Remind Your Clients That You’re There for Them

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remind your clients that you're there for them

Jim Anderson of Realty Executives based in Fort Collins, Colorado recently reached out to his customer service representative to share his latest success story with us.

After signing up with HouseHunt in May of this year, Jim has had about a dozen closings, including one that came from a HouseHunt lead. Our effective training classes and webinars have played a big role as to why he has experienced so much success this far into the year.

HouseHunt’s Customer Service department and Sales team have always stressed the importance of following up with a lead right away, and it is this bit of valuable advice that Jim has taken quite seriously.

Remind Your Clients that You’re There for ThemOnce he receives a lead, Jim immediately contacts his future client by letting him/her know that he is available to assist them whenever they are ready. He is never pushy, as he understands that so long as he keeps in constant contact with his leads, they in turn will come to him when they’re ready to take the next step.

Jim currently owns the Fort Collins, CO and Wellington, CO territories where he specializes in various types of real estate. His most recent closing was a single-family residence that closed at $475,000.

Like many of our member agents, Jim truly loves his job. When asked about any closings that stood out to him, he said that he simply enjoys helping families move into their first home and watching their children’s eyes light up as they realize that this will be the place that their family will call “home” for a good part of their lives. Helping others achieve the ultimate goal of homeownership is something that Jim has realized he was always meant to do.

Jim, everyone here at HouseHunt is honored that you have allowed us to share in your passion of helping others achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Congratulations on your success!

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3 Free Infographic Templates for Your Local Market Reports

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Here at HouseHunt, we believe in the power of infographics. They are a fun way to convey information, and can easily be shared online via social media. We’ve made infographics for otherwise-boring information like how to prepare for a listing interview, to silly topics like #RealtorProblems.

Free Infographic Templates

One thing every real estate professional needs is market reports. This slew of data isn’t normally very interesting for your customers. But with the help of some fun graphics, market reports aren’t so bad.

Below are three free infographic templates for you to use in your next housing market report. These are in PowerPoint format, so you can easily plug in your own information and save your newly created graphic. Mix and match elements you like from the three formats. Each one has it’s own unique purpose, but we hope they all spark some creativity and empower you to grow your business through viral internet marketing.

Local Report

This template is designed for you basic mover; someone who is moving to a new house but staying local. This is a bit more seller oriented, as they will have to sell their home before they can move forward with their next one. Click here to download.

Local Report Infographic Template
Local Template

 

Out-of-Towner Report

This format is oriented for someone who is moving to the area for the first time to buy a house. It is more buyer-focused than the previous format. More importantly, it features US Census data about the community you live in. Highlighting the area is a great way to help your buyers feel at home before they even pick a home! Click here to download.

Out of Towner Report Free Infographic Template
Out-Of-Towner Template

Professional Report

Can’t decide between the two formats listed above? Play it safe with a general market report that allows you to touch on all of the most important data without excluding any of your potential audience. Click here to download.

Professional Report Free Infographic Template
Professional Template


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13 Types of Home Buyers to Avoid

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As a Realtor, one may like to think s/he can work with anyone—or at least will make an effort to. However, some things are more easily said than done. In fact, there are a few types of buyers that you’d probably like to avoid altogether than try to do business with. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of 13 types of home buyers to avoid and the early warning signs you may have a problem with a particular client. Hopefully you’ll be able to spot the signs early on and get out of the deal ASAP! After all, some hassles are just not worth your valuable time.

types of home buyers to avoid
Look out for these buyers!

1. The Flaky Buyer

Sellers spend a lot of time preparing their homes for showings, and flaky, inconsiderate buyers fail to realize this. Avoid buyers who make a habit of missing appointments without calling you ahead of time to explain their absence. Missed appointments could mean a missed opportunity for the perfect home.

2. The Whiny Buyer

This is the type of buyer that complains about the littlest of things. Whether it be the choice of paint color or style of the newly-installed carpet, this person will add small, easy, and cosmetic fixes to their laundry list of problems with the property.

3. The Realtor-Hopper Buyer

I couldn’t really come up with a snazzy name for this one, but this is the type of buyer that’s already worked with multiple agents. They give reasons why each Realtor didn’t work out for them, and may up telling a similar story to the agent they work with after you. Ultimately, this type of buyer will just end up wasting your time.

