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Archive for real estate farming

Winning Real Estate Clients Outside the Portals

Winning Clients Outside Portals

There’s nothing wrong with real estate portals, but it’s a pain if that’s the only way you can generate leads. You end up tied-in to playing the game their way, at their prices.

The reality is if you focus on building long-term relationships and reputation both online and offline you can win real estate clients outside of the portals. Use them if they’re useful for you, yes, but you don’t have to be beholden to them. Here’s how.

Focus on Geographic Farming

When you farm a specific neighborhood or area, you are building your reputation and brand in that area. As you work with clients, you’ll gain online reviews and referrals that will help you build your business month after month.

If you’re looking for concrete steps to take to establish yourself in a geographic area, consider these strategies.

  • Be in the neighborhood. Do you have a dog? Walk him or her in the neighborhood you’re focused on. Take your kids to play in a local park. Take walks or runs in that neighborhood yourself. The more present you are in the local neighborhood, the more the residents will be used to seeing you and will consider you someone they know and trust.
  • Send postcards. You don’t have to use postcards only when you’ve just listed or just sold a home. Consider postcards, along with Every Door Direct Mail, to be a reliable and affordable way to become known in an area. If you’d like help setting up an EDDM mailing, let us know! We’re experts and we want to help you succeed.
  • Use targeted keywords in your website and in Google Adwords. When you focus on geographic search terms on your website and your blog, you’ll naturally rank higher for folks who are searching for “Anytown USA homes”. You can also do Google Adwords campaigns for those specific geographic keywords.
  • Use Facebook ads. It’s incredible what you can target in Facebook ads. It deserves its own blog post. Most importantly for this article, you can target people in a specific zip code or neighborhood, and you can target people who are likely to buy or sell a home.

Build Relationships in Online Groups

I’m far from being opposed to online marketing, I just think that Realtors® should have the freedom to choose the platform they care to use. You can join community-based Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and more to build real-world relationships online.

Whether you focus on rural real estate or city real estate, there are Facebook groups for almost any city or town. If there’s not a group for the area you want to focus on, create one! You can encourage group members to post about local events, historical moments, and more. With the engagement in the group, you’ll get to “meet” a lot of people in a short amount of time.

Here are some tips for building relationships in online groups:

  • Take advantage of your expertise. Not very many people online are focused on doing things that benefit the consumer. Even portals are looking to grow their business, and pleasing buyers and sellers is secondary to the larger goal. So, consider how you can offer personalized, highly relevant information that helps buyers and sellers in a way other people are not.
  • Have a service mentality. If you enter a group only to sell, you’ll come off very spammy. People will ignore you and you may even get kicked out of the group. Instead, consider how you can be of service to the people in the group. When you build positive relationships based on service, you’ll become the Realtor® they really want to work with.
  • Guard your time. While building relationships always takes time, participating in online communities can take too much. Consider participating only in one group to start with, and set limits on how much time you spend commenting and chatting in the community.

Participate in Community Initiatives

Another way to break free of online portals is to be active and visible in your community. This may mean participating in your chamber of commerce, mentoring high school students, being active in community associations, or sponsoring local 5K or charity events.

When people see you in a positive, non-sales role like participating in community events, you’ll become someone they like and trust. You’ll build your reputation and brand in the community without having to pay huge fees to portals.

Here are some tips for participating in community initiatives:

  • Be seen. Part of the point of being active in the community is getting out of your office. Make sure you’re present at a 5K that you’re sponsoring, rather than just paying to get your name on the sign. When you can shake hands and talk to people, you’ll be building up an asset that no one can take away.
  • Focus your efforts. While it’s nice to do everything for everyone, be sure to stay geographically focused. If you have specific neighborhoods you’re farming, be involved in events in those areas. Don’t worry about turning down an opportunity if it’s not in your geographic focus area.
  • Have fun! Being a Realtor® and building relationships isn’t supposed to be a drag. Be your real self and have fun. Don’t come off like a plastic politician. Let your hair down and have fun participating and sponsoring events!

Using online portals is no problem. Being chained to them is a problem. Use these three techniques to build relationships outside of the big portals, and you’ll have much more freedom and success in your business.

Ready to get those farming postcards? We have a huge selection and they’re easy to customize. Contact us today!

