Keep Buyers from Hibernating for the Winter

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Hey it’s September. We’re about to enter the zone of pumpkin spice everything, rich burnt oranges and deep plums. However, some of you in real estate may be mourning the passing of July’s peak sales. According to Jonathan Smoke “raw data tell us that real estate follows a clear seasonal pattern. Inventory peaks in the summer. Sales peak in the summer. Real estate Web traffic peaks in the summer.” Not so fast! Summer’s gone and maybe the overall real estate market is cooling, but with a little bit of marketing strategy, you can keep your business hot. Here are a few pieces of “raw data” to put the hot in your cocoa.

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School Calendars and Weather Can Shift the Peak

Sure school calendars make a difference, but are there any year round schools in your area? We have a whole district near me that adjusted start and end dates due to strategically allowing seniors to get out in early May so they could be ready for transition to college life. This can certainly affect the timeline of those looking to buy or sell a home.

Also, what’s the weather like in your area? If you’re in a warmer climate, you may not be victim of the cold weather slow down.

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Who’s Buying: Christmas Gifts and Seniors

And even if these are very realistic concerns in your area, what are some tidbits to use in your favor?

If December and January are peak months for the age of inventory, this now becomes an incentive for buyers to step in to get their best deal. And hey, I’d love my spouse to buy me a house for Christmas. Start a campaign telling prospects why the Winter inventory offers them the best time to “buy low.”

Next, know who’s more likely to buy! Turns out according to Real Time Economics, of the 860,000 new households created in the last fiscal year (July 1-June 31), two-thirds of new households were created by seniors between 65-74. Find out what attracts seniors and host an event catering to their needs and tastes. What kind of programs go over well at senior centers? Incorporate one into your Winter marketing strategy.

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Money Misconceptions

Lastly, here’s an interesting nugget from Keeping Current Matters (don’t you just love the title?). About 36% of Americans have the misconception that 20% is an absolute down payment requirement to buy a home. Not necessarily so, but you can educate folks about this to open up the door of possibility for them. According to this site’s August 20th blog, Millennials know this, because 36% of them are putting down only 5%. But, since Millennials only account for approximately 13% of the market, do what you can to educate the other 87%! Maybe team up with a lending company to offer classes or make use of your social media to disseminate this rather powerful and motivating peace of data.

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Heat Up Your Real Estate Business for the Winter

The point is, knowledge about your community, demographics, and fear based misconceptions that might be holding buyers back, can translate into increased sales if you gather such wisdom and use it to refine your marketing strategy for the season. So get ready to cuddle up with your snuggy and a pumpkin spiced latte to fuel you for the myriad of buyers looking for a smokin’ hot December deal. HouseHunt is always routing for you.

 

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by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.

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Who’s Working for You at HouseHunt?

FullSizeRenderHello Friends.  Join us each week for a behind the scenes look at the tight knit team working for you here at HouseHunt.com.  This week, we interviewed Chris Knight from the Customer Service Department. 

Who’s Working for You at HouseHunt?

HH: So, one look at your shelf and it’s clear that you are an Angels fan. Why is that?

CK: I was sort of born into fandom. My dad took me to a game when I was really young and I could get a souvenir; I wanted the Cubs cap instead of the Dodgers. It started early for me.

HH: What else do you do for fun?

CK: I play in a Metallica cover band called, Damage Inc. on the weekends so there’s almost no time for anything else. I play rhythm guitar and sing lead. We’ve been together for 11 years. We do pretty well. Check out Damage Inc.

HH: If someone gave you a plane ticket and you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

CK: I really want to go to Europe. I guess Paris or Italy.

HH: You have a lot of experience in the HouseHunt.com Customer Service department. What’s your best advice to offer to agents that use HouseHunt.com for lead generation?

CK: Follow up on your leads diligently and give our service enough time. You really need a minimum of 6 months and it’s best to give it a year. If not, you should probably just use your money for gambling instead of lead generation.

HH: It’s refreshing to see someone that likes his company so much. Why have you stayed with HouseHunt for so many years?

