MagicPlan App for Real Estate Agents

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MagicPlan is an awesome app for real estate agents by Sensopia that, according to the iTunes store, “measures your rooms and draws your floor plan just by taking pictures.” After taking photos of a room’s corners, a floor plan which you can fine tune is automatically generated. You can then receive your floor plan in JPG, PDF or DXF format or publish an interactive floor plan on the web.

Now in version 3.5.3, the app allows you to take room dimensions, include disclaimers and watermarks, display room names, a scale and general information, include your photo and logo, annotate objects, give object attributes, and edit floor plans using a new tool for imperial/metric measurements.

This app, created in 2011, already has five million unique downloads and is used to create 20,000 floor plans per day. It requires iOS 6.0 or later on the iPhone, iPad and the iPod Touch and 4.0 and up on the Android.

This app is a great tool for real estate agents for several reasons. Not only can you capture images of your listed homes easily, those images will automatically create a floor plan of the house. You can then use this floor plan in your marketing materials for the listing, giving prospective buyers a better representation of the home.

Pierre Gaubil, co-founder and CEO of Sensopia, states in a video about MagicPlan that “the floor plan is the DNA of the house. You might buy a house based upon a floor plan; you’ll never buy a house just looking at pictures.” He continues by explaining that this is exactly why MagicPlan is garnering attention from the real estate and home improvement communities.

Although marketed as “free” to download, it costs $2.99 for one of the aforementioned floor plan files, $19.99 for 10 plans, $34.99 for 20 plans, and $59.99 for 40 plans. Monthly plans ranging from three to an unlimited amount of files per month, per device are also available.

Have you used the MagicPlan app? Please tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

 

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10 Things Real Estate Agents Hate to Hear

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There are a few things a client can say that will make you cringe every time. Here is our list of the top 10 things real estate agents hate to hear from their clients, with some suggestions on how you can appropriately respond. We’ve also included a gif so that you know someone else has felt your frustrations!

Special thanks to Bill Gassett and Elizabeth Newlin for the inspiration for this list.

1. “No, I haven’t been pre-approved. Can we see this property anyway?”

The truth is, helping someone out with one favor isn’t that big a deal. But make it clear on that first viewing that it can’t become a habit. List all the benefits of getting pre-approved (creates a budget, peace of mind, etc.) and explain that you will line up a lot of great showings after that step.

Real Estate Agents Hate 1

2. “Well I called the listing agent…”

This is annoying because it feels like the client went behind your back a little bit. Plus, they aren’t realty-savvy enough to optimize those calls. The best thing to do here is explain that you want to make the process as easy as possible, so you can be their one-stop-shop for all things real estate. They don’t need to (and better not!) be calling other agents.

Real Estate Agents Hate 2

3. “I know I’m approved for x amount, but can we go check out this house that costs y?”

No you can’t see a house $100,000 dollars out of your price range! That’s why you got the pre-approval in the first place. Try to make it clear that you can find a home that meets all of their desires within their price range, and it won’t do anyone any good to waste time looking at something else.

Real Estate Agents Hate 3

4. “Let’s offer this significantly lower figure, and see if they bite.”

This one has to be a firm no from you. Say that low-ball offers are offensive, will be ignored for the sheer fact that they seem insulting, and will hurt your reputation as an agent.

Real Estate Agents Hate 4

5. “I can make an offer with the contingency that I sell my home.”

Make it clear than an offer with a major contingency is basically not an offer; it’s a hypothetical situation. A contingency about a cracked window or loose door handle is reasonable. A contingency about selling an entire other property is absurd.

Real Estate Agents Hate 5

6. “Is your commission negotiable?”

The truth is you should just say no to this question; your commission is set at the industry standard. But if you want to have some fun with it, just let them know you can lower your commission if they lower their expectations out of you.

Realtors Hate 6

7. “What are the ‘good’ places to live?”

What does this question even mean? Are they concerned about school districts, crime rates, something else entirely? Is this a racially fueled question? You have to counter this question with another question. “What are you looking for? What are your priorities? What are your top concerns?” Also, if does turn out to be a race (or any minority) charged question, just refer them to the crummiest agent you know.

Real Estate Agents Hate 7

8. “Maybe I’ll just rent instead. Can you help me find a place to rent?”

This is a judgment call. Can you help? Sure. Should you? Probably not. It cuts your commission considerably and is outside your realm of expertise. If you need the cash, however – or just really want to help that particular client – then you can obviously make a rental property happen.

