertical lines that will differentiate your work from amateur photographers. Frame and cut creatively Avoid chopping things up if you can help it. Cutting a sofa or bookshelf in half can be distracting. Do your best to frame and crop and include whole features where possible. When this isn't possible, do your best to cut in places where it makes sense to cut. Maintain a consistent style of composition throughout Your images should be usable in a group as well on their own. Look at your images in succession. Do any of them stand out in a bad way? If you follow the same rules for all your images, they should have a consistent look and work well together. These tips are subjective and may not apply to every property, but they will keep you on track for most shoots. It's easy to forget the intended purpose of the images and focus on technical aspects, but if you apply the tips found here your images will bring value to the listing. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Friday Freebie: Scripts and Tips for Voicemails that Get Results
Does this sound familiar? A new lead comes in, and you do just what all the real estate coaches and experts say to do: you give them a call. But the phone rings, and rings, and rings…until you're sent to voicemail. While this is not an uncommon occurrence (after all, not many people answer unknown numbers these days), it is a frustrating one. But just because you can't talk to your new lead live, you can leave them an awesome voicemail that will encourage them to respond. How? In this week's Friday Freebie, we're highlighting a guide full of voicemail scripts and detailed advice for leaving messages that will entice leads to call you back. Read on to claim your free copy! Free download of The 2022 Voicemail Guide, courtesy of Zurple The first time you contact a new lead not only sets the tone for the rest of your business relationship, it can determine whether that relationship even begins in the first place. So even when that first point of contact is just you and their voicemail, you can still make a killer first impression. The 2022 Voicemail Guide from Zurple breaks down how to craft a friendly voicemail message that encourages leads to call you back. Download your free copy today to get: An overview of the structure of a good voicemail Best practices for before, during, and after leaving a voicemail Tips for increasing callbacks and improving your voicemail skills 7 voicemail scripts for various lead sources and scenarios Pro Tip: Rehearse your scripts over and over until you've internalized them. This will make your voicemails flow and sound more natural! Ready to get more calls returned from your leads? Download The 2022 Voicemail Guide now!
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Why Real Estate Agents Should Prioritize Meaningful Outreach
Not all follow-up is good follow-up! It's 2022 and consumer demand is high. People expect Amazon speed combined with boutique service. Your outreach needs to be specific, high-converting -- and never generic or impersonal. Creating Custom, Lead-Specific Outreach In today's market, you need to be "listening" to what your leads are doing online. You should know how they're engaging with your site, allowing you to send them a customized outreach based on their activity. For example, if you know that a prospect is spending more time on the landing pages with one of your property listings — continually visiting, scrolling, and spending large amounts of time on the page — you'd understand that they are favoring this property over competing options. Access to your website data can help you leverage value-driven outreach plans. When you do follow up with that lead, you can promote the listing that they have been eyeing and prompt them to set up an appointment with you to discuss their position further. Do This → You might send an outreach email saying: Hello! If you're planning on buying a home in X market, you should check out this listing. It includes all of the amenities and features that you mentioned you're looking for, and it's at a great price. To help us better understand your specific needs and circumstances as a homebuyer, would you like to set up an appointment? We can speak more about X listing and develop a custom strategy to see if purchasing that listing is a viable investment for you. Text or call me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX, or send me an email so we can book a quick meeting. Looking forward to hearing from you! Not That → Compare this targeted, hyper-focused email that speaks to the lead's existing preferences to a bland, generic email asking them to browse the listings on your site. Pro Tip: Always prioritize value. Your outreach needs to grab the attention of your website traffic and offer them something of real value. Including the address and photos of the listing that one of your leads seems to be interested in is more likely to increase the efficiency of your follow-up. By offering them the chance to speak with you about their ability to purchase the house, the lead has a lot to gain by making the appointment with you — and you're one step closer to landing a new deal. Using Meaningful Outreach to Build Relationships You already know that capturing a lead's business typically comes after multiple touchpoints. As you're moving your leads through the sales funnel, meaningful outreach will give you to chance to build trust, credibility, and provide a preview of your services. Let's say one of your internet leads is spending a lot of time online calculating a loan. If you're observing how your internet traffic is behaving on your website, you'd be aware of their focus on loan-related topics — giving you a strong edge to move forward with. When it's time for you to reach out to that lead, you can speak directly to their needs. Even if they are not yet ready to buy, you can offer them helpful tips and information about financing their upcoming purchase. Do This → You'd be able to send an outreach email saying: Hello! I hope your home buying preparations are going well. I wanted to share a few helpful pieces of information regarding mortgage loans and home financing. Did you know that there are loans with low down payment requirements and low-interest rates for qualifying buyers? I've attached resources with more information that may help you. I've also included a list of questions that you should ask as you're looking for a lender to work with. If you have any specific questions or would like guidance as you take the first steps to secure financing, I would love to assist you. Let's book an appointment to speak soon. I've copied my upcoming availabilities below. Let me know what works for you and we'll move forward. I'll bring additional loan resources to our meeting as they will help you moving forward. Not That → If you had just sent an outreach email about your home buying and selling services, you would have missed out on the chance to touch on a real, pressing concern of your lead. Pro Tip: Even when you share helpful resources and real estate guides in an outreach email, always offer more with the catch of booking an appointment with you. This will incentivize your leads to keep their appointments since they'll receive custom tips and information by attending. To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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5 Questions to Figure Out If It's Time to Hire Help
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[Podcast] iBuyers and 'Zillow-geddon' with Kala Laos of Zoodealio
In this episode of It's Closing Time, Kala Laos sits down with RentSpree CEO Michael Lucarelli to discuss the future of iBuying within real estate, as well as her real estate software company Zoodealio. Michael and Kala discuss "Zillow-geddon" and how real estate agents should view iBuying companies. Kala also discusses how her company, Zoodealio, is designed to empower agents within the iBuyer market and provides her top tips for effective lead generation.
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9 Web Content Ideas for Real Estate Agents
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3 SEO Real Estate Website Strategies
If you're a real estate agent, broker, or technology company, you know that having a website is essential for your business. It gives you a place to showcase your listings and services and allows potential clients to learn more about you and get in touch with you quickly. However, simply having a website isn't enough – you need to ensure that your site is optimized for search engines to attract more visitors. Yes, search engine optimization is still alive and continues to grow as it evolves in providing answers to people's questions. In this blog post, we will discuss three SEO strategies to help improve your website's positioning in search engines and generate more readers and leads! The first is that the search engine's artificial intelligence will play a prominent role in SEO rankings, especially Google's. Most SEO experts focus on Google because of their search and Chrome web browser market shares. In the United States, Google maintains a 92% market share in search and averages around 63% market share of people using Chrome as a web browser. The other major search engines are Bing and Yahoo, which hold a combined market share of around 10%. A search engine's AI focuses on capturing consumer behavior metrics for ranking factors. This means that click-through rate, time people spend on a page, and other overall website metrics influence how the AI prioritizes content. Therefore, when reevaluating SEO strategy, crafting well-organized and quality, engaging content is critical to success. What is essential to the readers of your content is also crucial to the search engine's AI for ranking. This is where custom content on the property search result pages for neighborhoods and listing detail pages can improve SEO. Guidelines for content creation are included in the E-A-T principle. Google defines E-A-T for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. An approach that is excellent to use in evaluating the quality of content. A few guidelines to use when developing content with E-A-T in mind are: Does the content contain authentic information, reporting, research, or analysis? Is the content written by an expert demonstrating their knowledge about the subject? Is the content written very well, or is it sloppy? Are the facts in the content easily verifiable? Content writers who follow these simple guidelines achieve the desired results to improve search engine rankings. Additionally, as AI continues to drive rankings, it impacts search results. As a result, it is possible that when submitting a search, a page may be #2, and when performing a subsequent search, the same page may be #5. Therefore, AI will adjust its page ranking based on the events at the time of a search. The second SEO strategy is to focus on optimizing your website with structured data. Most people are familiar with the concept of structured data, even if they don't realize it. Structured data is simply information that is organized in a predefined way. This can include things like open houses, homes for sale, and site structure. By adding structured data to your site, you are essentially providing a map for search engines to follow. This makes it easier for them to index your content and display it in search results. In addition, structured data can also help you improve your click-through rate by making your listings more relevant and user-friendly. However, there is a catch. Don't overuse structured data or resort to black-hat methods. Google just takes advantage of specific structured data, which must be implemented correctly for the content's trustworthiness to be confirmed. As you can see, structured data is an integral part of SEO. If you want your site to be successful, make sure you take advantage of this powerful tool. Lastly, one of the benefits of SEO is that it can help improve the accessibility of a site. Optimizing the website for Google search can also help make it more accessible for people with disabilities who use screen readers and other assistive technologies. According to WCAG 2.1, one of the success criteria for accessibility is that "webpages can be parsed unambiguously by software." This means that screen readers and other assistive technologies should be able to interpret the content on a webpage without any ambiguity. However, many websites are not well-optimized for SEO, so it can be difficult or impossible for these technologies to parse. Therefore, improving the SEO of a website can also help to enhance its accessibility. If you implement these three SEO strategies, you will be well on your way to improving your website's ranking in search engines and generating more leads! The last thing you want to do is to ignore or think SEO is not a practical part of a marketing strategy. What other SEO strategies have you used to improve your website's ranking? Please share your tips with us in the comments below! And if you're looking for more help, contact the WAV Group. WAV Group explicitly focuses its SEO strategies on the real estate industry. To view the original article, visit the WAV Group blog.
