Archive for first time homebuyer marketing

Beyond Beds and Baths: Selling the Dream of Home Ownership

Dream of Home Ownership

Sometimes, Realtors® have to gently push people off the fence.

This often happens when you’re dealing with first-time buyers and you have to sell them on the concept of owning a home along with selling them an actual home.

Here’s how to sell them on both at the same time.

Show Them Their Future

Very few kids imagine themselves living in a condo or renting an apartment when they grow up.

That image of Future Me changes and evolves over the years. The picture of the home they want to live in will change as well. But make no mistake; they almost always still see themselves owning a home.

You can target this by showing them the lifestyle they’re picturing in your marketing materials. Make sure your postcards, brochures and online listings don’t just showcase houses. They should showcase the amazing lifestyle that home ownership brings.

Show Them Attainability

It’s crucial you show them a future they can actually afford. Money is the biggest worry that keeps first-time buyers tossing and turning at night. It’s also the biggest roadblock to desiring home ownership – especially for Millennials who have seen the terrible markets of 2008 and onward.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that these buyers want to move into an affordable home, without worrying about a renovation.

“One big thing working in favor of the traditional seller: A lived-in, maintained home is easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in than a vacant foreclosure. That has great appeal for someone buying a home for the first time, for practical and financial reasons.”

“In fact, while nearly half of brokers polled for a Coldwell Banker survey last year found that affordability was the No. 1 concern for first-time buyers, 81% said move-in conditions were very important to these buyers. Only 7% said first-time buyers were looking to purchase fixer-upper homes that they could buy on the cheap and renovate.“

Show Them Value

Confirm and reinforce they’re making the right decision.

They have heard for years that they’re throwing money away on rent. Now show them the numbers that confirm that homeownership doesn’t just save them money; it can also make them money.

Forbes Magazine has described a mortgage as being like a forced savings plan for buyers.

“Paying that mortgage every month and reducing the amount of your principal is like a forced savings plan. Each month you are building up more valuable equity in your home. In a sense, you are being forced to save—and that’s a good thing.”

Answer Their Questions

You also need to address their questions completely to their satisfaction. Not only are today’s first-time buyers easily put off, they’re more informed than ever. They will have complex questions that need specific answers.

“Today’s buyers are much savvier than they were 10 years ago when online listings were nearly non-existent. Now buyers have already done their shopping, and because the housing market has been in the news, they’re much more familiar with mortgages, property values, market conditions, short sales,” advised The National Association of Realtors.

“Assume some level of knowledge on the part of your client, and talk up to their level.”

We all know that selling a home isn’t about selling a physical building. With all buyers, but especially with Millennials and first-time homeowners, you have to sell the dream of home ownership along with the home itself. By showing them a bright future that’s attainable and build financial value, and answering all of their questions, you’ll be well on your way to the closing table with these buyers.

How do you sell the dream of owning a home? Let us know in the comments below.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for 2015

2015 real estate marketing ideasThe New Year is upon us, so it’s time to revamp your marketing efforts for 2015! A new year is a great time to review what worked in 2014 and make plans for what you want to change or continue. Here are some real estate marketing ideas for you to consider for 2015.

Person to Person Interaction

The world has become too impersonal – we rely so much on email, postcards, and social media that we’ve almost forgotten how to actually speak to each other. For your 2015 real estate marketing strategy, place your agency on the front lines of in-person interaction. Here are some ideas on how:

  • Take regular walks in your target neighborhoods. If you have a well-behaved dog, even better! Strike up conversations with homeowners that you see out in their yards and driveways. Get to know them, shake their hand, and offer a useful branded item, such as a pen.
  • Host quarterly in-person events. These can vary throughout the year – perhaps a costume party at your office in the fall, and a free spring-cleaning seminar in the April. By regularly having face-to-face events, you will become well known in your community as a resource and a helper. Even if attendees aren’t buying or selling they likely know someone who is.
  • Participate in festivals, fairs, and other events that take place in your area. This may include attending farmer’s markets regularly, or having a booth at a local fair. Whether you’re simply attending or actually advertising, your presence will make you a trusted, familiar face.

Ask for Referrals!

