Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Lisa Gray

Lisa Gray
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Lisa is an accomplished marketer with years of expertise in direct response marketing, digital marketing, data analytics and business development working with both B2C and B2B.

A BIG Thank You to Our Customers!

Inc. magazine recently ranked ProspectsPLUS!, Inc. number 3688 on the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

This list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy and this is the third year in a row that ProspectsPLUS! has made the exclusive list.

According to James Ledbetter, the Editor in Chief of Inc. Media,

Of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to the Inc. 5000 over the years only one in four have made the list 3 times.”

Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Pandora, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other businesses gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

“What an amazing achievement,” shared company President, Jim Morton. “In this digital age, we are extremely proud to provide REALTORS® with tangible products that have a 100% impression rate. By providing carefully crafted content and creatives, we ensure every agent gets the highest response rates possible. A big thank you to all our amazing customers. Let’s keep Making Marketing Work!”

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

Give Them the Facts

We are a nation of DIYers and fixer-uppers (or folks who think they are). We’re also a thrifty bunch, looking for any possible way to save a buck on purchases.

Put these two characteristics together and we end up with the real estate consumer seeking a bargain in the form of a fixer.

As an agent, you know which of your clients can take on all the work and money that a fixer might require.

“A fixer can be a perfect solution when your clients have long lists with a lot of requirements and if they’re willing to do the work,” David Bailey with Keller Williams, Beverly Hills tells HGTV.

So, yes, sometimes suggesting purchasing one is wise.

But it’s up to you to determine if it’s right for each client that hopes to buy one and then how to help that client make the decision.

Guess who likes fixers? Yeap the Millennials

 The National Association of Realtors conducted a study a while back and discovered, in their efforts to avoid “cookie cutter” homes, Millennials were interested in fixers.

In fact, “about 30 percent of millennials surveyed say they prefer a ‘fixer-upper’ home rather than a home that needs only a few repairs,” according to RealtorMag.

Since Millennials make up the lion’s share of the first-time buyer pool, counseling and supplying facts will be your most important task when working with them.

To get your client thinking realistically, ask the following questions:
  • Does your client or his family or friends have carpentry, flooring, painting, plumbing, electrical skills? They can hire professionals, but doing some work will keep costs down.
  • Speaking of costs, does your client have rehab funds set aside or do they need to borrow the money?
  • Is your client willing to wait to move into the home (maybe six months)?

If your client becomes fixated on a home in need of work, yank her back to reality by helping her understand the scope of the work required.

Bring in a contractor to help them determine if it’s possible to bring the home up to standards and to get an estimate of the cost.

Not only does this offer a reality check, but it gives your client an idea of how much to offer for the home.

How to finance the purchase

Unlike in the past, homebuyers have some attractive options when it comes to financing a home that needs work.

“Future value” loans are the most popular. These loans aren’t based on current market value but on the future value (after rehab) of the home.

First-time buyers and those on a budget typically opt for a government-backed mortgage that wraps the cost of the rehab into the loan. These programs include the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation and the FHA 203(k) programs.Just Listed Just Sold Property Showcase Real Estate Postcards

If your client opts for one of these

These programs aren’t quick, easy or painless. If your client goes with the FHA 203(k) loan, he or she will need to come out of pocket to pay for a consultant.

The project must use the same contractor, from start to finish. If the client becomes dissatisfied with her choice, she’s stuck.

Then, the entire amount of money needed for the project is determined in advance and it’s a set amount. As one homeowner who used the FHA program notes “it is to the contractor’s benefit to do cheap work so they can pocket larger margins.”

Choosing a contractor will be one of your client’s biggest challenges.

Getting the loan

Rehab loans take far more time to complete than your typical residential purchase loan, so remind your client to get the loan process started as soon as possible.

You’ll have tasks to complete as well, such as helping your clients come up with a list of the work required and an estimate of cost. This will help you counsel them on how much to offer on the home.

You’ll need to structure the offer so that it’s subject to FHA 203(k) loan approval and the seller’s acceptance of any other HUD or lender-required improvements to the home.

Of course, FHA isn’t the only option for a client who falls in love with the idea of rehabbing a home to fit their lifestyle. Recommend that he or she meet with a lender and always consult their accountant.

Do you need to attract buyers interested in a fixer you have listed?

 Send a Property Series postcard with an offer for the Free Report, “Top Ten Renovations that Reap Returns”.
Extend the offer to your Facebook audience and on your website, as well.

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

PLUS: When you have time…here are 2 free ways we can help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1.  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

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

Also…check out these cool tools 

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

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero (BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too, now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Our Two Contest Winners For July are Revealed Below!