Real Estate Marketing – Farming for Fun and Profit!

Real Estate Farming for Fun and Profit

Real estate marketing can be tough, and determining which marketing techniques work best can be even tougher. And in an increasingly digital world, are old-school real estate marketing methods still relevant and useful?

Do people still pay attention to non-digital marketing and advertising?

We’re talking specifically about postal mail farming for new leads, and yes, this strategy absolutely still works in today’s world.

Why?

Because there’s just something about direct mail campaigns that will always be effective.

What is Farming in Real Estate Marketing?

Farming essentially involves selecting one specific target area or neighborhood at a time and hitting that area hard with various mailers and promotions. Then, once you’ve generated a steady presence and ongoing leads in one area, you can move on and focus on another neighborhood full of new potential leads.

Farming is a key way to build your visibility in desired neighborhoods. You can do anything from advertising just listed or just sold properties to sending a monthly newsletter full of interesting information and upcoming events. You’re only limited by your imagination!

Why Does Farming Work?

What is it about postal mail that really gets through to potential clients? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons farming really works:

  1. Leaves a Tangible Message – While digital messages such as email, texts, online advertisements and social media postings work well, they are gone as soon as you shut down your computer. And generally the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” begins to kick in. But, with a physical mailer – like a postcard or flyer – you’re giving potential leads something tangible to remember you by, keeping your business in the forefront of their minds.
  2. Specifically Targeted – By choosing to send targeted mailers based on location, you have the unique opportunity to customize your advertisements in a way that you might not be able to do online (where generally you are appealing to a much larger audience). Farming allows you to take your real estate marketing to the next level by giving you the opportunity to touch on very specific pain points, struggles and needs of your immediate audience.
  3. Opportunity for You to Sell Well – A postcard or flyer gives you as a realtor quite a bit of blank space to really let your marketing skills shine. Take the opportunity to create something really eye-catching that appeals to your target area. Just remember not to be too over the top – you don’t want potential clients to think you’re too unprofessional to work with. Aim for a balance and always promote yourself as a qualified real estate expert.

Getting Started is Simple and Easy!

Interested in incorporating farming into your own real estate marketing plan? Getting started is simple, easy and quicker than you might imagine.

Locate specific areas and neighborhoods in your region that could be targeted. Think about areas where the real estate market is doing well, and figure out what might motivate someone to buy or sell. Once you have the specifics in order, it’s time to actually create your farming mailers like postcards and flyers.

This is where you get to be creative and really help your business stand out from the crowd. And if you need any help creating the perfect real estate postcards or flyers, we have a large selection of unique options for you to choose from and customize!

Remember, even though digital media seems to be dominating the real estate marketing field, direct mail is far from obsolete. Don’t neglect farming in your market!

Use Your Marketing to Serve This Holiday Season

Food Drive for Charity

It’s November, and that means Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are right around the corner. While the holidays provide an abundance of opportunity to market and connect with prospects, it’s also a time when serving others is at the top of everyone’s mind. Fortunately, you can do both. We’ve developed a set of unique postcards that will help you use your marketing to serve this holiday season.

A Food Drive for Charity

Imagine if you, as a Realtor®, let your farm neighborhood know you were running a food drive for charity this season? You could mail food drive postcards using EDDM or a mailing list in your farm neighborhood, or you could go door-to-door handing them out. The postcards will let your prospects know the date and time you’ll be back to collect canned goods.

This kind of drive allows you to meet new prospects, expand your brand, and let those in your neighborhood feel good about helping those less fortunate. In fact, many families have a lot of food they aren’t using – they’ll love that you’re allowing them to declutter the pantry in a way that makes a difference.

A Coat Drive to Keep Warm

In many parts of the U.S., winter weather can be so severe that it causes death for the less fortunate who don’t have a way to stay warm. As a Realtor®, you can expand your reach and make a difference in your community by running a coat drive in your farm neighborhoods. Our coat drive postcards allow you to let people know where they can bring their coats, or when you will be around to pick them up.

As with food, many people have old coats that have been outgrown by children or are no longer used for whatever reason. They may intend to eventually take them to the Salvation Army or a similar place, but never get around to it. When you come around offering the option of dropping them off at a coat drive, it could be just the push they need to take action. It will also establish you as a thoughtful Realtor® who cares about the neighborhood.

