Archive for Real Estate Resources

10 Great Tools for Real Estate Agents

Tools for Real Estate

It can happen to any professional in any industry at any time – that sinking feeling of being stuck in a rut. Maybe you’re just having a rough week, maybe you need to reevaluate your process entirely, but regardless of your situation, having the right tools in your tool belt can really help you get back on track.

Real estate agents have a large variety of helpful tools to choose from, each useful in their own way. If you’re feeling stuck, or you’re just looking to improve your professional process, give one (or all) of these ten tools a try.

  1. PicMonkey

The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does plain text, so if you’re looking to up engagement on your social media platforms, focus on the visuals. And that’s where PicMonkey comes in.

PicMonkey is a free photo editing service that gives you the opportunity to jazz up your pictures a bit before distributing them to your potential clients. Take advantage of this free service and start seeing better results on your social media platforms.

  1. HootSuite

Speaking of social media, managing all of those different platforms – like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – can be very time-consuming. With HootSuite you can schedule out your social posts in advance, eliminating the stress of managing your social media.

HootSuite is free for individuals and only costs $8.99/month for 1-10 users, making this an affordable, time-saving option.

  1. Keynote

If you’re into giving presentations, Keynote is a must. Keynote allows you to give presentations on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch – super convenient if you’re on the go often. And for only $9.99, you’ll be delivering top notch presentations to your clients in no time at all.

  1. Google Alerts

Ever wonder if people are talking about you or your business online? With Google Alerts, you can find out. By entering in a specific name or term, Google Alerts will inform you every time that phrase is mentioned on the Internet.

This can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to keep an eye on the housing market in a certain region. By setting up alerts, you would be notified every time a new listing appeared somewhere online, helping you stay one step ahead of the competition.

  1. Dropbox

If you’re looking for a solution for file storage and sharing, Dropbox is a great, affordable choice. Not only can you store and share files with your team members, but you also have the ability to access them from your phone, tablet or computer – super convenient.

The first two gigs are free, but if you need more storage, you can pay a $9.99/monthly fee and receive up to 100 gigs of storage.

  1. Vine

Vine, the free video app, is great for sharing quick video listings with your social media networks. You can only post 6-second videos using this method, so you’re fairly limited as to what you can show, but it works great as a teaser and just as a way to get the word out about a new listing quickly.

  1. Google Calendar

If you need to stay better organized, Google Calendar is definitely worth a try. Not only is it free, but it also syncs your calendar across all of your devices so you can stay on top of things no matter where you are.

It also allows you to separate and coordinate calendars for work, home or whatever else you may need, so you can always be sure that you’re not double-booking or overlooking something important.

  1. New Business Cards

You probably have business cards already, but when was the last time you updated them? If your information is out of date, or the design is just old-looking, it might be time for some new cards. We at Printerbees have a lot of great options for custom-designed business cards at an affordable price, and it is a great way to keep your business cards up to date quickly and easily.

Plus, if you have any other print marketing needs, such as pamphlets or brochures, you can take care of everything all in one place.

  1. Evernote

Evernote is another great tool for staying organized. Take notes whenever you need to, share content with your clients or team members, and even sync your information across all of your various devices. If you’re on the go and like taking notes, Evernote would be a great resource for you.

  1. Google Drive

Similar to Dropbox, Google Drive also allows you to save and access files, as well as share them with your team members. Google Drive is especially great if you plan on collaborating with people on projects as it allows you to edit documents right within the drive. Plus, the first 15 gigs are free!

So, next time you’re wondering what you can do to get back on track, don’t hesitate to try out one of these tools. You’ll find yourself feeling more organized, more accomplished and ready to tackle whatever the professional world throws your way!

Getting Help Affordably – Realtors® and Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistant for Real Estate

One thing that many Realtors® have concerns about is simply not having enough time in the day. Recently online, a Realtor® shared in a forum that he was able to do all his work – at high volumes! – in only 9am – 5pm on weekdays. He asked if others would like his secrets to time management, and he got hundreds of responses saying “Yes please!”

