As we move forward into the second half of the year fast and furious take the time to look at your business and determine what you need to do to have a successful year end.
The first area to review would be your contacts. How many do you have? How often are you communicating with them? What are you communicating to them? Are you picking up the phone and speaking with them? As I meet with agents regularly to conduct performance consulting with them – the most successful agents today are the ones making the calls to their database regularly and are meeting face to face with them. Virtual contacts through Facebook, email, texts, etc. are good but you need to pick up the phone and get in front of people to get the best results.
Are you growing your database? Are you involved in networking groups? Are you holding open houses? Are you involved in community outreach programs? Are you involved in charitable endeavors? You need to be actively growing your contacts in order to expand and grow your business. You can’t send our postcards, post on social media sites or advertise in print publications and expect business to come in to you – you have to go out and find it to be successful today.
Are you educating yourself? If so, how? What are you reading? How often are you reading? Do you have designations and are they applicable to today’s market? Do you attend seminars? Do you attend office trainings to further your education? In order to grow, you must take the time to learn. If you want to earn more you need to learn more – bottom line.
Are you effective on line? Are you blogging? Are you utilizing Google+? What is the content you are providing on your other social media sites that engages people to read your posts and view you as a trusted resource and provider of information? It is not the end all be all to obtaining business but it is a spoke in the wheel of your success that should not be overlooked.
You have to be better than your competition to be successful today. You need to communicate better, you need to have better sales skills, better negotiating skills, better people skills, bottom line – you have to improve every day. What are you going to do today to become better? Pick a skill set and work on it!
These tips are critical to your success not only for the second half of the year but going forward as well. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
As we near the end of July, I thought I would provide a little insight into our Northern Virginia real estate market. Inventory of resale properties has been very stable throughout the late spring and into mid-summer at 7,636 houses for sale. What has caught my attention is the number of properties that have gone under contract the previous 30 days. At the end of May, 3,500 homes had gone under contract the previous 30 days. Since then, that number has declined every week to where we just had 2,880 homes go under contract the last 30 days – a 17.7% decline. Does this cause us to panic? Probably not, we are in prime vacation season. We had the 4th of July holiday during this timeframe as well. Plus, sales are cyclical and summer is usually a slower time of year for us. Nonetheless, we will continue to see if this a more serious trend as we move forward into late summer and fall.
This decline in sales has resulted in a slightly larger month’s supply of homes. We currently have a 2.7 month’s supply of house up from the end of May’s 2.1 month’s supply. Again, no need to panic as it is still as seller’s market. We continue to see when sellers price their houses to sell, have it staged properly and are in the right condition they sell in a reasonable amount of time. In fact, we have experienced several situations where homes had received multiple contracts on them.
Distressed home sales continue to hover around the 15.5% of total inventory active and on the market for sale. In these numbers, we have seen a slight decline in short sales and a slight increase in foreclosures. What continues to baffle me is that distressed property sales make up 30.7% of the home sales the previous 30 days. This tells me that people want to say they bought a short sale or foreclosure because they believe it is a “deal” when often times they are not deals at all.
Our rental market continues to be strong for landlords. We currently have a 1 month’s supply of rentals available. Houses that used to take weeks to rent in the past are renting in just days. Additionally, these homes are, in most cases, renting for more money. The market continues to be prime for investors.
Builders in the area are still selling as well. Loudoun County along the Greenway is selling exceptionally well. What we are seeing in the new home sales arena is that houses that are priced right – just like resales – are selling. Overpriced builders whom have not responded to the market are languishing on the market just like the resale properties. As mentioned in previous blogs, we are in a very price sensitive market today.
Let’s review the national real estate news, housing starts rose to a 5 month high – up 15% from May. The FTC won’t enforce the MARS rule against Realtors who help consumers obtain short sales – this is good news as the paperwork was unnecessary and didn’t apply to Realtors. And the Helping Responsible Homeowners Act is gaining additional support. This Act will eliminate barriers blocking millions of non-delinquent home owners from refinancing their mortgages at today’s incredibly low interest rates. This will help stabilize neighborhoods by keeping people in their homes.
