Monday, June 18, 2018

New agents, tortured by what feels like an enormously long wait between license application and receipt, typically tend to want to hit the ground running the minute that license is in the broker’s hands.

It’s only natural to want to jet down the runway to success, but how will you get from here to there?

That’s what a business plan is: a roadmap of how to reach your income goals from where you are right now. Once you’re familiar with the real estate terrain, and you know the shortcuts, the map may feel like an unnecessary encumbrance, but it’s not.

Business plans aren’t static and require tweaking as you move up in your real estate career. Your sphere of influence grows, requiring the use of good contact management software. Your personal expenses may change and you will no doubt need to adjust your marketing expenses along the way.

The process of creating a “roadmap for success” for the new agent is a bit challenging, though. I mean, you have no past expenses with which to estimate a budget. How do you plan for marketing when you don’t know how much money you’ll have to play with?

You estimate. It’s that simple.

Map out your first-year goals

Make a realistic determination of where you want to be in your new business by the end of your first year.

This should include both a financial goal (how much money you’ll make) and other goals as well. For instance, your goals may include adding 100 people to your sphere of influence or to come up with a killer listing presentation. A financial goal could be planning to put aside a certain dollar amount to buy additional tools.

Create a budget

To come up with an accurate budget requires understanding your personal as well as business expenses, both fixed and variable.

Start with your personal expenses, such as your house payment or rent, what you pay for utilities, groceries, entertainment and the like. This will give you an idea of the total amount of income you’ll need to cover these expenses.

Determining your business expenses will be a bit more challenging since you have no figures from last year on which to base your assumptions. Breaking these expenses into smaller chunks will help you get a handle on them.

Startup expenses: These include your NAR, state and local association fees, MLS dues, lockbox expenses and the cost of any tools you’ll need to buy to get going (laptop, software, website expenses, etc.).

Marketing expenses: You’ll need to market your business as well as any homes you may list this year. We offer a series of Agent Introduction, Listing Inventory and Just Listed postcards that will get you off on the right foot.

Ongoing expenses: Your automobile gas budget is about to explode now that you are part of the real estate industry. Plan on spending a good deal of your budget on your vehicle – maintenance and gas for starters.

Then, there are your phone, internet, web hosting and the other costs that will recur routinely throughout the year.

How much do you need to make?

This is the trickiest part of your business plan, but the most critical as well. You’ll want to estimate how many sides you’ll need this year to get the money you want to make. This means figuring out how many prospects it will take to get a transaction, knowing the average sales price in the area in which you work and crunching some numbers.

We have put together the perfect simple yet effective business plan worksheet to help you do these calculations. You can find it online here.

Once you know how many listings or sales you’ll need each month to reach your financial goals, you’re on your way to success.

It’s time to introduce your new status to the world (or at least your corner of it).

Send out the Neighborhood Specialist postcard from the Agent Introduction Series to at least 100 new prospects in an area you want listings.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of sellers or buyers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 Real Estate Business Plan.

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan  – Click Here

2. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here  – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 🙂

 3 Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLS Mailings – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand


We recently linked up with one of Miami’s top Real Estate Agents, Nick “Tiger” Quay.

Nick was nice enough to share his expertise on the latest camera trends and how they’ve become essential to his success. Check out his thoughts on two camera types that have gotten some serious buzz over the past few years.

I run a real estate team in Miami within a highly competitive market. Offering 3D Virtual Tours gives me an edge for sure. As a 4 year owner and avid user of 3D cameras for 3D user controlled virtual tours, I feel they are much more immersive than 360 cameras.

I have closed several deals sight unseen with buyers using 3D, my sellers love it because they know the other listings they are fighting against aren’t getting even half of the actual buyer exposure they are receiving.

“Time is money and this has helped my ROI on listings exceed my own expectations many times.”  


I was an early adopter in 360 technology as well and received my first camera long before they were available in stores. The differences in the technology are that 3D cameras like the ones I use take thousands of different images and string them together in a seamless environment that enables users to literally walk around a space as if they were there.

“Like many things it’s only as good as the camera operator and editing”.

Most 360 cameras that you’ll see used by agents or hobbyists have 1 or 2 lenses that shoot in a fish eye type format then get stitched together automatically by the cameras software or software on a smartphone.