As a result, I thought I’d share an idea about how to get help – and thus save time – affordably. Many Realtors® would love to have a full-time administrative assistant, but they simply can’t afford it. Fortunately, there are virtual assistants, or VAs, that can work for you remotely and part-time. Here are the benefits of a VA, and how to find a great one for your business.

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

Full time employees cost more than just their salary. There’s benefits, vacation time, and the time it costs you to manage and oversee their work. If you only need occasional help, or are just beginning your business, it can be hard to keep an admin assistant busy 40 hours a week. And that’s assuming you can find a good match in your local area.

A virtual assistant gives you a lot more freedom. Many of them are available for just a few hours a week, and charge a flat hourly rate. You don’t pay benefits or manage them as personnel because they are contractors and not employees. This means less paperwork and much less cost in time and money.

How much could you move the needle in your real estate business if you had administrative help to handle paperwork, complete documentation, and answer phone calls for 10, 15, or 20 hours a week? VAs can also answer email and filter only the most important messages to you, the way secretaries used to sort their boss’ daily snail mail. Most importantly for Realtors®, you can put your VA in charge of scheduling your appointments and viewings, keeping your time open for actually completing the work of real estate.

How to Find a Great VA

There are a lot of ways to find a VA, and I’ll be honest, the good ones aren’t super-cheap. However, $25 an hour or so you can get the help you need without the overhead, training, and hassle.

The first step to finding a great virtual assistant is to write down what help you need. Even the most skilled VA can’t help if you don’t know what you’re looking for! Make a list – email assistance? Social media help? Paperwork? How much do they need to know about real estate specifically, based on your needs?

Once you’ve done that, you can start scouting. One good place to find general VAs is eaHelp, a firm that provides executive assistants and social media assistants. I know several high profile business leaders that use the service to access trained VAs that match their business needs and working style.

You can also look online for VAs or ask others for recommendations. This is a good way to find real-estate specific VAs, who can help you with more specific transaction details, like listing coordination, transaction coordination, or lead management. This process is a little more time-intensive, because you will have to interview candidates and make sure they have the skills you need.

Remember that a VA is easier to try out than a typical employee. You can sign a one month trial agreement, and if they don’t work out, simply don’t renew. There’s no hiring, firing, unemployement, or paperwork.

A virtual assistant is a great way to get additional office help at a very affordable price. You can determine what you need help with and find someone who can do that for you just a few hours a week. There’s no office need, benefits, paperwork, hiring, or firing. As a contract employee, they are there when you need them. What could you do with your business in an extra 10 – 15 hours a week?

Have you ever considered hiring a VA? Why or why not? Share in the comments!

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace…

Speak Now

The part of weddings where they ask if there are any objections always makes me nervous. I guess I’ve seen too many romantic comedies or something, because I half-expect there to be an outburst, a revelation of cheating, or some other drama. Of course, in real-life weddings, there almost never is.

Today, though, it’s not about a wedding – it’s about YOU! Here at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine we want to know what struggles YOU have with real estate marketing. Here are some questions we have:

  • What Holds You Back From Your Best Success? No one comes into real estate looking to do poorly. However, most of us don’t achieve the success we dream of. What’s holding you back?
  • What’s the Hardest Part of Real Estate Marketing? We know there are dozens of strategies, from farming to choosing whether to focus on buyers or sellers. Even with all these options, we still see Realtors® struggle with marketing. What’s the hardest part for you and the other Realtors® you know?
  • What Do You Enjoy Most About Real Estate? Why are you a real estate agent? What do you love about it? What makes you excited to get out of bed and get to work each morning? Share with us what you love most about your work!
  • What Do You Hate About Real Estate? No line of work is all rainbows – what do you like least? What is your biggest struggle? What makes you want to hide under the covers on a Monday?
  • What’s The Hardest Part of Getting Leads? Every Realtor® knows that leads are how you last in real estate. What’s the hardest part of getting them? What strategies do you need help with? Or do you just need a new strategy altogether?
  • What Resources Are Missing? Is there one type of information or template that you wish you could find, but you can’t? Or perhaps the options are too expensive? What resources would be most helpful to you and other agents you know?

