How to Update a Kitchen to Attract Buyers

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By Patti Stern, PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

Kitchens are more important than ever when it comes to influencing buyers’ perceptions of a home as well as the perceived value. Some home owners make it a priority to invest in remodeling key rooms to increase the value of their home for when they are ready to sell. However, sellers who are pressed for time and need to get their homes on the market fast can still achieve the look of a remodel by giving their outdated kitchen a modern face lift that will engage buyers without breaking the bank.

The kitchen featured below was designed for a couple that wanted their dream kitchen to enjoy but kept the look classic in the event they decide to sell down the road. The key to managing their budget was to follow the existing blue print and add some modern updates.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
This kitchen style was reminiscent of the early 90’s. We transformed it into a modern, stylish space incorporating some of today’s top trends, including a neutral paint color, modern shaker style cabinets, clean subway tiles, industrial pendants, quartz countertops and complementary natural, organic stone tile.

When selling, there are many ways home owners can update key kitchen features while staying within a budget. Painting, new appliances, lighting, and updating cabinet hardware are just some examples of inexpensive fixes worth every penny to attract buyers.

The following are some examples of PJ & Company’s staging projects that feature simple improvements such as painting cabinets, upgrading appliances, and installing new light fixtures that give these kitchens a remodeled appearance like our dream kitchen above.

The kitchen cabinet transformation

Our favorite fix for dated cabinets is paint. Using bright white paint to cover outdated, dark wood cabinets gives this kitchen (pictured below) a modern facelift. Other cosmetic fixes to enhance the look include replacing cabinet hardware with sleek, brushed nickel knobs and handles. Adding a few modern accessories like the small sisal rug provides a relaxed and inviting Pottery Barn-look.

In this kitchen update, PJ & Company painted the cabinets white and the oak island a dark espresso, creating a fresh, modern kitchen attractive to buyers without a major investment.

This Pleasantville, NY kitchen was not only small but dated. PJ & Company painted the cabinets white, and added a countertop table with stools which gave the space a fresh look that buyers loved.

Update fixtures and appliances

The right lighting is a critical part of any space but is most important in the kitchen for functionality. These industrial style pendant lights are a perfect example of a simple update that adds a twist of contemporary style with sophisticated appeal.

As more people are tuning in to watch cooking programs on television these days, they are seeing sleek kitchen appliances and fixtures, which are growing in popularity particularly among young buyers. If your appliances are outdated or in disrepair, consider replacing or servicing them. If you decide to replace, keep in mind that retailers will often give a discount when buying multiple new appliances.

The single lever faucet, the stainless steel stove, and floating hood are another example of an upgrade that completes the state of the art look of the room. There is a range of options available to choose from that will give a high-end look that will appeal to buyers.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Invest in countertops

Repair or replace counters that are cracked, stained, or dated. If replacing, consider one of our favorite materials: Quartz (used for the island in our kitchen remodel). Quartz has become a growing alternative to granite and marble. It comes in a variety of colors and styles that provide both a custom appeal along with durability.

Kitchen Remodel: PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating
Kitchen island features quartz countertops

Update flooring

Nothing says dated more than worn carpeting, scuffed hardwood floors, and cracked tile. If your kitchen floor is dull and has lost its luster, first try to clean, use wax linoleum, re-grout, replace missing tiles, and polish hardwoods. If there are too many imperfections, there are a variety of low cost tiles that are both affordable and durable. There are also many synthetic options to choose from that mimic the look of hardwood floors in our kitchen remodel, as well as stone or marble finishes.