CK: I like the people. We have a great cast of characters. There’s very little turnover here. It’s a relaxed atmosphere. We try to make every agent as successful as he/she can be and we treat our customers as people, not just investors.

Chris has been with HouseHunt.com for nine years and is happy to help you make the most out of the HouseHunt lead generation system.

head shotby: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.

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Why Building Your Email List is so Crucial as a Real Estate Agent

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Many agents are uncertain as to what is the best possible way to contact past, new, and current clients. Is it Facebook, Twitter, via phone, or email? The uncertainty leads to mixed results, but we’re here to show you that email marketing is the best way to keep your potential, past, and current clients updated with information about you and your skill to help them sell or buy a home!

Email List

Inman released vital information to real estate agents on the importance of email lists. Since your clients receive so much information, ads, and content online and through social media, you’re going to have to get in front of them somehow.

With email lists, you’re able to contact your clients with a much higher click through rate than compared to Facebook or Twitter. As much as 20% more of your contacts will click on and open your email than read your post on social media.

Remember to create an email campaign with purpose. You’ll want to nurture your email list so they actually become a client and buy or sell a home with you when they’re finally ready.

You should always keep your email designs simple yet engaging, and you should offer free content your contacts will want, like ebooks, blogs, videos, or helpful information to them.

The average buying time is between three and six months, so remember to stay in front of your contacts and do not give up!

Stick to your email list, monitor your leads, and you will have lots of new sales very soon!

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Are You Famous or Infamous on Real Estate’s Most Wanted List?

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by: Wendy L.K. Rogers, M.A.

 

In sales, we all want to be on the most wanted list. It’s the dream. However, in any licensed profession, we dread being on a notorious Most Wanted List such as the list of complaints about real estate agents. At the very least, these complaints are massive time eaters to attend and mitigate. At their worst, these complaints can cost you big money and even your license if reported to your Department of Real Estate.

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Look, we all took the required Ethics course to get licensed, but it would seem as if some either slept through it or worse, some took the “don’t” list and made it their top ten play list.

So what are the top three complaints that seem to be prevalent about real estate agents? Well, it turns out they aren’t that different from the top complaints of most industries. Top consumer complaints across industries are: misrepresentation, deception, false or faulty products, and “shoddy work.”

If you talk to an average 10 consumers and ask their biggest complaints about real estate agents, you’ll hear three basic categories: dishonesty, incompetence, and lack of communication. For a more specific list of the most common violations resulting in disciplinary action, you can view this PDF from the DRE.

Now, in fairness, you may also be familiar with the client that just loathed his/her “horrible agent.” In reality, the client has burned up eight “horrible agents” because the client really has a bad case of mineisworthmoreitis. In which case, the consumer really does need to say, “Hmm, eight terrible agents later, I might be the issue,” but don’t count on that happening. Try to recognize these clients early so they don’t suck you dry.

Fiduciary Duty

However, if the client’s expectations aren’t loopy, let’s talk about “Fiduciary duty.” It’s kind of paradoxical to human nature. It says, “Since I am your voice in this business transaction, I will put you and your best interests above my own.” For example, there is the “negotiable” commission fees that seem to coincidentally hang around 3% for each rep in the transaction. So, what do you do when you notice a home boasting a whopping 1% from a discount house that fits your clients’ stated criteria? A) You sigh and add this to the list of any home that reasonably fits his/her described preferences. B) You somehow don’t see that listing and hope your client doesn’t stumble upon it either or C) You pour yourself a stiff drink and call other heavy hitters to ask what they would do.

If you picked anything but A, I’m sorry but you’ve just greatly increased your chances of ending up on that top ten, why-I-can’t-stand-real-estate-agents-cause-they’re-all-dishonest list.

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Competence

And then there’s the issue of competence. See, once the consumer has decided that most agents are dishonest and greedy, they now want to work with their brother’s cousin, who probably only does one deal a year at best. Except, Cousin !@#$% probably doesn’t know how to navigate a HUD any better than a hub cap. You on the other hand, take classes, keep current on laws, and research so clients will see you like a Realtor rock star. \m/

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Communication

Fellow Realtors, let’s “give ‘em something [good] to talk about!”