As long as interest rates remain low, foreclosures and short sales remain a low percentage of our market, we will continue to have a steady real estate market in Northern Virginia. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
Over the last few years we have been providing you with information on the real estate market that we believe is valuable to you and helps aid you in your decision as to whether or not to buy and sell real estate. Also, our thought is it gives you something to talk about around the office, with your neighbors or at cocktail parties!
- But what do all the numbers and terms mean you may ask? Well, here is a quick guide for you going forward. The numbers we quote are for the areas our offices conduct a majority of their business. These areas include Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and Fauquier Counties plus all the cities in between like Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
- Active inventory or resales are the number of houses for sale where the owners are selling their homes and not a builder.
- Month’s supply of houses is the absorption rate or sales of homes divided into the number of active properties on the market. Basically, if no other houses came on the market, it would take that many months to sell all the houses that are for sale. As a general rule, 6 months is considered to be a balanced market – neither a buyer or seller’s market. Less than 6 months is considered to be a seller’s market and more than 6 months is a buyer’s market.
- Days on the market are the average number of days on the market it takes for a house to sell after going up for sale. Again, typically the fewer the average days on market the more likely it is to be a seller’s market and the longer the average days on market is typically indicative of a buyer’s market. In addition, the fewer the days on the market of a particular home, the more likely the sellers are to receive a full price offer or even multiple offers.
- This brings us to multiple offers. It is what it says. The owners received more than one offer to purchase the home when it was put on the market for sale. How does this happen? Typically it is because of high demand for an area because of the school district, location to commuter routes, shopping, etc. along with the sellers pricing the property properly, getting the home in the right condition and the staging of the house that makes this possible.
- Distressed property inventory are houses that represent short sales and foreclosures. A short sale is when a home owner owes more money on the house than what the house is worth and they are trying to get their lender(s) to approve a sale for less than the amount owed to them. A foreclosure is where the owner of the house stopped making payments and the bank took the property back through a series of steps required by the state and allowed through the deed of trust.
If you have any other questions or concerns about the numbers or the terms discussed monthly, feel free to contact me. As Sy Sims used to say, “An educated consumer is our best customer”.
What has been the catalyst in spurring the housing bubble and subsequent burst that has left us in the mess we are in today? Was it the run up of prices? Was it greed? Was it poor advice given to buyers by Realtors and lenders? Was it lax underwriting guidelines? Was I the government’s proclamation that everyone should be able to achieve the American Dream of home ownership? The answer is yes to all of the above.
The housing prices escalated at ridiculous rates – far above historical percentages that had been established over decades. Builders couldn’t build fast enough to satisfy the demand which drove up their prices. Buyers were having a difficult time being able to purchase a home and therefore bid up the price of the home above what they were willing to pay for a house originally. It was a stressful and fascinating time to be a Realtor. Buyers were mad that they had to bid so high to get into a home and sellers were mad at Realtors because their neighbor’s house sold for more money than theirs did – no one was happy. Yes, over escalating prices were one of the causes that affect us today.
The greed factor came into play with “flipping”. Many people bought homes from builders. In most cases, as they went through the lengthy construction phase and because of demand, prices escalated. You could buy a house, not do anything to it other than wait until it was ready, then raise the price and sell the home for a profit – many times for tens of thousands of dollars more than their original purchase price. It seemed as if everyone had a story of someone who did this so they tried to do the same thing. As the saying goes, too many chefs spoil the pot – well same thing happened in the new homes arena. As prices declined, buyers bailed and builders got left holding too much inventory. Also, greed came into the picture with people using their homes as a piggy bank and not a savings account. How many people do you know that refinanced not just once but many times and bought properties, fancy cars, and vacations they normally would not have been able to afford? Greed is not good Gordon Gekko and it has affected us today.