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5 Habits That Will Lose Real Estate Agents Money
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Why Are Floor Plans Gaining New Importance?
Should every home listing have a floor plan? With the growing popularity of 3D tours, floor plans are part of the package. Floor plans give home shoppers additional perspective on any tour, even an immersive 3D virtual tour. Adding a floor plan to a listing is gaining a lot of attention these days, and for several good reasons. Research tells us that floor plans are important to buyers. Buyers want them. Floor plans were ranked No. 3 on a list of the most valuable website features for home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors 2021 Home Buyers and Sellers Generation Trends Report. Photos topped the website features list desired by 89% of all buyers, followed by property listing details (86%). Floor plans (67%) were ranked higher than virtual tours (58%) and neighborhood information (53%). Rightmove found that adding a floor plan to a listing can increase click-throughs by 52%. Conversely, listings without floor plans mean buyers would be less likely to view the property for one in ten. According to Zillow, a floor plan is the second most important listing feature and correlates to capturing potential leads. Companies have created technology that harnesses the remarkable power of today's smartphones for an agent to scan a home and create a floor plan in minutes. Even MLSs are leading the way in encouraging the addition of floor plans to real estate listings. FBS, creators of FlexMLS and one of the largest MLS tech providers in the nation, deployed FloPlan as part of its FBS IDX solution. A simple app allows an agent to scan the home – in about 10 minutes – and then converts the scan to a floor plan the agent can include in their listings. It's even easier with a 3D tour, as the agents don't have to lift a finger to create a floor plan. Instead, the photography process does all the calculations and measurements. So, in addition to making the user-driven tour and a 3D dollhouse view, a traditional floor plan is also created. Enter the 800-lb gorilla What may change the game when it comes to answering the question, "Should every listing have a floor plan?" is what is happening at Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae continues to be the 800-lb gorilla of the housing market one can't ignore. Fannie Mae alone holds $4.2 trillion (yes, with a "T") in total assets and its net earnings were $22.2 billion last year. Fannie Mae and Freddie still purchase two-thirds of all home loans. Recently, Fannie Mae made a breakthrough announcement that directly impacts floor plans. For many years, Fannie Mae's underwriting system allowed specific properties to forgo a full appraisal and use a desktop (remote) appraisal instead. These properties were limited to refinances. In March, Fannie Mae announced desktop appraisals as an option that would include home purchase loans. However, according to reports, eligible properties must still be in a market where the data is widely available and accurate. Freddie Mac also followed suit and now allows desktop appraisals for qualified purchases. The timing is crucial for the housing market, as there is a shortage of appraisers. People are just not going into the profession to replace those who are retiring or otherwise leaving the business. The Appraisal Institute reports that more than 10,000 appraisers have left the industry since 2013 – more than 10% of the workforce. Appraisal brain drain is growing. The AI also says more than half of all appraisers are approaching retirement age and that one-in-five are 66 years old or older. As a result, appraisal completion times in some markets take as long as two months. But what do the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac desktop appraisal expansions have to do with floor plans? A mobile app can capture the data Fannie needs for its desktop appraisal. The key is to figure out how agents can scan a floor plan as part of their workflow – and at what price point does it make sense? Providing the new floor plan solution At HomeJab, we manage hundreds of professional real estate photography assignments each week and see the growing interest in 3D tours, which, again, all feature floor plans. The opportunity for these new floor plans fits right into the HomeJab model and our platform. Our real estate photographers are already visiting homes to take listing photos, 3D tours with floor plans, virtual tours, drone footage, and more. Adding a new scanning service seems like a no-brainer. It will all come down to the economics. To fulfill the requirements of a desktop appraisal, you need these new, more in-depth floor plans. They deliver a different value than consumer desire. They help buyers avoid paying hundreds of dollars for a full appraisal and eliminate the waiting game. What is a reasonable cost to add a new floor plan into a photo package or a standalone assignment? At HomeJab, we are working to make the economics work. It needs to be affordable for the buyer, accessible for their agent, the photographer, the remote appraisal firm, the lender, and of course, meets Fannie Mae's guidelines. HomeJab is looking to help facilitate the growth and availability of new floor plans those remote appraisals will create. Joe Jesuele is the founder and CEO of HomeJab, America's most popular and reliable on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros and architect of the real NFT Marketplace. HomeJab delivers over 4,000,000 images to help agents sell and rent more than $35 billion in listings.
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Mortgage Applications Are Plummeting. Is the Housing Market Collapsing?
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How to Show Off Your Listings Remotely
The goal of remote home showings is to provide the most in-person experience we possibly can without actually being there in person. Transparency is key. Buyers need access to as much information as possible. They want their virtual viewing experience to feel as emotionally compelling as an actual showing. This might require some agents to try out technology and tools they haven't used in the past. Let's break down some of the options available to Realtors, and the best ways to use them to help your buyers shop for their new home, from home. Virtual 3D Tours Nearly everyone is using the term "virtual tours" right now. Essentially, this means that a buyer can take a visual walk through the home. Years ago, this term was used for still photos that were stitched together to make a video. But times have changed, and true virtual tours are no longer just photos set to elevator music. A professional virtual tour now allows you to stand in the home and look around in 360-degree turns, taking in the entire space. Buyers love the ability to see every room, just as they would in person. When paired with a floor plan, virtual tours give a sense of space, flow and light. Speaking of floor plans, a professional floor plan is a huge bonus for virtual shoppers. Floor plans provide an understanding of how a space will work. They show room dimensions, which way doors swing, and storage space. Buyers gain an appreciation of where windows are and how their furniture might fit in the space. A 3D tour without a floor plan can be confusing, leaving buyers to guess how rooms are connected to one another. Many real estate portals and online search sites are now accommodating virtual tours and 3D tours, allowing buyers to view them before booking a showing. This is perfect if you want to show off real estate listings remotely. Looking for a photographer or videographer that creates 3D virtual tours and floor plans in your area? Search here. Video Tours Many agents are also using the power of video to showcase their listings, creating both live and on-demand videos to take the place of open houses or showings. Most portals and real estate search sites already allow for on-demand video links, but live video has never been easier to produce. Agents are using Facebook Live to show off their listings and pre-screen for potential buyers. Instagram video and IGTV are also great places to host short video walkthroughs. Both Realtor.com® and Zillow offer the option for buyers to choose "video tour" when booking showings. Having a video created and available to send to buyer leads is all the more important when showing remotely. Virtual Staging For vacant homes, give your buyers the ability to picture themselves living there by utilizing virtual staging. This can also be used to freshen up and declutter your furnished listings as well! This is a great way to get those virtual and online shoppers to emotionally fall in love, before ever setting foot in the home. Marketing your listings remotely means getting creative and taking advantage of the tools available. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Termination of Real Estate Contract by Buyer: A Guide for Agents and Buyers
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Realtor Creates RPR Reports to Help Sellers and Relocating Buyers
We're always on the lookout for helpful RPR user success stories. Our latest Q&A comes from Wendy Kaprelian, a REALTOR from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Wendy sent us this email: I always use RPR! I use it for market analysis with both buyers and sellers. This shows a range value that is very helpful for sellers and buyers. The statistics are very helpful for them. I also use it as a tool when a client is relocating to an area. I work with a lot of corporate relocation. I also like the reports feature to use as a share tool on my social media. -Wendy We wanted to hear more about how Wendy utilizes RPR reports for all her clients… Q. How long have you been a REALTOR® and what area do you specialize in? I've been a REALTOR® for 15 years, and my area of expertise is residential, although I do a few commercial deals here and there. Q. How do you use RPR in your business? Oh, I use it so much. Anytime I go on a listing appointment, I bring my RPR market analysis and reports with me. One of the features I really like is specific community statistics and information. I can bring up the demographics, school ratings, average age, I love that. Corporate relocation is a big thing I do and out of the area buyers always need info on schools! They really appreciate that community info. Once a week, I post RPR reports on my Facebook page and I always make sure to include all the school info. Q. You mentioned using RPR for market analysis, tell me more about that. I create a market analysis using RPR because I can provide a range value. I go out on listing appointments, and clients are shocked to see the value of their house from three years ago. So I make sure I fall right into the range value, and then I back it up with CMA. I use the Seller's Report with sellers, and with buyers I use the Property Report. The Seller Report is nice because if I'm competing against another agent, I can figure out what the clients owe on their mortgage. Then I show up with a net sheet, and the people are shocked because you show them the numbers, and you essentially have their mortgage information. You present those stats and it makes them feel better about you as an agent. Most of the time they're really impressed and sort of shocked. It often puts me over the top versus another agent. Q. How are you handling the current market? There's a lack of inventory in my market, it's definitely still a seller's market. It doesn't appear to be cooling off yet. The RPR