We at the Real Estate Marketing Magazine and Printerbees want to help. We’re planning on launching a website very soon that will provide resources and hopefully help you answer some of the tough questions of being a Realtor®. However, we can’t create great content without knowing your needs – so let us know! We want to hear from YOU!

You can comment below, visit us on Facebook, or send us an email. No matter how you choose to reach out, we appreciate your feedback. We want your real estate business to be as successful as you ever dreamed it could be!

Thanks for taking the time to share. Here’s to your success!

Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas – FREE Word Search Handout

Valentines Day Maketing HandoutThe piece we ran on Thanksgiving marketing ideas was a huge hit, so we thought you might want to market yourself for Valentine’s Day too. I personally think marketing you do at the beginning of the year will help your spring selling season.  The time of year when a majority of people contemplate moving.

Use this Valentine’s Day word we created for you in MS Word to market yourself.  Any reason to get in touch is a good one and most people find word search puzzles entertaining.  They are almost hard to resist when one shows up.

A great way to collect leads with the word search puzzle is to do a drawing for anyone who sends you a completed puzzle.  Have them email them in or snap a photo of the completed puzzle with their cell phones and text you a photo of the completed puzzle.  Offer double points if they pose with the kids holding the completed puzzle!  At a minimum, you should collect their name, email address (to alert the winner) and if they text their answers in, you’ll have a cell phone number to add to your database.

The photos that you collect can serve as a reason to blog about the happenings in the neighborhoods you farm as well as posting some of the photos on social media to get some activity brewing.  Including the word search as a PDF in an email blast with the Pinterest Valentinesinvitation to join in your drawing will also increase participation.

We hope the word search puzzle is helpful in generating leads and building relationships with the community you serve.  If you’re looking for more ideas on how to market yourself during Valentine’s Day, check out our Pinterest Board!  We’ve pinned 14 great ideas for the occasion.  Happy marketing!

How to Harness Your Personality for Success

Personality and Success

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do you know, and what does it mean for your career? The answer may not be what you think.

Of course, no one is 100% extroverted or introverted. However, most of us have one that is dominant. It would seem like you would need to be an extrovert to be successful in business, especially real estate. However, both personality types have pros and cons, and both can be successful. It’s just a matter of harnessing your personality for success.


Extroverts are people who get their energy from active involvement with other people. They like a lot of different activities and enjoy taking quick action to get things done. They often work though problems by talking about them.

Strengths to Capitalize On:

  • Meeting People is Easy for You. In any career, who you know is as important as what you know. In real estate and other fields, you will easily meet people, strike up conversations, and make a connection. Use this to your advantage to build your network.
  • Share Your Expertise. As an extrovert, you likely have little trouble speaking to people about what you know. If you struggle with technique, consider joining an organization like Toastmasters. You want to refine your speaking skills, because sharing your expertise is a key road to success.
  • Take Calculated Risks. As an extrovert, you likely enjoy the adventure of taking risks. In your business as a Realtor® or other professional, you’ll need to take a lot of calculated risks to succeed. The ability to step out into the unknown is a major strength for an extrovert in business.

Weaknesses to Consider:

  • You May Fail to Follow Up on New Leads. While extroverts are great at initial contacts, the thrill for them is in the newness of the encounter. Following up on leads can seem like boring, hard work – or may never cross your mind. Extroverts should be careful to implement an easy-to-use automated follow-up system or you’ll lose all your hard work.
  • Learn to Listen. While extroverts are great talkers and love to share expertise, it can be hard to listen well. It’s important that you take the time to learn to listen carefully to what others are saying, or your clients will feel like you don’t care about their needs, and you’ll lose business.
  • Think Before You Act. Extroverts love the excitement of quick action and getting things done, but sometimes fail to think about why they’re making this specific decision and what the consequences could be. As an extrovert, make sure the risks you take make sense in your business and your life.


Introverts aren’t necessarily quiet and mousey. They just need time alone frequently to recharge. Introverts get energy from dealing with ideas and their own inner world. They often prefer activities done alone or with only a few people. They take time to reflect so they have a clear idea of what they will do when they act.