How many inexperienced, uneducated people got into the real estate and lending business when the times were good? Hundreds of thousands got into our businesses. Whose interests were they looking out for in the transaction? One guess, not the buyers – theirs. They got into the business for what was believed to be easy money. They gave advice that wasn’t the right advice about the market and where prices were headed. They got people into loans that were not right for the people they gave them to and as a result, they defaulted. Poor advice definitely contributed to people’s over exuberance in their decisions on purchasing and financing properties and it is taking its’ toll on the market today.
Was it the policies that were put into place that lead to lax underwriting guidelines a cause that lead to where we are today? You better believe it! These loose guidelines resulted in allowing people who should not have become home owners to become home owners. In my opinion, this probably had the biggest impact on how everything listed above was able to occur. What were the guidelines that were slack you ask? Here are just a few: debt to income ratios up to 45%, no income no asset loans, loans up to 125% of value if combined with other liens, minimum FICO scores of 620 for prime loans, 10% down payments for financing investors, interest only loans and of course the teaser rate loan products. Without these underwriting guidelines being loosened, we wouldn’t have had the ability to do all that was stated above.
Was the government’s belief that everyone should be afforded the American Dream of Home Ownership a contributing factor? Of course it was. Not everyone should be a home owner. Credit scores need to be higher to be considered prime. People should have some skin in the game and not be allowed to finance above the sales price to get into a home. People need to verify their employment, prove they have cash reserves, and provide tax returns, etc. in order to obtain financing – it is common sense. The problem today is the virtually the same legislators who made these loans possible have swung the pendulum too far the other direction and are hampering our recovery efforts in the housing sector of the economy. FHA costs have risen, talk of raising down payments to 20% are going to hurt the market, stricter ratio requirements are in place and the overall costs associated with a loan are up 8.8% over last year as reported by Bankrate.com. These trends have to stop if we want to see true recovery in the housing market and the overall economy.
Real estate has always been the key to getting the economy out of its slump and the longer housing languishes, the longer we will be in a recession. What we do know is that more strict underwriting guidelines are not the answer. Responsible lending and more educated agents and lenders providing the consumer the right information are going to be part of the solution but getting the underwriting guidelines back in line with reality is the catalyst to recovery. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
Although my crystal ball is currently in the shop, we do know where things stand in regards to the local housing market in Northern Virginia. Inventory levels of active resales are virtually the same – we currently have 7,640 homes for sale in Fairfax, Loudoun, Arlington, City of Alexandria, Prince William and Fauquier Counties. This time last year we had 7,680 – pretty similar. There is a slight difference between these two timeframes and that is in the number of distressed properties on the market. This year there are only 293 foreclosures for sale along with 882 short sales – last year, there were 450 foreclosures and 1109 short sales. This result is a difference of about 5% of the total inventory. The perception is we are inundated with distressed properties when in reality, we have a lower percentage of overall inventory than the rest of the country in relation to foreclosures and short sales. Our market is healthy.
We have a 2.6 month supply of homes which is a seller’s market. Houses are selling when the sellers have them priced right, in the right condition, and staged properly – often times with multiple offers. We had several agents engaged in multiple contract situations this past weekend with a few of those properties being listed for several months. We have buyers in our market because we have jobs. One of our agents relayed a story of his nephew and their job search. Over 140 people interviewed for a job at an oil change shop in Florida – that’s unbelievable.
Our rental market is strong, currently posting a 1 month supply of homes. The reason is people relocating into our area are gun shy on purchasing. This is as a result of a few different factors. It may be their confidence in the housing market because of where they came from to relocate here, they can’t buy because of a potential short sale or foreclosure on their credit report or they are losing out to other contracts and have a short time to find a property and get forced into renting. Either way, it is a great time to be an investor in Northern Virginia.
Prices are stable to increasing in the Washington Metropolitan area. We are seeing price increases throughout our region in several price points. Typically in house priced below $400,000 (pretty much everywhere) and those priced between $800,000 and $1,200,000 (closer into the beltway and DC). In addition, builders found their bottom in pricing towards the end of last year and the first quarter of this year and have started to escalate their prices as they have seen an increase in sales of their homes. Reports show that we are expected to have a 7.4% increase in housing prices in our region compared with -3.2% in the rest of the country – a difference of over 10%. Again, we have a healthy market.