4. The Questionable Buyer

This buyer may not have all of his/her finances in order. If this buyer generates a shaky response from the bank—who reaches an agreement but with odd contingencies—the transaction probably isn’t a sure thing. After all, why are they house hunting if they’re not 100 percent financially capable of purchasing a home?

5. The Distrustful Buyer

The distrustful buyer isn’t quite sure about any part of the deal. S/he questions the seller’s choice of contractor, the home inspection, etc, and insists yet another expert come and give his or her own two cents. These inspections are often done at the seller’s expense—making the seller wary of doing business with your buyer client from the start.

6. The Know-It-All Buyer

This type of buyer isn’t quite sure you have his or her best interest at heart. They think they know better than you (it’s not like you do this for a living!) and will therefore insist on doing things their way instead of taking your expert advice.

7. The Sleep-Over Buyer

This is the buyer that insists on sleeping over in the property prior to closing the transaction. This can be an odd and uncomfortable request, especially if the sellers are still living in the home. Although you may be able to negotiate the buyer simply spend a few hours in the property at night instead of sleeping over, some buyers will simply not budge on this.

8. The Rude Buyer

This buyer doesn’t act like a guest in homes s/he’s viewing, treating the property as if it’s already his/hers with complete disregard for the people that are still living there. These are buyers that bring rowdy children to showings, flop down on the bed, leave the bathroom a mess, etc.

9. The Indecisive Buyer

This type of buyer can be one of the most frustrating of them all. From the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to the type of lot, this buyer may demonstrate that making concrete decisions is impossible for some. The indecisive buyer may require you to wear multiple hats during the home buying process.

10. The Multiple Visits Buyer

This buyer insists on seeing the home multiple times before closing, demanding immediate access after committing to the deal. This is the buyer who wants to bring friends, family members, decorators and architects in right away, before the transaction has even closed.

11. The Blamer Buyer

This buyer consistently denies responsibility, blaming you for anything that doesn’t go perfectly during the home buying process. If you do try to make it work with this type of buyer, make sure to outline what are considered realistic expectations for a real estate transaction.

12. The Rushed Buyer

The rushed buyer demands closing and moving dates. The buyer who rushes the closing date is usually oblivious to the emotional attachment the sellers may have to the house, not letting them move out and on when they’re ready.

13. The Negotiating Buyer

This buyer tries to negotiate after the deal is already closed. It’s imperative to remind these clients that the final walk through is not the time to renegotiate. Even if the market has changed, the agreed-upon price is the agreed-upon price. Period.

 

Working with these 12 types of buyers is far from ideal, but sometimes necessary. Therefore, be prepared: involve a contract during multiple steps of the real estate transaction and act as a mediator if necessary. Unfortunately, with some clients, you’ll just be happy that the deal is over and you’re finally free of them. It’s likely you won’t be getting any referrals from these clients, but at least you’ll be equipped with the experience of managing, and successfully closing a deal with, difficult clients.

 

Did we miss any types of home buyer to avoid? Please tell us about your less-than-desirable real estate buyer clients in the comments!

 

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10 Profiles to Circle on Google+ for Real Estate Pros

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We’ve talked before about how valuable Google+ is for real estate, but a huge part of getting started on any social media account is knowing who to follow. We’ve listed some of our favorite profiles you should circle on Google Plus so that you can start networking right away. Google+ is a great way to make connections in the industry and learn from other leading agents.

Note that this list is just the tip of the iceberg for the great content you can get from this social network. Many great profiles were already featured in our list of Twitter Accounts to Follow, so we thought we’d spread the love a bit for this round!

National Association of Realtors

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

The official profile of the Realtor licensing board, this account keeps a steady flow of industry information to keep you in the know.

Lender 411

Connecting you to trusted pros.

This company is very active on Google+ and is eager to share content with everything you could need to know about the mortgage industry. It truly is the 4-1-1 on the industry.

Dustin W. Stout

Social Media, Creativity, Branding, and Design with just a dash of inspiration.

This professional blogger stays in the know on everything related to social media and SEO, but he’s particularly knowledgeable in how to leverage Google+. He is easily one of your best resources if you’re just getting started on the platform.