reports really help with that. Having all this data and charts and history, it helps justify the pricing, to both buyers and sellers. Overall, RPR helps agents make better presentations, especially to sellers. I do a Property Report in RPR, then I go to my MLS and do a CMA, and then I combine them. I deliver both in my listing presentation packet, which I bind together to make it really look sharp. Q. You also mentioned using RPR as a tool to help relocating buyers. How so? Well, when someone is coming into an area blind, they need guidance. They know almost nothing about the schools, the traffic, the population, all that stuff. I can pull all that info in RPR for a property or municipality and it gives them everything. The best part is, it's not just me, it's in print and it's backed up by data and studies and research. It comes from a reputable source and that really puts a relocation buyer's mind at ease. Q. What are some of your favorite, "go-to" features of RPR? I like that you can instantly see who owns a property. I also like the "My Listings" area on the homepage. When I list a property, it gets pinned into the "My Listings" area and it's so easy to access. Q. Any stories about how you've used RPR to "wow" a client? I do! I was at a listing appointment in an area where I had sold a property down the street. The couple asked me about another property in the area, saying "Do you know about such and such address?" So I pulled out my phone and popped the address into RPR, and pulled up the info just like that. They were kind of blown away by that. So then they asked "Can you check to see if the owner of this place we're looking to rent is the actual owner? It feels like a scam. Could you look that up with that fancy thing on your phone?" (Wendy laughs). RPR puts a lot of property power in my hands! Indeed! Great story Wendy, and thanks for sharing your tips on RPR reports for market analysis and relocation. If you want to learn how to put RPR reports to use for you and your business, be sure to attend RPR's featured webinar, titled: "RPR Reports–How to Stand Out in a Crowded Market." Our trained experts and webinar guests will show you how to create and deliver reports that are sure to impress. Sign up for this free webinar today! To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Why Pre-Sale Renovation Is the Hottest Tool in Real Estate
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How Safe Is Your Office?
Realtors meet strangers everyday, which opens your office to potential dangers. Do you have steps in place to make sure you and your team are safe at work? Screen potential clients – Background check all potential buyers and sellers—they are essentially a stranger. Look for red flags in behavior and trust your gut feeling. Know who is in your office – Have a login procedure in place with a check-in and out. Take a copy of the client's identification and keep a record. Keep it professional – REALTORS® get to know their clients on a personal level. Avoid sharing personal information about where you live, family, or if you have vacation plans. Have a plan – No one wants to think about worst-case scenarios, but having a plan could save your life. Performing safety drills will prepare them to take cover effectively in case of an active shooting incident. Practice drills will also help your team identify useful items to barricade the doors, designate a "safe room," and develop an emergency contact system to check in with all staff and agents. Get to know the local police department – Your local law enforcement may have some great tips and suggestions on how to improve your office safety or offer training. Opt for technology with built-in safety features – Your phone is a great safety tool with built in features like GPS location and the ability to send an SOS message. In addition, your SentriKey® Real Estate App also has a built in feature that checks in with you regularly during a showing. For more information about safety training or safety tips, visit nar.realtor/safety or contact your local police department. To view the original article, visit the SentriLock blog.
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30 Real Estate Email Subject Lines that Entice Leads
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[Podcast] Decoding Real Estate: Managing Climate Risk in Real Estate with Cal Inman
RPR (Realtors Property Resource) recently introduced a new data set called ClimateCheck. This integration allows REALTORS to access and share a personalized climate risk rating and assessment for any property. Cal Inman, the founder and CEO of ClimateCheck, chats with Decoding Real Estate to give his insight and advice on how this valuable information can be used by home buyers and sellers, investors, brokers and commercial specialists. He stresses that ClimateCheck's main goal is to arm agents with this data so they can help their clients understand the risks, protect themselves, and make more informed decisions. Cal also explains that as Millennials and more Gen Zs make up the bulk of the market, the more questions they'll have about how climate affects housing. Mitigating these risks with suggested home improvements and giving free access to this data is, as Cal puts it, "another arrow in your quiver." Decoding Real Estate is hosted by Reggie Nicolay and Genie Willett. Subscribe/Follow And be sure to check out these helpful and relevant links: RPR® Integrates with ClimateCheck® to Offer Property Risk Ratings ClimateCheck® Realtors Property Resource® Listen on: Apple Podcasts Google Podcasts Spotify Stitcher To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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5 Do's of Superior Customer Service as an Agent
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How Could Your Photos Enter Listing Data for You?
Did you know that digital photos shot with a smartphone or a digital camera capture more than just the image? Today's photos contain information called metadata that is individually created with each image. This data can include a plethora of details, including the size, dimensions, and, most importantly, the location. The day and time of the photo are also generally included. What this could mean for real estate agents and professional real estate photographers is incredible. Think about what it would mean if you never had to enter listing data into your MLS again. It would save you time and increase your productivity. That's the idea behind the early work and testing of exciting new technology being done throughout the real estate industry today. A hot new startup, Restb.ai, is one of the leading tech firms in the emerging computer vision space. Power of computer vision Already Restb.ai is processing over 10 million photos a day. They use both computer vision and AI to "see" each image and then can automate tasks. Combine this information with the metadata already in digital listing photos, and you can start to see the potential. MLSs are already jumping in and exploring the possibilities. Greg Moore is one of the early adopters among MLS technology leaders who began looking into the idea that you could use photos to automate listing entries about three years ago. Greg is Chief Technology Officer at Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (RMLS), of the largest MLSs in the Pacific Northwest. He started a small test with Restb.ai. They sent over some URLs connecting to photos to see what would come back. "In our pilot, we sent them URLs; we didn't send them pictures. And I mean seconds later, we got the content," Greg said. He explained that once the photo has a "geocode" – when you can determine its location down to the property address – you can bring in all the other information found in public records. So, for example, you could connect to tax data and autofill that content, populate the address, perhaps see the property's transaction history, what the local school district is, and a lot more. Greg admits his interest in seeing the photo become the first step in listing data entry is self-serving. "Selfishly, as an MLS, we want to be the first point of entry." Automated photo descriptions Restb.ai is doing more than just helping to channel that photo metadata into practical use. Their computer vision can create the content to describe each listing photo. In addition, their technology can classify by room type, identify home features, and even analyze the condition of the room – all from listing photos. "What (Restb.ai) are doing with computer vision is just the beginning," Greg said. He points out that technology is getting faster and more intelligent, particularly AI, machine learning, and computer vision. Power of photos Successful real estate agents have long known the benefits of using great listing photos, and research backs them up. For example, 61% of brokers believe high-quality photography is "crucial," and another 31% think real estate photographers are "important" to selling homes. However, past research shows that only 15% of homes use high-quality photos, according to Photography for Real Estate statistics. While 68% of agents believe professional real estate photography helps their brand, and more importantly, pro photos help them sell more homes and sell them faster. About 32% of homes with high-quality photographs sell faster than those without real estate photography in a typical market. On average, homes with a single photo spend 70 days on the market, while listings with at least 20 high-quality images in their listing description sell within a month. According to the National Association of Realtors, 72.2% of Realtors agree that high-quality real estate photography helps them win more listings. In addition, houses with aerial footage and high-quality photographs sell 68% faster than those without similar visuals. Perhaps the most crucial reason agents who don't use professional real estate photography should: agents hiring professional real estate photographers earn twice as much in gross commission income as others. Agents remain at the center Automating, extracting, and leveraging listing data using photos doesn't mean that the agents will have to give up control of the process. Greg at RMLS says one could create a queue where photos are uploaded, and the listing data is created along with the photos' descriptions for the agents to review, edit if needed, then approve and post. He noted that some agents likely already share their MLS access credentials to save a step with the photographer uploading the photos directly. "(Agents) want the ability to select the order," Greg noted. Finally, Greg argues that MLSs are likely to be at the forefront of implementing this new technology because of the need to maintain quality data. He notes that at RMLS, their business rules assure the quality of the data is already built into the listing content, and he does not see that changing. As for the impact that computer vision, along with AI and machine learning, will have in increasing the value of the listing photo, Greg said, "Every iteration makes it smarter and better. So, if it's not here, it's coming, and it's coming quickly," he added. Joe Jesuele is the founder and CEO of HomeJab, a leading on-demand professional real estate photography and video marketplace for real estate pros and architect of the real NFT Marketplace. A real estate entrepreneur, internet efficiency innovator, and passionate problem solver, Joe is one of the nation's top real estate visual content experts. Today, he oversees an operation that has delivered more than 4,000,000 images to help agents sell and rent more than $35 billion in listings.