A Toy Drive to Bring a Smile

If you’re a parent, it can be hard to imagine not being able to provide gifts for your children at holiday time. However, that’s the reality in many families. Fortunately, as a Realtor® you can do something about that while also marketing your services. We have toy drive postcards that you can mail or deliver by hand in your farm neighborhoods.

When you set up a toy drive, you allow families in your farm neighborhood to make a difference while they go about their normal holiday shopping. You can offer to pick toys up on a specific day or invite them to bring the gifts to your office. Even better, you can hold a Thank You Party in January where you share pictures and stories of happy children who received the gifts. This will not only solidify you as a caring Realtor®, but will provide opportunities for multiple interactions with your farm prospects.

Realtors® need to continue marketing even in the slower holiday season, but you don’t have to do it in a heartless way. With our charity post cards, you can expand your brand while making a real difference in your community. We’re so excited about this opportunity that we’re offering $10 off each order of these special postcards. Just use the code Drive2015 at checkout.

How do you help out during the holidays? Share in the comments!

What Real Estate Marketing and Home Ownership Have in Common

Real Estate Marketing as an Asset

Lots of Realtors® really don’t like marketing. It’s a necessary evil. It’s confusing, it’s hard, and it’s expensive. In fact, most Realtors® would be happy if they could eliminate marketing from their budget and their business entirely.

But what if you thought about it differently? What if, instead of seeing marketing as an annoyance that drains your time and money, you understood it as an asset that you’re building into your business?

What Marketing and Homes Have in Common

The way that Realtors® view marketing and the way young adults in America view home ownership have a lot in common. While once buying a home was an honor and an accomplishment, that time is long gone. Buying a home is often necessary, but young adults dread the time, expense, and uncertainty that come with it.

Why? Because home ownership is no longer the guaranteed ever-increasing asset it once was. Home values don’t always go up. Poor economic results can result in failure even if you do everything right. And homes are expensive, requiring a lot of time and money over time, beyond the initial purchase.

Are they worth it anyway?

As a Realtor®, you’d probably say yes. You’d encourage your hesitant clients to realize the many benefits of home ownership. The freedom to have your own space. The freedom to renovate as needed. Being able to have pets. And yes, the high likelihood that over time, your home will be worth more than you put into it.

You can look at the benefits of marketing in the same way. Why is it better to own your own marketing strategy rather than renting from your brokerage? Think about the freedoms you have when you own your own web space and outreach program. You can change it as needed, to fit exactly what you need. And most of all, there is a high likelihood that over time, your marketing will be worth far more than what you put into it.

Making Sure Your Marketing is an Asset and Not an Expense

Just like owning a home, your marketing strategy requires some investment to ensure it becomes an asset to your business. If you simply pay for the same things everyone else pays for, but do nothing with it, you will in fact be wasting your money – just like someone who buys items to repair a home but doesn’t actually complete the repair.

On the other hand, if you invest wisely with your money, and focus on taking action on the things you purchase, you’ll see far more results than many of those around you. In fact, you’ll be able to do much more while spending less money.

If you avoid spending money or time on your marketing, or if you spend money but don’t invest the action necessary to make the most of it, your marketing will continue to be a drag. However, if you invest in the right type of marketing for you and your market, you’ll find that owning your marketing strategy is a major asset for your business and you’ll never go back to renting again.

The best real estate marketing strategies are a mix of online and offline work. Farming an area consistently, learning about your market over time, asking for referrals, using social media, and connect with buyers through email are all essential. When you own those methods yourself, you can fit them to you and your market just like you make a home your own. And when you realize your marketing is an asset, not a necessary evil expense, you’ll see your business grow consistently over time.

Do you struggle to see your marketing as an asset? Why? Share in the comments!

 

Don’t Lose Marketing Momentum this Summer

Marketing Momentum in Summer

It’s summer, and that means that most Realtors® are very busy. It’s easy to leave behind your marketing efforts during the summer, especially when you feel you’re overwhelmed with clients as it is. However, the only way to still have clients and active leads in the fall, winter, and spring is to stay consistent with your marketing efforts every summer.

Pay “Mark” First

Keeping a consistent budget is important in any business, including real estate. Your budget should include a specific amount for marketing every month. If nothing else happens, be sure to pay your marketing budget – “Mark” – every month. It’s the only way your business can stay healthy year-round.