Barbara Bottitta

My Team and I take pride in providing our clients the very best in service, real estate expertise and Internet technology. Our experience and professionalism benefit you, our clients, with all your home purchasing and selling needs.

Barbara is an agent who always has the buyer in mind. She has a knack for finding helpful resources for all of your first timers.

Andrew Fortune

I enjoy discussions about real estate technology, SEO, website design, small business success, and raising a family as a business owner.

Andrew Fortune is really taking off on Google+ and one of the key authoritative voices in the realty industry. He’s a wiz at making infographics and developing original content. Anything he doesn’t write about himself, he’ll be sure to share with his legion of loyal followers.

circle on google

Lynn Pineda

Real Estate Promises Delivered.

You’ve seen her as a guest blogger for us before. For a consistent stream of her great, consumer-oriented content, Google+ is the best way to connect.

Bill Gassett

Top producing Realtor building lasting relationships through real estate.  

Another one of our favorite guest bloggers also happens to be an expert at all things social media!

Deborah Lamb

Naples FL Real Estate Full Services, as a buyer’s agent, listing agent, property manager, home watch services and subcontracting coordinator.

One of the nicest people you’ll come across in the networking circle that is Google+, Deborah is always eager to share industry insight just as much as she is to wish her followers a happy Friday!

HouseHunt + HouseHunt Agents

Change your business, change your life!

We strive to produce quality content ranging from breaking news to design tips to market reports, and everything in between. Our goal is to be your one stop shop for all things real estate when you’re online.

BONUS: A Few of Our Favorite Google+ Communities

Agent to Agent

Real Estate Agents Helping Real Estate Agents

This community group is designed to be a way for agents to share their most valuable resources with others in the industry.

Real Estate

The Official Google+ Real Estate Group

The best conversations about the field are likely to break out in this community group. Network with the brightest minds in real estate, all under the influence of moderator and guru Bill Gassett.

Community Real Estate

Together, We Stand Stronger

Perhaps the largest North American real estate community on Google+, this will prove a valuable tool for furthering your education on the ever-evolving housing market.

 

Which Google+ profiles did we miss? Who do you recommend we put in our circles?


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Niche Market Series: Working with Senior Home Buyers

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If you’re interested in making senior citizens your niche market in real estate, there are some things you need to know before promoting your specialty. Read on to learn what senior home buyers are looking for in a home and how to market to them.

working with senior home buyers

There are certain things you need to know if you plan on working with senior home buyers. For example, did you know that most seniors spend 40 to 50 percent of their income on their home? Here are the basics for building a senior niche market:

Loans

With the new Frank-Dodd mortgage loan provisions, it’s near impossible for retirees to qualify for a loan. This is because the new rules are based on the debt to income ratio, and if your clients are retired and have no current income, they may not qualify—even if they do have adequate savings. Even with social security, their income may not qualify them for much money in advance. However, if your clients are 62 or older, they can qualify for a reverse mortgage.

Taxes

There are tax deductions only homeowners can take advantage of, so make sure your clients are aware of these. Some of these perks include mortgage interest deductions, property tax deductions, and capital gains exclusion. In fact, if your clients are selling their home to move into a retirement community, they may not have to pay taxes on the sale provided they lived there for longer than five years.

Homes

Size

According to an infographic by Placester, 15 percent of homebuyers ages 67 to 87 say their primary reason for buying is that they want a smaller home. In fact, on average, homebuyers 67 and older reduced the size of their home by 200 square feet. Furthermore, 76 percent of buyers age 88 and up purchased a home that was 2,000 square feet or smaller.

Transportation

Suggest that your clients’ new home be located close to public transportation. Whether they become physically unable to drive or have their driver’s licenses revoked, accessible public transportation will become increasingly important with time.

Location

It’s very likely that your senior clients will be looking at homes located near family members. Although they may consider making a drastic change to celebrate retirement, remind them that many seniors end up making a second move to live near their families just a few years thereafter.

Additionally, ensure your clients see homes that are located relatively close to necessities like the grocery store, pharmacy, hospital, etc.

