For Real Estate Professionals

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 off 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.

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7 Major Signs a Home is Staged Wrong

Jovan Hackley
August 22, 2014

When staging is done right, it can make a world of difference when it comes to closing a deal quickly and with a great price. But just because your clients (or you!) have taken the time to stage a home, doesn’t mean that the staging helps to highlight a home. After all, the only thing worse than not staging at all is staging that’s done terribly wrong.

After you or your clients have “staged” the soon-to-be-listed property, take a look around and keep an eye out for these seven clear signs that your work isn’t done—or done right. Seeing some eyesores? Make these last minute changes that will get you to the staging finish line and snag your sellers a great deal in a flash.

1. You’ve Blocked the Flow

The fundamentals of staging start with flow. If you want to really sell, make sure you open the way for buyers to fall in love with the home. That means making sure big furniture and other obstacles don’t block a prospective buyers walk through the home. Remember! For many buyers, open floor plans are a big bonus. Show off how great the flow through the home really is. continue reading

Are Your Prospective Residents Local? Google Data May Surprise You.

Paula Pant
August 21, 2014

Do you know where your future prospects and renters currently live?

You may have some notions about the demographics of your target residents — their occupations, their price points, the amenities that appeal to them — but do you know where those target renters are living now?

New research shows they may be farther away than you imagined.

A recent Google report reveals that a substantial number of people are searching for rentals in a different city or state. Check out these tips to make sure your listings are getting in front of as many potential renters as possible. continue reading

Get the Most Out of Your Errors and Omissions Insurance

Real estate is a litigious industry. And for good reason: Transactions have hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars at stake. And because they so frequently involve third-party financing and development costs that cannot be undone, you can’t simply unwind a deal and start over like you can for something with less paperwork.

Nearly everyone – buyers and sellers – has lawyers looking out for their best interests. If anything goes wrong, there you are, stuck in the middle.

That’s why real estate agents shouldn’t even touch a deal without solid errors and omissions insurance in place – not only to protect your interests, but to protect your clients, as well.

So you need errors and omissions coverage; but it’s not free. It can cost thousands of dollars per year (though premium financing is often available). Normally, brokers set this up for new agents, but agents still usually have to contribute to the premiums. You don’t want to pay more than you have to for a given level of protection.

Considerations for Errors and Omissions Insurance

What kinds of things do errors and omissions coverage underwriters look for, and how can you manage your premiums and keep them affordable – without skimping on vital coverage? continue reading

7 Hidden Reasons Buyers Hate Homes

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
August 18, 2014

If you’ve shown many homes, you might have noticed that some home buyers have a love-hate relationships with the properties they see. They either fall madly in love with a place, finding no faults, or are totally disgusted, even outraged that you would dare show them something so terrible. Quelle horreur! continue reading