The Common Denominator of Prospecting: Finding ‘The Why’

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Alex Cavelli

By Alex Cavelli

Prospecting is either the most embraced or most avoided activity for real estate professionals. While some see it as an opportunity to earn business right now, the majority of us don’t feel that the juice is worth the squeeze. Facing rejection and looking stupid is far more painful than not hitting our business goals.

No matter the sentiment, let’s take the pressure off ourselves and see prospecting for what it really is: Talking with people about their lives.

To frame our approach, let’s look at two ways to track the source of your business:

  1. Where they come from.
  2. Why they came.

If you look at your last five transactions, you can certainly identify those both sources.  The more important component is to take step and ask, “What life change was going on?” Your results may look something like this:

Source

“The Where”

“The Why”/

Life Change

Open House

Getting married

FSBO

Kids are all gone

Open House

Getting married

Expired

Retiring to Florida

Sphere

Job Promotion

Notice the insignificance of “The Where” in comparison to “The Why”? While one just tells you where you met your clients, the other has everything to do with their dreams, goals, and life ambitions. When prospecting, which would you rather focus on?

A mentor of mine correctly boiled real estate prospecting down to three questions:

  1. What life change is coming up?
  2. Is real estate connected to that change?
  3. Is there an opportunity to do business?

So, let’s take the pressure of determining how we will meet our future clients off ourselves, and instead, keep those three core questions in the back of our minds. As long as we’re connecting with people, “The Where” just doesn’t matter. It’s all about “The Why.”

 Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Howard Hanna in Greater Cleveland. Connect with Alex via www.linkedin.com/in/cavelli or Alex@thecrockettteam.com.

Source - Realtor.org

5 Remodeling Projects with the Lowest Paybacks at Resale

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

If you want to get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, replace the entry door to steel, according to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine. The entry door may cost about $1,162 but home owners could potentially recoup 96.6 percent of that at resale, according to the report.

However, not all remodeling projects offer big paybacks at resale. Remodeling Magazine evaluated 35 of the most popular remodeling projects and the potential payback throughout 101 U.S. cities. Check out our prior blog post to view the projects that topped the list: 5 Mid-Range Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns. But how about the projects that came in at the bottom of that list of 35 remodeling projects?

While all of these remodeling projects may be nice to have, home owners may not want to expect as big as of returns from their remodeling dollars with the following:

1. Home office remodel

Estimated job cost: $28,000

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 48.9%

2. Sunroom addition

Estimated job cost: $73,546

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 51.7%

3. Bathroom addition

Estimated job cost: $38,186

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 60.1%

4. Backup power generator

Estimated job cost: $11,742

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

5. Master suite addition

Estimated job cost: $103,844

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

Source - Realtor.org

Keywords for Pinterest (Part 3)

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Charlie Allred

By Charlie Allred

We all know keywords are important to your online presence, but did you know that keywords are important in Pinterest too?  In my last two Pinterest articles, I’ve discussed best practices for your Pinterest profile and Pinterest boards. Once you’ve got these first two steps completed it’s time to start considering keywords.

It can be very overwhelming when you begin to market your real estate business online. I recently spoke with a successful real estate agent and blogger, and I asked her about her online marketing strategy. She said that she wanted to be everywhere online. But what should you do first? What’s most important? Keywords will help you determine your initial path and niche.

Let’s start by talking about the benefit of keywords:

Generally, the goal of your website is to appear in search engines results organically through a set of keywords that describe your market or niche. These keywords should help prospects find you online, thus helping you gain more real estate business.

For instance, while coaching a real estate agent here in Phoenix, I was helping her find the best keywords for the downtown Phoenix historic district, which is her niche. By using tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner, I did the keyword research for the downtown Phoenix historic district and found that the top keywords searched in order of highest searched volume are:

  • Phoenix real estate
  • Phoenix homes
  • Phoenix homes for sale
  • Downtown Phoenix
  • Historic Phoenix

This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s close enough for purposes of this article. So in all your website content, such as blog articles, videos, etc., you want to include the best keywords, for searchability purposes. In the case of the downtown Phoenix real estate agent, if I were her, I’d include “downtown Phoenix” and “historic Phoenix” in every article, because they describe her niche perfectly. I wouldn’t concentrate on using the keyword phrases “Phoenix real estate,” “Phoenix homes,” or “Phoenix homes for sale” as much, only because they are very broad and used often by real estate agents in Phoenix. The goal is to find the best keywords for your niche to attract serious prospects interested in what you have to offer.

Why do keywords matter in Pinterest?

All pins are now indexed by Google, so use of keywords will impact the overall SEO of your website. Each time you pin something, you should be using keywords to maximize your efforts in Pinterest.