There are some that start around $2,000 that use 4 lenses which can shoot in gorgeous 4k however they require a much higher skill set to be edited and stitched.  360 cameras can also shoot video so it adds a motion and sound component not available with 3D VR applications.

360 cameras are by far easier to use and much cheaper to get into.

Although 360 videos are a blast, remember they do require some time to edit as well as specialized equipment if you plan to do anything other than shoot and share. I use them for my “quick and dirty” marketing on social media.

360 is fun and a great way to share a new space with others.  I use it quickly to share things that I know my sphere of influence engages with.  It’s a lot of fun and everyone loves the novelty of it as well as feeling included in group photos and activities.

Many of my clients are major techies so showing them things they have seen before, but from a different perspective keeps them interested.

To sum it up, for social media 360 wins and for sales and marketing 3D VR is my go to. It’s really about being creative, loving what you do, and sharing cool things and experiences with others.

As an agent it’s really important to find your niche and know “who” you are. From passions, to experiences, to tech; it’s all relevant and equally as important if you’re truly savvy.

Both 3D VR and 360 tech are major parts of my business and two things that have absolutely contributed to my success.

Make sure to follow Nick on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with the latest real estate tech trends.



There’s probably little worse in your real estate business than a client who insists on buying fixer-uppers when they have little to no experience with them.

Working incredibly hard for a payday that may not happen isn’t exactly what you signed up for, but there it is.

Experienced buyers may know full well what they’re getting themselves into while first-timers— or those who haven’t been in the market for some time—typically have no idea what to expect.

Sure, they may have heard the fixer-upper horror stories but it isn’t until they’re knee-deep in the process that reality sets in. Most likely, though, they’re Chip and Joanna Gaines fans and can’t wait to get into a process that looks all too easy on TV.

It’s up to you, their professional real estate advisor, to ensure that your clients are prepared.

  1. Yes, location is still important

Counsel your fixer-upper client to consider, carefully, the home’s location.

If you aren’t familiar with the neighborhood, check recent sold prices and look for anything else that might recommend the neighborhood. Is there a Whole Foods or Walmart planned? Those are both indications that the area might be a good investment.

What are the schools like? As much as the current political climate in the nation would like to downplay this aspect of a neighborhood’s desirability, it is still quite pertinent with homebuyers.

Explain to your client how difficult it will be to recoup the money spent to rehab the house if the work increases its value beyond that of other neighborhood homes.

  1. It’s important to know the cost before making an offer

Real estate consumers aren’t privy to your depth of knowledge about everything involved in buying a home and it’s important to be constantly reminding yourself of this.

For instance, how many of your buyers think that the home inspection is the definitive diagnosis of what may be wrong with the home?

The answer to that is, probably, “most of them.”

What many don’t understand is that the inspector only inspects visible areas of the home. Who knows what might be lurking behind the walls or under the kitchen vinyl?

As you know, when buying a fixer, the home inspection is even more important as is the client’s willingness to order extra inspections, if needed.

Get as much information as possible from the inspector, especially about the condition of the home’s major systems and the priciest items to fix (foundation, roof and structure issues).

Because you’ll want to be able to counsel your client on how much to offer for the home, both of you will need to consult with a contractor and obtain a written estimate of how much it will cost to get the home up to snuff (including the price of permits).

Then, tack on some extra.

“Plan for at least one budget-buster by adding an extra 12% to your renovation estimate,” cautions the experts at

And, again, if the home, after renovation, is valued higher than similar homes on the block, you and I both know it’s a lousy investment.

  1. Paying for the work

There are a number of ways to finance the purchase of a fixer-upper and which to choose typically rests on the amount of work required. Among the more popular options is Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Renovation loan.

Your client will need a credit score of at least 620 and a minimum 5 percent down payment, but, similar to FHA’s 203(k) program, it combines the cost of the renovation with the cost of the home, so there will be only one loan.

While your client may be familiar with these programs, the loans aren’t as easy to work with as they may believe. The FHA loan, for instance, requires hiring a “qualified 203(k) consultant to oversee every step of the work, from plans to the finished product,” according to Robin Saks Frankel at

To get approved for the HomeStyle loan, your client will have to hire a contractor to put together a detailed cost estimate.