Maintain Your Farming Efforts

I know you’re busy with clients, but you want to make sure you maintain your farming efforts. For farming to be effective, it has to be consistent over time. Fortunately, this can be done fairly quickly once your mailing list is set up. Summer is the most important season to stay visible in your farm, since it’s the time of year people are most likely to buy or sell a home. If you’re tired of the feast-or-famine cycle of real estate, keep your farming efforts consistent with postcards and fliers during the summer.

Keep Websites Up to Date

As you work with clients each day, don’t forget to keep your website updated with recent listings and “just sold” testimonials. You may be very busy, but clients are still looking online for real estate assistance, and you want to make sure your site stays fresh and active. Keep pictures current, and especially make sure that you keep your listings updated, so someone doesn’t try to view a home that’s already sold!

Ask Clients to Post Reviews

As you build up another batch of satisfied customers this summer, ask them to leave online reviews for you on your website or on real estate portals. Having happy client reviews that are very recent will do a lot for you in terms of attracting new customers.

Keep Up Your Email Marketing Efforts

Writing dozens of emails is probably the last thing you have time to do this summer, but remember that an automated email marketing program can do all the hard work for you. You just set it up, and it can automatically follow up with leads on a specific schedule while you focus on the client that’s in your office today.

Recognize Holidays in Your Marketing

We have a variety of holidays throughout the year that give you ready-made reasons to reach out. A Fourth of July postcard in late June can be a seasonal, easy way to connect with your leads and prospects without taking a lot of your time or effort. Mother’s Day, Flag Day, and Father’s Day are other well-known summer holidays, and there are likely local fairs and festivals in your area that you can use as outreach opportunities.

Many Realtors® find themselves in a feast-or-famine cycle of being busy during the summer and very slow at other times of year. Much of the time, this is related to the fact that they market regularly all year, except during the summer. So take some time to “pay Mark” – get some postcards, some fliers, and spruce up your email campaigns. In the fall, you’ll be glad you did.

What makes it hard for you to keep your marketing momentum in the summer? Share in the comments!

How to Farm Your Area for Maximum Success

Community Farming

Some real estate agents don’t commit to farming a neighborhood or area. They rely on their brokerage’s leads and hope that friends and family will make up the difference. Unfortunately, they often don’t. The most successful Realtors® are those that actively farm their area and achieve name recognition in their market – BEFORE the customer is looking to buy or sell.

Fortunately, farming is not that difficult and pays huge dividends for the effort committed. While the principles are easy, it does take time and investment. Those who are willing to invest the time and money in their business are the ones who are positioning themselves for success.

Pick an Area You Know Well – or Want to Know Well

A big part of farming is knowing an area like the back of your hand. You want to know all the places to eat, all the community events, all the neighborhoods… you name it, you want to know it. When you can feel the pulse of a community, you can connect to it much more authentically than a Realtor® who comes in cold. If it’s an area near you – and it’s much easier if it is – start being seen around the neighborhood. Walk your dog there. Visit local restaurants. Go to the farmer’s market or 4th of July parade. You’ll get to know people naturally, in a non-sales related way.

Consider Neighborhood Turnover, Price Point, and Equity

Every Realtor® will have their own preferences in what types of areas they want to farm. Some like areas with higher equity, so they won’t have stressed buyers trying to force a high price point. Others like neighborhoods in the lower-to-mid level price range, ensuring that the homes are affordable for buyers and sell quickly. And some Realtors® will want to target higher-income neighborhoods, specializing in the type of marketing it takes to move a higher-priced home. Think about what your specialties and comfort levels are, and choose accordingly.

Keep an Updated List of Interactions

A software program can definitely help with this, but even without one it’s important to track interactions. Remember who you met and where, what you talked about, what their pet’s/child’s/spouse’s name was, and what they said about their housing situation. Follow up with people you meet regularly. You will likely want to group your contacts and follow up quickly with anyone who expresses a real estate need or referral. Those who don’t express those needs immediately should still be contacted, but perhaps less often or in a different way.

