Tag Archives: listing a home

Funny Business

realtor-sign-doritoWe all know that there is a lot of competition when it comes to the real estate game. There are always new homes going up for sale, buyers looking to find themselves a new place to live and plenty of agents working hard to land some of that business. As a buyer/seller, where do you even begin? All of these decisions make the process not only overwhelming, but extremely stressful. As an agent, it is your job to help alleviate these worries. So ask yourself…what do you do to stand out from the sea of agents ready to help? And once you get the business, what do you do to help your clients rest at ease during this tumultuous time? Lots of agents use their arsenal of knowledge to navigate thru these stormy seas. Sure, it’s incredibly helpful; everyone needs information and knowing what you’re doing is always necessary. But is it really the most ideal approach? Studies have said not quite.

There is an age-old adage: laughter is the best medicine. Apparently, this doesn’t just pertain to doctors. According to a study conducted by Baylor University’s Keller Center, when asked to choose a real estate agent, clients were more likely to choose the agent with a sense of humor. You heard it right…in a day and age where society is looking for humor in their news (ala Jon Stewart & Steven Colbert), people are asking for someone to lighten up stressful situations with a bit of humor, not just facts and statistics. And the benefits are two-fold; not only do you help your client calm their nerves, but you also build a reputation for being a well-rounded agent, thus bringing in more business. It’s a win-win!

But is real estate a funny business? From the surface, one would say no. There’s nothing all that hilarious about the process required to turn structures into homes. The key is to look deeper into the industry and process itself. It’s not about turning into a clown. It’s all about the subtlety of the delivery. Throw a pun or two into your marketing tactics and listings. Add some funny cartoons or YouTube videos to your social media pages. Make light of a tough situation by spinning a whopper of a tale to relax a stressed out client. Keeping things short and sweet for a quick chuckle is always going to bring a positive result. It’s all about building a rapport and making yourself relatable. You don’t need to be a comedic genius, you just need to be able to make a client feel comfortable in your hands. Keeping a smile on your clients’ faces will not only help the homebuying/homeselling process, but chances are, you will have a client for life.

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Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for My Close Up

closeupThere is an idiom that has stood the test of time: seeing is believing. And when it comes to spending money, it is a rarity that we ever purchase something based on description alone. Not only do we check on the product reviews of others, but we rely on a visual picture in order to be fully convinced to part with our hard-earned cash. Nothing proves this truer than when it comes to buying property. According to the 2014 NAR® Home Buyers and Sellers profile, buyers rank listing photos as the number 1 most valuable website feature – even higher than the listing’s description! These days, 92% of people looking for a new home rely on the internet to begin their process so it seem only natural that photos are preferred over just a written description. And now that you have found yourself a home to sell, it’s time to get it ready for that photo shoot.

First, you need to speak with your home-owning clients. You have already walked through the home with them, giving suggestions to make things ready for the future showings. Now it is time to give everything some final touches so that the photo shoot goes smoothly. A great tip is to ask your professional photographer (because you shouldn’t be taking the photos on your own) for a checklist your clients can reference in order to get things camera-ready. In fact, this list can also work double-time as a handy tool for those upcoming showing days.

When it comes to the interior of the home, the added touches are all pretty simple. Keep the toilet seat down, clothes in the hamper, toiletries and other personal products hidden from view. One way to give your clients a point of reference is to have a quick tour once a housecleaner professionally cleans the place so everything has a place and the home is picture perfect. As for the exterior, you should have your clients keep the yard clean as a whistle. Keep cars in the garage and/or parked from view, landscaping tidy and trash cans & toys picked up and out of the way. The cleaner the property is kept, the easier it will be for you to photograph and show to prospective buyers.

When it comes to the actual photo shoot, the only proper way to go is with a professional photographer. Find one that understands the business and express exactly what it is that you’re looking for. Before each shoot, show the photographer certain aspects of the home that should be featured in the photos. The more you can show these special features to your prospective buyers, the easier it will be to book showings and, ultimately, sell the home. Build a relationship with them so that you can move through these shoots like a team and make the photos the very best they can be.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words…

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Closing Gifts: A Personal Touch

One of the biggest concerns realtors have is the idea that once you’ve found, or sold, a home for your client, how do you thank them for their business? Do you do anything? A lovely muffin basket? A quick handshake and a ‘thank you’? After all, your job is done and it is now time to part ways. You’ve spent a good amount of time with them, you have learned their likes & dislikes and you’ve likely gotten close to the whole family. Now you must move on. It’s almost bittersweet. But let’s be realistic… You would love the reference to their friends & family. Word of mouth is quite possibly the best marketing tool we have.

For many realtors, one of the key ways to thank clients for their business is to give what is called a closing gift. In a survey of 1000 real estate agents, 43% spend upwards of $60 on a closing gift, while 18% keep it between $30-40, depending on the amount of the sale. But what does one give? That’s really the question. Gift ideas will vary from agent to agent; there is no standard. Choose a gift certificate to a home store, a bottle of wine with glasses, or better yet, something with a personal touch. Something tailored to your client is creative gesture to let your clients know that you’ve enjoyed working with them and look forward to continuing your professional relationship down the line.

The best way to do this is to customize your gifts. Maybe your client loves the ocean. Put together a gift basket with oceanic things you know they’d enjoy. Or perhaps go with something personalized, like an engraved keychain, to celebrate their new adventure. It really isn’t about what the gift is. It’s the idea that you’d like to give a simple gesture to say thanks. And as with anything we do for others, the more personal we make it, the more it is appreciated. Whether you choose something small or extravagant, the adage is true: It’s the thought that counts.

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It is a Great Time (Really!!!) to List a Home

The ongoing joke is that to the real estate agent it is always a great time to list, no
matter what the time of year or the state of the economy. Tradition has it, though, that
spring and summer are the optimal seasons to list. But in this Sunday’s Los Angeles
Times, Kenneth R Harney, in an article on the nation’s housing, makes a case for winter
as an even better time to list a house. Based upon a two year study on listing, price and
time on the market by Redfin, a real estate website, the research shows that listing a
home in December, January, February and March will yield a better chance for sellers to
get more than the asking price for their homes. “During the last three years, listing
during those four months has produced higher percentages of above -asking-price sales
than listing during any other months, other than April or May.” Listing a home in
February takes the biscuit for selling quickly, i.e. within 90 days.

What makes winter more of a real estate wonderland is that the home buyers during those
months tend to be serious buyers, and the competition is less as there are overall fewer
homes on the market. So a seller can be a big fish in a small pond during the winter.

What does this mean for you, the real estate agent? You might want to step up your
marketing during the winter months. Let your potential clients ( farm area and sphere of
influence) know that this would really be a good time to list ( and why) and that you are
there to guide them through the process.

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