For more examples of interior decorating and home staging, visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern, principal, interior decorator and professional stager of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, has been decorating and staging homes since 2005. She and her team provide turnkey, full service home-staging and interior decorating to clients across Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts. She also developed an award-winning staging program for luxury home builder, Toll Brothers. Stern has been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant, Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV. She is a regular contributor to REALTOR Magazine’s Styled, Staged & Sold blog. To contact, e-mail Patti Stern at patti@pjstagingdecorating.com

Source - Realtor.org

One Indispensable Habit to Help Standout

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Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

As a young real estate pro, you may be stumped on how you can standout in a sea of agents, particularly when some of those agents have more than 30 years of sales experience. Unfortunately, as a broker and trainer, I have witnessed younger agents, whether new to real estate or not, lambasted for their lack of experience in both life and sales. In those sad instances, lack of experience becomes “larger than life,” which myopically and erroneously become the only skill trait that matters. I marvel and cringe in those situations, but I am quick to interject with a vital characteristic that can trump experience any day of the week – a characteristic that can help a rookie agent land a listing and make a sale that the veteran missed out on.

Before I come right out and say what this imperative sales trait is, check out the following statistics and see if you can guess what it is:

  • Real estate is the second most searched topic on social media but ranks lower than the government in response rates, according to Sprout Social’s Consumer Engagement Index. (As sluggish as the government can be, this is deplorable!)
  • According to Real Trends 2013 Online Performance Study, 89 percent of consumers say response time was very important when choosing their agent.
  • The Real Trends study also says 45 percent of consumers expect an initial response from an online inquiry within 15 minutes.
  • And 56 percent of consumers expect a response from their agent within 30 minutes, according the the Real Trends study.
  • Yet according to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® report, The Intelligent Internet Lead, the average agent response time was about 15 hours. (Is anyone else gasping for air?)

@Jamierodriguez37, 2015. Morguefile

I am sure you guessed it – the quintessential skill to possess that can actually make experience pale in comparison is responsiveness. When you are a well-trained agent (whether young, middle aged, or in your golden years) who exudes professionalism and makes responsive communication your point of differentiation, you win!

Here are four reasons why responsiveness should become your new normal, if it isn’t already:

1. You expect it.

The hallmarks of professionalism are doing what you say you will do and timely follow-up. You expect (and probably even demand) this when dealing both in and outside of the real estate arena, so let’s practice what we preach. Make the very crux of your professionalism be responsiveness. How many times have you chosen a product or service provider because he was “Johnny-on-the-Spot”? Perhaps your favorite lender does not have 30 years of experience but she follows up promptly. So for you, and probably many others, responsiveness trumps experience. Or, on the personal side, maybe your dog sitter never ignores your oddball requests, even if he cannot accommodate you each and every time. Responsiveness can go a long way in clinching new clients and making sure that past clients choose and refer you again and again.

2. It gives a boost to your reviews.

Time and time again, positive online reviews give an agent a powerful online footprint and virtual legacy that is hard to erase. Many of us buy products or choose services in our personal lives now because of the sentiments expressed in online reviews. The real estate industry is no different. But if you have ever had a hard time getting current and past clients to post a glowing review of you, maybe, just maybe, they were not impressed with your level of professionalism and they are taking the high road of not saying anything if they cannot say anything nice. This, of course, is not the only reason our clients elect to not be our online “raving fans” – sometimes they are too busy or maybe there were other glitches in their transaction that left them sour. But when all else goes well, check and see if your responsiveness was not up to par and work on it going forward.

3. Other agents are hungry.

It is no big deal if you connect with an inquiring real estate prospect in a few hours or the next business day, right? Well, if you are absolutely the only agent and online portal system servicing your entire area, then you may have that luxury. But more likely than not, you are not the only agent left on Earth or the only way for information about a real estate property to be obtained. Translation = you have competition.

Hopefully, you have been on the receiving end and not the losing side of being the first to connect with a prospective buyer or seller that delivered the critical three Cs (Client, Closing, and Commission). But whatever your historical stance has been, choose now to be on #TeamResponsive and respond to ALL inquiries within the desired 15-minute window to increase your chances of converting ominous leads to actual clients that close and generate commissions for you.

4. Automation is easier and less expensive than back in the day.

It is 2015, so there are no excuses to not respond to EVERY inquiry within minutes. Why? Because of automation! Automation is painless, fairly inexpensive, and, frankly, half the battle. You still have to build rapport but this makes it easier. IT not only puts you in the running to capture a new client, but may very well push you to the front of the pack.