Keywords should be used in:

  • Your Pinterest profile
  • Your board titles
  • Your board descriptions
  • Your pin descriptions

This may sound like a lot of work, but if you are pinning to your top boards regularly, it’s worth the effort to look up the keywords for those board at least once, and then keep them handy so you can reference them. Once you have your top 12 Pinterest boards, as discussed in last month’s article, look up the keywords for a few boards at a time, so it’s less time consuming.

For a quick starter guide to keywords, you can head to Pinnable Real Estate and download a free list of my favorite keywords in three topic areas (all home related categories): home staging, home organization, and home decor. These top six to eight keywords in each topic will give you a good starting point for using keywords on Pinterest.

When I meet with real estate agents, they often tell me they’re concerned because they built a really pretty website, but it isn’t getting them any new business or leads. Next month, I will discuss your website – specifically, how to simplify your website and blog content while promoting your site to gain more real estate business.

Charlie Allred is a Phoenix-based designated broker for Secure Real Estate and author of the book “Pinnable Real Estate: Pinterest for Real Estate Agents.” She is a Pinterest expert coaching agents on how to gain more leads, followers, and clients by using Pinterest. Learn more at her blog: www.PinnableRealEstate.com.

 

 

 

Source - Realtor.org

Stylish Staging That Has Comfort in Mind

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Nearly 70 percent of about 6,000 home owners surveyed by the remodeling website Houzz said they’re happiest in rooms that are comfortable. If you’re trying to hook a buyer, you may want to make sure your listings not only are stylish, but also show off some comfort too.

Popular furnishings today are modern with straight lines, which don’t always project the look of comfort. Luckily, it’s also trendy to be eclectic in mixing an oversized, statement piece — which can look comfortable.

That statement piece can add visual interest to the room too. It can be anything from a nail-trimmed, wingback chair to patterned club chair, says Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company. Slinkey singled out the oversized statement piece as one of the top 10 staging trends for this year.

Photo credit: Kristine Ginsberg, Elite Staging and Redesign LLC, elitestagingandredesignmorriscountynewjersey.com

No room for an oversized chair? Go for an overall chic, comfort “Pottery Barn”-inspired look by using white slipcovers over the owner’s dated furnishings — a quick, budget-friendly transformation, Slinkey suggests.

Source - Realtor.org

Accepting the Best Offer: What’s Important to You?

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Choosing the best home offer is a cinch for sellers who know what terms are their deal-breakers. Planning ahead can get your clients the most out of their home sale.

Help sellers have a seamless sale by sharing “6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home,” a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five articles now available in the “Sell Before Snow Hits” article package.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 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

Starting the Conversation: Convincing Sellers to Stage a Home

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers to stage first if they want to sell.

1. Explain the difference between decorating and staging.

The saying — “Your Home is Your Castle” — often rings true with today’s sellers. Most believe their home is decorated beautifully, usually with their favorite colors and personal décor. But there is a big difference between decorating and staging to appeal to a large pool of buyers.

Décor choices are personal and most buyers can’t envision how a home may look if the seller doesn’t remove their personality.

Sotheby’s Julia B Fee REALTOR®, Megan Stilwell-Posner, a recent PJ & Co. client, often walks buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color, which even influences their decision on whether to purchase the home. “Explaining how we market your property versus how you decorate your property is very important,” she says.

Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

2. Talk staging versus a possible price reduction.

Staging sets a home apart from the competition. Updating decor, particularly in key rooms such as kitchens and baths, can mean the difference between selling quickly and for top dollar or facing a price reduction if a home sits on the market for too long.

Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home. For many sellers, staging and low-cost renovations preserve valuable equity and can even boost a home’s selling price. For example, after PJ & Co. staged a property for real estate agent Rich Walker with Century 21, he decided to list the property for $20,000 higher than he originally planned. The property sold in 15 days at the asking price.

3. NOT selling a home is stressful.

We’ve all heard it – sellers who want to “test the market before staging” but months later haven’t received an offer.

Selling a home is difficult both emotionally and physically. Each day without an offer is stressful. Ultimately, I believe staging brings offers in quicker and makes the entire process easier.

In controlled tests conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association that compared identical homes, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the professionally staged properties sold in 45 days.

Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

4. The stager is going to do the dirty work.

Many real estate professionals we talk to are hesitant to discuss staging with their clients, unsure of how to tactfully approach necessary updates without offending their client. Enlisting a professional stager as a third-party expert and part of the selling plan provides tremendous value to both the real estate agent and seller. A professional stager takes the burden off of you, and can make recommendations without treading on the real estate agent/client relationship.

5. Execution will be key.

Hiring a stager who has a full team on standby to manage the entire process and deliver the home ready for market is key.