We also have low interest rates which are fueling our sales – housing is affordable because of rates. If people are waiting to buy because they feel prices will come down – they are mistaken. If they think rates will continue to decrease, they are mistaken as rates have actually increased over the last few weeks. Now is the time to buy.
It is hard to believe it was the second Thursday of the month already…time and summer sure fly by fast! Here is what the Top Producers in real estate had to say this month. If you have questions you would like me to pose to them, please let me know.
Negative news is everywhere. Some websites even post good news one day and negative news the next. How do you handle it and when will it stop? Tell people to look at time frame of ownership – long terms hold will have fluctuations no matter what the investment is – stocks, gold and housing. Show stats of our area being number one in appreciation month over month. We are seeing incremental price increases in lower prices. The news is reporting what is true across the country, we are just jaded because our prices are stable, unemployment is low, and pay rates are low plus they can’t sell houses. Use the bad news to get price reductions. Talk about the “cost” of money today and how great rates are compared with other years.
The government will come to an agreement on the deficit so we don’t lose AAA status, rates will stay low and the dollar won’t devalue. Both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill will do the right thing and make it happen because if they don’t, we all lose.
Control your closings – select the title company to get information on the lender when agents fail to give you Form 100 – removing financing contingency. The bottom line is too many agents are not familiar with the contract or the process. Agents need to be educated and then educate their buyers.
Interest rates have increased recently, have you seen any effects on the market? Everyone agrees that nothing has really slowed down. The market remains stable.
Where is the market? Contracts have slowed down in Loudoun and Prince William counties, agents are busy listing houses and trying to find where the prices should be on their listings and trying to find buyers. Townhouses are selling well in Western Fairfax County – singles are lingering on the market.
Appraisals are problems for some not for all right. Appraisers are still coming from outside the area to and are appraising properties low – herein lies the issue. We need market specific appraisers every time.
What are you going to do the second half of the year? Some agents are hiring coaches for the second half of the year, focusing on new home construction, and one is bringing in vendors to open houses to provide gift cards to agents who attend. Others are calling their sphere more frequently and generating leads this way.
The discussions today were lively so it is better to attend if you qualify then just by reading the notes. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
Likability is one of the critical areas for success in sales and in life. As the saying goes, people do business with those that they know, like and trust. So the question becomes, how do you get people to like you?
The first step is to become approachable – smile, make eye contact, extend a handshake first and introduce yourself first.
Listen more than you speak – people love the sound of their voice and to voice their opinions. Listen, don’t interrupt and be respectful of others opinions.
Much like the sound of their voice, they love to hear their name. Use their name – it not only will make them happy but it will reinforce and help you remember who they are when you see them later. Remember and acknowledge dates that are important to them – birthdays, anniversaries, and birthdates of their children are just a few!
Deliver on what you promise and be true to your word. Your reputation takes years to build and you do it one day at a time one interaction at a time. Remember, each encounter is extremely important to the other person you are meeting with – make it count for them!
Become solution oriented for others. Help them solve what issues they are encountering and it will endear them to you.
Be humble – don’t brag, put down or show a huge ego. Let your actions speak for you not your words.
Respect others and be empathetic. Don’t talk down to people or ignore their needs or wants. You don’t always have to agree but take the time to understand where they are coming from in with their point of view.
Be happy, positive and upbeat. Optimism goes a long way to having people like you. Negativity, snapping at people, complaining and putting others down is ways to drive people away from you.
Act professionally in your appearance, your demeanor, your actions and remember to be polite – it will go a long way to adding to your likability.
Be honest and show integrity. When people lie, exaggerate or stretch the truth, people will see through this over time and you will lose credibility and in turn, it will hurt your likability factor.