Strengths to Capitalize On:

  • You’re Great at Written Communication. Considering that email marketing returns $44.25 for every $1 spent, that makes you a marketing machine! Today, many prospects prefer written communication, and as an introvert you should play to that strength.
  • You’re Amazing One-on-One. Much of real estate – or any business negotiation – happens between you and one or two other people. Because that’s your comfort zone, you can excel by focusing on your clients as individuals. Because you already listen well, you will naturally give them the specific, personalized care they crave.
  • You See Things Differently and Challenge the Status Quo. Who says a real estate agent or other professional has to do things the same way as everyone else? Because you think deeply about the world, you often come up with new and innovative ways of doing things that lead to your personal success and can change the industry for the better.

Weaknesses to Consider

  • Networking is a Challenge. In any business, you need to meet people and make connections to be successful. For an introvert, this can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. The simplest solution is to see a networking opportunity as a chance to connect with individuals. If you don’t look at the mass of people, but rather at one person at a time, you can get into your one-on-one relationship comfort zone.
  • Presentations May Not Come Naturally. As an introvert, you can find it hard to put the right words together when you’re in the moment. You can overcome this by joining an organization like Toastmasters or otherwise practicing your speaking and presentations regularly. Because of the focused work, you may sound more smooth and sincere than your extroverted counterparts!
  • You Need Recovery Time. It’s important for introverts to work with their energy instead of against it. After a big meeting, presentation, or social event, make sure you block out time on your calendar to be alone and recharge. Protect that time like any other appointment, because it’s key to your success.

Both extroverts and introverts can succeed in real estate or any other business. It’s a simple fact. You simply have to know yourself – strengths and weaknesses – and harness your natural tendencies to achieve success.

Are you an introvert or extrovert? What challenges does that bring? Share in the comments!

Create the Perfect Real Estate Business Card

Perfect Real Estate Business CardLasting impressions are made in a matter of moments, especially in real estate. One way to ensure you make a great impression is by having amazing real estate business cards. As a Realtor®, handing out your business card can mean the difference between gaining a customer and losing to a competitor. However, not all business cards are created equal – it’s important that yours stand out and really represent who you are as a professional. Here are some tips on creating the perfect business card.

Standard Size

It’s fun to be creative, but keep your creativity inside the standard sized card. Oddly shaped or sized cards do stand out, but for all the wrong reasons. Customers will find them hard to place in a wallet or standard business card holder, and as a result your real estate business card may get thrown away rather than kept for future reference.

You also want to make sure you choose excellent paper quality to help your cards seem more professional and ensure they hold up inside a wallet or purse. You may also want to choose a supplier that allows you to add additional information to the back of the card, so that you can utilize the full surface.

Choose Complementary Colors

Winning a customer is all about having a business card that stands out in the right way. If you were listing a property, would you want it to have bold, brash colors inside, or complementary tones? Obviously the home that shows best is the one with complementary colors. The same holds true for your real estate business card. You can choose noticeable coloring, but make sure the colors aren’t too bright and don’t clash.

Remember to be careful about using colors that are too similar for the background and the text. The text can disappear into the card, especially after printing. Suppliers and design programs do their best to show you the finished product, but there will always be a difference between the screen and the printed result.

In the same way, detailed pictures should not be located behind text. The text and the details of the picture can trick the eye and result in neither one being clearly visible. A detailed picture in one corner, such as a photograph or logo, and text in a different area is the best strategy.

Mind Your Edges

The edges of a card can be a danger zone. Whether you are designing and printing your own cards or are ordering from a supplier, you want to watch the outside area known as the ‘bleed area’. This is the area where you or the supplier aims to cut the cards. You want to make sure your background color covers this area completely to avoid white edges. However, you also want to make sure no important information carries over into the bleed area. If it does, you could easily end up with your phone number or email address cut off!

In addition, to keep your cards as sharp as possible avoid putting any kind of border around the edge. This is especially true if you are ordering from a supplier and not doing your own cutting. A small change in the cutting zone can result in cards that have only three or two edges bordered, creating a very unprofessional look. In the same way that your property listing photos should be centered and clear, your real estate business cards should also be symmetrical and centered.

Display Your Smiling Face!