Then, there are a number of other tedious hoops to jump through during the rehab process. Ensure that your client knows all there is to know about his or her preferred financing method.

For buyers on a budget, a fixer can mean being able to buy a larger home, for others, it’s a chance to purchase something that they can customize to their tastes and lifestyle.

Walk them through the process to help ensure they know what they’re getting into so there are no surprises down the line.Move up market real estate postcards

Send the 6 Move-Up Mistakes Postcard from the Move-up Market Series to at least 100 prospects in an area where you would like more buyers.

PLUS: Whenever you have a moment…here are 3 things to check out that will help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. The Free 2018 Real Estate Business Plan

Treat your business like a business it is vital to long-term success in this industry. Some agents may put together elaborate business plans, yet there’s something powerful about keeping it simple. Check out our one page Online Real Estate Business Plan – Click Here

2. The Online ROI Calculator

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

3. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

Also…check these out 🙂

3 Click Postcards – Just snap, tap, send all from your mobile phone

MLS Mailings – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

3 defining moves to start the year
Set the pace for Strategic Success

As competition grows more fierce, you may find yourself asking, “What’s my next move?”

Savvy agents are navigating the New Year with ease by investing in smart systems and tools that help them compete in today’s real estate market.

Who will take the lead in both listing and selling homes this year?

Those who stay strategically focused on one-to-one marketing, negotiate effectively up front and commit to consistent business development through monthly prospecting.

Time to set the standard high

In any market, taking a listing that won’t sell is worse than having no listing at all.

And while you may be tempted to take listings at any price, terms or commission, this is also a recipe for failure.

Consider instead, raising your standards using a strong, effective tool which spotlights the homeowner’s commitment to getting the home sold in the quickest possible time.

Our Merchandising Review is a great tool for this and there are three successful ways to implement it.

First: Make the right decisions at the listing appointment. It’s likely during your MerchandisingReviewTHUMB
presentation your sellers may have an objection or two regarding terms.

Try to shelve objection handling until after you have completed your presentation and obtained the signatures for the listing.

Then close your appointment by going over the Merchandising Review to make certain everything is in order.

Stating the Merchandising Review is a helpful tool to ensure everything is in order before the home is listed, the same way pilots use a pre-flight checklist.

This list of 18 different seller-controlled factors actually will help generate a quicker sale for the best possible price and terms. Then simply walk through the list and negotiate where necessary.

Get non-selling inventory back on track

Go through your inventory and red flag problem listings.

Walk PricePyramidTHUMBthrough the problems using the Merchandising Review and the Five Most Common Mistakes tools.

Contact your sellers by phone or visit in person to help them understand those review items that are hindering the sale of their home.

Sample Dialogue: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, we’ve had your property on the market for ____ days now and we are not getting the results that either of us had hoped for. We have a new tool called the Merchandising Review that helps us identify problem areas. I’d like to sit down with you to discuss those potential issues.

I believe if we walk through these items we can get your listing back on track and help exact a faster sale for your home. Would tomorrow at 6:00pm be good or would 8:30pm be better?”

Data mine for the niche that’s right for you

By targeting niche markets that are near and dear to your own interests, you’ll be better able to “speak their language” and let your passion for that market segment build the momentum you are looking for.

For example, do you love listing and selling waterfront properties?  Is boating the way you unwind?  Now, it’s easy to find and market to like-minded people and works not only with your sphere — but consumer interest groups that most resonate with you.

That way you are growing your book of business with the kind of folks you are most interested in working with. (And that just makes work, and life, a whole lot more interesting, don’t you think?)

It’s never been easier to do  

Create a target mailing list to search for the customer segments you most want to market to:


  1. Choose High-Income Consumers for luxury or investment property.investor
  2. Choose the Lifestyle Interest option for niche markets such as golfers, Tennis enthusiasts, and Boat owners.
  3. Empty-nesters are a great segment to market for downsizing. You could end up listing their current home, and help them purchase their new home
  4. Look to High-Income Renters for high-quality first time home ownership options.
  5.  Choose move up market for those who have been in their homes over nine years.  Help them list their current home and find their new dream property!