Be inspirational, motivational and last but not least have a great sense of humor. Be able to laugh and do it often. People like to be around people who are fun.
These are just a few thoughts to help you get further in life faster. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
As we head into the dog days of summer, I thought you may be interested in reading about the Northern Virginia real estate market as well as some national real estate news as well. Let’s dive right in! The Fox Gate development at the doorsteps of Loudoun County received its’ approval to begin development. Fox Gate is located between Pleasant Valley Road and Tall Cedars Parkway, encompasses 27 acres which will offer 1.2 million square feet of office, retail, hotel and civic space along with 110 residential units.
Apparently Bechtel, the country’s largest contractor – the contractor building the Silver Line – is secretly looking for up to 300,000 square feet in Loudoun County. Obviously, this is a huge home run for the area as Loudoun boasts a 26% vacancy rate on commercial properties and Fairfax County has 16% in the areas where they are searching. Forbes ranks Bechtel as the third largest privately held company with just under $28 Billion in revenue with 52,700 employees – not too shabby! Here is a great opportunity if you know of anyone who works there to do some relocation business.
Also, locally our market is seeing the same market we were in last year as far as numbers are concerned. For the first week of July, active resales were 7,379 this year versus 7,534 last year. We have a 2.3 month’s supply of houses for properties that went under contract the previous 30 days both this year and last. The rental market is virtually the same with a one month supply this year and a 1.2 month supply from last year. I have to say it to remain consistent. If you aren’t working with investors, holding investment seminars or obtaining a designation to help investors, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. We will discuss more reasons why later. Houses that settled the last 30 days have a 2.7 month’s supply of houses – last year it was a 2.5 month’s supply, a difference of 300+/- houses. I think the difference here is short sales and the changes in the bank’s stance in regards to their handling of them. We are seeing the banks counter the prices way above what is realistic based upon market conditions, asking for interest free loans and even the requirement for sellers to bring cash to the table. Agents need to set the expectations for our sellers so they know that these options are serious possibilities and keep these deals together. Obviously the pricing piece can’t be overcome easily but the other two options can be discussed upfront to help keep deals together. Additionally, Chase recently announced that they are not in the short sale business, they are in the foreclosure business so be on top of your Chase owned loans. Distressed properties make up 15.5% of the active inventory this year versus 19.9% this year. Foreclosures are down this year versus last year as the foreclosure process is taking longer and inventory continues to be slow to get on the market. Buyers continue to be price sensitive and are looking for the “perfect” house so continue to encourage proper pricing, staging and even prelisting inspections to get your listings in the best light for potential buyers otherwise, they will sit on the market. Pricing properly is even more important in the outer counties and localities as new home prices are attractive in areas closer to the beltway. Therefore, new home sales continue to post strong numbers as their pricing is competitive today and the buyers get to select how they want their houses to be decorated. Our friends from Van Metre will share their success with us shortly.
There have been several good articles posted recently to help buyers realize now is a good time to buy along with the Housing Secretary Shaun Donavan stating it is unlikely housing prices will drop further and a noted now was a good time to buy. He also mentioned officials must find ways to provide access to home ownership without requiring a 20% down payment. Additionally, Warren Buffet posted his Five Real Estate Tips which include: 1) Housing prices increase in value over time especially as the dollar becomes worth less. 2) Buy low, prices are down due to the housing bubble and appear to be at the bottom and you can never time a market. Also, remember, you make money when you buy – not when you sell. 3) Don’t wait too long to take advantage of low prices – if you wait for the robins, spring will be over. 4) Smart home ownership has 3 elements – fixed rate mortgage, affordable payments and a long term hold. 5) Buying a dream home can be a nightmare – don’t let your eyes be bigger than your wallet – go with the fundamentals previously discussed. And lastly, pending home sales rose strongly in May which was the first time contract activity was up over the previous year since April of 2010 and we all know the reason for that was the expiration of the tax credits. Let’s continue this trend into the second half of the year!
