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The Dangers of Paid Leads

Paying for Leads

Realtors often pay for leads in one way or another. Many Realtors® buy leads directly from a source that promises a certain number per month. The problem is that you can spend a lot of money without getting good-quality leads. In general, it pays to generate leads organically.

Why Not Pay for Leads?

Paying for leads seems lucrative. You fork over some cash, and someone else sends you qualified, interested leads. One or two per month works out as a sale, and you more than recoup your investment. What’s wrong with that?

What’s wrong is that that’s not really what happens. Here’s what really happens: you support someone else’s business model. You’re wholly dependent on them for your success. The leads may or may not be quality, or even from the promised area. Even more important, you’re probably not the only Realtor® getting that lead. You better be quick or you’ll lose out.

If something happens – the source dries up, the source owners are unethical, or the price rises beyond your budget – you’re stuck. You have no sustainable model of your own. And if you want to be a successful Realtor®, having your own sustainable lead generation is essential.

What to Do Instead

So if you’re not paying for leads, what do you do? The bottom line: Invest in your own business. Many Realtors® are willing to pay thousands per month for leads, but then hesitate to spend even $500 setting up a quality website. Why? You’re willing to spend and support someone else’s business but not your own?

Think of it this way: the minute you stop paying for leads, you get 0. But if you spend the money building up your own lead system, you’ll get return on that forever into the future. Your great website will still be great six months after you pay for it. Your neighborhood farming will still pay dividends years after you start. Your automated email program will contact leads day in and day out, with no additional investment.

As a Realtor®, think about the long-term picture. You want to develop a system that will be paying dividends for years, not one where you have to constantly pay thousands to keep it going. When you develop your own website, email, and farming campaigns, you’ll get those rewards.

I’ve seen too many Realtors® asking each other for advice on various paid lead sources. I want to say, loud and clear: IT’S NOT WORTH IT. They almost never deliver what they claim. Even if the lead source works out, you’ll be dependent on them and if they raise their price or fold, you’ll be left without any leads to sustain your business. Spend the money on yourself and YOUR business! You’re worth it!

Do you pay for leads? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

How to Take Great Listing Photos that Sell Homes Fast

Real Estate Listing PhotosIn today’s internet-focused culture, how you post your real estate listings online can easily make the difference between a sale and not even getting a call. Most Realtors® know that a listing with photos will get many more calls than one without. Unfortunately, many Realtors® don’t have a great idea of how to best display their listings online. Following these simple tips will help you take great listing photos and sell your properties quickly.

Use a High Quality Camera
Consider a good camera to be a necessary investment in your real estate business. Using a cell phone or simple point-and-click camera will look unprofessional and result it unclear, grainy photos. You want to display both yourself and your listing in the best, most professional light possible.

A professional photographer setup isn’t necessary for a Realtors®, but a good resolution camera with a tripod will result in high quality, clear photographs that will really make your online listings stand out among the rest.

Make Sure You Have Good Light
In any photograph, the light sets the scene and makes it easy to see the details of what’s in the picture. A picture that’s dark sends a message that the home is dark itself, which is not feature buyers are looking for! In addition, real estate listing photosdarkness tends to make people think of dirtiness and hidden problems. Getting photos that are properly lit will help potential buyers have a chance to fall in love with a home.

To achieve proper lighting, take your pictures on a sunny day. Open windows to let in light. Consider bringing in lamps if a room doesn’t have enough natural light to frame it well. Take time to research lighting setups or take an introductory photography class if you have time. Remember, you’re investing in yourself and your success!

Choose your Listing’s Best Side
I’m not talking about the particular side of the house, of course. I’m talking about making sure that you frame everything you photograph in the best possible way. Make sure rooms are picked up and organized before photographing inside. When taking pictures outside, avoid unattractive features such as torn awnings or an ugly yard. Avoid dirt and stains, and really showcase what makes the house such a great purchase.

Potential buyers are looking to put themselves in the picture, and are trying to imagine what it would be like to live there. Use your photos to make that picture very easy to see, and very appealing! Use photos to show off the home’s best features, not the current owner’s collections or oddities.

Take a Lot of Photos
When taking photos, be sure to get a lot of shots. Try different angles – a house almost always looks better at an angle than straight on from the front. Photograph rooms from various locations. After you’ve taken all your pictures, you’ll have a wide variety to choose from in creating your online listing.

Buyers also enjoy when there are more photos on a listing, so don’t skimp in uploading the great shots. If there are only one or two pictures, it may make the listing seem amateur or imply that there’s something to hide. When you have a large number of photos, you can upload all of the best shots and display the house to its full potential.

90% of buyers start their home searches online. Online listing sites are becoming more and more popular. Buyers want to feel like they can see themselves living in the home. By following these simple listing photo tips, you can make your online listing stand out from others and generate more leads, more calls, more showings, and sales.

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.

 

 

Working With Renters: It’s Just Not Worth The Time…or is it?

20120507-160851.jpgI find myself in a very unique situation as a person who writes about real estate marketing, as am currently the “lead”….or prospect Realtors are typically looking for.  It’s a great vantage point for this blog, being in the market for a temporary rental property.  When you’re in real estate, you’re in the lead generation business and I’m a “hot lead” right now who can’t get a return phone call! I’m not talking two or three Realtors here, I’m talking around 10 Realtors who who are currently advertising rentals I have left messages for and none of them have gotten back with me. When I consider that real estate agents are accustomed to making thousands of dollars on a transaction, I understand not wanting to work with renters, I really do. The pay is not a motivating factor, the value of having a good lead however is. I don’t understand why a Realtor would advertise properties for rent, but not follow up. If there’s no follow-up, what’s the point in advertising or any sort of real estate marketing?

FACT: Many of today’s renters will become buyers AGAIN once they get their financial affairs back in order. Those renters who re-enter the real estate market as buyers will sustain a Realtors business as the economy returns and people recover. The “American Dream” of owning a home is still there, it’s just been put on hold for a year or two for many.

In any business, the most important asset is the business’s client database. Without a client database you really don’t have a business, you have a job and work for yourself, but there’s no business because there’s no asset to sell without a client database. Working

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