Amenities

When it comes to amenities, think accessibility. Remind your clients they may want to forgo homes with stairs and opt for single story floor plans instead. Also encourage them to keep an eye out for level driveways and stair-less entries. Other amenities to consider include non-slip tile floors, levered door handles, shelves in the bathtub, bathroom grab bars, and low cupboard space.

Negotiations

The stereotype that old people can be stubborn rings true when it comes to the purchase of real estate. According to Placester, 54 percent of buyers 67-87 made no compromise on the home they purchased. They can also be quite the low-ballers: senior buyers were the most likely of any age group to pay less than 90 percent of the asking price.

Marketing

When it comes to finding and targeting senior home buyers and sellers, go old-school. Focus on outbound, paper marketing and use flyers, brochures, or postcards to grab their attention. Most senior home buyers and sellers aren’t online, so this isn’t the best place to reach them. Instead, door-knock areas where senior citizens live and hand them your contact information.

Resources

There are many resources that can help you in your journey to make senior citizens your niche market. Check out SeniorsRealEstate.com, an official subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors. Here, you can learn how to become a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist, or SRES®. They also offer customizable marketing materials, a professional bi-monthly printed newsletter, a monthly consumer newsletter, and monthly webinars.

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Niche Market Series: Working with Senior Home Buyers

By

If you’re interested in making senior citizens your niche market in real estate, there are some things you need to know before promoting your specialty. Read on to learn what senior home buyers are looking for in a home and how to market to them.

working with senior home buyers

There are certain things you need to know if you plan on working with senior home buyers. For example, did you know that most seniors spend 40 to 50 percent of their income on their home? Here are the basics for building a senior niche market:

Loans

With the new Frank-Dodd mortgage loan provisions, it’s near impossible for retirees to qualify for a loan. This is because the new rules are based on the debt to income ratio, and if your clients are retired and have no current income, they may not qualify—even if they do have adequate savings. Even with social security, their income may not qualify them for much money in advance. However, if your clients are 62 or older, they can qualify for a reverse mortgage.

Taxes

There are tax deductions only homeowners can take advantage of, so make sure your clients are aware of these. Some of these perks include mortgage interest deductions, property tax deductions, and capital gains exclusion. In fact, if your clients are selling their home to move into a retirement community, they may not have to pay taxes on the sale provided they lived there for longer than five years.

Homes

Size

According to an infographic by Placester, 15 percent of homebuyers ages 67 to 87 say their primary reason for buying is that they want a smaller home. In fact, on average, homebuyers 67 and older reduced the size of their home by 200 square feet. Furthermore, 76 percent of buyers age 88 and up purchased a home that was 2,000 square feet or smaller.

Transportation

Suggest that your clients’ new home be located close to public transportation. Whether they become physically unable to drive or have their driver’s licenses revoked, accessible public transportation will become increasingly important with time.

Location

It’s very likely that your senior clients will be looking at homes located near family members. Although they may consider making a drastic change to celebrate retirement, remind them that many seniors end up making a second move to live near their families just a few years thereafter.

Additionally, ensure your clients see homes that are located relatively close to necessities like the grocery store, pharmacy, hospital, etc.

Amenities

When it comes to amenities, think accessibility. Remind your clients they may want to forgo homes with stairs and opt for single story floor plans instead. Also encourage them to keep an eye out for level driveways and stair-less entries. Other amenities to consider include non-slip tile floors, levered door handles, shelves in the bathtub, bathroom grab bars, and low cupboard space.

Negotiations

The stereotype that old people can be stubborn rings true when it comes to the purchase of real estate. According to Placester, 54 percent of buyers 67-87 made no compromise on the home they purchased. They can also be quite the low-ballers: senior buyers were the most likely of any age group to pay less than 90 percent of the asking price.

Marketing

When it comes to finding and targeting senior home buyers and sellers, go old-school. Focus on outbound, paper marketing and use flyers, brochures, or postcards to grab their attention. Most senior home buyers and sellers aren’t online, so this isn’t the best place to reach them. Instead, door-knock areas where senior citizens live and hand them your contact information.

Resources

There are many resources that can help you in your journey to make senior citizens your niche market. Check out SeniorsRealEstate.com, an official subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors. Here, you can learn how to become a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist, or SRES®. They also offer customizable marketing materials, a professional bi-monthly printed newsletter, a monthly consumer newsletter, and monthly webinars.