Realtors Hate 8

9. “My [insert relative] says, …”

Make it look like you’ll consider what the person is saying. But the truth is, so-and-so’s dad isn’t a real estate agent, and he needs to hush. At the end of the day, you know what you’re doing better than any third party. Be confident in yourself, and your clients will be confident, as well.

Realtors Hate 9

10. “We’re actually going to go with an agent we met at an open house.”

Feel free to spiral into a blind rage.

Or, more appropriately, assure them of the perks you could have offered that set you apart, hope they’ll reconsider, and gracefully step aside so as not to burn any bridges.

realtors hate 91

Did we miss any? What other questions do you hate to hear? Let us know in the comments below!


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Real Estate Agent Relationships [Infographic]

Whether you are working with <a href=”http://www.blog.househuntnetwork.com/list-last-buy-build/#.VMbDHP7F-B4″ target=”_blank”><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>buyers or sellers</strong></span></a>, here’s a look at the real estate agent relationships with their clients. This will help you connect with all your prospects.

<a href=”http://www.blog.househuntnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Real-Estate-Agent-Relationships.png”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-7288″ src=”http://www.blog.househuntnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Real-Estate-Agent-Relationships.png” alt=”Real-Estate-Agent-Relationships” width=”800″ height=”1027″ /></a>

<strong>22%</strong> of sellers use an agent they have worked with prior

<strong>38%</strong> of sellers use a real estate agent who was referred to them by a friend or family member

<strong>12%</strong> of buyers use an agent they have worked with before

<strong>40%</strong> of buyers use a real estate agent who was referred to them by a friend or family member

<strong>20%</strong> of sellers say the most important role of an agent is to sell the listing in a specific time-frame

<strong>53%</strong> of buyers say the most important role of an agent is to help find the best listing for their desires and budget

<strong>70%</strong> of sellers hire the first agent they interview

<strong>66%</strong> of buyers hire the first agent they interview

<strong>83%</strong> of sellers say they would refer and reuse their realty agent

<strong>91%</strong> of homes are listed on the MLS for the seller

Much of this information comes from the <a href=”http://www.realtor.org/reports/highlights-from-the-2014-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers” target=”_blank”><strong><span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>2014 NAR Buyer &amp; Seller Profile</span></strong></a>.

 

Best and Worst Times to Sell a House

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As a real estate agent, you hear time and time again – starting before you even have your license – that the spring season is the best time of year to sell a property. You’ve probably conveyed this idea to your clients. That’s why we have to publish stories about how fall and winter are still good times to sell – just to keep the market from stalling out entirely!

 

Well… a new study indicates that conventional wisdom about success in the springtime isn’t as straightforward as we’ve believed.

 

Sure, spring months have plenty of active buyers and sellers. Business probably appears to be booming for you as an agent. But those months are actually some of the worst times for your customers.

 

This new survey was conducted by SmartZip and Inman Select. It looked at seller statistics over the last five years with a focus on days on the market and final versus asking price ratio. First, they published the following infographic to show the worst month (by state) to sell your real estate:

 

SmartZip
SmartZip

 

Following that, they released a look at the best months to sell a home. These are the months with the shortest time on the market and the best offers.

 

Best times to sell a house
Re/Max

 

 

So why the stark difference to what we’ve come to expect in the industry?

 

Usually, the spring marketplace is full with buyers and sellers, so buyer demand is negated by a steady supply of options to buy. When buyers have more homes to choose from, homes can stay on the market for longer and end up selling for less.

 

The infographics also show that certain markets benefit at certain times. Warmer states have an advantage in the fall and winter months. Sellers seem to grow stagnant when there’s snow on the ground outside your open house.

 

Nationwide, the worst times to sell a house are around March. The national peak is in October.