And let’s address the elephant in the room: As much as agents do not want certain web portals taking their leads, those portals have automated their responses. We are in a responsive, drive-thru age so many folks want what they want, when they want it. Technology allows us to accommodate this without losing our sanity and neglecting our families so let’s use it.

Texting is no longer taboo in the home buying and selling process for many. If you have not taken the time to do it yet, I encourage you, as a bare minimum, to make sure you have canned text messages (for unknown numbers as well as those that may be current clients, vendors, friends, etc.) that can be sent to every caller.

Have you tried IFTTT yet? This handy app can help you automate responses from your phone.

With emails and your various online sites, go back to turning on your autoresponder or use services like ManyContacts or MailChimp to send fancier looking emails to specific contacts from specific places.

If you have it in your budget, hire a receptionist or the more cost-effective option of a virtual receptionist. Services like Odesk and VoicePad Phone offer affordable and professional options.

There really is no limit to the tools you can use for automation, so I encourage you to explore them online today and also share in the comment section below the ones that work miracles for you.

By the way, follow me on Google+ and Facebook for more tips and techniques. Also, if you are a real estate agent or manage agents, learn how to GROW or RE|VAMP your business with us today. Here’s to your success!

Lee Davenport is a real estate broker, coach, and trainer with Agents Around Atlanta Plus, which offers customized, relevant, and affordable one-on-one coaching, webinars, and in-office trainings for brokers and sales agents throughout the U.S. Connect with Lee at www.AgentsAroundAtlanta.com.

Source - Realtor.org

The Room Millennials Say Is Essential – and Why You Should Stage It

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Millennials may be willing to sacrifice extra square footage in a home and even features like an outdoor kitchens or two-story foyer. But there’s one thing they say they aren’t willing to sacrifice in a new home: A separate laundry room.

A separate laundry room clearly topped the list when the National Association of Home Builders recently surveyed millennials to discover what their “most-wanted” item on their home shopping list was. Fifty-five percent said they wouldn’t buy a new home that didn’t have a separate laundry room. They also ranked storage as important, such as linen closets, a walk-in pantry, and garage storage.

With the laundry room weighing so much on millennials’ buying decisions, you may want to take a closer look at the way you’re presenting the laundry room in your listings. Could it use a freshen up? And if it’s such a selling point, you may want to add a photo of your staged laundry room to your MLS photos.

Take a look at some of these photos from the remodeling site Houzz to get ideas on freshening up your listings’ laundry rooms.

  •  Try a soft paint color — accented with white painted cabinets and trim — to make the space look larger and even cleaner. Enhance with some under-the-cabinet lights that shine on the countertops. (The paint featured in the picture below: Benjamin Moore, Comet)
  • Fresh flowers, bright colored curtains, and even wallpaper behind the cabinets may make the space more inviting. 
  • Wherever there are cubbies, add wicker baskets. Hang a few clothes on wooden hangers to show off the storage options. And if the storage options even include a place for the family’s pet, accent that in a lower cubby too with a stylish pillow cushion. 
  • If the laundry room is small, add a wooden block over the washer and dryer to squeeze in a folding station.
  • Stack a washer and dryer to maximize space in a small area and to make room for some cubbies and shelves. Keep the shelves neat and staged, such as by folding light-colored towels. Keep the laundry accessories displayed to a minimum.

Source - Realtor.org

Wine and Real Estate

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Erika Villegas

By Erika Villegas

I recently moved to a new neighborhood in Chicago where I had only sold a few homes. I didn’t know many people there, but more importantly, I didn’t know enough women.

From my experience in real estate, women are often the ones that make important decisions like when and where to purchase a home. I wanted to grow my business in my neighborhood, so I needed to meet more people; I needed to meet my neighbors.

