For Real Estate Professionals

The Pros and Cons of Closing Gifts

Taking a look at the pros and cons of closing gifts, and why real estate agents give them“I think I’ll send my new patient a $50 Macy’s gift certificate to thank her for allowing me to perform her annual physical,” said no doctor, ever. Come to think of it, my hairdresser, accountant and lawyer have never gifted me, either.

Yet real estate agents, somewhere along the line, came up with the notion that they absolutely must provide a closing gift to clients. Who thought this one up? Nobody really knows.

However, the agent that first gifted a client must’ve found the practice successful, because it was quickly copied and has now become standard practice.

Does giving a gift to a client make you memorable? If that was the case, more service industries would probably take up the practice. I don’t know about you, but I return to my hair stylist every month because I love the way she cuts my hair. My accountant saves me money on my taxes. So, is it the gift that makes clients remember you, or was it your performance?

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of giving closing bribes – err, I mean, gifts – to real estate clients.
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31 Secrets Real Estate Agents Never Tell Clients

Colleen Egan
October 18, 2014

As a real estate agent, you become an expert in the art of smiling and nodding, of keeping calm and carrying on. But beneath your friendly, professional demeanor, you’re mentally tallying up those little demands, and keeping mum about your own hush-hush opinions and tricks of the trade to keep the deal on track. Here, agents spill their guts (anonymously, of course) about what they will never, ever say to their clients’ faces.

1. We bite our tongues so often that we have scar tissue.

2. No one knows what prices will be in three years. We wish we did!

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The Truth About Winter Real Estate

Some call it the off-season for real estate, but successful agents know better. Winter is actually a great season to sell a home. If you aren’t telling potential clients about the winter real estate advantage – right now – then you will have an off-season this winter.

Numbers Don’t Lie – Winter Isn’t so Bad

the truth about winter real estate - why it's not a bad time to sell a homeNational Association of Realtors® statistics tell us that fewer homes sell in winter than spring. Their studies show that in November, home sales slide about 8 percent. In January, they slide even more – 27 percent to be exact. These numbers make sense: Fewer homes are on the market in the winter, so naturally, fewer homes sell.

The media often steps in and trumpets these statistics, adding their own take as to why. If they told the whole truth, I have a feeling we’d have far more winter clients.

What is the whole truth about winter real estate? Homes are more likely to sell in winter than at any other time of year. Not only that, they sell quicker and they sell for more money. These statistics hold, at various percentages, whether the home is in balmy San Diego, Calif., or snowy Washington D.C.
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6 Secret Reasons Fall Buyers Hate Homes

Erin Renzas
October 14, 2014

Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned sellers forget that the point of marketing and staging their home is to impress as many potential buyers as possible. One wrong move can lower the sale price, or even worse, prevent a sale at all. Make sure your sellers are serious contenders by helping them steer clear of these somewhat surprising buyer turnoffs this fall.

1. A Hyper-Hovering Homeowner

Buyers stalk properties online and off, checking obsessively for price reductions and the like. But buyer-side home stalking is unobtrusive to sellers. On the other hand, buyers can feel stifled in their ability to fully explore or verbally process their impressions of a ƒhome when the seller hangs out inside the home while it’s being shown.

What Sellers Need to Know:
Prospective buyers may not feel comfortable talking openly with their co-buyers or agents with the homeowner there, and may not open doors and drawers in front of the seller—potentially missing some of the home’s best features. Sure, a homeowner knows what makes the home shine and can answer questions, but so can a great agent. Trust him or her to communicate what makes the home special.

2. Weird Wacky Wallpaper

Sometimes it’s the little things that sellers think won’t matter that can block an offer. Of course, when inventory is low, sellers may have a better chance of snagging an offer despite design snafus, but when the home buying season slows, it’s in a seller’s best interest to heed the advice of their agent and get their home in tip-top shape. And nothing—nothing!—is a more hated design choice than weird, wacky wallpaper.

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5 Myths About Mega Producers

Colleen Fischesser
October 13, 2014

Mega real estate producers are an enigma. They have secrets, and magic formulas and know things the rest of us don’t, which is why they’re so much more successful than everyone else, right?

Ironically, some of the biggest myths misconceptions about top producers are also the biggest reasons many agents don’t and won’t ever achieve that level of success.