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A Newly Built Home Sounds Great. But Ballooning Borrowing Costs Could Crush New Home Buyers
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Share and Show Your Expertise as a Real Estate Agent to Achieve Success
Knowledge without wisdom is just a bunch of facts. Having wisdom is knowing how to use your knowledge to achieve success at something. When you want to know how to brand yourself in real estate, applying knowledge, the correct tactics and strategies is fundamental for longevity. The National Association of Realtors reports there are over 3 million active real estate licences in the U.S. alone—that's a lot of agents competing for listings. So you need to make yourself stand out by showcasing your expertise, using current prop-tech, and building your brand. Be that one in 3 million whose name gets remembered, whose number is on speed dial, and who is the neighborhood "expert" for all things real estate. Why focus on yourself? While it is important to know how to become a successful real estate agent through the licensing and educational process, narrowing your focus to highlight your expertise can make a difference in your marketing outcome. The saying "Jack of all trades" is relevant in real estate. To master your skills and gain an advantage as a real estate agent, you should choose your niche carefully. Real estate transactions encompass more than finding a few listings and hoping they sell quickly. Find your niche, whether it be a specific geographic area or working with condos versus single-family homes. Don't expect every interaction with the consumer will materialize into a listing or a sale. When you learn how to succeed by accepting failures as a stepping stone and not a wall, the road ahead will be smoother. Top real estate agents focus on filling their funnels with prospect after prospect using great marketing tools like 3D tours. If one goes astray, there will be another one waiting to fill the spot. Be the standout agent Build your brand by applying your knowledge of the industry and sharing your expertise. Share tips about everything from staging a home to why 3D tours help sell homes faster. Use your social media accounts to consistently engage with the consumer by offering more than the average agent. When you want to stand out, you have to make a point of interacting with the public at every opportunity. Ask questions regularly to keep communication flowing and to assert your influence. People want answers, and if you can provide them with the right ones, you are well on your way to standing out in your chosen niche. Building your website with good content, helpful blogs, and links to your listings' virtual tours and floor plans is how to brand yourself in real estate. When your internet presence is remarkable, your brand speaks volumes. Don't forget to include professionally shot virtual tours and photos—leave the smartphone pics for selfies and personal memories. Investing in your future Never stop investing in yourself if you want to become a successful real estate agent. If you want longevity in the real estate industry, investing in yourself is the way to stay current and on your game. Choose to attend conferences and attend webinars sponsored by your local real estate board, NAR, and other associations connected to the profession. Learn from your peers and get insight into what is happening now and what to expect for the future of real estate. Learn things like why 3D tours are taking the industry to new levels, speak with builder associations to find out what's new with construction products and floor plans. Many industries contribute valuable ideas to the real estate business, and when you network with them, you stay current. Do it for them (and you) Your clients want you to use the latest technology. It's not a question of why; it's a question of when. Use technology now. There is no reason for you not to be providing 3D tours and immersive floor plans with every listing. It is the part of the listing presentation that makes you stand out in the eyes of your seller, and it makes you stand out to potential buyers. With the right tools, winning the listing presentation is simple. Using technology is how to brand yourself in real estate. Cutting edge companies like iGUIDE® have everything you need from accurate measurements and floor plans to virtual tours and analytics. Sharing is easy by embedding the 3D tours directly onto your website, sending a few 360° tours of specific rooms via social media, and narrating a virtual tour from top to bottom. How does all this help you? It gets you recognized and it shows value to both the seller and the buyer. Don't stop believing Competition is fierce and the market waxes and wanes, but that is no reason to give up your dream of becoming a successful real estate agent. Your never-say-die attitude is what got you into real estate in the first place. Keep that killer instinct and forge ahead because the only thing keeping you from succeeding is you. With proptech on your side, you can show your expertise like a seasoned professional. For more information regarding iGUIDE, click here. To view the original article, visit the iGuide blog.
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Friday Freebie: Homebuyer's Cheat Sheet for Winning in a Hot Market
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Will Your Real Estate License Transfer to Other States?
Are you thinking about moving to another state but don't know what that means for your current real estate license? Are you wondering if it can transfer to your new state? Read on for more information. Real estate is often a state-specific industry. Thus the laws governing real estate differ by state, and each state has different licensing requirements. However, this does not mean that a real estate agent moving to another state will have to start their real estate education and licensing process from scratch. With real estate reciprocity, agents can transfer their real estate licenses to other states without any hassle. This is, even more, the case for states like Colorado where the process is very straightforward for real estate agents. But we can't say the same for Texas because they do not have license reciprocity. Real estate agents wanting to transfer their real estate license to Texas are required to complete a pre-licensing course and pass the TREC exam. What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity? There are reciprocity agreements in place in several states that allow real estate licensees from other jurisdictions to be licensed. This is very crucial for real estate professionals who live or work across state borders. Real estate license reciprocity is a multi-state agreement that allows licensed real estate agents to become licensed in another state without taking additional real estate pre-licensing courses or passing a licensing test. Note that reciprocity agreements don't inherently mean real estate agents and brokers can work in other states without a license. For example, in some states, real estate agents may take a brief online training course for a few hours to earn their licenses, depending on the licensing board's requirements. How Many Types of Real Estate Reciprocity Agreements Are There? Each state has its own set of rules and regulations for reciprocity, meaning it is state-specific. However, real estate reciprocity agreements generally fall into three distinct categories, as seen below. 1. Full reciprocity: This involves states that allow all real estate agents to use licenses from any state. States with full license reciprocity include: Alabama Maine Colorado Mississippi Virginia 2. Partial reciprocity: Real estate agents from certain states can take a pre-licensing course, and take a license test with partial reciprocity, to use their real estate licenses in the new state. This is available for reciprocal states only. The states that offer partial reciprocity to real estate agents are: Arkansas Connecticut Florida Indiana Iowa Louisiana Maryland Idaho Illinois Nebraska North Carolina New York North Dakota Ohio Nevada Minnesota Massachusetts New Hampshire Oklahoma Pennsylvania South Carolina Rhode Island Tennessee Utah West Virginia Wisconsin 3. No reciprocity: This involves states that deny reciprocity to all out-of-state licensees. The states with no reciprocity are: Alaska Arizona California Hawaii Delaware Kansas Michigan Kentucky Missouri New Jersey Montana New Mexico Texas South Dakota Vermont Wyoming Washington Bottom Line To know more about your state's real estate reciprocity agreements, we recommend contacting the state directly to ensure you have the most up-to-date information and education requirements. To view the original article, visit the Realtyna blog.