As much as 75% of a Realtor’s® business comes from referrals and word-of-mouth. As a result, it’s important to not only make yourself known, but to ask for referrals! It costs many times more to get new prospects than it does to keep in touch with previous clients and ask them to help you find new customers. There are several ways to keep the communication going with previous clients:

  • Invite them to your in-person events. Using the “80/20 rule”, you should spend 80% of your interactions being helpful to others and only 20% offering your own services. As a result, you should be offering plenty of events that previous clients can learn from. If they come and gain more valuable knowledge from you, they will keep you in mind if someone they know needs a Realtor®!
  • Keep in touch with regular mailings. These mailing should be different than they ones you send prospects – they should include a thank you for your previous work together and ask for referrals if they know someone who is buying or selling property. These mailings can be holiday cards, seasonal postcards, or – for an especially personal touch – a birthday greeting.
  • Keep in touch on social media and email. Although you can focus on personal interactions in 2015, you can’t neglect the amount of time people spend online. Sprinkle in some emails, social media mentions, and other online interaction to keep your bonds with previous customers strong.

Rework Your Open Houses

Open houses can be one of the most effective ways to introduce buyers and other Realtors® to your listed properties. In your 2015 real estate marketing, focus on giving these a special touch. Here are some ideas:

  • Set up special stations near key features of the home. Everyone understands that staging is a must if you want to sell a home quickly and efficiently. But making interactive stations near key features is a great way to draw special attention to them. Set up some snacks on the beautiful kitchen island, or put some cocoa or cookies near the focal-point fireplace. This will also give people a reason to linger in the most beautiful parts of the home.
  • Consider when you schedule your open houses. Weekend afternoons can be very busy, and many buyers will be working during weekday hours. Consider an evening open house during the week, or a late morning brunch on a weekend.
  • Advertise your open houses in unconventional places. Think about where your ideal buyers are likely to spend a lot of time. Is there a popular gym in the neighborhood? Are there online sites that appeal to that demographic? By using targeted advertising, you can get more of your ideal buyers through the door and increase your chance of selling the home quickly.

A new year doesn’t mean you eliminate everything you did last year to build your real estate business. However, it is a great opportunity to bring new focus to your work. These real estate marketing ideas will help you create personal connections of trust, increase referrals, and make your open houses more effective. Here’s wishing you a prosperous and successful 2015!!

Why you NEED to send out open house invites to the neighbors…More Secrets I Share With Friends

real estate listing flier sampleMy next door neighbor recently listed her home for sale and this Saturday it was held open for the first time. What a spectacular home! Over 5000 sq. ft. of pure beauty, and the agent who has the home listed had really nice marketing materials to match the elegance of the home.  Trust me when I tell you, my photos of his marketing materials don’t do them justice, but it is a 11X17 folded brochure, printed on 14 pt. cover stock and it’s beautiful.  This listing flier is so eye-catching that as my children passed by it on the kitchen counter, they all stopped and took note of it.  Each of them said “Wow, this is one of the nicest marketing pieces I’ve seen in a long time,”  and they see a lot of marketing pieces.  His business card is printed on a 16pt. matte finish with gold foil printing and they definitely stand out.

Here’s my one problem with his approach to marketing this house.  He didn’t let any of us (the neighbors) know it would be open on Saturday. This agent clearly understands that marketing is a necessary investment with the look of his marketing materials. They’re stunning!

My thoughts are that those marketing materials would impress a lot of the people in this neighborhood if they were invited to stop by. Open houses are “nosy neighbor magnets!” Nosy neighbors who are many times interested in home values, the market and in many cases trying to determine if it’s a good time to sell. Neighbors are like low hanging fruit on the tree of real estate agent leads, you just need to harvest them by inviting them to stop by.

Here’s some ideas on how to invite the neighbors:

  • Go door knocking and personally invite them, provide them with a listing flyer in the event they can’t make it.  Make sure to ask them if they have any questions about the market.
  • Use services like Cole Information Systems to get a current mailing list of the surrounding homes and call those that have phone numbers, invite them to stop by. (Mention this magazine/PrinterBees when contacting Cole and receive a 25% discount!)
  • Send out Just Listed/Open House postcards with an invitation to stop by. (Cole Information Systems provides the needed mailing list)
  • Use door hangers as you walk the neighborhood and become a familiar face.
  • Include a sign rider on your for sale sign saying “open this weekend.”
  • Hire some teenagers to hand out “Open House Fliers” to advertise the upcoming event and so they know they’re invited.