After thinking about marketing options like the local newspapers, social media, online marketing, postcards, or good old door knocking, the light bulb lit while enjoying a glass of wine: I could combine two of my favorite things – real estate and wine.

@DodgertonSkillhause, 2015. Morguefile

A women’s wine social was the solution.  A gathering of women who enjoy a glass wine and interesting conversation as much as I do.  An event  to “wine” down for a few hours with other women who juggle work, kids, and all the other responsibilities that come with being a parent.

As I started planning, I was mindful about two things: the location and a recurring date. I wanted a date that would work for as many people as possible. After considering my own schedule, I also looked at days off from school. I chose the third Friday of every month. The location was an easy – I decided to ask a different business in my neighborhood each month to allow me to host at their location. This allows me to meet new people and grow my brand within the community while also supporting other local businesses.

The kickoff wine social was January 16 at a local restaurant, and more than 30 women attended. I had cases of wine  delivered, a lender donated goodie bags for my guests, another local restaurant prepared the appetizers, and I ordered the dessert from a local mom. As I stood back and watched all the women talking, laughing, and enjoying good conversation with their glass of wine, I knew I had made the right decision about how to market myself. At the end of the night, the restaurant  had to kick us out because no one wanted to leave.

Real estate is about people; it’s about making connections and making sure everyone you come in contact with knows that you can help them achieve the dream of homeownership.

A few days after the first wine social, a woman who had attended decided that I was the right REALTOR® for her and we started looking at homes soon after. I am glad I decided to go with an unconventional way of marketing myself. I found a way to mix two things that I love: wine and real estate.

What would you mix with real estate? Perhaps a dog lovers’ gathering or maybe a book club? Go with what feels natural and easy to accomplish. As with any type of marketing, stay focused and consistent and the business will follow.

Erika Villegas is a broker associate with ERA Mi Casa Real Estate in Chicago. Connect with Villegas at www.erikavillegas.com.

Source - Realtor.org

It’s Time For More Female Leadership in Real Estate

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Brooke Wolford

By Brooke Wolford

I recently had a conversation with other real estate professionals about the industry’s lack of women in leadership roles. For an industry comprised of almost 60 percent women, this doesn’t make sense. I have been blind to this issue because I am fortunate to work for a broker who’s management team consists of mostly women. The culture within our office is also very diverse.

Out of curiosity, I did a little research. I pulled demographics and surveyed a small group of people within the industry, all of whom are from different areas of the country and work at different companies. The results were mixed.

This is not an issue that only affects the real estate industry, but rather a workplace issue in general. Just the other day there was an article in the New York Times about the Ellen Pao vs. Kleiner Perkins case and the small percentage of women who are venture capitalists. The story also highlighted the lack of female leaders in Silicon Valley. I found this report by Catalyst, which is further proof that we have a long way to go in terms of female corporate leadership:

Now, I believe there are solutions to this problem, not only at the company level, but also at the individual level. Let’s seize this as an opportunity. Here are some points based off of the research I did with my peer group, as well as some statistics I found:

  1. Many in my peer survey suggest that women are very motivated and have additional skills that can be great in leadership.
  2. Many real estate pros surveyed said there is a lack of female leaders at the brokerage level. When asked the average number of people in upper management at their brokerage, they said seven, and the average number of females in upper management: one.
  3. Some said that their companies have had the same people in leadership roles for many years (10 to 20 years or more).
  4. According to NAR, 57 percent of REALTORS® are women.
  5. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 61 percent of the U.S. workforce; they earn almost 60 percent of all undergraduate degrees and 37 percent of all MBAs, yet many companies continue to lag in placing females in executive positions.
  6. Many people I spoke to suggested that some women are motivated to advance but they seem to get stuck in the middle management limbo.
  7. Several studies I read show that women are often held to a higher standard than men.
  8. According to the U.S. Census, women account for a little over half of the population.
  9. In 1980, the portion of female leaders of the top 500 companies was at 11 percent, and today, that number is roughly 18 percent.  That’s only a 7 percent increase – in 35 years!