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8 Proven Prospecting Methods to Build Your Real Estate Business
Purchasing real estate leads can be effective, but can also be expensive to maintain. Learning new and creative ways of "who" to target can be a terrific way to future-proof your business. But where should you focus your time? See a list of eight proven prospecting methods below: 1. Neighborhood Prospecting A geographic farm continues to be one of the best ways to market yourself as a real estate agent. And luckily for you, as a REALTOR® you have access to RPR (Realtors Property Resource®) to help power your neighborhood prospecting every step of the way. Leverage RPR's search and mapping to compare neighborhoods based on important stats such as turnover, absorption rate and competition. Then use RPR to generate labels and/or a CSV (Comma-Separated Values) export to populate your CRM. Reports such as the Market Activity Report and Property Report also make terrific "leave-behinds" as you prospect the area. See for yourself with this how-to on setting up your geographic farm. 2. Circle Prospecting So you just got a new listing? It's time for circle prospecting. Circle prospecting is a lead generation technique designed to let the surrounding neighbors know about your listing, open house or recent sale. Usually, this is done by sending a postcard or mailer to a few hundred homes around the subject property. RPR makes the process of getting these contacts quick and easy. To get started, look no further than RPR's mapping. From the map, make sure Type/Status is set to Public Records. Then locate the neighborhood of the subject property and then choose Draw. Next, select Radius and click on the subject property to create the center point, and then drag out. Once you've achieved the desired distance, click again to set the shape. Now choose Search in This Area. Grab labels or CSV export by selecting Mailing Labels above the map. 3. Open House Prospecting You're getting ready to hold your open house. You've prepared by ensuring the home looks its best and is staged well. Yet, beyond that soft landing, serious homebuyers will want the facts about your listing and the area. Stand out with each prospect walking through the door by providing client-friendly reporting on all the details that matter most: the property, neighborhood, schools and local market. Use the RPR app to create data-packed reports on the spot and text or email them as the conversations happen. This is a great opportunity to build your brand and create a wow factor with each potential prospect that comes through the door. Learn what you should be doing at your next open house here. 4. Niche Prospecting Strategies Focusing your business on a real estate niche is a great way to target a specific group of people you'd like to be working with. You can establish a specific real estate niche for just about anything: location, properties, or even the type of prospects. In many cases, it can all start with a search in RPR. Find expired or distressed listings, luxury homes, absentee owners, and lots more. For examples of how RPR's search and filters work, check out this article or watch this video. Once you have the results you want, watch this video to create your mailing labels or CSV export. eBook: How to Farm and Prospect for new ClientsThis detailed prospecting ebook provides step-by-step instructions, formulas, videos, guides, testimonials and more on how to prospect like a pro. 5. Sphere of Influence (SOI) Most successful real estate pros will tell you that long-term success comes from nourishing relationships and converting contacts into clients. And more times than not, those clients come from your own sphere of influence (SOI). Your SOI is a group of your personal connections. These are people you know well, plus loose connections and acquaintances, too. A few SOI examples include family, friends, social media friends, friends of friends, coworkers and community connections. Nourishing your SOI takes time. Make sure to start by building the list itself. Identify your connections. Compile them into a spreadsheet or CRM. Then layer on your communications and touchpoints. If you send out a regular newsletter or mailer, use RPR to include consistent market updates or trends. 6. Social Media Prospecting Social media prospecting as a real estate pro really is a no-brainer. Also one could argue that social media prospecting is an extension of the sphere of influence and past client marketing. Although it's hard to disagree, it's also unique enough to deserve its own callout. Social media has been growing in popularity for years, and is now as commonplace as any traditional media. Today it's one of the fastest ways to spread information. And the more connections you have in your network, the more people you will likely reach. Social media also happens to be a terrific place to ambiently build and showcase your real estate expertise. This is where RPR can help. Compile real estate trends covering your local market, including inventory levels, new homes, open houses, home ownership tips and much more. For a few examples, check out this article on creating Instagram sharables and this one on using RPR and Canva to make shareable market charts. 7. Past Clients Any successful REALTOR® will tell you when it comes to earning repeat business, past clients are where it's at. Over time, this can become a significant portion of your overall business. It's much easier to retain an existing client than it is to attract a new one. But to be successful, you need a plan to stay in touch. This can involve social media, events, mailings, phone calls—if you're interacting, it counts. Be sure to have some of your touch points revolve around real estate and their current property investment. For example, with the low inventory and high appreciation over the last few years, most homeowners have gained significant equity in their homes. Consider sending an equity checkup, because chances are your past clients will be very curious. As their REALTOR®, you have a unique position to be able to keep them in the loop on what may be their largest single investment. To start sending the equity checkup, you'll need to get the current mortgage balance. Then using RPR, perform a current CMA on their home. Once you have a solid understanding of its current value, generate a property report. (Customize and trim down the report to just showcase the essentials.) Now simply take the home value and subtract the mortgage balance to arrive at the total equity in the home. 8. Prospecting Letters Okay, so this is not really a niche. But prospecting letters certainly can be a useful method of outreach when it comes to your prospecting efforts. For a few examples, check out these articles from Tom Ferry, Fit Small Business, and one from The Close. The Many Paths of Prospecting Prospecting comes in many forms. Whether it's nurturing repeats and referrals, or digging for new leads through a variety of methods, it's important to keep laying tracks that lead to listings and buyers. RPR offers data, tools and reports that can power up your prospecting efforts across the board. Be sure to take advantage of the valuable resources that RPR puts in the hands of every REALTOR®. To view the original article, visit the RPR blog.
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Is a Recession About to Rock the Housing Market?
The signs are clear and causing alarm: The U.S. may be on the verge of entering a recession. Even with low unemployment and a tight labor market, persistent inflation, slowing growth, and rising interest rates have many economists, investors, and policymakers girding for a sustained economic downturn. If a recession hits, will the housing market tank? After all, in the past two years the housing market has gone gangbusters, with supercharged sales prices and record-low inventory. A correction in the market could be overdue. Learn why some experts think a recession would upend the housing market, and others believe the factors driving high prices and low inventory will persist – regardless of whether the economy is growing or not. Yes, a Recession Would Upend the Housing Market The health of the housing market is, in general, determined by whether enough people want to buy and can pay for a home. Practicing social distancing and working remotely during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic caused many middle-class buyers to realize they wanted to own a home or upgrade to a larger property. Contributing to this surge in demand was the Federal Reserve's decision to slash interest rates, resulting in record-low mortgage rates – a huge incentive for buyers to get in the market. Buyers currently face a considerably different situation: COVID restrictions have largely been lifted, and many white-collar Americans are back in the office and the rhythms of normal life. The Fed is raising interest rates to curb the most serious, sustained inflation of the past 40 years. Mortgage rates are surging, making it harder for buyers to qualify for a home loan. Taken together, it's not unreasonable to think that a recession – during which people usually lose jobs and income – would not simply cool but torpedo the housing market. Already, there are indications that rising mortgage rates are locking consumers out of the market. Buyers of newly built homes have reported that skyrocketing mortgage rates caused them to back out of a deal. And even before the economy started to wobble, some buyers this year were entering the market because they expected mortgage rates to be prohibitive in the coming months and years. No, the Housing Market Won't Implode in a Recession For all the gloomy economic predictions, the housing market is and may remain somewhat protected by a simple, powerful reality: There are far more people who want to buy homes than available properties on the market. The home shortage is attributable to three factors: Home building remained atypically low in the years after the late 2000s subprime mortgage meltdown. Record-low mortgage rates and marked changes in day-to-day life in 2020 and 2021 released unprecedented and insatiable buyer demand for homes. Supply chain snags wrought by the pandemic and soaring prices for raw materials such as lumber have made it costly and difficult to build new homes. All told, the causes of the home shortage – namely, that it's hard to build new homes – won't change even if the economy slows down. And while nobody's cheering for what could become a combination of economic recession and rampant inflation, real estate has traditionally been a safe harbor when currency becomes less valuable. In addition to low supply, there are demand-side realities that could shelter the real estate market from the worst of an economic recession. Among the biggest contributors to inflation has been increasing salaries – indicating that plenty of buyers still have the means to put money down on homes, even as interest rates rise and the cost of borrowing for a home loan increases. And the pool of eager potential buyers is unlikely to dry up soon: millennials, the U.S.'s largest generation, are in or about to enter prime home buying age. Finally, the housing market is at reduced risk of capsizing during a recession because homeowners can pay their mortgages. In the late 2000s, delinquency rates on mortgages surged, because checks on income verification were weak and the "teaser" periods on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) slotted people into home loans they couldn't afford. Today, income verification is much stronger, and ARMs and mortgage discount points are more tightly regulated. To view the original article, visit the Homesnap blog.
