For Real Estate Professionals

How to Prove Your Value and Win More Clients in One Simple Sentence

Melissa Zavala
September 2, 2014

You go to a listing appointment. You tour the home. You show the fabulous listing presentation that took you hours to make on your iPad, and you review the home values with the clients. Then, you learn that another “neighborhood expert” who is “not as nice as you” has agreed to list the home at the seller’s price and possibly even charge a lesser commission. What do you say? How to you respond in areas in which you cannot or will not compete?

It’s simple. You don’t respond, and you don’t compete.

When you demonstrate your value proposition, prospective clients trust what you say. They will not ask you to lower your rates and they will scarcely question your valuation. That’s because you have demonstrated the unique value that you provide that makes you the one to hire for the job. That’s the power of a personal value proposition.

In addition to mastering scripts on objection handling, if you want to work with clients more effectively, it is vital to understand your unique value proposition. That is, you must be crystal clear as to why a prospective homebuyer or home seller should use your services instead of somebody else’s.

A value proposition is a clear statement that explains how your services solve problems or improve situations, delivers specific benefits, and tells the ideal customer why they should use your services. continue reading

3 Hot Real Estate Market Horrors—And How to Make them Go Away

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
September 1, 2014

Homes create the context for so many of the happiest moments of our lives. But for consumers, sometimes, the process of buying or selling a home gives rise to some pretty fright-filled experiences. A few years ago, we all went through the nightmarish moments that are part of a down market. But now that the market is back, there are still some scary moments can freak out buyers and sellers and which agents need to know how to handle.

Here are a few of the more common hot market horror stories we hear about here at Trulia, along with some tricks for helping to calm your clients and make those situations go away for good.

Horror #1: The Crazed House Hunter

When buyers are constantly running into rising prices and multiple offers, it’s critical that they be reminded to be flexible with their house hunt wish list. But that flexibility sometime results in so many changes to their original wish list that you’ll see some clients end up feeling aimless, directionless, and like they are letting the market dictate what sort of home they can buy. And that’s not a great feeling, when what every buyer wants is to approach their house hunt with intention, direction and clarity on their wants and needs.

That feeling of directionlessness is very discouraging, and sometimes even results in near-immediate buyer’s remorse.
As an agent, you need to remind buyers that there’s a fine line to walk between wisely conforming a house hunt to the reality of the market and being aimless. One way to help them manage the emotional discomfort and potential for post-purchase regret is to invest some time helping them to document their intentions and vision for their next home and the life they’ll lead in it, in writing. continue reading

9 Qualities of Good Real Estate Business Plans

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Benjamin Franklin

Real estate is a tough enough career under the best of circumstances. Without a reasonable plan in place it can be overwhelming.

The 9 qualities every real estate business plan should possessThe average real estate agent needs a track to run on. Otherwise the sheer magnitude of the number of tasks that has to get done in order to generate future leads and move business through their pipeline can leave an agent paralyzed. With the constant demands on his or her time creating massive diffusion, the agent without a solid real estate business plan has no framework for prioritizing their time. Without a discipline to assign priorities, every new task seems critically urgent.

The result: The agent flits capriciously from task to task, perhaps getting lucky with an occasional deal, but never making serious lasting progress in establishing his or her personal brand or creating systems that lead to future business.

Don’t be that agent. continue reading

5 Signs You’ll Close More Deals this Fall

Jovan Hackley
August 28, 2014

Your business is trying to tell you something. Either you’re about to have up the best real estate fall you’ve ever seen or you’ve got some serious work to do to stay afloat.

Here are five signs you’re in great shape heading into this fall and adjustments you can make to get there if things aren’t exactly “looking up.”

1. Profile Views and Traffic Are Up

Tomorrow’s clients are today’s web visitors. Check your Trulia profile and other web analytics to get a handle on your traffic trends. If you’re seeing more or stable web views, you’re likely in good shape. If things are taking a dip, it may be time to blog, share, or create other content that give real estate lurkers a reason to stop by your profile or website.

2. Your Past Clients Are Feeling Nurtured

According to NAR’s 2013 Buyer and Seller Profile, nearly half of agents were chosen based on a referral. That means prospects aren’t the only ones you should be nurturing. Whether they are anniversary cards, neighborhood updates, or home valuation reports, if you’re staying in touch then you’re on track to have a great fall. continue reading

Is Real Estate Continuing Education Tax Deductible?