As I look at myself and look back at my history, I see that I made a lot of sacrifices to get to where I am now. I sacrificed sleep, health, and having a personal life to run a business while simultaneously being a single mom. There were times that I only slept a couple hours a night. A lot of this was my own doing. I also didn’t have a strong support system, like family to help, a supportive significant other, etc. But why should I not be able to have it all? When there are 12 million single parent families in the U.S. as of 2014 – and more than 80 percent are headed by single mothers – working toward success both professionally and personally is clearly not uncommon.

I could go on and on about this, but I think it’s more important to stress that there is an opportunity here. Being the diverse and constantly changing industry that real estate is, there is plenty of untapped talent and ways to improve.

The best chance of changing obstacles in business is to tip the gender scales in leadership.

To all the women reading this: Become the leader of your own career and life. Be authentic authors of your own lives. Take responsibility for your professional development. No one has a greater investment in your success and satisfaction than you. Don’t depend on the traditional management structure of your organization to put you on the path to achievement. It’s up to you to direct and protect your career and to develop your own potential. You cannot afford to be passive or to accept roles assigned to you. Know what you want and why you want it, then be prepared to take action to make it happen. This means maintaining your focus on your goals in spite of any feelings of discouragement. Tell yourself this: I simply will not give up. If your goal is to become a leader and to help real estate industry become truly diverse, then don’t give up. Your leadership is most needed.

Our industry has a huge opportunity. The real estate industry can be the trendsetter; we can create a ripple effect that will carry over into other industries. Let’s not wait for this to happen, lets make this happen.

Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with RE/MAX Results in Eden Prairie, Minn. Follow her blog at www.thehousingword.com.

Source - Realtor.org

Is a Larger Closet Worth More Than a Prime Location? Apparently Yes!

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Home buyers say they’re willing to make some sacrifices on the home’s location in order to get certain must-have amenities in their next home, according to the 2014 PulteGroup Home Index Survey of more than 1,000 adults ages 25 to 65. Indeed, 44 percent of adults surveyed said they’d give up a location near public transportation and 35 percent would give up better schools and proximity to entertainment and shopping for certain upgrades in their next home.

So what features are so important that they are willing to make such big sacrifices as the location of the home? Here are the top items that home owners said they’d be willing to make sacrifices on location in order to have:

 

  • Move-in ready home: 64%
  • At least one bathtub in a home: 54%
  • More space than their current residence: 51%
  • His and her closets: 23%
  • Spa-like master bedroom: 23%
  • Large eat-in kitchen area: 23%
  • Kitchen island: 22%

“In addition to the more common home options, we’re starting to see regional trends emerging among homebuyer preferences,” says Ryan Marshall, executive vice president of homebuilding operations, marketing and sales for PulteGroup. “From outdoor kitchens in Florida, to spice kitchens in California, shoppers are increasingly discerning when it comes to home features that could be the deciding factor in their next move.”

Other popular regional trends the survey identified were accordion-style glass doors in the Southwest; multi-generation floor plans and screened-in porches in the Southeast; balconies off the kitchen and rooftop terraces in the Northeast; and “Jack n’ Jill” bedrooms and coffee bars in the Midwest.

Overall, the most important areas to home buyers when choosing a new home: kitchen (29%), bedroom (22%), and living room (18%).

 

 

Source - Realtor.org

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Home’s Furniture Layout

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By Charlene Storozuk, guest contributor

One thing that occasionally gets overlooked when preparing a home for sale is furniture layout. I’ve been in many homes where I’ve felt that something wasn’t quite right about a certain room as soon as I entered it. Not anything obvious, but more of an indescribable sense of confusion for lack of a better word.

If you’re planning on selling your home, here are some questions you should ask yourself about your current furniture layout:

• Does the room look off balance?

• Is the flow of the room disrupted?

• Does the layout impede pathways?

• Is the focal point of the room concealed?

• Does the room feel “boxed in” rather than open?