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Improve Your Workflow with CRM and Transaction Management
A solid real estate customer relationship management (CRM) system should include transaction management that helps real estate agents not only manage their contacts, but also their transactions. A CRM system is vital for agents who want to strengthen and nurture relationships with clients in addition to increasing their productivity overall. In fact, there's a strong correlation between agent productivity and use of a CRM for real estate. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) confirms this trend, stating that the best way to keep your client flow steady is to develop a strategy using CRM. Five years ago, close to 40% of agents used CRM (Hubspot). And, 95% of agents considered to be "top-performing" were among that percentage — underscoring the usefulness of CRM for real estate agents. To find the most effective and budget-friendly real estate software suite for your business, you'll need to sort the "must-have" features from the features that are simply "nice-to-have." Let's look at why a real estate CRM can help you grow and manage your business more efficiently — and more profitably — than ever. Why You Need a Real Estate CRM to Keep It Together What is CRM in real estate? Quite simply, it's the best way for agents to manage contacts, transactions, and team activities to keep their business running smoothly — and producing. Realtor leads are a critical source of clients — and revenue — for agents. Because of their importance, most brokerage firms place significance on managing them. But Realtors face obstacles other marketers don't, contributing to the development of very unique lead management practices. Three lead-management challenges that are specific to the real estate industry include the facts that: Real estate agents don't get repeat business from current customers — they get it from leads generated by those customers, so longterm relationship-building is critical. Referrals and listings are the main source of Realtor leads. The sales cycle is more drawn out, with varying lead involvement over several stages. Because CRM is best when it dovetails with the unique requirements of an industry, the best CRM for real estate will be a system that provides targeted real estate agent tools. Let's look at what makes effective, business-enhancing, real estate CRM software. Real Estate CRM Software That Drives Real Results We already know it's critical to invest in real-estate-specific CRM software, but let's explore the most relevant features to your investment. Here are four features that are the backbone of any high-quality real estate CRM. 1. Contact Information and Data Tracking and Management Contact management is an integral part of most real estate CRM, offering the ability to search basic fields. But game-changing real estate software will turn functionality up a notch by offering the ability to create unique fields for your business. This will further personalize your interactions with your clients and yield your company far better results. Examples of custom fields include: Rank Status Other addresses Spouse/partner info Kids' birthdays Pets' names Having this personal information at your fingertips — and being able to review it quickly before a client meeting — can result in a stronger relationship that leads to more referrals down the line.And any Realtor knows that referrals are the life-blood of the industry. This means that best CRM for real estate will feature a component that allows you to see the number of leads referred by each contact within the system. It also should track detailed notes and critical dates for every contact and transaction. And, while reviewing this information in-office at the start of your day is an excellent way to stay on top of things, most agents are on-the-go from morning 'til evening. This means that if your CRM software has the ability to travel with you, it will be an incredible benefit! If you want to be able to manage your real estate business anywhere, then you'll need a real estate CRM that offers an integrated mobile app. A good mobile app will allow you to: Access your contacts and vendors Access and update your planner, call, and task lists View, add, or update information to your CRM Work on any mobile device — from smartphone, to laptop, to tablet Does your real estate CRM offer contact management with unique fields and a mobile app for on-the-go information retrieval and input? If it doesn't, then it's not going to give you the integration you need to stay ahead of the competition. In conjunction with those critical features, your CRM must have a refined and detailed call list. 2. Highly Integrated Call Functions Real estate agents are always on their phones, making it an important part of managing daily business and growing revenue. Focused real estate CRM software will put emphasis on having an interactive call list for agents. This call list should allow them to immediately access the information of everyone that needs to be contacted, whenever they need it. Besides providing a contact's information, your CRM should allow you to view notes on previous calls. You should also be able to add notes after the current call, and schedule a follow-up call. If you're working with a team, it's important that you're able to see which calls are assigned to a team member, whether they were completed, and if they were reassigned. For teams that do mass calling, it's best to choose a real estate software that provides seamless integration with an auto dialing system for convenience. 3. Document Transactions for Easy Referrals and Increased Productivity Transactions in real estate are incredibly complex, requiring an agent to have outstanding attention to detail, accountability, and organizational skills. That's why a good real estate CRM helps agents manage everything they need through powerful software that simplified tasks and collects all data in an accessible, easily managed, digital forum. Intelligent real estate transaction management tools allow agents to: Customize listing or buyer templates Turn the templates into a transaction management checklist Record each action taken on the checklist as it is completed Show due dates, other team members involved in each action, and date/time-stamped notes Save digitally-signed transaction forms Not only does this keep agents extremely organized and up-to-date with tasks, it allows them to easily find critical information at the click of a button. Being able to instantly search for an appraiser's name on a specific contract or determine the closing date of another deal saves time and money. 4. Game-Changing Benefits for Teams Creating a real estate team can allow diverse agents to combine skill sets for increased sales and revenue. But sometimes it's difficult to coordinate the transaction activities of several members, resulting in errors and lost productivity. Good real estate CRM software will allow an administrator to add any number of team members and assign permissions for each, according to need — or strategy. The team leader can oversee processes, assign full or limited access, and change access in a flash. Each team member should be able to have access customized to their role on the team. An assistant, for example, might be able to follow everyone's transactions, while a buyer's agent might be allowed access to only their specific tasks, calendar, and leads. The best CRM for real estate will always be able to work for teams structured in various ways. When the entire team is on the same page, fewer errors are made and more sales close! You already know that the most successful agents are using real estate CRM software to get ahead of the game. If you want to join them, it's time to invest in the most impactful career decision you can make — purchasing a real estate CRM. To view the original article, visit the Wise Agent blog.
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25+ Best Real Estate Software, Tools and Apps for Realtors
Managing a real estate practice takes a lot of work. Without good systems in place, simply managing your current clients, appointments, and paperwork can hold you back from growing your business. As you surely already know, there are thousands of options for apps, tools, and software for real estate agents in every stage of their career. You'll find solutions for more effective lead generation and nurturing and automated scheduling, transaction management and coordination, offer management, and systems that improve productivity and communication. Where do you start? Here are essential tools for real estate agents to make your life easier and free up time for what's important. Real Estate CRM Software and Lead Generation Lead generation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are separate but incredibly related aspects of your business. Depending on your preference and needs, you may want a single platform that does both or you may prefer dedicated real estate lead generation software and a separate platform for CRM management. Choosing real estate CRM is a big decision. There are seemingly limitless options, and it's a big commitment that may mean disrupting your entire lead generation system. Because Customer Relationship Management software is at the heart of your business, it pays to put the work into choosing the right platform. Top real estate agents are twice as likely to use lead management and CRM software compared to less successful agents! The best CRM software for real estate agents: Is easy to use Integrates with other tools you use Offers robust analytics and reporting Provides the automation you need with personalization Includes an easy auto dialer Next, consider your needs before choosing a CRM for real estate. The right CRM will depend on the size of your real estate business, whether you are managing a team, and what will best support your specific goals. You may want a straightforward project management tool you can use as a CRM. Some real estate agents prefer an open system which integrates with other tools. Open systems let you pick and choose the right platforms for specific needs so they can work together. An all-in-one CRM system handles all aspects of lead generation. Ready to get started? Here are some top picks for CRM software for Realtors to grow your business. CINC – All-in-One CRM and Lead Generation Platform While perhaps not best for new agents, CINC is arguably the best real estate CRM software for real estate agents and teams with powerful lead generation tools. The platform offers: Client marketing to create Facebook, Google, and Instagram campaigns Generate leads with optimized sites designed to capture leads Import lead sources into your central dashboard Tools to get information about your leads' preferences and needs Automatically organize leads into your contact lists based on potential Notifications when leads are ready to contact you Real estate team management with automatic tracking and lead routing Connects with over 4,000 apps CINC has four products starting at $600 to $1,200 per month for a single agent with add-on costs like leads starting at $500 per month. The biggest drawback, aside from the cost, is CINC takes a long time to master. It's robust, but the system is rather clunky and not very intuitive. Real Geeks – All-in-One Lead Manager CRM Software for Realtors Cost: $299/month plus $350 to onboard 1-2 agents, additional cost for PPC management and seller lead generation Real Geeks is powerful real estate sales software that combines marketing, lead generation, nurturing, tracking, and reporting, and more. Here's why Real Geeks is a favorite among real estate agents: IDX real estate websites for lead generation Property valuation landing page to generate seller leads Robust lead manager CRM tracks and nurtures leads In-house marketing team manages PPC campaigns for an