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Archive for realtor advice

Advice Your Buyers Are Getting: The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Advice Buyers Receive

When someone is ready to buy a home, it’s 99% certain that they are going to look up advice on how to go about the process. Even folks who are not first-time buyers look for information because they assume, correctly, that the market has changed a lot since they last purchased.

It’d be great if people took advice from you or another qualified professional, but unfortunately, they don’t. As a result, some of the information they receive is good, some is bad, and some is downright ugly.

However, being a great buyer’s agent means knowing what people are being told and how you’ll react to common question and objections. To help, here’s a list of popular advice given to buyers and how to be ready to respond.

“Don’t Buy in a Renter’s Neighborhood”

The Advice:

The idea with this advice is that it only takes a few bad renters to make the neighborhood undesirable to both the buyer and any potential residents that the client may eventually want to sell to. Similar advice is to be sure there are families on the street if you plan to have a family, so your kids have someone to play with.

How to Respond:

First, encourage the buyer to take the long view and realize that things change. Once they have a family, there may be several other families on the street. Or, the families there now may move away. In addition, there can always be renters in a neighborhood. It’s totally outside their control.

Secondly, do your best to match them with a home that fits their needs. Is there an area they could buy in where the HOA prohibits renting? Is there a neighborhood known for great schools that would naturally attract a lot of families with kids?

“Think Long Term – Look for Bones and Resale Value”

The Advice:

A lot of advice to homebuyers, especially first-timers, is to look past the initial appearance. People are encouraged to overlook junk and ignore staging, and just look at the bones of the house. In addition, buyers are encouraged to think beyond today and think about how easy it will be to resell the home in the future.

How to Respond:

First, be sure to point out factors about a possible home that lead to great resale value – a good neighborhood, nearby shopping or schools, and a quiet street, for instance. Avoid showing homes that would be poor long-term investments.

In addition, help your buyers see past staging and make a decision that’s both emotional and reasonable. If a stager put lamps in a bedroom where there are no outlets, point that out. Make sure the buyers know the value they’re getting in a good quality home, not one with pretty “makeup.”

“Know the WHOLE Cost of Owning the Home”

The Advice:

Buyers are frequently told not to budget for the mortgage alone, but also for taxes, HOA fees, upkeep, closing costs, and more. This is great advice because it ensures your buyer is ready to follow through with closing and is much less likely to get cold feet or buyer’s remorse.

How to Respond:

Provide excellent information! Be a buyer’s agent that is truly on your client’s side. Don’t show them homes “just out of range” to try to score a larger commission. That strategy makes the customer feel frustrated and disrespected. Also, it can backfire and lead to a buyer backing out before closing.

By being a buyer’s agent that helps your client understand the full cost of home ownership, you’ll be providing excellent service and generating a lot of good will that will help bring in referrals and great reviews.

“Get an Inspection to Avoid a Lemon”

The Advice:

Buyers are inundated with horror stories of purchases gone wrong and are assured that if they have an inspection, these problems will be discovered before they buy. This is partly true, but not entirely.

How to Respond:

First, help homebuyers be realistic about what they should expect in their price range. If they think they are getting a move-in ready, renovated place with a bottom-level budget, they will be disappointed. Also, help them understand the actual cost of renovation – having a partnership with a contractor they can talk to would be helpful.

Secondly, make sure you have a partnership with an excellent and honest inspector. Let the homeowners know that not all inspectors are created equal and that if they use your resource, you know they’re getting a good one.

Finally, help buyers be realistic about what a home inspection will uncover. An inspection is not a Mike-Holmes-style gut and rebuild. It won’t find everything that might need to be fixed. And repairs are part of owning a home – no inspection will change that.

“Don’t Worry About Being Pre-Approved for a Mortgage”

The Advice:

This is advice that a buyer is likely to get from a friend or relative rather than a buyer’s class or online article. The idea is that a pre-approval isn’t official anyway and that if you’re just starting to look it’s not worth the time or hassle.

How to Respond:

Let a potential buyer know that if they are not pre-approved for a mortgage before looking at homes, they won’t be able to put in an offer on a home they love. It also helps them be clear about their actual budget. Remind them how quickly homes go, and that by the time they get vetted for a mortgage the home they wanted will probably already be purchased by someone else.

You can also choose not to work with buyers who are not pre-approved, to avoid wasting your time. Of course, you should try to convince them to pre-approve before you give up on them.