Activity breeds activity and people like doing business with someone they view as successful and busy. You’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity to grow real estate business if you’re not exploiting the opportunities you have to be in front of people, while you have the activity of a listing.

Tools To Take Your Expired Listing Marketing To A Whole New Level

A few months back I came across Cole Information Systems, wondering where they had been hiding my entire real estate career!  When I found what they did, I knew the agents who subscribe to this magazine would be as excited as I was to find them, especially for farming, expired listing marketing and for marketing your just listed/just sold properties.

One of the most frequent questions we get from Realtors® looking to step-up their marketing is “where can I get a good database,” and it’s not been an easy question to answer with limited resources that cost a fortune.  Good databases that are affordable are hard to come by, UNTIL I found Cole Information Systems and quickly partnered with them.  Cole provides unlimited databases to Realtors®  looking to get targeted with their marketing. For marketing to expired listings, FSBO’s and door-knocking, the mobile app is amazing!

It’s the perfect solution for every Realtor® out there looking to execute great marketing campaigns, which requires a good quality database. The quality of a database determines the quality of the leads you attract and convert. Databases become stale in as little as a few months depending on neighborhood turnover, and when a database is the slightest bit outdated, you’re wasting time and money on ineffective marketing.

The awesome news is that because you’re a subscriber to this magazine, you get a 25% discount from Cole Information Systems.  It’s a great deal!  I’ve included a quick demo of what the mobile application can do for you and encourage you to contact Cole to get all of your questions answered.  I’ve found them to have great customer service.

Here’s a link to their site:, or reach them by phone at 800-800-3271.

When you contact Cole, make sure to mention either Real Estate Marketing Magazine or PrinterBees to get your 25% discount, without it you’re looking at full retail and who wants to pay full retail!

This video features a quick overview of what Cole  Information Systems offers Realtors® in a way of databases, it really is God’s gift to Realtors® looking to build a good database, which should be EVERY Realtor® out there.  Don’t forget to mention Real Estate Marketing Magazine or PrinterBees to get your discount, it’s substantial.



How Realtors Can Have A Kick Ass Marketing List And Get More Listings

mailing lists for small businessIt’s my perception that one of things that stands in the way of a Realtor® getting their marketing out is the need of a mailing list. It’s a very common question we get at PrinterBees when a real estate agent wants to begin a marketing campaign. We always…always…ALWAYS suggest beginning with your sphere of influence to create a great mailing list. But…For some agents, contacting their sphere of influence is so far out of their comfort zone they can’t bring themselves to do it. While I may not agree, I do understand which is why I’m offering up another solution.

If you’re considering a postcard marketing campaign, you need a good mailing list as one of the main ingredients for success. Without a quality mailing list, your marketing efforts may go to waste. The quality of your marketing piece and your database are crucial to the success of any real estate marketing postcard campaign.

It took about five years of hunting before I was able to find a company that offers this service, and I was elated when we found Cole Information Systems as a resource for our real estate and small business clients. Cole offers the ability to search addresses in a radius, by neighborhood, by demographics, home size and so many other variables to help you hone in on which are the right prospects to receive your marketing.

One of the examples I use in the book (The Secrets I Share With Friends, Everything I Know About Building A Small Business) is the marketing of a daycare center. If the owner of a daycare center wants to increase enrollment, marketing to a senior citizen community won’t likely do the trick. Marketing to a neighborhood that’s close to an elementary school, making sure the list includes homes with three or more bedrooms is going to provide a far better opportunity for finding the right audience. Cole’s service provides this capability and more.

The biggest benefit I see with using Cole is that they are a subscription based company which allows you do download and search as many addresses as you want. Not to mention that their databases are current. You aren’t paying for each address, so there’s no sticker shock, it’s a low flat fee. I’m not sure of the current price, but it’s super super reasonable. WAY less than buying lists.