The things to look out for to carry us into the second half of the year are number one, jobs. If jobs don’t get created then consumer confidence will stay low and housing sales will suffer. Number 2 is underwriting guidelines for mortgages cannot get stricter, they need to be relaxed as the pendulum has swung a little too far. In 2009, 23.5% of loans were rejected, in 2010, 26.8% of loans were rejected which is not a good trend. If underwriting continues to become more difficult home sellers and buyers will be hurt and the ones who will benefit will be investors. Investors typically pay cash plus, if buyers can’t get loans, they become renters and the rental market becomes stronger. Remember, you need to be working with investors. Number 3 is distressed property numbers need to remain low which may be difficult. CoreLogic estimates that 10.9 million or 22.7% of home owners with a mortgage are underwater at the end of the first quarter – 2.4 million home owners have less than 5% equity so this puts a total of 27% of the nation’s mortgage holders at risk. The foreclosure process is now taking an average of 400 days which is twice as long as it took in 2007 so distressed properties will be in our market for the foreseeable future. Number 4 is rates need to remain low allowing more buyers to be able to afford homes – Leslie Wish knows all too well how an increase of 1% in rates can knock down the potential number of buyers in the buyer pool. And lastly, number 5 you! You have to be active in the business, speaking with people – not just emailing, blogging, texting and attending trainings – you must physically speak with people on the phone, at networking events, open houses, at the pool, at your kids or grandkids sporting events anywhere you can get belly to belly with people. You need to make it happen by spreading the word about how market is different from what they read in the papers or see on TV. Get busy getting busy!
Now, quickly some fun stuff. Zip Realty is no longer offering buyer rebates. They have closed offices in 12 markets and have shed 700 agents. They will continue to offer sellers a 1% listing credit in the 23 markets they are staying in but after posting losses of $12.9 million in ’09 and $15.5 million in ’10 they are finding it increasingly difficult to remain profitable – duh! In addition to these losses, they will experience even more as their transactions are down 12.2% this year versus last…who could be next?? Perhaps it could be Redfin – we shall see!
Take this information and share it with your clients and demonstrate to them you are the expert in the business. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!
We recently went to the Xplodethis Conference – a quick hitting, action packed, content rich event that offered the latest in real estate technology and some of the best speakers in the industry. Here are the notes that will be helpful to you and your business!
MRIS – 12,000 agents have not done a transaction in the last year, 13,000 have done fewer than 3 transactions – basically 40% of agents don’t do the business! If real estate is your business, technology is your platform – you have to get on the technology bandwagon to be successful!
Mobile is where it’s at for the consumer AND agents – have data on demand in your hand! We are still in a people business – technology only helps you communicate. In the next 3-5 years, more searches will be done a mobile device than PC.
Study of consumers:
- Last 10 years – #1 complaint is not enough or lack of communication
- This year – consumers feel they are MORE educated about the product than the agent
Top 5 uses of tablets
36 new tablets will be released this year in this market – top 2 – Ipad2 and Motorola Xoom
- Data on demand
- Real estate searches – Realtor.com has high res. photos
- Planning calendars/Contacts
- Presentations – shows content and value
- Video capability
Top 9 Apps
- Realtor.com – can draw a circle around where your clients want to live
- ReaddleDocs/PDF Expert –iPad – opens PDF files
- Sign my pad – iPad – signature application
- Karl Jeacie’s Mortgage calculator
- Evernote – voice audio now
- Cam card
- Cam scanner
- Hootsuite – manages all posts to social media
Today’s consumer is multi-media, multi-taskers – find people who would not normally find you
- Watch TV while surfing the we
- Surf magazines and scan QR codes
- On phone and laptop at same time
- 85% of people find your website other than direct search
- Your marketing shouldn’t cost you money, it should make you money
- Check out Agents of Change
Let people know you are Realtor – direct FB, Twitter, Linkedin to your blog where you talk about real estate and incorporate 365 things to do in your area
Use video – neighborhood videos, personal videos of clients about neighborhoods, schools, etc.