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback in July! We really appreciate the time you took to give us your thoughts. We continue to learn and enhance our products and services based on your shared responses.

Remember, if your name isn’t announced in this month’s contest, a new contest starts in August with new opportunities to win!

Our Winner of the $500 ProspectsPLUS! Gift Card is  – Barbara Whiteside

Barbara shares her experiences using ProspectsPLUS! with the following feedback.

“ProspectsPLUS! is GREAT! Their customer service is EXCELLENT!!”

“I have received not only great feedback about the marketing pieces I’m sending out but also new leads and clients as a result!”

“Thank you for making my very busy agent life easier!

Barbara’s Latest Marketing Purchases – Just Listed, Now Pending, Upload Your Own Design

The Winner of Our $250 ProspectsPLUS! Gift Card is – Shelly Smith Witherington

Shelly shares her experiences using ProspectsPLUS! with the following feedback.

“I feel like I struck GOLD when I found ProspectsPLUS!”

“I use your products often & it’s soooo easy. Not only that but also extremely effective. I’m not sure how I got along without you guys in my marketing arsenal.”

“I actually take about 30 minutes a day going through your website familiarizing myself with your products & watching the videos. Love Love Love what you bring to the table.

Shelly’s Latest Marketing Purchases – Agent Introduction, Free Offer Series Postcards, Holiday Series Postcards

Take the lead from Barbara and Shelly and send at least 100 listing generating Postcards to an area where you want more listings.

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

Create a Lead Generating Hour of Power

When you reach the end of your life, will you look back fondly on the five years (based on studies) you spent on social media?

Probably not. I mean, it’s when our time is up that we decide, darn it, we should’ve spent more time on the truly meaningful things in life. Unless, of course, you find social media truly meaningful.

…but meaningful enough to spend 2.25 hours every day on it?

Ok, so you do it for your business. But if you don’t have a social media strategy you may be wasting valuable business time as well.

If you find yourself trying out idea after idea, hoping that someday one of them will work, or if yours is the type of “strategy” that leads to reading and responding to every post, following links and, generally, wasting time, quit it!

The “why” behind your use of social media

Social media—at least some platforms—seem tailor-made for the real estate industry. Take Facebook, for example. The user-demographics align with the average real estate consumer, it’s easy to use and, if you don’t buy ads, it’s free.

To not be on Facebook is just plain silly. But, to avoid having it suck your time you need to understand how to best use it and then get clear on your goals.

Here are some agent goals we typically hear:

  • To keep in touch with your sphere. Staying top-of-mind isn’t easy but reaching out on Facebook makes it easier.
  • To reach potential clients. Unless you are doing this strategically, it may be a major time suck. Hoping your posts get shared isn’t a strategy.
  • To keep up-to-date on the industry. To do this typically requires joining groups. If you aren’t careful, activities in these Facebook groups can wipe out a good portion of the day (or night).
  • To drive traffic to your website.

Manage your time wisely

Consider scheduling social media time. Like blocks set aside for follow-up and lead generation, set aside a certain amount of time that you’ll spend on social media. Then, stick to the schedule. Use an alarm, if you must, to remind you when to stop.

At first, the amount of time you wasted will be painfully obvious. When the alarm sounds and all you’ve done is read posts, you may need some motivation to remain mindful of why you’re on the platform in the first place.

Create, don’t consume

“There are so many talented entrepreneurs out there who focus on just consuming all day long instead of creating,” laments Jason Sadler, founder of IWearYourShirt. 

Your first creation should be a social media strategy. Decide which platforms serve you best and let the others go, at least for now. For instance, Facebook is a must for agents who want to keep in touch with their sphere of influence and entice folks to visit their websites.

Instagram and Pinterest, on the other hand, don’t have the demographics that fit the average real estate buyer and seller and they are far more time-consuming than a quick, daily stop at Facebook.

Then, decide how much time you’ll devote to social media each week, set an alarm while visiting and leave when the time is up.

Skip the groups and communities, at least during work hours. They’re fine for garnering business advice and socializing with colleagues but save those visits for non-work hours.

Other strategies to consider:
  • Ditch the notifications. Do you really need the distraction of being alerted every time someone posts a comment on a post you’re following?
  • Use social media scheduling tools to automate the publishing of your content. Yes, there are cons to this as well as pros, but if you’re easily distracted and find yourself wasting a lot of time on social media, it’s a tool you may want to consider.

Take some tips from Laura Monroe, real estate marketing whiz, who explains her brilliant social media strategy.

She schedules her company’s social media posts the night before they will be posted. “ …  that way I’m not distracting myself from important tasks!”

During the day, she avoids additional distractions by turning off notifications “until I have all my important work-to-dos completed first.”