Start a Neighborhood Newsletter

You can get mailing address for homeowners in your area and create a neighborhood newsletter branded with your name and picture. Talk about things happening in the area and have a section for new listings. Don’t create anything lowbrow, however, like a gossip newsletter. It’s also best to stay away from politics. You can target homeowners with one newsletter to gain listings, and renters with another newsletter to gain buyers.

Real Estate Farming Postcards

The year is full of holidays, both big and small, and all of them are a reason to reach out to your neighborhood. Choose 4 – 6 times per year to send branded postcards with a seasonal flair, letting them know that you are available to help residents buy or sell. From Easter to Earth Day to Thanksgiving and New Year’s, there are plenty of opportunities to reach out – and very little Realtor® competition in the mailbox! Order your farming postcards today.

Volunteer

Volunteering with neighborhood organizations or home associations can be a great way to become known in a community in a very positive way. There are a few considerations, though. Be sure not to volunteer in a position that will take so much time it will hurt your real estate or family commitments. Be sure not to put yourself in a position that will cause a conflict of interest if you market to, list in, or sell in that community. And finally, don’t be invisible professionally – make sure people know you’re an agent and you’re available to help them!

Go Door to Door

You might think that in the internet age, going door to door is no longer relevant. To the contrary, it’s more relevant than ever. A personal, real contact is so rare today that it’s cherished and remembered far more than a Facebook post or Pinterest image. Along this line, cold calling can also be extremely effective. By connecting and having a live conversation with someone in your neighborhood area, you’ll be able to introduce yourself and stay top-of-mind.

Email Marketing

Far from being dead, email marketing is more effective than ever – if it’s done properly. By properly, I mean that email messages are targeted, relevant, and sent to a group that has agreed to hear from you. To build your email list you can run contests, host giveaways, or create an email newsletter. Then, send targeted and relevant messages to your list to advertise listings, celebrate holidays, or let them know about something new in the neighborhood.

Farming a neighborhood or geographic area is a very important way to build a strong brand presence and build up a significant client base. These clients will not only come to you to buy or sell, but they will refer friends and family who need real estate help as well – especially if you ask! By using the techniques above, you’ll be able to build a strong presence in whatever community or neighborhood you choose. To your success!!

Do you currently farm an area? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

How to Create the Perfect Farming Postcard

Spring is almost here, and that means buying and selling is about to heat up! Want to get in on the action? Farming postcards are a great way to build awareness in any neighborhood or county, and it’s a form of advertising that won’t break the bank.

Creating a great farming postcard that doesn’t simply blend in with other mail is essential to raising awareness about your business and services. Here are some simple ways to create the perfect farming postcard.

Farming Postcards Build Real Estate Business

Use a Postcard

This should go without saying, of course, but it’s important to use a postcard rather than a letter. While a letter can convey more information, they are generally thrown away unopened once the homeowner realizes it’s a solicitation. A postcard has the significant advantage that it’s already open, bringing the eye-catching designs and colors you choose immediately to the attention of the recipient.

Get Attention

In any form of advertising, you have only seconds to secure your prospect’s attention. There are many ways to gain attention using your postcard. The more of the below techniques you can include naturally, the better.

  • A funny picture or saying can immediately grab attention and get a prospect to read the entire card
  • Address Desires and Fears. Every piece of advertising should answer the question, “What’s in it for your prospect?” Every individual wants to fulfill their desires and eliminate their fears, and they’re always willing to find out how. A bold statement offering to fill a desire or eliminate a fear will definitely lead to further investigation.
  • Easier, Cheaper, More Convenient. In line with the previous suggestion, everyone wants life to be easier, cheaper, and more convenient. By making that offer up front, you will definitely gain a prospect’s attention.
  • Special Deals or Free Add-ons. Everyone wants to get the best deal available, and making it a limited-time offer can encourage prospects to respond quickly.
  • Color and Graphics. Bold color and eye-catching graphics will help gain attention among regular mail when used along with the previous techniques.

Include Your Picture

A photo creates an immediate connection, and can help a prospect feel like they know you better than they do. By including a photo with your contact information, you can start to form relationships right away. This is especially important as you continue your mailing campaigns – seeing your picture multiple times helps solidify you in your prospect’s mind.