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How to Budget Commission [Infographic]

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This is our continued look at real estate agents’ commission paychecks. In the first part, we broke down exactly how a Realtor gets paid. You can see that infographic by clicking here.

In this part we will look at agent expenses and a suggested plan to help you budget commission paychecks.

How-Should-Realtors-Budget-Commission

Agent Expenses

The biggest expense for agents is their vehicle costs. This takes about 40% of their expense budget. They also need to worry about NAR membership and MLS fees to stay in business. Overhead expenses include office space and insurance. Marketing will be a constant bill if you want to grow your business, and technology will be necessary just to stay relevant. Many agents set aside a certain amount to continue their education in this ever-evolving industry.

Although not necessarily a business expense, you also need to factor in income taxes, since your taxes are not taken out by the government with each paycheck. This bill is usually 15-20% of your annual income. Hooray!

Suggested Budget

First, set aside 15-20% for income taxes. For a more exact figure of what to expect, simply refer to previous tax statements.

You’ll want to set aside 12% toward agent expenses, like those listed above. This portion will get distributed differently month-to-month, but expect marketing expenses to be the most recurring.

10% of each paycheck should go straight into retirement. This looks like a high-yield savings account that you can’t touch.

You should have another savings account that you use as a goal oriented fund. This can also serve as an emergency fund in times of… well… emergency. This will merit about 8% of each paycheck.

And finally, you can live off the remaining 55%. This portion pays your bills and day to day expenses.

Miscellaneous Tips

Remember that many agent expenses are tax deductible. Client lunches, car care costs, your home office, and more can all save you money down the road.

Diversify your investments. We all love real estate, but that shouldn’t be your only form of savings. Have a Roth IRA, stocks, and so on.

Avoid debt at all costs. Debt is never a good thing, but commission based salaries make debt an even more dangerous spot.

This is just a suggested budget from HouseHunt, but we recognize case-by-case needs and encourage flexibility with all agent related finances. 


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How Does a Realtor Get Paid? [Infographic]

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It’s not always easy for a real estate agent to make money. Being (largely) self-employed and working off commission can make for a tricky salary. So where exactly does the check come from? With whom does a commission check get split? How does a Realtor get paid?  Here is an in-depth look at real estate agents’ commission paychecks.

Realtor-Commission

 

The median Realtor salary is $47,700, according to the National Association of Realtors. For starting agents, it is even lower, at $27,470. Average commission from total sales price is between 5-6%. Half of that goes to the selling agent and broker, and half goes to the selling agent and broker. The agent himself or herself takes 40-80% of that split, based on their agreed upon split.

If a home costs $300,000, the average agent would make $6,300 before taxes and other expenses. The average Realtor must sell 7.6 houses per year at $300,000 per unit just to earn the industry mean salary.


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How to Use Social Media to Drive Leads [Video]

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By this point, we all know social media marketing is imperative to any business. Check out these videos to see how you can use social media for lead generation and conversion in your real estate business. For more information, check out our free ebook on the subject!

Facebook for Real Estate: Friendly and Functional

Facebook is the most popular social media network in the world, and has become a pivotal marketing resource for real estate agents.

To get started, build a Facebook personal or business page, depending on how you want to market yourself. Use this platform to promote your original content. Whenever you create a helpful resource on your personal site, be sure to market it from your Facebook page. Not very many people will regularly check your website or blog for new material, but if it happens to pop up on their Facebook News Feed, you will see more traffic, and eventually, leads.

Facebook also has a convenient system in place for creating, advertising, and managing events. If you are hosting an open house, use Facebook Events to announce the time and location. Then invite any brokers or customers you think may be interested.

Another way you can use Facebook is to advertise your newest listings. You can give each beautiful home its own album, making them easy to find and explore for all your followers. Then publicize your successes! With your clients’ permission, take a photo of them in front of their recently purchased home and tag them. This will gain you visibility and people will associate you with happy new homeowners!

As with all social media, Facebook interaction is a two-way street. Be sure to share helpful posts from other similar businesses and show gratitude to constituents who engage with your content. This is a great strategy for lead conversion. With these tactics in mind, Facebook will be an invaluable resource in effective marketing and lead generation!