So what separates those big fish from the smaller fish in the proverbial real estate pond?

Two words: attitude and belief.

Success starts with attitude and belief—or in some cases, success is stalled because of attitude and self-limiting beliefs. continue reading

Real Estate Mailers – Strategy and Best Practices

Learn professional strategies and best practices for real estate mailersNobody likes junk mail. However, consumers respond to junk mail enough that it is still worthwhile to send “good” marketing mail. That is, only send mail that’s relevant, readable and targeted.

And to do that, you’ll have to do your homework. One size fits all, cookie-cutter approaches from the home office don’t cut it anymore. If you don’t plan out your mailing campaigns and integrate them into an overall prospecting and marketing strategy, they are unlikely to help you much – and may even hurt you.

Here are some key strategies to developing real estate mailers that will put money back in your pocket, instead of just costing you the stamp money coming out of it.

Define Your Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition, or UVP, defines what you can do for your customer that is difficult for anyone else to do. It establishes a compelling reason for customers to do business with you, personally. If you can’t define what your UVP is, why should anyone be loyal to you or refer friends to you, over other agents working in the area?
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You Told Us! 10 Agents You Love to Hate and the Best Ways to Deal

Jovan Hackley
October 10, 2014

Recently, we took to social media and asked real agents to get real and tell us: When you’re working with other agents, what are the little (or big!) bad habits that drive you crazy?

You told us! They may be the minority, but—as with every industry—sometimes agents have to work with other agents who can cause some major headaches!

Luckily, there are some simple solutions for dealing with even the most rage-inducing situations. Check out the list and a few friendly tips to help you have a positive transaction—no matter whom you’re working with!

1. The agent that could use a little more training…

Expertise and experience are two different things. Unfortunately, many of you said that there are too many agents that are simply under-trained and it can show during the transaction.

The Easy Fix: There’s a ton of education available on- and offline in the form of agent training webinars, classes and conferences that can help. Causally mention a great class or resource that really helped to take your business to the next level. You never know. They may end up acting on your recommendation. continue reading

Top 8 Unit Updates to Make Before Listing

Paula Pant
October 9, 2014

You’ve got an empty rental unit, which you’d like to fill as soon as possible. After all, each day it’s unoccupied means lost income for you (or the company whose property you manage).

But getting a new renter involves more than just posting the unit online. Now you have an opportunity to assess the property and see what unit updates you can feasibly make. So before you list the property, make sure you’re reviewing these 8 things to make your vacant unit as attractive as possible to potential renters. continue reading

15 Real Estate Newsletter Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

A good real estate newsletter is a crucial device in any agent’s toolbox. It serves several vital functions:

  • It gets your name and brand in front of prospects when you can’t be there personally.
  • It promotes “top of mind” awareness. When a consumer decides to call an agent, the one most likely to come to mind is the one they’ve been hearing from.
  • It gives potential clients a reason to log onto your website, with your listings.
  • Good content can brand you as an expert on topics of importance to them.

A great newsletter, however, can do even more for the agent. But first, let’s look at some common mistakes agents make with newsletters that could cause them to backfire.

1. Hiding Behind Your Real Estate Newsletter

Agents must avoid these real estate newsletter mistakesYes, your newsletter is important. But you can’t credit time spent on creating and distributing it as time spent prospecting. Your newsletter is not prospecting. Your newsletter is a tool to make prospecting more effective. Never sacrifice prospecting time to work on your newsletter.
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3 Ways to Handle High Maintenance Clients

Tara-Nicholle Nelson
October 7, 2014

We’ve all had them. You might have one now. That seller who takes your comps, cross-references them on Trulia, adds in seven more, and builds out a spreadsheet—complete with formulas—then wants you to get them into each of the properties so she can point out the comps’ outdated paint colors, inferior appliance brands or other reasons she thinks she should get double the price for her home. The buyer who sees 45 houses before deciding they want a condo, then sees 50 of those before revealing that his palm-reader and rabbit jointly hold final decision-making power.

Okay, I might be exaggerating the factual scenarios (a tad). But in the life of an agent, three things are inevitable: death, taxes and high maintenance clients. Some are both high maintenance and unreasonable, and these folks can become a massive hemorrhage of time, gas and energy. It’s also demotivating and frustrating to work with high maintenance clients who are beyond pleasing.
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