• Is there too much furniture in the room?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might want to take a look at your furniture placement. This is where a professional home stager can help you.

At a recent staging consultation that I carried out, there were some issues with furniture placement. The space in question was an open concept living room/dining room/kitchen. If you take a look at this BEFORE photo, you’ll see that some changes were needed.

Now let’s ask the questions about this space:

Question #1: “Does the room look off balance?” Although you can’t see it from this photo, the dining area was directly behind the sofa. This area was comprised of a small round table and four chairs along with a small dining hutch. The living area was weighted down in comparison with too many pieces of heavy furniture, which made the overall space look off balance.

Question #2: “Is the flow of the room disrupted?” The large sofa split the space between the living and dining areas in half, making the room look smaller and broken up.

Question #3: “Does the layout impede pathways?” The pathway to get from the dining area to the kitchen was tight due to the length of the sofa. As well, the pathway between the sofa and loveseat to reach the seating area was cramped.

Question #4: “Is the focal point of the room concealed?” Absolutely. In this case, the focal point of the room was the fireplace. With the current furniture configuration and the large TV, the fireplace did not take main stage.

Question #5: “Does the room feel ‘boxed in’ rather than open?” Yes, you can see this from the BEFORE photo.

Question #6: “Is there too much furniture in the room?” Yes, from a staging point of view there was too much furniture in the space. While living in a house and not considering selling, you’re obviously going to arrange your space to suit your needs as was the case here. Due to the amount of entertaining the home owners did, they required more seating. However, now that they were going to sell, they needed to make some changes.

So here’s what we did…

We removed the sofa, moved the loveseat over to where the sofa previously was, and brought in a chair that was being used upstairs in the master bedroom suite. Fortunately, this chair matched the loveseat so we were in luck. While we were at it, we removed the TV for good measure in order to also help open up the space and make the fireplace the main attraction.

Once the TV was gone, we brought in a glass console table that was previously in the basement to help ground that area, yet not detract from the fireplace.

Now take a look at the AFTER photo …

Photo Credit: Charlene Storozuk, DEZIGNER DIGZ

In the AFTER photo you’ll see how the space is more open, there’s flow, and the fireplace now takes its place of prominence as it should. This photo was taken before any styling took place. You can see how different the space looks already and that’s without any decorative accessories, an area rug or small glass tables.

The way your furniture is arranged while you are living in your home should be configured to suit your needs and to work with your intended purpose for the room. However, remember that if you’re going to sell anytime soon, you should always ask yourself some important questions about furniture placement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of DEZIGNER DIGZ, a professional home staging, interior decorating and redesign firm based in Burlington, Ontario Canada. She is certified as an International Staging Professional, International Design & Decorating Professional, Professional Colour Consultant, and Feng Shui Design Professional. Her work is published in the book “FabJob Guide to Become a Home Stager,” 2009 edition. Storozuk is recognized as a local leader in the home staging industry. She founded the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth Real Estate Staging Association Chapter and served on the association’s Executive Committee for two years as Regional Vice-President, Canada. Storozuk is a past recipient of RESA North American Leadership Awards for Chapter President of the Year (2007) and Regional Vice-President of the Year (2011). For ideas on how to bring “WOW” Factor to your home, follow her HIP TIPZ Series for daily home staging, design and decor inspiration. HIP TIPZ can be found on the Dezigner Digz Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter: @dezigner_digz .

Source - Realtor.org

10 Ways to Get The Most Out of LinkedIn

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Bill Gassett

By Bill Gassett

What do you think LinkedIn is for? Is it just for people who are trying to find a new job? Should you only visit it if you want to recruit somebody? Or is it one of the best ways to grow your real estate business? If you chose the third option, you are correct. In fact, HubSpot, reports that LinkedIn is three times more effective at generating business leads than Facebook or Twitter. And since leads result in more sales and more money in your pocket, it is clear that LinkedIn cannot be ignored.

Here are 10 ways real estate pros can effectively use LinkedIn to increase their online exposure.