I begged them for a deal for my friends and customers and I’m happy to tell you that you will receive a 25% discount when you mention PrinterBees or Real Estate Marketing Magazine when you sign up. I recommend getting a demo so you can see with your own eyes what the fuss is all about. It will also save you a tremendous amount in postage costs simply by not mailing to bad addresses.

Use Referral Code: PrinterBees
Use Referral Code: PrinterBees or Real Estate Marketing Magazine to Save 25%

Here’s their information:
Cole Information Systems

P.S. Make sure you subscribe and get your copy of Real Estate Marketing Smarts, The Secrets I Share With My Friends. Once you get your list in order, you might need some tips on marketing to it.




The Hottest Trends In Real Estate Marketing You Need To Know About

With housing markets exploding across the country, it’s a great time to get back to marketing yourself to celebrate and cash in on PC.55.Farming.NJL.8.5x5.5.MASTER.[XX]the activity.  I can tell you as the owner of a real estate print marketing company that Realtors® across the country are ramping up their marketing to meet the pent up demands of both buyers and sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines for something to change in the real estate market.  If you’re not thinking about your marketing and actually executing on it, chances are you may get left behind and miss this amazing opportunity.  As a subscriber to Real Estate Marketing Magazine, we can’t let that happen to you!  We have to help you keep up, so here’s what’s hot!

It’s an amazing time to be a Realtor® IF you have good real estate marketing in place to feed your business and exploit the opportunity out there.

Farming postcards are back to being popular again and Realtors® ARE farming because they know it works.  These agents understand that they have to be “the first one to show up at the party” (the market recovery party!) to make sure they’re in front of their prospects when they decide to make a move.

Just listed and just sold postcards are a great marketing tool that many agents use as part of their standard marketing plan.  Using just listed and just sold postcards as part of your marketing shows you’re active in the neighborhood and know “what’s up”!  There’s a huge increase in the number of agents using this method of real estate marketing to continue to build and establish their businesses in the neighborhoods they target.

Expired Listings? I’m not sure why, but there is a drastic increase in the number of people marketing to expired listings.  It’s DRASTIC and definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a specific market to target or a specialty to attack as your own.  Expired listings offer a very unique opportunity to market yourself to a very specific audience and a VERY targeted list.  I don’t think there is a more targeted list of people you can market to in real estate.  You already know they want to sell, it’s just a matter of getting them to pick you over other agents vying for their business. Here’s a link to a free download for marketing to expired listings.

Many people think that in this market, they can sell their home without a Realtor® and still get top dollar.  Not a chance!  I’m a licensed real estate agent who WAS going to sell my home myself. I’m qualified. I know a lot of Realtors®, the area my home is in is short on inventory, I have a lot of contacts, I’m licensed, socially connected, an expert at real estate marketing, etc. etc.  I have every reason to believe I can just do it myself, but I can’t!  I don’t have the time, it’s not what I do anymore as my full-time job.  I listed my house for sale with a Realtor® who can properly market the property and get top dollar in a hot market.  Marketing to FSBO’s is also very targeted because you can offer them assistance they can’t get anywhere else and you can sell their home for more than they can.  It’s a fact and I encourage you to go after that targeted list of people.

There’s many different approaches you can take to making the most of the housing shortages and market changes happening across the country.  No matter what your approach is, don’t forget about the marketing and marketing consistently, it’s the only true method to making it happen for yourself.

Real Estate Marketing Ideas For 2014 In A Recovering Market

All the great news about falling delinquencies and lower foreclosure rates is forcing a lot of Realtors® to revisit and redirect their real estate marketing from foreclosure marketing to more traditional real estate farming methods. Real Estate Marketing Ideas are in hot demand as we head in to the new year and a new market with unemployment rates at a five year low.  Things are looking up, people are moving again and now it’s just a matter of grabbing a piece of the real estate market happenings, which takes great marketing.

States like Florida, New York, Michigan, Texas and Georgia still have larger inventories of distressed properties, but states like California, which made up for 46,000 foreclosures in the last 12 months are recovering quickly as the economy changes and shifts.  Realtors® who built successful businesses and business brands selling REO’s and distressed properties are needing to shift and shift quickly from “distressed property experts” to “marketing agents” who know how to market a home and attract a lot of buyers.  Sellers aren’t as interested in “getting out” from underneath their homes that were sinking in value as they are in getting to their equity,  equity they didn’t have access to just 12 months ago.