Realize, good brings rewards and Karma has a nasty bite. Don’t sleep through those ethics and law classes and remember that most malpractice suits are filed because patients said the doctor didn’t listen. Communicate with your peeps peeps. Listen to them. Hear their needs and concerns. Show them that they should trust you because you care. These top three: fiduciary duty, competence and communication can go a long way towards making you a most sought after agent, rather than a poster child on the complaints about real estate agents Most Wanted list. And look up fiduciary duty when you pour that stiff drink before you call your agent friends. It just might be what the Dr. should’ve ordered.

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Real Estate Laws Your Client Needs to Know About

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As an agent, it’s your job to know as much about real estate laws as possible. Your clients don’t know as much as you, so you must keep them informed of pertinent laws and information that may affect their home purchase. So take a look at these real estate laws you’re going to have to share with your clients.

Real Estate Laws

Real Estate Laws by State

Every state’s laws are different. By looking over your individual state’s real estate laws, you’ll become familiarized with everything you and your clients need to know. Some states have zoning laws that are more exact than others. Most states do not allow updates to homes without a permit. Lots of states do not allow you to evict a tenant living in your home, while other states give you more leniency as a landlord.

Real Estate Laws

Don’t underestimate the power of being a homeowner, but help your clients understand the things they can and cannot do. Obviously, if something is illegal outside of their home, it’s probably illegal inside their home as well. By studying your state’s specific laws, you’ll know exactly what you need to share with your clients about the laws that concern them and their properties.

Nationwide Real Estate Laws

There are many national real estate laws that homeowners need to be aware of that are relatively general in every state aside from minor differences, ranging by locations and homes. Eminent domain, easements, selling a home, and trespassing. The laws related to these terms may be slightly different state-to-state, but their consistency and acceptance is quite consistent throughout the nation.

Eminent Domain: is the power of the government to take private land or property into their own hands for public use. When there is a new freeway being added, or public building being created, the government will come to a home and offer a homeowner compensation for their home.

Real Estate Laws

The government isn’t always allowed to take your home! You have the right to hearings, and if you feel that there isn’t reason for the government to take your home, you can state your side to a fair trial. So their clients can always do something to save their home!

Easements: are any circumstances where a neighbor or business uses your land for something. Many times, a neighbor will share a driveway with you, so they’re likely going to drive on your side of the driveway. Often, utility companies will use neighboring homes to provide their products or services.

Real Estate Laws

As an example, many cable companies will run wires along telephone poles connecting to more than one home’s lines. This is a form of easement.

If a homeowner does not agree with a neighbor or company using their home in a certain way, they can then go to court to see if the easement can be revoked or if there is a way for the other party to do things differently without affecting their home. The courts will then do everything they can to make both sides happy with the outcome.

Selling Your Home: in terms of selling your home, every state is a little different. But the laws remain consistent with prepping your home for someone to purchase it. If there is anything important or defective about the home that is not disclosed to the future buyer, there can be a lawsuit if the seller knew about the issues prior to selling the home.

Real Estate Laws

Often times, you can still find an interested buyer in a home even if there are problems with the home. So the best thing to do is always disclose anything wrong with the home you know about to be on the safe side.

Trespassing: if someone trespasses into your home to cause you harm, you have to write to defend yourself, and you can call the police to help you. A good thing to do is fence off your home if you don’t want unwanted people coming in or put up a fence or sign that states your home is private property.

Real Estate Laws

However, if someone unwittingly entered onto your property, they are not likely looking to harm you, and you can simply ask them to leave if you do not want them there. You should always express consent (either verbal or written) to family, friends, and individuals you want to invite onto your property so they know they’re invited into your beautiful home!

There are lots of real estate laws and homeowner obligations that remain consistent throughout the nation. Then again, there are many laws that are state and city specific you need to be aware of as a real estate agent. The best thing you can do is research the specific state and city you live in for certain laws. Who knows . . . maybe you live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and you didn’t know  it’s illegal to sing in your bathtub. So do yourself a favor and find out all you can about real estate laws to become incredibly knowledgeable to help out all of your future clients who want to buy a home with you!

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