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Top Reasons Your Listing Won’t Sell [Infographic]

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Done everything you can for marketing and promotion, and still that listing won’t sell? Here are the facts and stats behind why you can’t move that one particular property…
Reasons-Your-Listing-Won't-Sell
  1. Home is Overpriced – This is the most common reason a property won’t sell. And don’t think about giving yourself that “wiggle room;” 40% of buyers won’t even look at a home priced above market value.
  2. It’s a Buyer’s Market – The fall/winter seasons are stronger seller’s markets, and give you less competition.
  3. Stubborn Seller – You should never give up on your most difficult clients, but cotinue to make it clear what sacrafices the seller may have to make if they want to move the property.
  4. Recently Purchased – This one is particularly interesting. A property purchased or refinanced within the last seven years can be a turn off to many buyers. This affects about 14% of the homes on the market. People want to know the previous owners were invested in their home. Hopping around, especially after refinancing, can rouse suspicion.
  5. Bad Location – There’s not much a real estate agent can do about geography. Just make sure to cite all the geographic handicaps in your listing interview, so there’s no surprises.
  6. Needs Some TLC – Whether it’s some simple renovations or just cleaning and tidying, a little TLC can go a long way. Cleaning and de-cluttering can increase property value by up to $2,000, and is recommended by 98% of agents.
  7. Bad Floorplan – Again, not much an agent can do about this problem. However, great staging can distract people from the problems and show that the layout is still functional. Major additions/renovations are rarely recommended by agents due to poor return on investment. Focus on the more superficial updates that can be made.

Sources:

The information for this infographic came from the following sites (click for specific page) –

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HouseHunt Success Story: Two Closings Totaling Over $20 Million

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success story
HouseHunt

The end of the year crept up fast and it’s usually around the start of November when things tend to get a little hectic with all the family gatherings and holiday shopping, but that didn’t stop Joy Bender and Rob Aumann.

 

Joy and Rob own the territories of Del Mar, Fairbanks Ranch, La Jolla, Rancho Santa Fe, and Solana Beach in San Diego, California, and have been with HouseHunt since 2011. Recently, Joy and Rob made two million dollar closings! They closed a total of $30.1 million in 2014 with $27,415,000 coming from HouseHunt leads.

 

Their most recent closing happened the day before Thanksgiving where they closed the largest on market residential sale for San Diego County for the year—an impressive $15.99 million oceanfront property. In just 3 weeks, Joy and Rob were able to negotiate the price of the home as it was an estate sale with multiple heirs and close right before the holiday.

 

Thanks to perseverance, hard work, adaptability, and HouseHunt’s proven systems, Joy and Rob have experienced much success in the luxury homes market. Over the past two and a half years Joy has received a considerable amount of criticism from agents and brokers in regards to her relentless commitment to working online leads versus the traditional real estate business plan. The numbers don’t lie, being a pioneer paid off in a big way giving her the upper hand over her critics!

 

So what exactly does this team do differently in order for them to garner over $1 million in Gross Commission Income with just HouseHunt leads? Joy was kind enough to walk us through a regular workday to give us an idea.

 

“On a daily basis I follow up with my HouseHunt leads via text and email, and go over my personal website’s IDX to get multiple listing feeds.  I also dedicate time to handwritten mail. I believe that is an imperative step within our system to convert high-end internet leads.  Right now, I do everything myself and refer out lesser priced leads to referral agents within my brokerage.”

 

It’s clear that Joy Bender and Rob Aumann are a driven team and while 2015 is almost here, we can only imagine what other successes will come their way in the New Year. Joy and Rob, your clients and everyone here at HouseHunt are so proud of your success and are inspired by your hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see the next success story in 2015!


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How to Set Up a Google+ Page for Real Estate

By Jesse McCarl

At this point, we here at HouseHunt have drilled in the importance of a Google+ profile for your real estate business. We’ve discussed the pros and cons to creating a business page versus just promoting your business out of your personal account. But perhaps what’s holding you back is not the choices to make when setting up your page, it’s simply how to get started.

 

Click here to see the first part in our series, How to Set Up a Facebook Page for Real Estate.

 

The first step to making a Google+ Business Page is to have a personal Google+ Profile.

Well, good news! By having a Google account, you automatically have access to Google+. It doesn’t automatically sign you up the way it used to, but all you have to do is upload a picture and follow the link to your account. You’ll find the Google+ access in lumped with other Google products like Mail, Calendar, etc.

If you have chosen to operate your business promotion entirely out of your personal account (which isn’t a bad idea!), then congratulations! You’re done setting up!

If, however, you want to promote your business as a business, you’ll want to continue with these instructions.

Go to the ‘Pages’ tab on the far left of your Google+ Profile. There, you’ll see any Google+ Business Pages you already manage. You’ll also see a button that says “Get your page.” Go ahead and click that.