1. Remember, It’s Not Facebook

First, it is crucial to realize that LinkedIn is not like your other social networking sites. This one is all about business, and you better keep things professional. So no sharing that funny meme your Aunt Linda showed you, and no posting pictures of what you are eating for dinner or your funny cat. There are plenty of other sites for that.

2. Make Sure Your Profile and Company Page Are Complete

Since you are a real estate practitioner and independent contractor, you have your own professional brand, thus, you should have both a personal profile and a Company Page. Each one should be filled out completely. Not only should every detail be included—like your website, links to your other social media profiles, any awards or certifications you have, and past companies you have worked for—but it should be displayed in a way that is easy to read and engaging.

3. Include Keywords

Just like you do with your website and blogs, your profile and Company Page should be keyword rich. When people want to find a “real estate agent in Massachusetts,” for example, you want to make sure you show up.

4. Share Plenty of Content

When you are deciding which content to share on LinkedIn, always have the goal of helping others, but make sure the type of information varies. On one day, post an informative article on a new development in real estate, and on the next, share an opinionated blog post about what agents are doing wrong. Make sure you’re not just sharing your own content. Those who are successful in social media understand that it can’t always be about YOU.

5. Publish Directly on LinkedIn

Not only should you be sharing loads of information, you should also be writing your own. One thing that makes LinkedIn unique is that it allows you to publish your content for all of LinkedIn to see. They are referred to as long-form posts, and you definitely need to be taking advantage of them. Not only does it make you look more credible when you have them on your profile, but they are searchable both on and off LinkedIn. People do not have to be in your network to view them, and they are able to connect with you directly from the post. This is an invaluable tool for growing your network and establishing your expertise in the real estate industry.

6. Study Your Analytics

LinkedIn is very generous in the amount of information they provide to you. They tell you exactly which of your posts received interactions and which ones didn’t. You should study these analytics thoroughly so that you can capitalize on what people like and avoid the stuff they don’t.

7. Connect With Everyone

There has never been, and never will be, a rule that you are only allowed to connect with people that you know on LinkedIn. You should do searches for locals in your area, other agents, home appraisers, mortgage brokers, and anyone else you want. The thing is, there is no such thing as too big of a network. You never know where each connection will lead you. Over the years, I have seen some really shortsighted agents who say, if they don’t know them then they won’t connect. This might be prudent thinking on Facebook, but not on LinkedIn!

8. Capitalize on LinkedIn Real Estate Groups

One of the hidden gems on LinkedIn is the group feature. They are the difference between agents who really drive traffic back to their website and those who don’t. However, there is a proper way to use them.

  • According to the Social Media Examiner, you should look for groups within your industry—or groups that contain your target niche or market—that have enough members to get you exposure, but not so many that you get lost in the shuffle. Aim for between 1,000 and 5,000 members. You can also join a few of the larger groups for when you are sharing something of a more general nature.
  • When you interact within the groups, remember that you are there to add value. You should respond to others’ questions, give your opinions, share advice, and ask questions that make people think. You should not post links to your site unless it is something of value.
  • Don’t post your listings! I cannot emphasize this one enough. Real Estate agents are notorious for only thinking about promoting their listings. Social media is about forming relationships, not trying to sell to people. Do you think anyone goes to Linkedin groups to buy a home? I hope you realize the answer is no. This is one of the most annoying things real estate agents do in social media. What’s worse is there are some groups that spell out the fact you can’t post listings and some practitioners do it anyway. This is the perfect way to look like a fool in front of your peers.
  • Don’t try to be active on too many groups at once, or you will not be able to provide anything useful to any of them. Instead, choose three or four that you really think could boost your exposure and make sure to check-in with them several times per week. Some excellent real estate groups to take a look at joining are The National Association of REALTORS®, Real Estate Professionals Group, and Real Estate Professional Referral Group.
  • Once you are part of a conversation, don’t leave it unfinished. Always go back to see if anyone has responded to what you said.
  • After you have established yourself within the group, you can start asking your own questions and solicit feedback. If you ask one that garners a lot of attention, you will even be featured as a top contributor within the group, increasing your visibility tenfold.