additional fee User-facing app integrates with your local MLS Automatic and up-to-date market reports SMS autoresponder for immediate response to lead inquiries Facebook Marketing Tool and marketing services (additional fee) Automated email drip campaigns Top Producer – CRM Made for Real Estate Cost: $60/month to $105/month per user Top Producer is a real estate CRM software designed specifically for agents. Campaigns, templates, and processes are all crafted for real estate for a more intuitive system and the features you really need without a lot of bloat. Stand-out features include: MLS Property Insights allows you to label and take notes while working with clients. The listing status and date will be automatically populated so you can stay on top of the details. Transaction management lets you see a transaction timeline and relevant listing data and get reminders. Integrates with 150+ tools like Gmail Dynamic workflows with relevant tasks to turn prospects into clients Automated marketing with MLS-based Market Snapshot Reports and alerts Follow Up Coach gives you suggestions on who to contact next and suggested touch points to stay on track IXACT Contact – Realtor CRM that Tracks Commissions and Transactions Cost: $45/month or $456/year IXACT Contact is a unique CRM platform for real estate agents because it not only helps you manage relationships and nurture leads, it also helps you track revenue. This CRM software for Realtors is designed to manage all your contacts and referrals as well as transactions, expenses, and revenue attached to each profile. It also has an intuitive interface that makes it easy to adopt. Copper – Real Estate CRM Software Designed for Gmail and Google Workspace Cost: $553/year Copper is a CRM platform designed for agents who use Google Workspace and Gmail. You'll find it very easy to manage contacts, market listings and open houses, and nurture leads through Google Calendar and Gmail. Copper automatically tracks and inputs all communications including account details, leads, emails, and contacts. By integrating with ActivePipe, you can nurture leads with tailored email campaigns and funnel leads into personalized workflows. HubSpot – Popular Free CRM for Real Estate Agents Cost: Free HubSpot is one of the most popular options if you're looking for free real estate CRM software. It offers tools like lead generation, live chat, email integration, and contact management. HubSpot excels as an inbound marketing tool for real estate agents. They also offer great free tools like templates, personalization and snippets so you can recall emails and responses you use frequently and tailor them to each recipient. Realtyzam CRM – Basic CRM Platform Designed for Agents Cost: $15/month or $144/year Already use Realtyzam accounting software? They also offer CRM software for real estate agents with an easy-to-use platform that's designed to be as simple as possible. Track sales activity, manage leads, and get reminders to get in touch with clients. Real Estate Lead Generation Software and Tools One of the greatest challenges in growing a real estate business and managing an office is the amount of work that goes into generating, nurturing, and converting leads. You may have team members devoted to cold calling, marketing, answering calls, and scheduling appointments, but there's probably an easier way with these top lead generation tools for real estate agents. RealScout – Lead Nurturing Tool Cost: $39/month per agent or $500/month for brokerages This simple but powerful Realtor lead generation tool scours the MLS for listings matching your clients' criteria. New listings are automatically emailed to your clients with branded emails that look like they came from you directly. You can sort properties by over 400 criteria to send clients the best matches for what they're looking for. The RealScout platform also includes a branded home search portal that displays accurate MLS data, team functionality, and other tools to generate leads. Structurely – AI Virtual Assistant Helps Convert Leads Cost: Starting at $299/month for 100 contacts Structurely helps you spend less time qualifying leads and more time closing. Their real estate software solution works like another member of your team to: Connect with leads from your CRM Nurture unresponsive leads 25 times over 12 months Send alerts when leads are ready for you to step in Not ready for a real estate virtual assistant? Try an AI assistant to help manage leads! Using pre-built, optimized real estate scripts (or your own scripts) for new and old leads, sellers, and buyers, Structurely sends all lead conversations to your CRM in real time and mirrors your CRM lead routing rules. Best of all, you can jump in and take over the conversation at any time! Revaluate – Generate Leads with Predictive Analytics Cost: $139/month (for 2,000 contacts) Revaluate is a simple solution to significantly boost the conversion rate of your cold calling campaign. It helps you generate leads by using predictive analytics to identify homeowners in your area likely to move within 3-6 months based on social media, demographic, and consumer data. Redx – Realtor Lead Generation for Specialty Leads Cost: $60/month Redx is real estate prospecting software with a unique purpose: it gives you access to expired listings and aging FSBO listings to help you identify potential prospects. As you create prospect lists, the included Storm Dialer can automatically dial numbers while displaying relevant information. This is one of the best alternatives to cold calling and a great investment! FreshDesk – Live Chat Function to Convert Leads Cost: $18/month or $180/year FreshDesk lets leads and clients contact you from their preferred channel, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and iMessage, with a single inbox. Automation assigns the communications to the right person in the office and the system supports team collaboration. Fast response times and allowing leads to contact you how they prefer means a higher chance of converting them into a client! Cloud Attract – Create Real Estate Landing Pages Cost: $99/month for Cloud Agent bundle One of the most popular real estate lead generation tools, Cloud Attract lets you create attractive landing pages that target either buyers or sellers. Choose from more than one dozen professionally designed templates, select the information you want to collect, and your landing page will be automatically generated. You can then customize it with your own imagery, copy, fonts, Google Analytics ID, and more. Generated leads appear in a tab with email notifications. Real Estate Accounting Software and Expense Tracking Apps While you're busy meeting clients, showing homes, generating leads, and overseeing transactions, it can be challenging to stay on top of bookkeeping and expense tracking. Still, this less glamorous side of running a real estate business is important. Here's the best accounting software for real estate agents and expense tracking tools. QuickBooks for Real Estate – Robust Realtor Accounting Software Cost: $15 to $180 per month (free trials and discounts often offered) QuickBooks Online is a leading choice for accounting software for Realtors with tools that make it easy to grow your real estate business. Here are some reasons QuickBooks is the go-to option for real estate agents: Insight into business performance month-over-month to set goals and make business decisions Automatically pay payroll taxes if you have employees Easily create categories of liabilities and assets like business credit cards, petty cash, furniture and fixtures, travel expenses, technology expenses, marketing expenses, and office supplies Generate a real estate agent profit and loss statement by week, month, or quarter Robust real estate agent expense tracking with mileage tracking and integration with other tools like DocuSign, Pipedrive, Copper, and Salesforce Sales Cloud Most agents only need the Simple Start plan which is about $25 per month. Realtyzam – Accounting Software Designed Specifically for Agents Cost: $12/month or $120/year Realtyzam is unique because it was designed specifically for real estate agents. This cloud-based real estate accounting software offers basic accounting as an affordable alternative to QuickBooks for Realtors. Realtyzam is a great choice if you want a simple system for tracking expenses and generating reports for taxes. MileIQ – One of the Best Apps for Realtors to Track Mileage Cost: Free trial, $6/month or $60/year MileIQ is a more robust app for Realtors that tracks mileage. It uses automatic drive detection so you don't need to worry about turning tracking on and off, and you can automatically classify common routes to track business and personal miles. It even offers mileage tracking for real estate teams! MileIQ reports an average deduction of $7,022 for MileIQ users. Stride – Free Mileage and Travel Expense Tracking App Cost: Free The average Realtor spends $1,200 per year on their vehicle, according to NAR! You spend so much time in your car and traveling as an agent, it's crucial to track your mileage and travel expenses. For most agents, the mileage deduction is one of the biggest tax deductions they claim! Stride is a free mileage tracking app that's easy to use. Just turn on the mileage logger when you start driving and turn it off when you're done. You can log other travel expenses as you go. At tax time, Stride creates an IRS-ready tax form. While free, this tool isn't designed for agents and it's very basic. QuickBooks Mileage Tracker Cost: Included with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed Already using QuickBooks for real estate agents? QuickBooks also offers a mileage tracker app that automatically detects when you're driving. Swipe left on trips to mark them as business miles. Tracked miles will be automatically transferred to your real estate bookkeeping software. Because it's linked with your other real estate business expenses, QuickBooks will determine how much you can deduct for you. The downside is it has an added cost that's higher than competitors like MileIQ. Other Top Apps for Realtors: Marketing Productivity and More! From paperless open houses to streamlined and automated scheduling, these top real estate agent tools can simplify many areas of your business. Calendly – Scheduling App for Realtors Cost: Free for basics and $8 to $16/month per person Calendly is one of the best real estate apps for agents to stay on top of scheduling and appointments. Here's why real estate agents love using Calendly: Set availability preferences to customize when and how you book appointments Automated real estate team scheduling Automate communication before and after meetings Connects to up to six calendars Poll meeting attendees for best availability times Integrates with CRM platforms and more Automated reminder and follow-up emails Alllows leads to schedule with you instantly! Spacio – Easy, digital open house sign-in Cost: $25/month for agents, $100/month for 5-agent teams, and $145/month for brokerages and offices Ditch the clipboards and sign-in sheets with Spacio, an automated paperless open house app. This simple app helps you capture leads from virtual and in-person events, communicate with buyers and sellers, and even market listings. Realtors Property Resource (RPR) – Create CMAs on the Go Cost: Free RPR and the RPR Mobile app are essential tools for real estate agents who need on-the-go research and fast answers. A subsidiary of NAR, RPR gives you access to the data you need during showings and meetings while allowing you to create comparative market analysis reports on the go. This app for Realtors is perfect for getting quick answers to client questions with a tool to search neighborhoods and zip codes and share property photos with your clients. Wise Agent – Popular Real Estate Marketing Tool for Email Automation Cost: $348/year Wise Agent is simple, yet it's