Next, you’ll choose what type of business you want to set up. If you want to advertise a specific broker office, you’ll want to click on ‘Storefront’ business. If you’re just setting up your personal real estate establishment, click ‘Service Area.’

Google+ Page for Real Estate 3

Next, plug in your business name or your local address. Google will use it’s all knowing powers via Google Maps to find your business, or at least some similar ones nearby. If your business isn’t listed, you can add it. Google will verify your business’ authenticity by sending you a validation postcard that you will have to return!

Google+ Page for Real Estate  4

Next you’ll fill out the details about your work.

Google+ Page for Real Estate  5

And finally, you’ll agree to the terms and establish your Business Page.

Google+ Page for Real Estate  6

Set up your business page exactly how you would set up your personal page. There will be a spot for a logo in the Profile Picture box. You’ll have a designated spot for your company slogan/motto, website link, description, etc. Fill all this out as completely as possible!

All this will be very important because it makes you and your business significantly easier to find on search engines. This simple process will work wonders for your SEO. To read all about the benefits of Google+ for Realtors, click here.

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Quotes for Success in Business [Infographic]

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When you’re a Realtor, you’re essentially your own boss. You may need some inspiration occasionally to stay focussed on why you do what you do, and how to make your passions profitable. Here are some quotes for success in business from some of the greatest minds in their respective industries. Maybe when we revise this infographic, your quote will be posted for the realty division!

Quotes-for-Success-in-Business

 

“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” -Thomas Jefferson

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.” -Japanese Proverb

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” -Thomas Watson, Sr.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather, become a man of value.” -Albert Einstein

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” -Henry Ford

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” -Henry David Thoreau

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” -Jim Rohn

“You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.” -Oprah Winfrey

“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” -Richard Branson

 

We hope this makes for an excellent way to start the calendar year for work!

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Fair Housing: Work to be Done in 2015?

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A lot of racially-fuelled stories have been front and center in our nation’s news throughout 2014. In light of this, it’s important for real estate professionals to take a look at race, discrimination, and general fair housing concerns as we kick off a New Year.

Fair Housing

Still an Issue?

The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 to prevent discrimination to people seeking to rent or own property. Since then, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Urban Institute (a non-partisan think tank in D.C.) have conducted a study about once a decade to monitor the effectiveness of the laws.

They conduct the survey through “pair testing.” Basically, they send in a white person and a minority person to a real estate office to ask about different housing options. This test is conducted at multiple offices throughout the country. The 2012 survey included over 8,000 pairings in 28 different metro regions.

White homebuyers were shown more options and better prices than equally qualified blacks, Latinos, or Asians. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Black renters learned about 11 percent fewer rental units, and black homebuyers were shown about a fifth fewer homes.
  • Asian renters learned about 7 percent fewer rental units, and Asian homebuyers saw about a fifth fewer homes.
  • Latino renters learned about 12 percent fewer units. (Interestingly, the study found that there was not a statistically significant difference in the way white and Latino homebuyers were treated.)

The fewer options usually meant higher prices for the minority buyers/renters.

 

Why It Matters

As a general rule, we all know discrimination in any form is bad. But more specifically, what are the consequences of discrimination in the world of real estate?

A core of many foundational elements of a family’s success and stability is rooted in housing. Children of homeowners score higher in reading and math, and are more likely to stay in school. Homeowners generally report a higher quality of life, a greater feeling of control, and improved self esteem than non-homeowners.

What does that mean exactly?

With any remnants of decimation left in the nation’s real estate offices, we are further fueling the racial divide across the country. The overflow of opportunity in housing is further opportunity in education, contentment, and so on.

When someone denies housing options due to race, that person is denying innumberable more options and opportunities down the road. It spills into the job market, the education system, and so on.

 

What to Do?

This one is going to seem really simple, and that’s because it is!

Don’t discriminate as a real estate agent!

Cover yourself by making sure that your record is clean. There should be absolutely nothing that you would tell a white client that you wouldn’t tell a minority client. If you were one of the subjects randomly tested in the survey described above, you would want to make sure you’d covered all your bases and come out unbiased.

This will prevent you from any legal ramifications, and secure your reputation and good word-of-mouth.

Housing played a critical role in the Civil Rights movement. It is at the core of a more united America. Realtors in 2015 can still be agents of change be getting rid of the last bits of segregation in the community.

 

What do you think? Have you seen racial bias during your time as an agent?


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