An agent's real estate continuing education expenses are tax deductibleThe answer is yes, real estate continuing education is tax deductible, provided you meet a couple of requirements.
First, the continuing education must be required for continued licensure or advancement within your current profession, or it must maintain or improve job skills in your current profession.

Second, the continuing education cannot be something that qualifies you for a new profession. The continuing education also cannot be the minimal level of education required to work in your business.

Initial Licensure

Generally, you won’t be able to deduct the cost of obtaining your first real estate license (though your broker may be willing to reimburse you for the initial cost of licensure).

Deductions for Real Estate Continuing Education

What real estate continuing education expenses can be deducted? continue reading

5 Reasons You’re Losing Listings

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
August 26, 2014

The top of the funnel is the easiest part to focus on, because it’s the one where our efforts show the most instant and obvious results. More advertising leads to more calls. More calls lead to more listing appointments. There’s only one problem with this strategy: if you can’t convert listing appointments to actual listings, no number of new ads, referrals or calls will actually move the needle on the number of sales you close – and dollars you make – by year’s end.

If your listing conversion rate is broken, eventually, attention will be paid to the problem. You’ll either pay attention now, because you choose to, or later, when you see your competitor’s sign in the yard at the house you visited last week. If you feel like you are losing out on listings and this is hurting your business, here are a few potential sources of the problem.

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Home Staging Certifications – A Complete Guide

Have you ever tried to explain to potential clients what the letters “CRS” stand for and the value they hold if they hire you? Sure, the courses required to receive the Council of Residential Specialists designation – such as how to improve listing presentations and market your business – will come in handy for you. But what does the client get out of it?

Now, imagine you have a home staging certification. Not only is there no explanation needed, but potential clients will instantly see the value in the designation and understand what sets you apart from other agents.

The bonus? Since they won’t have to hire a stager, using you as the listing agent gives them more bang for their buck. There’s nothing like a bit of added justification for that supposed “huge” commission you make, right?

Why Bother Getting a Home Staging Certification?

Donna Kerr with Gerlach Real Estate in Silver Spring, Md., considers staging her company’s niche and steadfastly believes it adds value to the listing process. “Our average commission here is $12,000 plus, and you have to be doing something significant in order to justify earning that. So, this is what we do and our clients feel it adds value,” Kerr explained.

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Enter the Trulia Hidden Gems Photo Sweepstakes and You Could Win $1000

August 25, 2014

At Trulia, we help connect millions of consumers with the top real estate professionals in their local area. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that no one knows the best hidden neighborhood gems better than an agent. After all, you spend every day exploring the ins-and-outs of your local market. Well, we want to hear all about the best secret spots and insider highlights of your local ‘hood! Share a photo of a local treasure that buyers and sellers may not know and you could win big!

So what’s a hidden gem? It’s that little under-the-rader place that makes your city unbelievably special. Everyone who visits Seattle knows about Pike Place Market or the Space Needle. But what about Discovery Park?

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6 Ways to Get Buyers to the Closing Table

Melissa Zavala
August 25, 2014

At the beginning of the recession, homes were selling like hotcakes and there were great deals to be found. Since we are working off of the back end of this economic downturn, you may still find a few homebuyers who believe that those smokin’ hot deals of 2008 are still rampant across the United States.

Unfortunately, those deals are now few and far between. So, if you want to actually make some money and write some “good” offers that will get to the closing table in 2014, you’ve got to set homebuyer expectations accordingly.

Here are six ways to get buyers of the fence and writing offers that will actually get accepted in 2014 and not 2008.

1. Make a list.

Before you tour properties with your clients, sit down and make a list. Have them tell you what they must have in the home they desire, and what might be an additional bonus. Note everything, and carry around those notes so that you can refer back to them as you tour local properties that meet your clients’ specifications. continue reading

20 Fresh Fall Ideas for Generating More Leads

Erin Renzas
August 24, 2014

Even in the off-season, your real estate business doesn’t have to suffer. These marketing ideas can help you meet the hottest buyers and sellers in your market even when the weather cools down.

Get this free guide and get 20 fantastic, fresh and seasonally-appropriate ideas for capturing transaction-ready prospects this winter and fall.