Target High Value Markets

You want to make sure to spend your advertising dollars wisely, and that involves targeting the best markets with ideal frequency. You should send several postcards a year offering your services, but focus your efforts in areas with the most value to you. This doesn’t just mean neighborhoods with expensive homes – you want to focus in areas where past clients live, the neighborhood you live and work, and other areas that you have a higher level of recognition. Emphasizing those warm markets will help you build a strong client base and gain additional customers over time.

Farming postcards are a simple, low-cost way to engage new prospects in high-value neighborhoods. By using an open postcard, gaining the clients attention right away, and including your picture, you can have a successful postcard campaign and effectively grow your business and your income.

Ready to start farming? Take a look at our wide selection of Printerbees farming postcards today!

FSBO Lead Generation Tactics – FREE Download

FSBO Lead Generation TacticsWhen many sellers get ready to sell their homes, the first question many consider is, “Can I get away with not using a Realtor®?” With all of the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) websites popping up, it’s easy for a homeowner to think they can save money by listing the property themselves and not paying your commission. You and I know that’s simply not true and that homes sold by Realtors® sell for more and much faster, it’s been proven time and time again.

With lead generation being critical to the success of any real estate agent’s business, prospecting to FSBO’s offers an extremely targeted list of prospects/leads to target.  The key is showing the person who has decided to go FSBO that it is in their best interest to use your services.  Here’s some great objection handling information (which can be downloaded as a flyer…free) for you to use the next time you’re speaking with someone about the advantages of using a Realtor® vs. selling it themselves. It’s a no-brainer!



Buyer’s Commission
As a seller, you would still end up paying the buyer’s agent commission if you sell your own home. This means that your savings is not 6%, but rather 3%. That amounts to $7500 on a $250,000 house. While that may still sound like a significant amount of money, think about the amount of work you’ll do to get the word out. How much is your time worth? Realtors® really do earn their pay.

Listing Services
When you use an agent, they take care of listing your property. They do this not only locally, but also on the internet, where 90% of home buyers look before purchasing a home.

You can certainly list your own home online, but it isn’t free – sites with Multi-Listing Service (MLS) access charge anything from a $395 flat fee to $199 for a 6 month listing. And you want to make sure to hit all the major sites, free or paid. It’s the only way to make sure you are visible to all potential buyers and their agents.

A Realtor® will take care of all of these listings for you, so you don’t have to worry about which sites to use, how long they take to set up, or how much they cost.

Screening Buyers
When you use an agent, they receive all of the calls and weed out the ‘just curious’ lookers or others who would not be able to qualify to buy your house. When you list the home for sale on your own, you have to take ALL the calls and emails yourself. This is another serious time commitment. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending two weeks going back and forth with a potential buyer only to find out they never had financing.

An agent will have the experience to be able to tell right away if someone isn’t going to be able to complete a purchase. And, if a potential buyer does end up wasting their time, that’s part of what you’re paying them to handle. This way, you can spend time on your own commitments and let your agent handle the curious and the serious buyers.

There’s also the consideration of safety.  Most experienced Realtors® won’t work with buyers who aren’t pre-qualified and pre-screened by a mortgage broker. Getting pre-qualified requires showing proof of identification, financial background, a credit check, etc.  It’s good to avoid having complete strangers traipsing through your home with no record of who they are.

Buzz Creation
Real estate agents belong to a close-knit community and know how to build buzz about your property with other agents. In doing this, they are exposing your home to a market you wouldn’t have access to on your own. When a Realtor® can call up a professional contact and recommend they bring a client by, you have an immediate prospect that is actually ready to buy.

In addition, agents have a lot of experience setting up open houses and creating interest in their events. An agent isn’t going to want to waste time or money on an open house that isn’t attended, so they will put their network and advertising skills to good use on your behalf.

Price Setting
The key reason sellers choose to go on their own is to save money. Unfortunately, a real estate agent can offer significant expertise in setting a price-point for your property. They have experience in the area, so they know what price to ask for that will bring good value while also selling your property quickly.

Homeowners have the potential to fall off of both sides of the pricing wagon. Some homeowners love their house so much they price it inappropriately highly, resulting in it sitting on the market unsold for months. Others are unsure of themselves and need to move quickly, so they underprice their homes and cost themselves a lot more financially than they would have saved in commissions.

Ironically, the founder of ForSaleByOwner.com had to use an agent to sell his own home after he “mispriced” it and couldn’t sell it himself. Not only did he gain a lot of money in the price – even after the commission – the property sold quickly.