Some staging companies can be hired to just offer recommendations. For example, one client received a seven- page recommendation from a stager, but shopping for updated décor and managing the updates were up to the seller. It became overwhelming for the couple. They weren’t comfortable choosing the paint colors, picking lighting fixtures, or incorporating the right style trends to make a space vibrant and engaging to today’s younger buyer.

Other staging companies can offer the client one-stop shopping, from selecting the paint colors to coordinating the painter, carpenter, and selecting all of the materials needed to stage the property.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanystaginganddecorating

Source - Realtor.org

3 Tips for Preparing Buyers

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Andrew Janos

By Andrew Janos

As the real estate market continues to be fast-paced, the need to prepare your buyers is growing exponentially. Making sure buyers have a grasp on the market conditions and purchase process will allow you to manage expectations through the entire purchase. Here are three tips:

Get pre-approval: Preparing a buyer financially ensures that they do not fall in love with something they can’t have. In order to even put in an offer, the buyer needs a current and accurate pre-approval. Routinely, buyers push to see houses without a pre-approval, but you must resist the urge to show them without it. Your client’s buying power might be lower once a loan originator runs through all of the qualifying questions. In our fast-paced environment, one buyer could lose to another while obtaining approval to buy the house of their dreams if the other party is already prepared. It’s tough to turn down the opportunity to take clients out that call, but its important to screen them and make sure they are ready to purchase. After talking to them a bit, you might find out that they should wait until next year based on their situation. It’s not just about the type of house they are interested in, but also the right fit for their life goals and current situation.

Educate them on the market: We all know that real estate is location, location, location, but the other important ingredient is education. Take the time to explain current market conditions and what your clients can expect. They should be informed about current sales frequency and volume in conjunction with prices of sold homes. If your buyer drags their feet, they may miss out while inventory and mortgage rates are low. If a home is priced competitively, there could potentially be multiple offers made. Making sure your buyers are comfortable with the purchase process will allow for a smoother transaction.

Set the stage for first-time buyers: You are the one repeatedly facilitating sales, and if you are working with a first time buyer, they have no idea what to expect. This could be as simple as explaining the importance of mortgage contingencies and home inspections. It could also be managing expectations for counter offers on a low bid. Either way, the more that your client knows, the less stress you feel and the buyer will have more trust in you.

In the end, make sure you are following our No. 1 rule as REALTORS®: to protect your client’s best interest and allow them to have an exciting purchase. They are, after all, buying a home, which is one of the biggest decisions they will make in their life.

Andrew Janon is a vice president and salesperson with U S Spaces in Philadelphia. Connect with Andrew at andrewjanos.com.

Source - Realtor.org

Virtual Tours Go 3-D With Matterport

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Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

My Matterport Pro 3-D camera system arrived on Thursday, and agents who are early adopters of new technology will see the benefits of being able to offer your clients something that no one else can do.

Matterport is the equivalent of HD Google Street View for the interior of a house. It provides consumers the ability to virtually tour a property in 3-D from anywhere in the world. Scanning is done with the 3-D camera ($4,500), which rotates 360 degrees on a tripod, as well as an iPad app. Typically, this process takes anywhere from one to two hours for an average-size home. As you complete scans, the iPad mapping images fill in until the entire property has been mapped. At that point, the file gets uploaded to Matterport’s cloud system and is rendered into a 3-D model. Users can go online and interact with the doll house view, floor plan, and even walk through the property at their own leisure from any desktop computer. Agents are able to syndicate the link through the MLS similar to the way you would with slideshows and videos.

These 3-D virtual tours could be great for new construction, allowing the builder or agent to continue to show the home and provide examples of their work even after the house has been sold – without inconveniencing the current owners. It gives potential buyers a feel for the layout of property, which they can share with friends and family online. This technology could cut down on time that sellers need to be out of the home, and buyers’ time spent in the car.

After my team completed our first 3-D rendering, the home owners were blown away. It was something they had never seen done before and they told everyone they know.

Here is the example from listing in Maple Lake, Minn.:

Please note: Matterport tours are not yet mobile/tablet compatible; they must be viewed on a desktop computer. Matterport also has plans in the future to allow editing of finished renderings, such as changing paint colors, finishes, and possibly even doing full virtual renovations.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with Edina Realty in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.

 

Source - Realtor.org

4 Tips for Furniture Arrangement

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You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?

Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips from HGTV.com, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.

1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.

2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.

Symmetrical arrangement:

Asymmetrical arrangement:

3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.

Source - Realtor.org

Free e-Newsletter Info Shows Owners TLC for the Home

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Help home owners make their home the “youngest” on the block. Add to your e-newsletter a free article, “Is Your Home Older Than Its Years?,” from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five free articles now available in the “Maintenance Saves Money: Projects for 2014” article package. Share all five today.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 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