Vacation Homes [Infographic]

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The importance of vacation homes is growing in this booming real estate market. This infographic takes a look at some helpful stats about the significance of summer homes, why they’re booming this year, and what kinds of homes are fastest to get snatched off the market. A lot of this information comes courtesy of the National Association of Realtors.

Vacation-Homes

Significance

Real estate agents need to be prepared for an influx of customers looking to buy a vacation home.
  • 2014 vacation home sales were up 57.4% from the previous year.
  • 1.3 million vacation homes were purchased in 2014.
  • Summer home sales accounted for 21% of real estate transactions last year.

Reasons

Why are summer homes such a big market right now?
  • The Baby Boomer generation is buying a 2nd home to become their primary residence upon their (soon) retirement.
  • Affluent households considering a second home have had a confidence boost thanks to a strong stock market.

Statistics

Of those who purchased a vacation home in the last year, here’s what they bought (and why)…
  • 33% bought for personal and family retreats
  • 54% bought a single family home. 27% bought a condo or townhouse.
  • 40% bought a home at the beach. 15% bought a home on a lake front.
  • 19% plan to make the summer home their primary residence in the future
  • 46% purchased in the South, 25% in the west, 15% in the northeast, and 14% in the midwest.

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How to Find a Brokerage [Infographic]

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There are a lot of things to keep in mind when you’re looking to find a brokerage. This always happens very early in your real estate career, but can happen periodically for the rest of your life. Here are the questions you need to find the perfect real estate company for you, plus a look at franchise vs. independent brokers.

How-To-Find-A-Brokerage

Questions to Ask

Company Vision and Culture

  • What are the long term goals of the brokerage?
  • What are the company’s core values?
  • What is the turnover rate like?
  • Is there additional training or a mentor program?

Paycheck and Benefits

  • How much of the commission goes to the company?
  • Do they subsidize your advertising budget?
  • Is the office in a convenient and practical location for you?
  • Are you supplied with any additional technology resources?

Online Presence

  • Is the company site easy to navigate? Are their agents well represented?
  • How many listings are currently active? Are they high quality?

Franchise vs. Independent Brokers

38% of agents use franchise brokerages, and 59% use an independent brokerage. The other 3% are undisclosed. Your franchise ones are the big names that people recognize such as Keller Williams, Re/Max, Sotheby’s, etc. Those areas have more budget and resources, as well as established authority and credibility. Independent brokers, however, offer more flexibility for agents and allow more input from their agents.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Remember that brokerage offices need you more than you need them. Don’t be intimidated.
  • When you meet to discuss partnering with a company, it should be a dialogue, not just an interview. Make sure you are as good a fit for them as they are for you.

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How Do People Find Their Realtor? [Infographic]

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A lot of your customers wonder how to find a realtor, so we take a look at the most common ways for clients to find you. Seeing what effectively drives business in real estate will help you better plan your marketing and outreach budgets.

How-Do-People-Find-Their-Realtor

 

Before we look at the methods people use to find their real estate agent, let’s look at the most important factors they’re considering when making the choice. The top desirable quality in an agent is the reputation of an agent and their honesty and trustworthiness. These two qualities are each ranked as the most important factor by 23% of consumers. 15% want to use a personal friend or family member, even though that is often a bad idea. 13% want somebody who is a community expert.

Regardless of whether you’re dealing with buyers or sellers, first-timers or repeat customers, the most popular way for people to find their agent is through referrals. Repeat business is also an extremely important factor for sellers and repeat buyers.

The median rate for referral and repeat business for all Realtors is 21%. Naturally, the rate of referral and repeat business increases with every year in the business.

All information comes from the NAR 2014 Survey of Home Buyers and Sellers.


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How to Build a Real Estate Team [Infographic]

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This infographic takes a look at how you can develop a profitable real estate team without losing the vision or effectiveness of your company along the way.