Paperwork
If you do find a buyer on your own, you’ll quickly realize the mountain of paperwork that it takes to complete a sale. It takes a lot of time to understand all the legal and financial forms you need to make available and sign with the buyer. A mistake in the paperwork and proper disclosures can open you up to serious liability or financial loss.

If you do sell on your own, the sales paperwork is an area where you can’t afford to go it alone. Make sure you do your research and perhaps even consult a real estate lawyer to help you draft the correct forms and disclosures so that you don’t find yourself in significant trouble later.

In the final analysis, you may save a few bucks by going the FSBO route. Unfortunately, you will also spend a significant amount of time, in addition to your current professional and personal obligations, to do so. You may also misprice your home, and you’ll need a lot of help with the final paperwork once you find a buyer. In the end, using a real estate agent is the easier and more affordable way to go.

Realtor® Rip Off Report: How to Avoid Lead Generation Ripoffs

Market Leader Rip Off ReportEvery Realtor® needs leads in order to show and sell properties. Getting leads can be a lot of work, and many Realtors® don’t know where to start. As a result, some Realtors® turn to lead generation services that promise to do all the legwork. Sounds great, right!  Please read on….Market Leader is one such service, however according to many complaints they simply take your money and do not provide the promised leads. By locking Realtors® into a multi-month contract, services like Market Leader leave professionals with nowhere to turn despite not getting what was promised.

Market Leader Issues
Market Leader promises to generate a certain number of leads within your area code, but over time many Realtor®s are seeing the leads from outside their area. One customer was finally told that Market Leader cannot promise where leads come from. That makes the leads useless.

Past customers also report that once a contract is in place, Market Leader and many other services will work hard to make sure you can’t get out of it. Customers have complained that they have been told they need 35 day written notice (long enough to charge you an extra month) and that they have to cancel by a certain day of the month in order to have it process in time.

Unfortunately, the complaints about customer service abound as well, both on posts to their Facebook site (Posts to Page on the left sidebar) and on external services. Many customers say they get ‘outside business hours’ messages in the early afternoon, or are not allowed to speak to a supervisor when they wish to dispute charges. There are also many technical issues with the site and Realtors® are simply told that a ‘ticket has been submitted’. Some Realtors® had customers reporting the campaign emails as spam because the Market Leader campaigns were malfunctioning, and multiple calls to customer service did nothing to fix the issue.

You can read all of the gory details from the Facebook group, “What Should I Spend My Monday On?” It’s  a good group!

Finally, users with Macs do not have nearly the functionality of other subscribers, but they pay the same high prices. The creative portions where you create your own mailings have to be done from a PC. Even with a PC, you cannot verify ownership of your domain with Market Leader so apparently there is no syncing with Google apps to coordinate with a team.

For a service that charges $580 a month and locks you into a 6 month contract, you have a right to expect better. In fact, if you put those kinds of resources to work in your own lead generation efforts, you could grow your business dramatically and remain in control of the quality of the leads you attract.

How to Avoid Ripoffs and Generate Your Own Leads
Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine, we have a free e-book that can help you get a jump-start on your lead generation efforts. You don’t even have to start spending your hard earned cash! Here are some tips from the e-book and beyond.

Start with those you know. I know, no one likes to harass friends and family. But remember, you’re in this to SERVE, and folks need help finding a great place to live! Finding a great Realtor® isn’t as easy as you’d think.  Keep in mind that it isn’t just who you know, it’s who THEY know also. Use our free calls scripts and letters to help you reach out to the people in your sphere.

By starting with those you already know and asking for referrals, you can begin your network with those who already know and trust you. And trust sells!

Social Media
Social media is a great way to reach out to those you don’t know, build relationships, and nurture prospects. You can establish a Facebook site for your realty business, and post photos from your listings to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Twitter! In addition, you can establish a website using easy-to-build templates through any number of services. Squarespace is well known for having great visually-focused templates, which is a major bonus for any Realtor®! Remember, when you help people see themselves in your properties, your sales job is almost done.