Use location – 4square and learn how people are looking to find locations
Use Twitter – use as an educational tool to do your job better – research think tanks, follow experts, get information and share and use in your business. Find answers for people
Blog – neighborhoods, business, and valuable content so you receive leads!!! Work your butt off as it is not a magic pill be consistent, be persistent and don’t quit – don’t be afraid to have an opinion – find a unique place and unique vision.
- Google.com/Picasa – group resizing, renaming, add to Google maps, collage, add to Facebook, post to Youtube movies
- Google.com/Voice – transcribes voicemail, sends text message and you can call back
- Google.com/Latitude – lets you see where someone is at all times with their permissions
- Google.com/Sync –allows you to sync all mobile devices at one time to calendars
- Goog.gl – URL shortened – similar to tiny URL – creates Analytics and QR codes automatically
- Google.com Maps – you can send maps to their GPS or as an email look at Matt’s video on how to use this feature www.
- Google.com/PowerMeter – monitors the power usage at your home but needs to be compliant with power companies
- Google.com/Add URL – use for adding every post you put on internet
- Google.com/Alerts – monitors information on what you want to follow and helps you monitor your online reputation – yourself, your listings & share with your clients, your company, your competition
- Add where your listing is located – Vienna, Fairfax County, VA – in MRIS to get better mojo in Google
- Google.com/Places – add your business address and you can get analytics from it as well
14% of people trust what you say about 91% believe what others say about you – peer recommendations are so important today – go to rate-an-agent on Google and see what happens.
Sites where agents can be rated – you are being rated so you better check out what people are saying about you
Need to have a plan to ask to recommend you – please go to www.blah/blah/blah.com and ask to recommend you there…Don’t take my word for it – see what others say!
- Compete.com – search to see which site is best
- Facefied.com – aggregates all of your reviews so you can put a badge on your email, website, etc. and have people look at and review you
People want sold data from your website
302 million people are considered mobile users – more texts are sent than phone calls being made
Mobile web is growing 8 times faster than traditional web did 10 years ago. Incorporate mobile into your listing presentation and speak about your solution to this for your clients. Lower bounce rates and higher capture rates with mobile website.
Video optimization – video=leads=$ – video houses, your profile, and testimonials. It’s not about what you think – it’s about what they Google! Become a local provider of content that national companies don’t have the capability to provide.
Universal SERPs Results – 84% Informational – 18% Navigational – 8% Buy from me sell with me – do “how to” videos. Do “Town Tours” – restaurants, schools, politicians, shopping centers, new homes, etc. and tag them properly.
Most Googled term is “how to” – how to move, how to fix a plumbing issue, how to anything and
Clients want to see video 6 times to 1 over text.
84% of rankings on Google come from Youtube videos
Keep it short – under 2 minutes, use fluid head tripods – no Blair Witch production, make it slow when panning & tilting, don’t zoom in and out, always be in focus, have external microphones, lighting – use white balance/Iris, Rule of thirds – be off to one side or the other but not in the middle. Rotate male and female voice overs if you are going to do voice overs. Talk about benefits and features not the layout because they can see it in the video. Always use studio lighting to hide shadows. Make videos about what the consumer wants!!!
RPR is for Realtors only and provides tons of content for our clients – gotta see to believe!
Tips for a better website
- Quick to load is important
- Don’t want to have to scroll side to side to see all of the content
- Upper right should be content information – your contact information is preferred here with a form to contact you
- Don’t use stock photos on your site
- Use video or professional photographer
- Work for the client not the commission – don’t use these things (don’t use honest, integrity, etc.)
- Don’t use featured listings
- No one cares what you look like – photos of you shouldn’t highlight site
- Website shouldn’t be built to appease sellers it is used to get new clients
- Consumer wants to search – giant section and easy to find
- Valuation models on site too
- How’s the market?
- Hyper local information on site.
- Use Madlib example on your forms
- Tribusgroup.com/shredder – thanks Eric
QR code on brochure box flyers should drop you into your mobile website
- Have a personal website
- Actively market your website
- Get mobile
- QR codes on fliers
- Get social on your website
Use tools that work best for you – video, digital signatures, and mobile devices are extremely critical today for Realtors to use and understand – don’t forget to USE YOUR OWN BRAIN
iPad is a great tool for agents to learn AND use effectively
Marketing and prospecting in real estate – how we receive information today is different than in the past but people still want to be reached out and touched.
If you are a knucklehead in the office you are probably worse on line
Every form of marketing reaches a specific audience – know who you are trying to reach and why.
AVM’s are strictly a baseline and are still not quite there. Let’s you know if you are in the ballpark but remember they have a huge margin of error. Set expectations of everyone in the process that there is a margin of error.
Use RBIntel to help support your offer or make a better one! The stats go back 5 years…
If I were starting today – where would I begin to build an online presence?
- Make it easy to search for homes
- Create community landing pages
- IFrame search into your listing page
- Need lead capture – don’t have outside links on your site
- Get local – talk about the community
- Create content want to share
- Publish more
- Measure your results
- Do a self-audit of your website
Social Media is relational not transactional
- Provide real time breaking news in their city
- Things to do/events
- Every deal in driving radius of their house
- Automate your updates – maintenance free
- Social commerce – groupon/living social $25 for $1,000 cash back at closing when buying or selling a house with RE/MAX Gateway
- Social discovery – drives social commerce
- Airbnb is the Groupon of 2011 and will create real estate liquidity – your room for rent, your basement for rent, etc.
- Become a media star through automated messages
- Become indispensible resource to your clients
Track your customers, leads, contacts through CRM
- Or real prospects
CARMA – Client Acquisition Relational Management Acquisition
Initially set up as a forecasting tool for Fortune 500 companies to project earnings
- And, then how
A good CRM system integrates MLS data and transaction data
Intangibles of success in real estate
- Likability – can you control it? Yes!
- Be intentional about your actions – if your actions depended upon someone liking you or not and this determined whether or not you were able to feed your kids do you believe you control your actions
- Perception is reality. There is a perception of you in the marketplace and you can’t control it – craft your message you want others to believe and get the perception to the public.
Reason for success of top 100 companies
- Speed of implementation of systems
- Take action
CRM is a strategy for managing a company’s interactions and engagements with customers, prospects and clients.
Today we are dealing with Social CRM – advocacy, experience, service support, marketing, PR, sales on a relational basis.
Involves technology to create the best type of CRM
- Synchronize business practices
Success marketing – putting your plan on paper
How many lead sources do you need to be intentional and direct about growing your business – 4 to 6 – these include but are not limited to your sphere, niche market, online, networking, farming, etc. Put them in groups and market to them differently.
What data should you collect – personal profiles, demographics, and conversations. Why? To build the relationship!
What do you send to whom and when. Think about this seriously.
Stop drip campaigns and create or start a two way conversation. Send valuable content, have a call to action, and the human interaction is critical.
Communicate to connect with people, don’t talk at them!
E=Events in your life
R=Response to those events
- Events happen to everyone
- It’s not the events that cause you to be or feel the way you do, it’s your choice of response
- There are always at least two responses to every event
How do we learn how to react? Parents influence is the number one way they respond.
Nobody makes do you anything – you choose your response. An example is “he made me so mad” – he didn’t make you mad, you chose to be mad.
Everyone has an emotional checking account – think, is there a different way to respond to events? Our account is full at the beginning of the day and the events we encounter make us write checks for each one we have. Think before you write you check and don’t write a $5 check for a $.50 event.
Don’t let self-help turn into shelf help – use what you learn!
Wrap-up – get yourself a mobile device. By 2012, more people will use mobile devices instead of personal computers. We are in a “freeware” environment but it will become “payware”. Data is king – provide the right tools to get the right information out clients.
In today’s ever changing real estate market, you need to stay ahead of the curve. Get it? Got it? Good!
Now, go sell something!