Build-a-Real-Estate-Team

Lay a Foundation

Before you even start building a real estate team, you need to have the right protocol established.

First and foremost, you need to have funding. Don’t hire someone until you have the resources to pay that person accordingly. This sounds obvious, but a lot of people think that after they have more hands on deck, the money will come in naturally.

Next, you need to have systems in place for every aspect of your company procedures. Incorporate all of these into training for new hires. (And of course, have a training system in place, too!)

Build Up

Let’s start by talking about money again! Have a budget in place for every dollar that comes in. It should be designed to grow the business. Here’s a suggested breakdown of how to split the income:

  • First 10% – Put towards company
  • Next 10% – This is for you, the manager
  • Remainder – Employee payout

As you continue to grow your team, have goals in mind for where the company should be. List growth goals and attach them to revenue and clientele goals. Know that you cannot hire more team members until you hit where you want your business to be. If too much time goes by without hitting your goals, it may be time to re-evaluate the staff you already have.

Step Back

Now for the fun part. This is why you started a real estate team in the first place! Once your company is self sustaining machine, you get to step back and look for opportunities for further growth.

First, be mindful of how you delegate tasks. This will take finding some balance in your leadership. You don’t want to pawn off all the responsibilities you don’t want, but you shouldn’t micromanage employees either. You want to stick to your original mission statement, but you also need to remain open to new ideas. You want to trust your team to get the job done, but you also must occasionally follow-up and verify that everything is being done properly and according to your standard of excellence.

Remember, it’s YOUR name on the line!

With a more hands-off approach than you were able to take without a team, you have the ability to collect data from your employees and evaluate where existing methods and systems can be improved. Always look for expansion opportunities.


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Top 5 Threats to the Housing Market in 2015 [Infographic]

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The market reports from the first quarter of 2015 signal a great year in the industry. But these are the areas that could be any agent’s downfall. We’re bringing them to your attention now so that you can move forward knowing how to talk to your buyers and your sellers about threats to the housing market that they may be concerned about.

Top-5-Threats-to-the-Housing-Market-in-2015

1. Disappearing Investors

The number of investment buyers has dropped 5% since this time last year.

2. Rising Mortgage Rates

Interest rates are at a historical low right now, but are expected to hit 5% this year. Those are the highest rates since 2010.

3. Fading Foreign Buyers

The value of the American dollar has gone up, but that means foreign markets are less inclined to move here. Foreign investors dropped 25% in 2014.

4. Cost of Living Discrepancy

The average home price went up 11% last year. Did your salary go up that much?

5. Trapped Renters

Rent rates are rising faster than mortgage rates. When renters can’t afford to save for a down payment, they get stuck in the cycle of renting.

Thank you to Freddie Mac, Realtor.org, and CNN Money.

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What Does It Cost To Be A Real Estate Agent? [Infographic]

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Real estate can be a very lucrative career, but it can also cost a lot of money. While you are planning out how to budget your marketing expenses, this infographic will help you appropriate the right figures.

What-Does-It-Cost-to-Be-a-Real-Estate-Agent

We’re going to start with traditional marketing expenses and work our way towards all the miscellaneous costs you can acquire in order to be the best Realtor in the biz.

Farming

Farming includes expenses like business cards, direct mail, and more. Obviously you can choose to cut different marketing tactics in this department, but never underestimate the power of traditional farming promotion. You can expect these types of items to cost you a little over a thousand dollars a year.

Branding

Branding is a more general sense of advertising – anything that builds your name as a brand. One of the simplest ways to do this is with social media. One of the most effective ways to do this is with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. You can expect branding expenses to total just shy of a grand per year.

Listings

When you’re not promoting yourself, you’ll promote the houses you represent. This will include everything from broker previews, open houses, customized brochures, and signage for the front yards. This stuff will cost you around $900; more depending on how extravagant you tend to get with your marketing.

Digital

Digital marketing is all the advertising that gains you new clientele from the world wide web. This includes a lot of the high-dollar times such as lead generation and paid advertising. You may not use all these services, but you are garaunteed to get out of digitial marketing what you put into it. If you take your digital marketing seriously, you can expect this to cost around $10,000 a year.

Website

A website is pivotal for any real estate professional. After an initial set-up fee that’ll cost you a few hundred dollars, this section is actually pretty cheap to maintain. Between your domain hosting, site maintainence, and IDX, you can expect site upkeep to cost around $500 annually.

Other Expenses

The truth is, the “other expenses” category could go on forever. However, there are few things that no real estate agent can escape. The big expenses include – first and foremost – your car. This is the most expensive aspect of a Realtor’s career. With all the gas and maintenance, this will cost you around $1,770 per year. The next big item is technology. Where would agents be without their technology toys? They’d be about $700 richer per year, that’s where! And lastly, no (certified) agent can avoid their association fees. Luckily this should only cost around $120 a year. Total for miscellaneous expenses will be around $2,400.

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What To Do When Leads Go Cold [Infographic]

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This infographic flow chart will guide you through how to effectively re-engage prospects when leads go cold.

What-To-Do-When-Leads-Go-Cold

First look at how you know the lead is qualified. Every real estate agent will have a different definition of what defines a qualified lead. The infographic provides a few examples. If you don’t think the lead was actually qualified – as in they didn’t appear to be serious about pursuing real estate goals – then it may be best to let the lead go. Invest that energy on newer, qualified leads.

If it WAS a qualified lead, you should have recorded why the lead didn’t convert at the time. Did the lead want time to do more research? Did they simply make excuses for not being ready to act? Or did the lead just drop of the face of the Earth and stop communicating?

Depending on why the lead disappeared, see if you can reengage with a few various tactics.

  • Try a new communication medium. If you only ever talked over the phone, follow them on social media and engage via email marketing.
  • Offer personalized resources based on the lead’s concerns and goals.
  • Present statistics that could convert the lead. Here are some statistics for seller leads and here are some statistics for buyer leads.
  • Ask if you can put the lead in your online database (or CRM) to make sure you can follow up with them later. Most buyers will agree to this.

Now are they ready to act? If so, great! If not, that’s okay too. Remember, it takes an average of 6-8 contacts before a client feels ready to commit to your business.

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Break the Routine! [Infographic]

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When you need a change of pace, here are some ways to advance your real estate career without feeling trapped in day-to-day monotony. Other times, a change in the usual is forced upon with a snow day or a sick child. No matter what, these tips will keep you productive while you break the routine of your normal schedule!

Break-the-Routine!

Clear the Pipeline

No matter how diligent you are, some quality leads will slip through the cracks, especially when you have a great service like HouseHunt. Even if they’re old contacts, go ahead and touch base.

Schedule Out

Surf the web for interesting news stories about the industry, and share them on social media. Schedule posts for weeks out!

Make a Graphic

Use your creativity to make visual marketing materials, infographics, and other resources.

Go to a Preview

Previews are an opportunity to network with other realty professionals, see what’s on the market, and get of the house for some free food!

Read Some Wisdom

Clear some time in your schedule to be inspired by published professionals in your field.

Find a Certification

Check out Hubspot, Microsoft, Inman, and more for real estate or marketing certifications you can earn for free online and then advertise on your own site.

Meet With Old Clients

Treat a former client to lunch or coffee. It’ll be a change of pace for you and will ensure positive word of mouth.

Find a New Spot

Sometimes doing the same work in a fresh, new spot can make all the difference. Go to a park! Go to a coffee shop! Mix it up.

Productivity Tips

  • Take a break from looking at your computer screen every 20 minutes.
  • Don’t start your day by checking e-mail.
  • Go outside on your breaks.
  • Eat the frog, as they say. Start your day with the most dreaded tasks on your to-do list.
  • Stay hydrated throughout the day to help you focus.
  • Turn push notifications off your phone.

 


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What You Need to Know About Baby Boomers [Infographic]

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The baby boomer generation are working longer and staying more active in the community than the generation before them. They still play a major role in the real estate industry. Here’s some insight to Baby Boomers’ home-ownership goals and how you can market accordingly.

Baby-Boomers

Baby Boomer Profile

The term “baby boomer” comes from the post-World War II baby boom between 1946 and 1964. Their current age is approximately 50-70.

Plans to Stay

59% of Boomers do not intend to sell their home upon retirement. Of those, 78% like their current home and 54% are not financially ready to move.

Plans to Buy

28% of Boomers are interested in buying a second home.

4.4% plan to move out of state.

4.7% plan to downsize. Half of those are downsizing for a simpler lifestyle; a quarter are downsizing to save money.

Ideal Neighborhood

66% of the generation says proximity to healthcare facilities is important.

11% say proximity to a college or university is important.

34% say proximity to parks and recreation is important.

24% say proximity to public transportation is important.

66% say proximity to family is important.

68% say proximity to shops and restaurants is important.

Marketing to the Demographic

96.3% of real estate agents regularly work with the Boomer generation.

Main Sources for Information

This generation gets their news and information from the Internet, television, and newspapers. They are a search-oriented generation, which means they seek to answer specific questions online, as opposed to browsing or surfing the Web. This means SEO is imperative for reaching this generation.

Baby Boomer Engagement

59% use and interact with social media.

40% of Boomers use video marketing. This age group is more likely to view and share videos.

Only 29% actively use a smartphone.

Sources

Special thanks to Abila, Coldwell Banker Blog, and the California Association of Realtors for data used in this infographic.

More Demographic Strategies

Always Remember Your First Time Buyer

Reaching Millennials

Niche Marketing: Senior Citizens

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Don’t Let Your Battery Die [Infographic]

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Real estate professionals depend on their mobile devices for productivity. Without your phone or tablet, business comes to a screeching halt. Don’t let your battery die by utilizing these helpful tips and tools. We’ve also included a duplicate of today’s infographic so that you can share this guide with people who are not real estate professionals.

“Batteries are the most dramatic object. Other things stop working or they break, But Batteries… They Die.” -Demetri Martin

Don't-Let-Your-Battery-Die-RE

Battery Saving Techniques

Dim Brightness – Dim the brightness on your phone or use the auto-bright feature to use less battery on screen glow.

Do Not Disturb – Download an app like Power Schedule or use Airplane Scheduler to activate Airplane Mode at bedtime so that your phone isn’t using any unnecessary energy.

Turn Off Vibrate – Although convenient, the vibrate feature uses a lot of unnecessary charge.

Avoid Data – Don’t download, stream, or use any feature that requires data when you’re not linked to wifi.

Turn Off Roaming – If your phone has Bluetooth, wifi, or GPS turned on when they are not actively being used, it is constantly running down your charge.

Boring Backgrounds – Avoid animated wallpapers and screensavers, often called “Dynamic Backgrounds.”

iOS Specifics

Turn off location services

Turn off “Background App Refresh” feature in Settings

Activate “Reduce Motion” feature

Android Specifics

Trim apps running in the background

Reduce push notifications

Keep apps up to date

Delete apps you don’t use

Miscellaneous Battery Boosters

Battery Extending phone case

Rapid charge cable

External batteries

Battery-charging speakers

Real Estate Statistics

Nearly 80% of real estate agents say that text messaging is a major communication medium with their clients

Most U.S. listings are viewed on a mobile device

94% of agents use mobile devices to communicate with prospects and clients.

For non-Real Estate Professionals
For non-Real Estate Professionals
Sources: WikiHow, About, PCMag, and an Inman News webinar titled, “Mobilize and Optimize Your Productivity with Your Smartphone.”


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