As a Realtor®, you are your own brand. You want to make sure that your card shows off a professional image of who you are. This serves three purposes – first, it displays you at your best ever time the customer looks at the card. Second, it helps them remember who you are and what you look like – if they see your picture elsewhere, it will trigger recognition. Finally, a personal picture helps create a personal connection, allowing the customer to feel like they know you despite what may have been a short introduction.

Additionally, make sure you include all relevant information. The more ways a customer can reach you, the better. A phone number and email address are the minimum – if you have an office address, website, or Facebook page that’s even better. Finally, think of a clever or personal tag line that can be the motto of your realty business. By including that on the card, you’ve added another memorable personal touch.

Your real estate business cards are a key part of your realty business. You want them to be colorful but not brash, unique, and display your brand at its best. By being mindful of size, color and edges, you’ll be assured of having a professional card. By placing your clear, smiling picture and personal motto on them, you’ll build recognition and create relationships. These steps will give you the perfect business cards to grow your brand and win customers.


Need help getting the perfect real estate business card? Check out PrinterBees right away – we provide professional quality, customizable business cards at a great price

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!!

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 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.

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.

The Inspiration You Need To Continue Your Real Estate Marketing Efforts

If you’re considering postcard marketing as one of the mediums you use to market your real estate business, please read on. Come to think of it…if you have a real estate business and would enjoy more business…please read on.

You’ll be inspired by the facts supporting why postcard marketing is a great investment. The Direct Marketing Association reports that postcard marketing yields the highest return on investment and that over-sized postcards get better results  than standard postcard sizes.

When you look at the comparison between email marketing and postcard marketing in the chart below, email marketing is most effective in the younger age groups. While there are plenty of 18 – 34-year-olds who do purchase homes, it makes for a smaller percentage of the overall real estate market opportunities in the grand scheme of things. If you remove the age groups who are less likely to purchase a home where the largest gap in comparison is, it’s clear that postcard marketing yields the highest return on marketing investment.

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As a Realtor®, you know the three most important factors when it comes to real estate investing are location, location, location.  With marketing it’s repetition, repetition, repetition.  If you are helping a client to determine the investment value of real estate property, location would be a determining factor.  With marketing, the determining factor for the return on investment is repetition and the quality of your database.

My next-door-neighbor coaches for the Mike Ferry real estate coaching company and is a wealth of information on stuff like this.  I love picking his brain! He once shared with me that when they surveyed every person in the coaching program about their marketing efforts, what works and what doesn’t.  They learned that agents who stuck with postcard marketing for 18 months dominated the neighborhoods they marketed.  Postcard marketing helps build a relationship with the recipient, and real estate sales is all about relationship building and trust.  When your marketing is consistent, repetitive and timely, people will remember you when they have a need.  They will also likely remember you when someone they knows has a need for real estate services too.

For Realtors®, postcard marketing isn’t about getting a quick sale, it’s about building a relationship.  Most people don’t just “on a whim” decide to move, like they decide to order pizza when a coupon comes in the mail.  Americans move approximately once every five years, so being the Realtor® they choose means a long-term and ongoing relationship, which can happen with consistent marketing.

The good news for Realtors®:  According to the Washington Post, Americans move more often than in anyone else in the world.  A survey revealed that 25% of Americans had moved in a 5 year period.

The United State Postal Service publishes in their Direct Mail Guide not to expect a good return on your marketing investment without repetitive mailings.  They also recommend updating your mailing list every-time you mail for the best results.   All neighborhoods have turn-over and an updated mailing list is what yields the best results time and time again.  (The best database service I’m aware of is Cole Information SystemsMention Real Estate Marketing Magazine or PrinterBees and you will get you a HUGE discount on their services, which are already so affordable. Visit their website here:

This study done by the USPS shows that that recognition is what matters in your marketing success and that familiarity is what will make your phone ring.

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 10.58.51 AMIf you’re going to invest in a postcard marketing campaign, I want to help you avoid wasting your hard earned money on postcard marketing that won’t yield results.  The best results will always come from mailing to the same database over time reminding yourself that it takes time to establish a brand and name recognition.  Marketing programs without repetition don’t get results.