one of the most effective real estate agent marketing tools for email automation. This real estate CRM software lets you set up campaigns that run themselves. Choose the number of emails (events) and days between events or fixed dates then use pre-made templates or create your own. The Wise Agent platform is rather outdated, but it's easy to learn and helps you break up the lead nurturing process into several steps without getting overwhelmed. Dotloop – Transaction Management Software for Signing Offers and Documents Cost: Free for 10 transactions and unlimited eSignatures, $29/month for Premium Dotloop is leading real estate closing software that helps you stay on top of transactions. Dotloop helps agents and brokers collaborate, provides reporting, and manages transactions from opening to closing. One of the best uses of Dotloop is making sure offers and closing documents are signed. After opening a "loop," you can add property information and upload documents with notes indicating where they need to be signed. Each field can be assigned to the appropriate party. Recipients can easily add eSignatures with real-time notifications. Disclosures.io – Organize and share disclosures digitally Cost: Free for basic, $39/month for Pro with custom templates and seller dashboards This web platform and app is one of the top agent tools for streamlining disclosures. The free tool for Realtors lets you share information, disclosures, pre-sale inspections, natural hazard reports, and more with interested parties and track activity. You can create packages for sellers or buyers with the property information, photos, a video tour, and uploaded documents. You can even integrate DocuSign! DocuSign – Trusted Digital Signature Platform Cost: $25/month per user or $240/year for Realtors DocuSign is one of the best tools for Realtors to reduce paperwork and streamline transactions. DocuSign eSignatures are a trusted solution to keep clients happy and save time with a secure cloud platform. NAR members get exclusive reduced pricing! Real Estate Transaction Management Help One of the most time-consuming aspects of running a real estate office is staying on top of the paperwork and all the details that go into seeing a transaction to closing. It's easy to get overwhelmed managing appointments and deadlines, checking signatures, and coordinating communications. Are you tired of paying the high cost for real estate management software while trying to manage your business with dozens of tools? As great as these Realtor tools are, you can free up more time from administrative tasks and benefit from a robust platform that keeps you in control. Transactly is real estate transaction management software that gives you a central hub to manage everything and a real estate TC who takes care of the details. The Transactly platform can be used on your own or with a transaction coordinator. Use customizable templates, automated reminders, document management, reporting, and the Transactly Hub which integrates with Dotloop, DocuSign, Gmail, Google Calendar, and more. You can even streamline the offer process by providing a unique listing link that allows parties to submit offers which can be reviewed and managed in real time! For just $95 per year, you can combine our tech-enabled platform with a dedicated transaction coordinator and live support. For a flat fee per transaction, your US-based TC handles everything from reviewing paperwork and ensuring compliance to scheduling, monitoring key dates, coordinating signatures, and monitoring closing. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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The Top 3 Back-end Integrations for Teams and Brokers
We recently highlighted software integrations that can save real estate agents time and money. While there is some overlap, brokerages and real estate teams have different needs, especially when it comes to handling back-end issues like commission structures and accounting. Which integrations are most useful for brokerages and teams, and how can they help streamline your business operations? Let's explore. What Can Back-end Integrations Do for You? As we stated previously, the transaction is the core of any real estate business, so using your transaction management platform as the hub of your integration efforts is an efficient strategy. Before we dive into specific apps, let's look at what integrating your transaction management and back-end solutions can do for your business: Automate commission disbursement upon close of transactions Simplify year-end accounting, including generation of 1099s Allow agents to "subscribe" to a personal data feed that simplifies their own accounting Keep agents aware of issues like missing items, payouts, or deposits Simplify compliance and the document review process Track profit and loss per transaction Give agents access to their performance and payment history And more! The Top 3 Back-end Integrations for Brokers and Teams Now, let's explore specific back office apps and what they're capable of when integrated with your transaction management system. To help us illustrate these examples, we'll use dotloop as our sample transaction management platform, because it offers over 75 integration partners and is one of the best-integrated technologies in the industry. According to dotloop, the most popular back-end integrations for brokerages and teams are the following: MoxiWorks MoxiWorks offers a suite of tools for real estate professionals to do everything from managing clients to handling accounting. MoxiWorks' client engagement platform, MoxiEngage, integrates with dotloop to automatically include the transaction within the lead-to-close sales flow. Agents can create a dotloop transaction (known as a "loop") within MoxiEngage, submit documents for review, and see task checklists from the transaction embedded within MoxiWorks' broader sales flow checklist. MoxiBalance is the app that resulted from MoxiWorks' acquisition of accounting solution Reeazily in 2021. This integration automates commission payments upon a transaction's close and lets users manage escrow deposits. Transaction data can also sync to MoxiBalance to give brokers insight into agent performance. Loft47 Loft47 is a commission management app that can import all parties, financial information and documents from a dotloop transaction. This allows commissions and splits to be automatically paid out upon close, and at year end, enables 1099s to be generated with ease. In the midst of a transaction, the Loft47 integration keeps agents and brokers aware of issues like overdue items or transactions with lingering deposits requiring payouts, thanks to synced documentation and checklists. QuickBooks QuickBooks is a heavyweight accounting app leveraged across industries of all kinds. Within real estate, the QuickBooks-dotloop integration allows for standard automations like commission disbursements, earnest money management and 1099 creation. The integration also lets brokers track expenses that aren't typically included in a transaction management app, giving brokers insight into their profit and loss per transaction and per agent. See what other back-end integrations are available to brokerages and teams here. To learn more about dotloop, visit dotloop.com.
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6 Things Every Agent Needs to Know About Solar Energy for Homes
Solar energy for homes is surging in popularity. The residential solar market saw its fifth consecutive record year in 2021, growing 30% over 2020. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, homeowners remain motivated by increasing electricity bills brought on by more time spent at home, power outage experiences, and low financing costs to add solar features to their homes. A Pew Research Center study revealed that the appetite for solar homes is high. While just 6% of U.S. homeowners say they have already installed solar panels at home, nearly half (46%) say they have given serious thought to adding solar panels to their homes in the past year. Two factors are driving the solar housing marketplace. First, more homeowners are adding solar energy features. Second, home shoppers are looking to buy more energy-efficient homes to reduce their total housing expenses. Real estate agents will need to become "solar savvy" about the unique features and benefits of solar-powered homes. Here are six things every agent needs to know about solar energy for homes: 1. Solar homes sell for more: A U.S. Department of Energy study found that homebuyers throughout the U.S. are willing to pay more for a house with solar energy. Buyers were willing to pay $15,000 for a home with a solar system compared with a similar home without one. 2. Solar homes sell faster: An Appraisal Institute-sponsored study discovered that homes with solar panel systems stay on the market much shorter than homes without solar. Other studies have shown that new homes with solar installed sold twice as fast as homes without solar. 3. Benefits to sellers and buyers: Energy savings from a solar-powered home can be significant. Solar panels typically produce enough electricity to power at least half of an average-sized home, dramatically reducing annual energy costs. Solar homes also offer energy security. Solar homes deliver reliable energy in states like California and Texas with scheduled blackouts and/or energy surge pricing. Solar homes that become energy independent are never impacted by energy rate hikes. Finally, solar energy is clean energy, saving homeowners more than dollars – solar homes also help save the Earth. 4. Solar energy tax advantages: For more than 15 years, the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit has given homeowners a significant one-time deduction on their federal returns. In December 2020, Congress extended the tax credit, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, now provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022 and 22% for systems installed in 2023. Previously, systems installed before 2019 were eligible for a 30% tax credit. Still, a 26% credit essentially brings the price of a $20,000 solar photovoltaic system down to $14,800. Additional state and local tax incentives could save homeowners even more money. A big bonus: There is no maximum amount that can be claimed. 5. Solar homes work in cloudy states, too: The idea that solar only works in sunny conditions is a myth. According to GAF Energy, new solar cells are more efficient than ever. Today's cells can capture the sun's rays even in low-light situations. Cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle have plenty of foggy or overcast days yet have many "happy solar customers," the firm notes. Some of the fast-growing new markets for solar homes are Boston, Massachusetts, and Newark, New Jersey. 6. Searching online for solar homes listed for sale: Several years ago, the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) partnered with the Energy Department's Better Buildings. As a result, RESO led the effort to actively promote adding home energy information into MLSs to aid online home searches. The result is that residential listings feature fields for solar power systems, giving consumers the ability to search solely for solar homes listed for sale in a growing number of markets. To learn more about solar homes, check out the resources available from the Department of Energy or see the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) map that shows solar data, state by state here. Related technology educational blogs: Choosing Impressive Listing Photos Can Dramatically Boost Your Image, Too Top Tech Issues Every Real Estate Pro Faces How Safe Is Your Computer? Check Out This Safety Checklist! Tricia Stamper is Director of Technology at Florida Realtors®, which owns and operates Tech Helpline and Form Simplicity.
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