Twitter for Real Estate: Megaphone with Mega Results

Twitter is an excellent platform for real estate marketing in its unique way that it promotes constituent engagement. Approximately half of all real estate agents actively use a Twitter account, and it’s easy to see why!

Twitter has a unique structure where you can promote and discuss whatever topics you choose, but you are forced to stay concise. This makes communication very efficient. This is a great place to promote your original content and resources from your blog or website. You can also announce open houses, broker previews, or community events.

Twitter also happens to be the creator of the ever-popular hashtag feature. This is where you post a number sign (or pound key) before a word or phrase with no spaces. This turns the word or phrase into a hyperlink so you can easily see what anyone in the world has to say about a particular subject. For example, if you search #firsttimehomebuyer, you can find local Twitter users who are in the process of, or have questions about, buying a home. When you engage with these people, it provides simple and effective lead generation.

It is easy to engage with other users. You can communicate with people even if you’re not specifically following each other. You can hold whole conversations just as easily as texting. All these elements make Twitter the perfect platform for lead conversion. You can demonstrate authority in real estate to your leads over Twitter, and then maintain dialogue to stay in touch with all prospects. Because Twitter serves as a non-stop news, ticker, it’s easy for some of your posts to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t hesitate to promote content or events for a second or third time.

With all these tactics in mind, Twitter will be a pivotal resource in lead generation and conversion!

 

Google+ for Real Estate: Network in Your Niche

Google Plus is a unique social media platform that serves largely as a networking spot for real estate agents. It’s a grat way to coneect with brokers, lenders, and other agents.

To start with, you can either develop a personal profile, or launch a new business profile. you don’t necessarily need the business profile if your focus is going to be personal branding as an agent. The business profile, however, is helpful for monitoring stats and web traffic.

Like many other social media sites, you can post pictures of listings, announce and advertise events, and promote your original content. The many faces of Google streamline your communication. For example, if you invite someone to an event on this platform, they can be notified of it in their personal calendar and reminded via e-mail.

Your page will also help you in SEO, or search engine optimization. When people search real estate needs, you’re more likely to turn up in Google results simply by having an active Google+ account. Google also automatically gives its users local, relevant results, so you’ll be introduced to clients in your community ready to act now. This serves as a great, organic lead generation system.

Google Hangouts are a resource on this platform similar to a video conference. Invite people to be a part of seminars addressing a variety of real estate discussions your audience is interested in. Explore Communities to build your referral network and learn new tips. Another thing that sets Google+ apart is its specialized demographic. With more of a niche market, Google+ is able to give your content a longer shelf life. This platform has a very interactive and supportive community that is eager to share content and learn from new people.

 

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How to Get Excellent Real Estate Results in a Short Amount of Time

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After starting with HouseHunt at the beginning of October 2013, Joseph Diosana got to work right away on building his pipeline and working his leads. In just three short months, he made two closings with his first HouseHunt closing in early 2014. Talk about excellent results in a short amount of time!

Joseph, who serves the Houston-Uptown Galleria area in Texas, has been featured on Houston’s local Fox 26 news channel in a segment about flipping houses and is well known and respected in the area.

Since he started using HouseHunt, Joseph has been consistent in taking our training classes and attending our webinars, following our conversion guidelines and customizing them to suit his needs. He’s noticed that one thing that makes the biggest impact are the personalized emails he sends to his potential clients thanking them for viewing the property listing. The email also asks if they have a timeframe for buying and moving into their new home.

In the past, most of his business has been referral based but after learning about Ron Armstrong‘s (another one of our successful member agents) successes with HouseHunt, he decided to give us a chance and he hasn’t looked back since. In fact, he has already sent a couple referrals to his sales rep, Jaime Westman.

Joseph primarily specializes in single-family homes and the closing he recently had was his first single-family home that was originally listed for $470,000—he successfully managed to negotiate it down to $454,000.

HouseHunt has most certainly made quite an impact on Joseph’s business, and he’ll be the first to tell you that thanks to our system and training he was able to quickly turn a deal around.

Great job, Joseph! We look forward to hearing about your many successful closings in the future.


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