An Agent’s Long-Term Vision is Best for the Long Haul

By Jim Droz

Corporations spend tens of millions of dollars for 30 seconds or a minute of your time on a daily basis. And that’s only advertising coming from your TV. But no matter the medium, most products sold are considered impulse buys. Businesses use all types of methods these days to get people to buy their products, with many techniques hoping to capitalize on curiosity or a sudden urge.

That method isn’t the best for everyone, however, and Realtors should be at the top of the don’t-do list. The benefits of customer care and concern and the power of long-term relationships and morality are too often ignored, and forgotten is the residual income an extended relationship can build.

Times are tough, but making earnings the focal point of a business opportunity can threaten an agent-client relationship. Take time to discover the needs of your client and his or her family. What best suits their needs might not lead to the biggest commission check but could lead to something better down the road as word gets out. Sometimes the client isn’t sure what they want, so it’s up to you to act as a guide.

Communication is crucial, because a client can get overwhelmed by all of the things that transpire in the process of buying and selling a home. As an agent, your information is like a lifeline to your client. Don’t just give your client a sales figure to put the house on the market for. Be able to provide multiple examples of similar local houses that have sold and that are presently on the market.

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Make the Right Call When Talking to Prospective Clients

By Jim Droz

Hey guys, remember the first time you called a girl to ask her out? You probably picked up the phone and set it down a few times before working up the guts to make the call. You knew what you wanted to say but weren’t sure how it would come across. It was the ultimate cold call, and the cold reality of rejection was the scariest thought.

Even though we live in a time when texting and tweeting seem to be taking over the conversation, phone calls and face-to-face meetings provide a nice touch. For real estate agents, that’s especially crucial because after you get a lead, you need to establish a relationship with the person seeking a home in order to close the deal.

This takes personality, preparation and motivation. If you’re part of a lead-generation system such as, the person you’re going to talk to has an interest in purchasing a house, so there’s instantly something to work with in that regard. But rather than jumping right in with bottom line stuff such as price parameters, make it more personal by asking about the importance of neighborhoods and schools and if they’d like to live close to where they work.

Following a script can be helpful, but be sure it’s not robotic. Jotting things down that you want to touch on also is important and makes a great reference point as the conversation continues. A successful sales call often begins hours before you ever pick up the phone. Before each call, invest time in the homework you’ve done. Review what worked well on previous calls and make sure you know at least a few things about the needs and interests of the person you’re about to call.

Good Photo Skills Can Make House Selling a Snap

By Jaime Westman

If a picture is worth a thousand words, save your breath, get a camera and become proficient at taking photos. Your throat – and clients – will thank you. A sharp and snappy photo has always been one of the keys to enticing shoppers. Selling houses is no different than selling products in that regard and a well-displayed house presentation on your website just might make a potential buyer want to check it out in person.

Real estate photography has become a lucrative niche industry for some professionals. But Realtors who don’t want to spend money and go that route can do it themselves with some tips and practice. Just make sure you do some test runs on a site you don’t want to share with the public to make sure the quality is strong enough to post your photos for live viewing.

Photos also are great ways for Realtors to plug their communities on their websites. Make sure you have your camera with you when you’re driving to appointments or enjoying leisure time outside of work. That way when you see an interesting shot, you can take it, post it and write a simple sentence or two about why that particular image makes your town so beautiful or interesting. The possibilities are endless. You just need some practice. Here are some tips to keep in mind when photographing a house:

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Freddie Mac Easing Burden on Unemployed Borrowers

By Jim Droz

In a classic example of a good-news, bad-news scenario, homeowners who lose their jobs will be able to skip payments on loans backed by Freddie Mac for up to a year under a new policy taking effect Feb. 1 at the mortgage financer.

The change, doubling the forbearance extended to the unemployed, aligns Freddie Mac’s policies with those adopted by Fannie Mae in September 2010. The two firms, operating under government conservatorship since nearly collapsing three years ago, own or guarantee more than half of all U.S. mortgages. The other pillar propping up the mortgage market, the Federal Housing Administration, also began providing a full year’s forbearance as of last summer on the down-payment loans it backs.

Freddie Mac previously had allowed banks providing customer service on its loans to extend three months of forbearance themselves when borrowers lost jobs, with another three months possible with approval from Freddie, for a total of six months.

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5 Ways to Ruin Your Open House


Broker previews will work wonders to sell a property, and open houses will work wonders to build your network. We’ve shared secrets to a successful open house as well as themes to make your listing memorable. Today, however, we will discuss the easy-to-fall-for pitfalls that could ruin your open house!

Ways to Ruin an Open House


  1. Focus on Smell

This is an easy pitfall to succumb to. Your instinct in to create a warm, homely scent for the property you’re trying to sell. You go out and find some cozy candles at Bath and Body Works and overwhelm the property with a cacophony of smells. No, no, no! Buyers can burn their own candles, they don’t need you to force your own fragrences on them while they’re trying to explore the estate. If anything, they’ll assume the blend of aromas is to cover up something they aren’t supposed to be smelling.

Try Instead: Just focus on cleanliness. As long as they know the place doesn’t have any mildew, rot, or other scent-triggering problems, they’ll have no problem with a bland-smelling open house.


  1. Thermostat Extremes

Again, fight your gut on this one. If it’s a blazing summer day, you’ll want to make the house freezing. If it’s a cold winter day, you’ll want to crank the heat. This can be distracting. You want everything about an open house to seem neutral so that the buyer can project his/her own preferences. This goes for temperature, too.

Try Instead:  Set the thermostat to cool or warm, not cold or hot. Somewhere between 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit should suffice.


  1. Hovering

The biggest turn-off to any potential buyer is the presence of the homeowner. This is one of the most important ways that a real estate agent comes in handy. Potential buyers should be free to explore the property, ask the tough questions, and immerse themselves in the rooms. They won’t be able to do any of this if the homeowner is breathing down their necks. They can’t ask difficult questions if they’re greeted with defensive answers.

Try Instead: If you really want to set yourself apart as an agent, pay for your clients to be out at a long lunch or movie so that they don’t need to be at the house. Tell them you’ll call when it’s safe for them to return. If they argue, remind them that such protectiveness is exactly why they shouldn’t be in the house.


  1. Pets… And Everything Associated

Little Buddy is adorable and obviously he would work wonders to sell the house. Except not so much. Something the human race has failed to understand since the beginning of time: No one else cares about your pet. So put the pet in a kennel or at a friend’s house for the day.

Try Instead:  You don’t want to just get rid of the animal. You need to hide any traces of the animal. Multiple homebuyers report that a litter box at an open house is a major turn-off. Like we said above, you don’t need some fancy odor replacement, but you do need to make sure the place is clean of pet stains, dander, etc.


  1. Music

Like smells, many potential buyers will think music is involved in the open house to cover up something else such as road noise, loud piping, or neighbor commotion. You think you’re setting a tone, but you’re likely creating a distraction.

Try Instead: Maybe there’s a logical reason to have noise that kills any awkward silences. Maybe the local football team has a game you can put on the TV. But even if you find an audio substitute for elevator music, you still don’t want that noise to fill every room. Let a majority of the house sit in silence. This will force dialogue about the property, which is where you really shine, anyway!


All of the items on this list are things that agents could understandably think will benefit an open house, when really they only distract buyers and hurt the likelihood of a new prospect. This makes them all very dangerous pitfalls. Let us know any other ways to ruin your open house that you’ve discovered in the comments below!

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