“You Don’t Need an Agent, Especially if You Buy a FSBO”

The Advice:

People who mistrust real estate agents will tell home buyers to avoid using them. The assumption is that the purchaser and seller are two honest people who will do the deal themselves and cut out the middleman. Both sides supposedly save money.

How to Respond:

This is terrible advice, and not just because Realtors® need to eat. Buying a home is a very complicated process, contracts are incredibly detailed, and inspections, assessments, and closing have a lot of moving parts that can go wrong.

The key is to help home buyers recognize that this is not the same as buying a new pair of jeans or even a new car. They could end up stuck with a home that’s in poor shape, with little to no recourse, because they didn’t handle the legal side correctly. For the biggest investment of their lives, they can’t afford to take that risk.

Are You Ready for Your Buyer?

This article only scratches the surface of the advice buyers receive. By keeping in mind the fact that clients are receiving a lot of advice, much of it from unreliable sources, you are better prepared as a buyer’s agent.

Using your print marketing to address some common misconceptions that buyers have is a good way to build trust and educate your prospects. Whether you need postcards or brochures, Printerbees is here to help!

What’s the craziest advice a buyer has told you they received? Share in the comments!

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.

 

 

The Five Most Important People In Your Real Estate Business

real estate business buildingTo create an amazing customer experience, you need an amazing team of people. As I’m currently going through an escrow, I’m reminded of all the people it takes for a smooth closing and why it’s important to make sure you’re working with the “A team.”  The “B Team” isn’t going to cut it and not having the A players moving the escrow through it’s paces with you could cause it not to close.

Here’s what I know for sure about having successful transactions as a Realtor®:

You must have a REALLY good mortgage professional on the team of people you work with: Without a mortgage loan, in most cases, deals don’t close.  I’m not feeling warm and cozy about the person I’m working with for my loan at the moment, we’re down to the final wire and I’m praying my escrow will close in spite of my lack of confidence.

Pssst…My recommendation to my Realtor® would be to find another mortgage “guy” to refer to, I’m not at all secure we will close.

You have to know a good property inspector: I had my property inspection yesterday, the inspector was very detail oriented, sure of himself and his assessment of the property.  He made me feel really good about the structure of the home and the minor things that needed to be addressed. His self-confidence in what he was doing and what he saw as he inspected the property was very comforting to me.

You must have an amazing escrow officer: One who has closed a lot of escrows, knows the ropes, has seen many files and many scenarios. A creative and experienced escrow officer that understands the system, title, the contracts, the fees, etc will make all the difference in your experience as a Realtor® and your ability to better serve your clients. Without a good escrow officer on your team, you won’t close…that’s what they do, they close the deal and bring it all together.  I’ve experienced “bad” and inexperienced escrow officers in the past, it’s scary, “messy” and it makes YOU look really bad as the agent.  Trust me.

You need to know someone in the insurance business: I can’t tell you the number of times that insurance verification was the one thing to hold up an escrow from closing on-time. It’s one of those little details easily forgotten and you can’t close escrow without home owners insurance. You need someone you can call in a moments notice that can underwrite your clients in emergency situations. First time home buyers definitely aren’t experienced in that regard and don’t likely have a home owners insurance agent/policy.

Having a good transaction coordinator on your team is worth every penny it cost you, and then some: My Realtor® just put three deals in escrow, right before leaving town for a family reunion. His wife is in the US Air Force and has been deployed for a year and a half. He and his five kids are enjoying some much needed and deserved time together for the first time, in as long. His transaction coordinator is handling the transaction, running with the ball, moving things forward while he’s enjoying his family. He got the deal in contract, negotiated the contract, represented me as the buyer and then he passed the ball to his transaction coordinator to handle the rest of the details. She’s fabulous!  A good transaction coordinator keeps you in compliance with your paperwork and will help keep you out of court as well.  If you’re new, you must have the assistance of a good transaction coordinator who has been in the business for a while.

It takes a team and the better the team you have in place, the smoother your business will run and more importantly, the better the quality of life you’ll enjoy. Great teams make for great success and having a great team will get you there faster and smoother. I am a big believer in delegating WHEREVER and WHENEVER possible, it gets things done/handled and it allows you to do what you’re supposed to be doing. Selling real estate and negotiating contracts.  How to find those people is my next secret, so make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss it! I definitely have my secrets and I’m willing to share them.