Business Cards and Mailings
A professionally designed business card is essential for any successful Realtor®. Services such as PrinterBees have hundreds of real estate business card templates to choose from.  In addition, sending farming postcards to people in your area to announce a new listing or an open house can be very effective. Postcards get seen more readily than letters, which residents often throw away without opening because they are  seen as ‘junk mail’. Postcards with great graphics are eye-catching and already ‘opened’!  PrinterBees has a huge selection of real estate marketing postcards for any type of lead generation program you want to kick off.

These are just a few examples of low-cost ways to begin to gain leads. There are many more. See each person you meet as a potential sale – if not them, then someone they know! Learn how to connect quickly through conversation and assess their needs. When you add a new person to your network, it isn’t one person – it’s more likely 100, since you add their entire network as well. With this mindset, you’ll see that the world is your oyster – and you don’t need to pay $580 a month and be plagued with issues to access it!

Have these call scripts emailed to you. They work great for contacting your sphere of influence.

Stop “Wishing” And Start “Doing”…Get Inspired!

real estate wishes come trueHow often do you say to yourself things like “I wish I had more clients” or “I wish I was doing more business” or “I wish I had more listings” wishing for this and wishing for that, hoping that if you keep “wishing,” it will come your way.  I was inspired to write this article by an electrician that is doing some work at my home who said to me “You’re lucky, I wish I could work at home.”  Luck has nothing to do with it and neither does wishing… 😉

I am “Hope” (Nadine means hope in Russian) and I hope reading this helps begin turning your wishes in to reality…or “realty”…whichever you prefer. :-)

I no longer “wish” for things like I used to for two reasons.

  1. Wishing for things doesn’t do anything to move me forward towards my goals and life ambitions. It certainly doesn’t get me any closer to my purpose to “wish.”
  2. If I’m wishing for something else, how am I appreciating what I have and living in the moment I’m in.  This moment is the only one I have, so instead of wishing for something else, I choose to be thankful for what “is.”

The definition of the word “wish”
To feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen.

So my question to you is…do you want to keep “wishing” for something in your life, that according to the definition “cannot or probably won’t happen?”  Or are you more in tuned with “doing” something that leads you to where you’re going?  If it’s the latter, I have some ideas I wanted to share to help you get to “doing” instead of wishing, which leads nowhere.

As a Realtor®, you are in the lead generation business and must keep yourself busy “doing” activities that result in getting more leads for your database.  Leads turn in to listings when you work them.

  • Talk to 10 people per day.  Just make contact with 10 people.  Don’t sell them real estate, just keep in touch and find out how you can serve.  When you keep in touch and are always ready to serve the needs of others, things just work out and the magic happens.
  • Visit no less than 10 properties in your market per week.  The best way to keep yourself educated and up to date on the market and what’s happening in it is to be “in” it.  Get out of your office, get out of your house, step away from whatever it is that distracts you and “be” a Realtor® by “doing” the things Realtors® do when they are working and lead generating.
  • Participate in Social Media.  Social media isn’t going anywhere and if you’re not participating, you’re missing out on a huge amount of opportunity to build your reputation as well as your brand.  You’re missing out on the opportunity to meet up with people on line, keep in touch and remind people you’re a Realtor®!!!  Many friendships and relationships are established on social media sites like Facebook.  It gives people a glimpse of who you are, what you stand for and what’s most important to you.  Concerned about privacy…don’t post what you don’t want people to see!  Simple.
  • Attend networking events.  You’ll meet a lot of local people at networking events.  You must “list to last” and the people who are local to your community are the ones you want to network with.  They are attending networking events to “network,” so get out there and network, finding out how you can serve each others businesses.
  • Be of service. Being of service in your community and the community you serve, serves everyone.  When we serve others, it all comes back around 10 fold.  Getting involved in community events helps you to get to know the community and the leaders of the community.  They’re the ones who making things happen in the community you serve and will direct people your way when they see you’re commitment to the common goals of a great community.
  • Be consistent with your marketing.  Marketing is like food for your business and without it, your business can’t survive.  Have a real estate marketing budget, work your budget by working your database via mail, phone and email.

If you had a wish list in your real estate business, I hope after reading this you put wishing aside and start doing to make it all happen.  Your life and your real estate business is where it is because you set it up that way based on what you do or don’t do.  Start doing something different and something different will come your way as a result.

Be blessed!  Keep me posted on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn on how these ideas worked to change something in your business.