For Real Estate Professionals

Smart Strategies and Scripts for Answering the Questions You Just Can’t Answer

Colleen Fischesser
September 5, 2014

Most real estate agents are affable and chatty. Sometimes too chatty, especially when it comes to “taboo” topics that really shouldn’t be discussed. But our clients come to us because of our expertise and guidance. We’re their “go-to” person for information and advice. So what happens when we can’t be?

What do you do when a clients asks you a question you can’t answer?

How do you stay on the right side of Fair Housing and Agency Laws without giving your client (or other agents in your market) the impression you’re blowing them off?

Here’s the answer: With a lot of practice and preparation. continue reading

The 7 Shadiest Clients You’ll Ever Meet

Jovan Hackley
September 4, 2014

Most prospects are all smiles when a transaction starts. The thrill of shopping or prospect of selling excites a lot of people, but beware of what lies beneath.

When you’re having your first conversations with your prospects, watch out for these seven client-types that are just as shady as they are dangerous to your business:

1. Financial Fumbler

When it comes to talking cash, many people get nervous. However, if you find yourself getting multiple answers to the same questions or being fed stories that don’t add up, stay on alert.

2. Under-Inspector

Motivated buyers are good, but overly motivated can be dangerous and hurt your reputation in the long run. Beware of those who are willing to skip the inspection, as they’re prone to blame you when they end up dissatisfied. continue reading

3 Books Every Real Estate Agent Should Read—Today

Geoff Bray
September 4, 2014

Have you ever showed a home that has it’s own library? How about a home that simply has an office with shelves and shelves of books? If you have been in the business for longer than five years, I bet you have seen this either on your own showings or maybe an office ‘tour.’ I would also place a bet the home was priced or valued at somewhere around or over $1 million.

Did you ever stop to think why people with expensive homes also have a lot of books? I have. My theory, and it’s safe to say that it’s only a theory, is there are lots of books in expensive homes because people who take time to learn and hone their craft probably do a little better income wise than those who don’t. Think about it. How many books do you think doctors, dentists or large business owners read? Maybe it’s time we take a page out of their book (pun intended) and picked up a few hard-backs ourselves and did a little self-teaching.

We’ve all seen and probably read the classics (if you haven’t, get to it). You will recall these famous ones: “Good to Great”, “Who Moved My Cheese”, “Little Red Book of Selling” or basically anything written by Brian Tracy or Zig Ziglar. But in today’s market, there are so many great books an agent can read that aren’t even about selling. Here are three books ranging in topics for new agents all the way to social media strategy that might have an impact on your business today. continue reading

3 Real Estate Tools Agents Must Have From Day One

Shannon O'Brien
September 3, 2014

While many real estate agents begin their businesses with little money, real-estate-on-a-shoestring is neither advised nor comfortable. Licensing and joining the various associations takes a huge chunk of money – and the out-of-pocket expenses don’t end there.

You now own a business and, like all business owners, you’ll need capital to get started. Certain systems, tools and supplies may be provided by your broker, but you’ll need to purchase the ones you need the most.

Ideally, you’ll start your business with these few essential real estate tools. If that’s not possible, plan on going shopping sometime between hanging your license and receipt of your first commission check. These tools will not only make your work life a lot easier, they’ll also help you generate new business.
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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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