For Realtors® to effectively make this transition, they need to make the transition to showing and touting their expertise in protecting equity, getting multiple offers and having a great marketing plan as part of their listing presentation and ongoing marketing.  Realtors® who have experienced all kinds of markets because they’ve been around so long, should talk about and market themselves as experienced in assisting home sellers and buyers as an expert in any market, no matter what it brings.  Where the markets are still shifting from distressed to equity sales, the marketing should be about the rebounding markets and your ability to educate buyers and sellers how to take advantage of the market of the moment.

For agents struggling with how to get that marketing message across, take the time to make a list of your greatest assets to the client if they were to hire you to represent them.  List as many of your qualities as a Realtor® as you can come up with and then narrow the list down to what’s most important to the client and your ability to serve them.  Why is it in their best interest to pick you over other agents in the area?  Once you have your list narrowed down, create a list of bullet points to include on your marketing, using as few words as possible.  Your marketing has about 2-3 seconds to grab the attention of the person receiving it, so whatever it is you have to offer potential clients needs to be clear and in as few words as possible.  Less is always more in marketing.

Your marketing efforts and messaging will impact the type of clients you attract, so make sure it’s meaningful and directed at the right market, the market of the moment.

Stop by PrinterBees Real Estate Marketing Home Page for great marketing ideas, fantastic templates that are at the grass routs of real estate marketing.  Working with PrinterBees is like having your own virtual marketing assistant!

The Most Important Marketing Piece You’ll Ever Send

dodl-1The most important marketing piece you’ll ever send is the one following the last one you sent.  If there is no plan for a second, third or fourth piece, there is no point in sending the first one.  This magazine is about providing value to anyone taking the time to read it and there is tremendous value in understanding one of the most important rules of marketing.  Repetition and consistency is the only part of your overall marketing plan that will give you results.  Single-shot marketing absolutely does NOT work, it wastes your money.  The marketing message is lost within seconds of the person taking their eyes off of it.  The good news is that the remedy is easy and the payoff is big when you commit.

It takes a marketing message an average of 33 impressions before it’s remembered. Television commercials aren’t likely to resonate with you until you’ve seen them many times, professional marketers know that, which is why they run the same commercials hundreds of times.   I don’t really watch TV, but I sure know who Flo from the Progressive Insurance ads is because the ads are consistent in their branding, the messaging, humor and the attention to detail. You likely know who I’m speaking of too because you’ve seen the ads so many times as well. If you haven’t seen those ads repeatedly, you would likely have no recollection of them.  The most expensive portion of any marketing campaign is the set-up, so running the same message repeatedly cuts cost substantially and if big companies like Progressive Insurance can run the same ad over and over, so can you.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) reports the average American receives 25 pieces of mail a week.  Your marketing message gets 1/25 of the recipients attention in a weeks worth of mail and over a four week period only only 1%. You must put repetition to work in any marketing medium you want to find success with. The USPS suggests that mailing frequently is what works best for small business marketers according to their research. I also just read a study the Direct Marketing Association put out saying direct-mail marketing is the most effective method of marketing they’ve identified.

In the book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: (One of my favorite books to recommend for Realtors®), Gary Keller reports that mailing once a month to a list of people you do not personally know (like a real estate farm) will provide results over a period of time. He also reports in his research on millionaire real estate agents that mailing to a sphere of influence and keeping in contact with past clients dramatically increases results. It’s where your biggest return on investment will always be found.

This is MUST READ for anyone looking for direction on finding success in the real estate business.



Keller found the magic number to be 33 times per year that you need to be in touch with your past client database and sphere of influence for most success. If you were to be in touch with your database once per month via mail and one per month via email, you’ve got 24 knocked off the list.  The rest of those touches could take place over social media, or by picking up the phone and calling.  That’s how the people who are making it big are doing it.  They make sure that any marketing they do is followed by more marketing, they understand when the marketing stops so does the business. They are working their sphere of influence by staying in touch and increasing mind-share by always being present.  They understand that success of the current marketing piece is all about the plan for sending the next marketing piece.