Around lunchtime, she takes “time to engage, respond to messages, and reach out to my network. More scheduling in the afternoon, and more engagement in the evenings when I’m planning the next day.”

It’s a strategically-planned social media schedule that allows her to remain engaged yet still attend to her important business tasks.

Social media can be a powerful way to generate leads and keep in touch with your Sphere. However, only if the time spent is managed wisely and not allowed to dominate your workday.

Another effective way to keep in touch with your Sphere is to send the popular Chill Out postcard from the Content Card Series.
It’s a fun and informative way to let your Sphere know you’re thinking about them this summer.

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

PLUS: When you have time…here are 2 free ways we can help you CRUSH IT in 2018!

1.  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

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

Also…check out these cool tools 

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

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero (BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too, now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Get ahead of the inevitable rate hike

Fannie Mae’s economists dusted off their crystal balls, peered into the housing market’s near future and came away upbeat.

In the overall economy, they predict strong growth and low unemployment rates to continue. So, bring on the rate hikes, right?

They predicted four rate increases in 2018 (up from the three they predicted in March) and then another three in 2019. Hopefully, this won’t impact too many of your buying clients.

Their housing market-specific news includes a continued tumble in the conventional mortgage application rate. Which is why, in a business so dependent on a healthy economy, it’s important to be strategically budgeting both your personal and business money.

I did a deep dive into the experts’ opinions on what it takes for an independent contractor to financially succeed during the tough times. Here are several of their basic tips.

Start with your personal budgeting

Taking care of your personal finances is job one. Once that’s done, you’ll have a clearer picture of how much money you need to make and how much of it you can devote to your business expenses.

When budgeting, you need to be flexible enough to accommodate your income swings and to allow for an emergency fund. Most financial pros suggest you’ll need enough to cover both your living and business expenses for six months.

Once complete, that budget may be a real eye-opener. Look for ways to cut needless spending and redirect that money elsewhere.

Forbes.com’s Laura Shin suggests taking a critical look at your recurring spending. “Are you really using all the offerings of your mobile phone plan …? Do you go to the gym often enough to justify the monthly cost? What if you took up running, played tennis with a friend or used exercise DVDs instead?”

She also mentions that you consider cutting the cord. Cable TV has become ridiculously expensive when there are other, less expensive options (streaming) out there.

Your business budget

If you don’t already have a business account, open one now. Your tax preparer will worship the ground you walk on.

And, if you do your own taxes, you’ll be immensely grateful every quarter that you don’t have to pick through your expenses to separate the business from the personal.

Your real estate business budget needs to include more than your listing expenses, gas, and auto maintenance costs. Among the other categories, ensure your budget includes money for: taxes, health insurance, disability insurance, website expenses, salaries, marketing your business, closing gifts, wardrobe, and professional fees.

Once you’ve created the budget, it needs to be maintained. Track your expenses and income and tweak the budget, as needed. 

Consider the bucket system

If you’re like a lot of us, you haven’t a clue where you spend your money and how much is wasted. Budgeting is a pipe-dream that you know will never meet reality.

So, make budgeting a game, of sorts. Divide your expenses into three “buckets.”

1: The first bucket holds all your ongoing expenses, such as utilities, house and car payment and other debt payments.

2: The next bucket is for expenses such as food (both dining out and groceries), entertainment and clothing.

3: The third bucket is for the money you’ll spend in the future for things like healthcare deductibles, retirement accounts, home repairs and maintenance and vacations.

Do the same with your business expenses.

Your business expense bucket

Start the system with bucket number three, decide how much of each commission check you’ll need to set aside for future expenses. Experts suggest that you open a separate account for your third bucket. The first payment you make from each commission check should go to this account. The rest of the check goes toward monthly personal expenses (bucket number one).

The amount left over after taking care of recurring expenses is what you can dump into bucket number two.

To remain on track, monitor your spending for two or three months to determine how much you’re spending from the second bucket. Take the average, multiply it by 12 and divide by 52. This will give you the amount of money you can spend, weekly, from the second bucket. Divide it again by seven to get your daily limit.

Remember to be mindful of your spending, especially for business items. “Expenses should create income. If an expense doesn’t create income, it should be eliminated,” Tom Wheelwright, CPA told Inman.com’s Dani Vanderboegh.

Question every purchase. If you don’t need to make it, don’t.

A smart way to utilize your marketing budget? Attract buyers with a proven method of marketing.
Send the Don’t Wait postcard from the Fence-Sitter Series to at least 100 prospects in an area where you want more buyers.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) 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 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

2. 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

3. 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

Also…check out these cool tools 🙂

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

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero!