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Bozeman Montana Real Estate's Blog

"Real Estate Team Service Above Expectation"

By Jenifer Lower | Broker in Bozeman, MT
  • Coming Together: From Personal Growth to Office-Wide Success

    Posted Under: General Area in Bozeman, Quality of Life in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  July 7, 2014 12:36 PM  |  109 views  |  No comments

    If you tried to call Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net's agents early morning last Tuesday and could not reach them, you could have called our office where they were all gathered (a rare event to be sure). Last week, we started a three course training session to help learn what facets of ourselves are limiting professional growth.

    BerezaPhotography-921

    I will be keeping tabs and notes to post later but for now, I am riding the momentum of a similar nationally offered seminar hosted by Real Estate Educators Association and Awesome Females in Real Estate which was held in Scottsdale, AZ this June. Major takeaways from that event included:

    Beauty Sleep

    Beauty-Sleep

    Realtor and coach Joeann Fossland began her session on “What is Success” with a quote from author and business consultant Jim Collins: “Failure is caused by the undisciplined pursuit of more.” (Source) The 'More' here being everything in life that starts to weigh a person down. The clutter. Technology is a big 'more' factor that starts to add up cost wise. Sleep deprivation is oftentimes a direct outcome to the chasing of 'more'. In fact, psychologist K. Anders Ericsson’s research shows that if you sleep 7.5 to nine hours per night, you will perform better across the board. In fact, the two best-performing groups in this study napped every afternoon. Give your life and your bad habit a critical assessment. Clean up your life and what is consuming your time negatively and all that extra will help you achieve much more with what you already have.

    Be Different

    dare-to-be-different-pictures11

    Find what is ‘you’ and put your marketing into that! Chance is that someone out there will identify with your uniqueness and click with you instantly or they will admire the fact that you are being vulnerable to the public eye by being yourself. Authenticity markets well.  

    Stay tuned for what we learned about ourselves! I am already keeping :15 by :15 min track of what my days look like to help with personal time management. We will see where this personal betterment journey goes! We are coming together as a TEAM: Personal Growth Leading to Office-Wide Success.

  • Online Leads and Real Estate: Respect & Privacy of the Online Consumer

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  April 1, 2014 7:13 AM  |  357 views  |  No comments

    Consumers are smarter and more resistant to old lead generation methods. As the real estate industry moves more and more to an online lead capture structure, agents need to be aware of the vastly different customer service that is required.

    The no. 1 area agents can work at in order to achieve the maximum ROI on their lead processes is:

    Know Jane Doe’s Tier:

    • I Am Ready to Move: I will input my data into your lead capturing site and visit it regularly. I am okay with you reaching out to me and actually expect that quick response because I would really like to go see some houses this week. If you do not get ahold of me, I will use the first agent to reach out because they are providing me with what I need.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Possibly Move in the Next 6 mo.: I will input my data into your lead generation site and visit regularly. If you reach out to me, please start with small touches. Emails, area information, etc, when I get closer to coming to the city I am planning on moving, please contact me then.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Possibly Move in the Next Few Years: I will input my data into your lead capturing site and visit in pulses. I do not want a hard touch ‘phone call’ from you yet. Please maintain the wall of privacy even if you can see every time I login and search (because honestly, that is just a little creepy). I feel protected here and may be pushed away if you are too prompt.
    • I Am Seeking Information to Stay Informed. Not Planning on Moving: I will input data, it may or may not be my own, into your lead capturing site and explore. If there is a promise of information when I fill the personal information out, I would like that information sent to me readily. If you reach out to me, I will be clear about my intentions and please respect those. I do not want your sales pitch but if you do provide me with valuable content, you will be on my mind if I choose to engage in real estate.


    Each of these is a gross generalization of where people find themselves in life, but if you are able to discern the subtle differences in what stage a consumer is at, the consumer will be satiated by your level of performance. The trick is that it must come across seamlessly—automated AND personalized just for them. This is a tug-of-war game between perceived value, satisfaction and in the end, loyalty/obligation. Consumers are looking to be delighted (Lee, Lee, & Feick, 2001; Oliver, 1999) and have superior value delivered to them. The more specifically a real estate agent can glean just what the online lead is looking for, the faster, more accurately and more appropriately the lead can be nurtured.

    READ MORE ABOUT THE AGENT SIDE OF ONLINE LEAD GENERATION

  • Internet Leads and Real Estate: Personable, Professional and Not Pushy

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  March 19, 2014 10:19 AM  |  361 views  |  1 comment

    Internet Leads and Real Estate: Being Personable, Professional and Not Pushy

    The internet is now such a part of our lives that when it comes to making challenging or live-changing decisions, we can all dabble in the choices for a long and uncommitted about of time until we, as consumers, decide to make our move. In the real estate world, where over 93% of buyers start their search online; this can be a maddening process. The instant you login to a lead generation site to look for homes, no matter how serious, ready or real you are, there in an agent out there who becomes invested in you. Here is how it plays out:

    From the Agent's Side:

    When there is an opening in my schedule, I go and 'poke the bear,' the fond terminology our office has given to the practice of interacting with our online internet lead database. It can be done from anywhere with wifi and it is a great opportunity to go back to some leads that are lingering in the online world that have not yet converted into anything so solid as a 'hot lead.' Many leads are eager for that first point of contact but then they want to chill in the flood of information they have access to online before they are pushed into any type of decision making phase. Because of this, many leads are kept in touch with through a multitude of:

    • Market Updates emailed to them
    • Listing Updates they have signed up for
    • Slowly a Rapport builds up between us without me ever having met them

    Ideally, after seven months to a year of this type of contact, our relationship is ready to move to the next level. Familiarity with me becomes a phone conversation. The comfort built in that phase transitions into hopefully being their buying or selling agent when they do make the choice to act upon their real estate venture.

     

    More often than not, that is where all leads end—in the information gathering zone. But sometimes, between a 3-7% conversion rate, they become clients. Then my 'job' starts as I help them to find their dream home or to sell their home to chase a new dream.

    From the Consumer's Side (To Come)…

    READ MORE:

     

  • Real Estate Agent Teams: The Fastest Growing Model in the Industry

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman, Home Ownership in Bozeman  |  February 7, 2014 5:28 PM  |  382 views  |  No comments

    There is a new business dynamic sweeping real estate companies. It is a business model Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net has been embracing for three years now and it has served us well.

      

    Why is a Team is Appealing:

    What a transaction entails: oodles of paperwork, countless hours of showing requests needing coordination, inspection meetings, ongoing and persistent and aggressive marketing, client-agent meetings, MLS modifications, phone and internet constant communication... ect.

    • Perception of an Agent Working on a Team: By entering the team atmosphere, you gain something valuable: money on marketing, a pool of leads, and/or rent-free office space. This comes at the cost of most of your office's marketing going to the whole office so standing out is a challenge. Additionally, the commission splits supporting the team mechanism go to supporting the team. It really matters who is running the team. Their personality including their strengthens and weaknesses will seep into the team structure unless they combat it by surrounding themselves with those to compensate and compliment those aspects.

    One Side: “Problem is, managing people is difficult and creating a team that can generate enough business to keep everyone satisfied and motivated is not easy.” Read more

    The Other Side: I think it depends a lot on your experience because starting out in real estate I would've quit after a week if I didn't have the support of my team. Read more

    • Perception of the Client Using a Team: The team idea is hard to market so that the client is not shocked of feels mislead when they choose your office to work with. Many clients will choose to work with a prominent agent in their area and feel deceived when most of their transaction is handled by the others in the office. Communications are fragile and may overlap if a client is in regular contact with both the team leader and the person handling the transaction. At the same time, if the system in consistent, rigorous and driven, the result can be a flawless experience for the client and the agency excel as a company. (Source)
  • Top Selling Real Estate Advice

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Bozeman, Home Selling in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman  |  November 4, 2013 1:08 PM  |  373 views  |  No comments

    In an office of eight, soon to be nine, agents, I am in a unique position to be the fly on the wall from many day-to-day interactions. Each day, I watch and learn as they navigate the market booms, contract terminations and all other variances real estate brings with it. Here are a few of the consistent tips that really get things moving in the market:

    Dangers of Overpricing. Pricing a home is a process, not an individual point. To reach the ideal price of a home, the market and the seller engage in a dynamic and vocal conversation back and forth.


              If… there is heavy traffic and steady in-person showings

                       Then… you are in the correct position to sit tight and let the right offer come in.

              If… there are sporadic showings and not a lot of follow-up from those interested

                       Then… a minor reposition may be needed ($5,000 or more).

              If… activity is slow or unheard of

                       Then… strategically reposition your home to the next price range to attract a whole new group of potential buyers.

    Neglect.

    1. Repairs. Every seller should enter the real estate market with the mentality that the buyers coming to view your home have a multitude of options to choose from. As soon as buyers see that money will need to be invested into a space, the competition gets the edge over your listing.  


    1. Staging. Repairs can be costly and some are not worth the expense to fix if the listing is priced accordingly. When one cannot complete the big fixes, you can always work on appearance. Stage is a method that can range from being free to expensive depending on how much of the work you do yourself. Clever design aesthetic helps significantly, but if you are just not one of those people, it is highly recommended that you rent a storage unit or move many of your personal belongings from the main spaces with the home.

    Neglecting the fundamental repairs and appearance are easy fixes that, if not done, can really take a toll on the marketability of your home.  

    FSBO. If you are considering whether or not to use an agent to assist you in selling your home, consider the following statistics.


    FSBOs accounted for 9% of home sales in 2012. The typical FSBO home sold for $174,900 compared to $215,000 for agent-assisted home sales.

    FSBO methods used to market home:

    • Yard sign: 48%
    • Listing on Internet: 32%
    • For-sale-by-owner websites: 20%
    • Sites with real estate listings (e.g. Yahoo!, Google, etc.): 11%
    • Social networking websites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.): 10%
    • Video hosting websites (e.g. YouTube, etc.): 2%
    • Friends, relatives, or neighbors: 30%
    • Print newspaper advertisement: 14%
    • Open house: 12%
    • Direct mail (flyers, postcards, etc.): 2%
    • Video: 1%
    • For-sale-by-owner magazine: 1%
    • Television: <1%
    • None: Did not actively market home: 31%
    • Other: 2%

    Most difficult tasks for FSBO sellers:

    • Understanding and performing paperwork: 18%
    • Getting the right price: 14%
    • Preparing/fixing up home for sale: 11%
    • Helping buyer obtain financing: 6%
    • Attracting potential buyers: 6%
    • Selling within the planned length of time: 6%
    • Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale: 1%

    Source: 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

    If you are struggling as a FSBO and are looking for help, our office offers a free marketing consultation and photo shoot with our marketing director to help talk you through things with no obligation to sign anything. Give us a call today to learn more: 406-556-7188.

    read some more tips here: http://www.maxrealestateexposure.com/top-home-selling-tips-and-advice/

  • Online Marketing: How to Engage Clients.. not Scare Them Away

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  October 10, 2013 1:25 PM  |  428 views  |  1 comment

    I get personal ~35 emails on an average day. This is not inclusive of spam which my niffty email sifts (correctly or incorrectly out). I image I am not alone in this.

    The challenge for most agents is that “they are playing the wrong game.” They’re either focused on the technology or on the listing and price updates. While these may be interesting, they are not conversation starters. - See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/10/07/email-marketing-should-start-conversations-not-calls-to-action/#sthash.z8p4jb06.dpuf


    For years, marketing personnel were taught to have calls to action, a quick capture phrase with contact info, everywhere. Everyone got so good at this method that now, consumers ignore the catchy call to action and look for something more. In this new age of marketing, it is now a challenge to create content that creates calls to conversation, not calls to action. A call to converse is a personal and engaging approach that is timely and individualized to each connection. Treating consumers like friends instead of figures allows for this transition to happen naturally. In fact, Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net has done this approach for some time and found that as far as real estate goes, the call to actions were never the right niche because housing decisions are not made on the spot like that. They take nurturing and genuine connections.

    How we adapt this call to conversation into our marketing structure:

    1. Events. We include our clients in our lives. For example, this weekend boasted MSU's homecoming. We participated in the parade and invited the children and families of clients to walk with us. As a team we go out caroling in the winter and deliver goodie baskets. We welcome those who have contributed to our office to contribute to our on-going life. BBBS Bowl For Kid's Sake was also this weekend and we reached out letting people know what we were doing asking for sponsors. Many people we knew where also participating. These are all calls to converse.

    2. Promos. This may facially sound a little 'call to actionesque' but our promos are not solicitous. We have ongoing relations with our local Gallatin Valley Mall and currently, we are offering free pumpkins to our clients as well as an affiliated Halloween Decorating Contest. We touch our clients without being in their face about real estate because we are so much more than a real estate office.

    3. We are actually our clients’ friends!  Finally, after spending so much time with clients, they grow on us. We naturally find we host, sponsor, and promote our database because we really like those we work with!

    Learn more about Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net and our Team Service Above Expectation by calling 406-556-7188 or visiting us online!

  • The Prevailing Attitude Real Estate Agents Must Combat

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Bozeman, How To... in Bozeman, Property Q&A in Bozeman  |  August 14, 2013 11:31 AM  |  496 views  |  1 comment

    Real Estate Agents are Idiots

    The wide spread public opinion regarding real estate agents is far from favorable. Today I stumbled across an article that attempts to rationally explain why “your local estate agent is most likely an idiot.”(http://www.news24.com/MyNews24/Estate-agents-are-idiots-20130812)

    Qualifications: There’s no real science or mystical theory to why the majority of Estate Agents are spineless, mentally challenged turds. In fact, it’s quite simple- you don’t need a license or go through a training programme to become an Estate Agent, so any old fool off the street without qualifications or experience can set up shop as an Estate Agent (which is often the case). That explains a lot already, doesn’t it? In fact, I’m convinced the only prerequisite an Estate Agent is required to have is the means to access a polyester suit.

    A 60 hour required course along with annual ongoing education is the minimum requirement for becoming an agent in Montana. Applicants must pass both the national and state portions of the exam through test vendor Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP). This is a time intensive and financially demanding compounded process. Once you pass, you must be affiliated with a broker, someone who has additional training on top of the standard on-going education. This broker vouches for your credit and character, as well as takes a vow to additionally train you. For all salespersons with an “interim license”, separate education is due in lieu of the standard regular continuing education. All new salespeople will receive an interim license that will expire October 31. As required by ARM, 24.210.611, you must complete the New License Mandatory Continuing Education class (commonly referred to as the Rookie Course) and renew your license prior to October 31, or your license will expire and you will be required to reapply for a license and meet current licensing requirements.

    Point is there are rigorous qualifications needed prior to entering the real estate market. Even once you meet the minimum qualifications, this does not guarantee you will do well or succeed as an agent. The largest qualification is based upon your performance after you enter the market. If you cannot make sales, you will not be out of a job.  

    Consumer Protection: Estate Agents are generally protected from their own stupidity, because as mentioned, there is currently no mandatory regulation. It’s extremely difficult to claim anything against Estate Agents, unless they do something blatantly illegal.

    Any contract an agent enters with a client can be terminated at any point with a written request. That is the standard and the highest protection a consumer can have. Agents can be ‘fired’ at any point without notice and without compensation. Within every contract our office engages in we have an Agency Policy on Relationships form that reads:

    “The duties of the real estate licensees in a real estate transaction do not relieve a party to a transaction from the responsibility to protect the party’s own interests. Person should carefully read all documents to ensure that they adequately express their understanding of the transaction. If legal or tax advice is desired, consult a competent professional in that field.”  

    Scripted Lines: “This property is extremely popular” “That house is perfect for you, sir”!

    At the end of the day, agents are salesmen. They have to have the ‘ask’ at the end of showing a house or they are less likely to get the sale. There is a line between pushy and passive and each agent treads that line. For some reason, this is not acceptable behavior. An agent is finding a home to assist you in purchasing or helping you sell a home. Either way, they are sales associates representing the client. The tactics they use will determine their professional success as well as the long-term reservoir of return clientele.

    Time-Wasters:Estate Agents love taking it upon themselves to show prospective buyers properties that are completely out of scope from their initial requirements. Why do they do that? It’s usually when they don’t have enough properties in their books that match the brief, so instead of fessing up and saying, “Sorry, we don’t have any properties that match your criteria”, they take their prospects on a wild goose chase. Here’s an all-time classic clip from Gavin and Stacy of a stereotypical Estate Agent that’s a total time-waster. It’s funny as hell because it’s so in touch with reality.

    When an agent wastes a client’s time, they are wasting their own time too. It is in the agent’s rational self-interest and professional interest to find the best fitting homes to show a buyer. It is another misconception that agents have all the time in the world for each and every client. That is how the agent wants each client to feel, but the reality is that an agent must be juggling a few dozen actively looking clients consistently in order to turn a profit. Scheduling and showing homes is a time consuming refined process of showing buyer’s homes they will hopefully write a contract on. Doing anything outside of the scope of the client’s requirements degrades from the process as a whole from both the agent and client side.  

    Hate Their Own Kind: ‘Black on Black’ crime was actually inspired by ‘Estate Agent on Estate Agent’ crime. What chance do we as consumers have if they hate their own kind? I’m not just talking about feuds between rival companies; I’m also talking about in-house war. They backstab each other by taking each others leads. Other peoples misery is generally their gain.

    A motto we have here in our office is “Fellow agents are your longest-term clients.” In each transaction, an agent is more likely than not working with a different agent on the other side (buyer/seller or seller/buyer). Because of this, you will be working with your direct competition daily. In order for transactions to go smoothly, a mutually symbiotic relationship is another requirement for productive work. Agents strive to treat one another with respect, professionalism, and understanding because that relationship is vital for future transactions.  

    Turbulent Work Ethic:If the property market is ‘hot’ and there is plenty of demand, Estate Agents are generally performing at their worst. Their level of communication will be at an all time low and they’ll be working by their own schedule. However, if the market is dead, you may get the best out of them. They’ll probably pop round and drop off some sugar; build some common ground and try to ‘relate’ to you and your problems. It’s pitiful.

    Ah, the roller coaster of real estate. I cannot speak for offices outside of our own but we have taken active measures to combat the roller coaster merely for consistency in profit and workload. For each transaction, Bozeman Montana Real Estate.net offers a transaction manager, marketing specialist, relations manager, and the support and constant contact which allows each client to receive unparalleled attentiveness throughout the buying or selling process. This comes in addition to the agent-client contact that each client receives. At least three people are at the client’s finger-tips for when they have questions/concerns/or just want updates on the transaction

    ___

    Many of these misconceptions stem from forgetting that real estate in a rationally functioning business. It is in the best interest of the real estate firm to boast and maintain their qualifications, protect their client, make the ‘ask’ to get the sale, be highly efficient with time management by not wasting time, establish positive relationships with fellow agents, and uphold consistency in the quality of work no matter the rises or falls of the real estate market.

     

     

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