I’m not suggesting you send the same “Thanksgiving postcard” five years in a row or the same home improvement tip postcard month after month. I am suggesting that a marketing piece aimed at branding your image could be mailed over and over again rotated in between other marketing pieces, saving you substantially on marketing costs.

Check out this article on which marketing mediums get the best results according to the Direct Marketing Association.

The Proof You’ve Been Looking For To Justify Your Own Website

There’s a strong possibility that if you do not have a website as a Realtor®, you may not actually be in business. More than 90% of buyers and sellers begin their search online. You can’t live up to your potential and all you’re capable of being as a Realtor® if the 90% who begin online can’t find you and never see you, because you’re not at the party.

The National Association of Realtors® puts out a report called The Home Buyers and Sellers Report which is filled with a wealth of information for Realtors® trying to Real Estate Marketing Graph | Source Inman Newsdetermine where they should invest their marketing dollars. Most Realtors® don’t have a marketing department they can turn to for direction on what might work best. This report provides answers to some of the most fundamental questions about marketing and what works best from the customers perspective to connect with them, where they’re looking.

You need a website, it’s not optional anymore. According to the report, 47% of the 90% who began their search online used a real estate agent website, the third highest resource listed, which was followed by a real estate company website. The MLS was the most popular, followed by If you’re thinking you’ve got yourself covered because you’re on Facebook, you might be surprised to learn that social media made up for only around 2% of how people begin their search. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be investing in social media, it means social media isn’t where people begin their search.

Read this article about why you need social media and how to get started

When it comes to how people found their agent, the most frequently used method was getting a referral from a friend or family, followed by an 11% who used a website. I’m always shocked to see that only 10% of those surveyed used a previous agent because I know how effective and important it is to keep in touch with your past clients database and sphere of influence. Your sphere of influence are the ones giving out the referrals (the 40% mentioned above!!!). It’s the easiest form of marketing, the most effective means of marketing, the most cost effective and the one most resisted. It’s like the low hanging fruit that no one wants to pick! The number of people who use their previous Realtor® would be much higher if Realtors® did a better job of keeping in touch with their sphere of influence, while increasing their number of referrals.

You’ll find a download here to help you get back in touch if you’ve been avoiding your sphere of influence. Doing so will improve your business tremendously.

INAR Real Estate Buyers and Seller Survey 2013n looking at the report, the biggest take away for me was that people begin online, decide they want to make a change, then work to find an agent. If you’re online and they see you, you’ve made an impression, if they come across your blogs while doing their research, you’ve made another impression, when they see you on, you’re making another impression. If they’re in your database and you mail to your database, you’re making yet another impression. When you show up in their inbox with relevant and timely information, because they’re on your email list and you care enough to keep them updated, you’ve made another impression.

Over 60% of people only meet with one Realtor® before they choose, make sure it’s you by meeting those people where they are looking.

Having a real estate agent website shows you’re a professional Realtor® who is serious about their business. You took the steps to stake your claim and hang your business shingle out on the Internet where people can find you.

National Association of Realtors’ 2012 surveyed 8,501 home-buyers and sellers
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WEBINAR: 5 Tips to Generate Hot Real Estate Leads as Temps Chill

Real Estate Training - Webinar on Lead developmentAs temperatures dip, so can the number of escrows open in your pipeline. That doesn’t mean real estate agents should take the next few months off until temperatures thaw. This the the time of year you can really make things happen for yourself. Cole Information Systems together with PrinterBees is sponsoring this totally free real estate exclusive marketing webcast to talk about how Realtors can generate hot leads as temperatures chill, inventory tightens up and there aren’t as many buyers on the hunt.

Agents will get their most common questions answered about putting together a quality database, how to target the right leads, and where to find leads.

Attendees will come away from this webcast with know-how on:

• The marketing tactics that build lasting relationships
• The biggest mistake more than half of all Realtors make
• Effective copy and creative tips

There will be huge discounts on printing offered as well as other services Realtors need as well as a drawing for a free set of postcards from PrinterBees. Totally free, no design, no shipping, no tax.

Webinar takes place on Thursday, November 14, 2013 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CST
Hurry! Seats are limited. Reserve your spot today.