9. Start Your Own Group

If you are really ambitious, it could be time to found your own group. This puts you in the driver’s seat, and, if done correctly, can really catapult your recognition in the real estate industry. In order to set the precedent, you should set up an auto-email that goes out to all new members welcoming them to the group and setting the ground rules (like no soliciting). You can also let them know that you will be sending out weekly or monthly emails with industry resources and tricks of the trade.

10. Help Others

Finally, you should take a few minutes each day to endorse and recommend other people. They will appreciate the gesture and may even return the favor.

These are some of the best ways a real estate agent can use Linkedin to get meaningful results. Do you have any tips for successfully using LinkedIn? Share them in the comments below.

Bill Gassett is a nationally-recognized real estate leader and one of the top RE/MAX salespeople in New England. See all his real estate articles at www.maxrealestateexposure.com.

 

Source - Realtor.org

Solve Kids’ Room Messes

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Home owners don’t have to keep kids’ room doors closed 24/7. Provide room storage solutions for kids of every age.

Post to Facebook a free article, “Kids’ Rooms: Storage Solutions for Every Age”, from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in January’s “Unleash Your Home’s Storage Potential” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2015 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

 

Source - Realtor.org

Why You Need a Mentor

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Jay O Brien

By Jay O’Brien

We’ve all received the calls, opened the letters, and deflected the in-person pitches. Real estate is perhaps one of the only industries that attains its workforce through blind recruiting rather than interviewing.

It’s quite simply a numbers game for many brokerages, and the strategy becomes less about value creation for agents and more about the bait.

How do brokers attract more agents and (hopefully) retain them? Unfortunately, the most common misconception is the one that revolves around what truly motivates people: money. If money is truly the greatest motivator, the success of real estate agents would be through the roof since selling a home is the one and only way to get paid. Clearly, this is not the case. But when agents are looking to make a switch, we still hear the question time and time again: “What’s the commission split?”

This is not the question you should be asking. Let’s not forget, 90 percent of zero is still zero.

@Yoel, 2014. Morguefile

The relationship between a brokerage and an agent should be mutually beneficial, and monetary rewards should not be top priority. Don’t put the cart before the horse. First, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • “What has my business looked like in the last year?”
  • “Did I do more business each year? How much more?”
  • “What are my biggest challenges right now?”
  • “Where do I need coaching?”
  • “What are my goals for this year, and the next, and the next?”

If you do not know the answer to all of these questions, how in the world is your broker going to know?

In such a heavily self-disciplined environment, it’s very easy to notice when a real estate agent becomes complacent. If there is a problem, struggle, or challenge, it’s very difficult to identify it and face it alone. Instead, an agent is more likely to think they are in the wrong office or behind the wrong brand. They might think an office change will correct their productivity.

It is paramount for an agent to position themselves with a person, or people rather than a brand, company, office, etc. The genuine growth of a real estate professional cannot be quantified in purely commission splits. Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for?” Often, if the commission split ratios are dramatically skewed in the favor of the agent (especially from day one), then usually there is very little value being added from the brokerage. It’s simple business 101: You can’t spend more money than you make.

I am constantly looking to grow in various aspects of my own life, so I have a personal coach for several things: golf, yoga, CrossFit, AND business. If an office has promised you the moon and the stars along with a compensation plan that is too good to be true, something probably doesn’t smell right. I would venture to guess that most agents reading this would agree that doing 25 deals a year at 75 percent is much better than doing two at 90 percent.

With that, find your person, your mentor. Find someone who can hold you accountable and coach you to greatness. It is absolutely critical to your success. Take that path, and watch the money follow.

Jay O’Brien is a managing partner and co-owner of RE/MAX Prestige in Costa Mesa, Calif. Connect with Jay at www.jayobrienrealestate.com or jay.obrien@remax.net.

Source - Realtor.org