These market segments are just the tip of the iceberg.  Find the niche that most works for you.

Whatever strategy you deploy this season, make sure your message is clear and marketing consistent.

move up

Call, see or send something to everyone in your base of business at least every 30 days. You will find that your productivity, profitability, referrals, and commissions will be on track all year round.

Choose a postcard series from the niches mentioned above and send at least 100 postcards out to your newly targeted list.

Need help?  Call our support team today at 866.405.3638 to put the best systems in place to build your business easily, and cost-effectively. 

Time to bring your A game

New Year – New Game!

If there ever were a time to up the ante – it’s right now at the start of a New Year.

Stakes are high, competition is fierce and anyone eager to be the expert resource in their market needs to bring their A-game.

Here’s how to come out swinging

Update your headshot

Your photo is your first impression, make sure it’s current and professionally done, so you are seen in the best possible light. A great photo is money well spent. Remember your goal is for consumers to visualize your face and name first when thinking of real estate.

And, don’t forget to smile in your photo.

Studies from show that people who smile in their head-shots are considered more likable, influential and competent than those who don’t.

Craft a killer bio 

On many of our marketing tools, agents have the space to share some “about me” information. You should have a long and short bio version available for different purposes. The long bio is great for your website and the short and sweet bio works perfectly for real estate brochures, flyers, and postcards.

Be sure to choose your words wisely.

Define what differentiates you from other agents in the industry and why you do what you do. Then have both long and short bio versions proof-read before you start using them.

Having these bio’s ready makes it much easier when you’re creating new marketing pieces. You aren’t trying to come up with something on the fly, which can lead to typos or inconsistent copy.

Branding that works

Too often you see agents all over the map in terms of their marketing. Different styles, colors, messages from piece to piece. While it’s good to test, you’ll find better results if you stick to a campaign that has some uniformity.

That’s why agents love our series of postcards, they have the same look and feel throughout the entire series.

For example, our popular Market Quote Series has the same branding style, with a series of messages that are both educating and compelling for the home seller.  Send one per month and keep your branding consistent for better results.

Be consistent

Sending one marketing piece then deciding you’re done has never been an effective marketing strategy in any industry. The key to becoming a brand name is 27 impressions (3-7-27 rule).

Keep showing up, and the next time someone is asked if they know anyone who sells homes, your name will be top of mind!

Don’t forget your contact information

Would you be surprised to learn how many times people do not put their phone number or contact information on their marketing materials?

They send thousands of pieces out and wonder why they don’t get a response.

Make sure people know how to reach you. And if you are inviting people to your social media platforms, don’t just say, “find me on Facebook”.  Give them a unique URL they can go to such as

Be Creative

Many of our customers use our Free Reports as a lead capture opt-in on their website. There are lots to choose from, they’re easily customizable, and they serve multiple purposes.

Use them on your site, at your open houses, in your listing presentations, or as collateral for the popular consumer meet and greets that so many agents are doing today.

Build on what you already have

Take the lists you’ve purchased for your Just Listed postcard orders and reuse them.

Put them on a drip campaign of postcards so they know you’re always in the game.  Alternate your Just List/Just Sold postcard mailings with other postcard series that we offer.

Remember, every listing is full of unlimited opportunities to gain attention.

Check out our tool – where you can order your Just Listed/Sold/Contract Pending cards on the fly — right from your phone!

Try something new

Sometimes life can start to feel like the ‘Groundhog Day Movie’ – the same day repeating over and over again.

Trying something new can add life to your day and create a fresh surge of excitement. Our Real Estate Marketing Planner is the perfect solution to a stale schedule.

Our Planner provides 12 months of strategic marketing including new ideas every month for top niche marketing segments such as your sphere and farm.

This Month’s Real Estate Marketing Planner Tip: Handwritten note cards are making a comeback. Make a commitment to send at least one a day this month.

Start Now
Order a stack of our Real Estate Note Cards and make a commitment to send them out to 100 of your past clients this month!

It’s a great time to be a real estate professional and to tap into resources that make your life easier.  We’re here to help you. Call our team today at 866.405.3638.