Wednesday, July 18, 2018

“The seventies called. They want their open houses back”

At least that’s what 49 percent of agents think. But is it true? Did open houses go out with checkered kitchen aprons? NAR statistics tell us only 3 percent of homebuyers say visiting an open house was at the top of their to-do list.

On the flip-side, however, even though it’s not their first way of locating a house, eventually 45 percent of buyers visit an open house. Interestingly, repeat buyers are more likely to show up than first-timers. And, every one of those visitors represents the possibility for two transactions, a listing, and a sale.

Read on for some thoughts on how to bring the open house process into the present.

Time is on your side 

One of the aspects of the modern open house that differs from the old-school type is agents aren’t feeling locked into a particular day or time.

While the after-work open house may not fly in a commuter-centric region, in other areas agents are having amazing results with it. Downtown condos and lofts being held open during the lunch hour are also becoming more common.

Any home with a view will sell itself if it’s held open at the appropriate time of day. Why hold a downtown penthouse open on a Sunday afternoon when the city lights are best viewed in the evening?

It’s easy to mention in your listing that the patio of the lakefront property faces west. Holding it open at sunset, however, drives home the fact far better.

Market the heck out of it

Gone are the days that agents bought a display ad in the paper to advertise an open house. Today it’s all about leveraging the power of social media and advertising online at Craigslist, Backpage.com, Zillow, Yahoo, Twitter, etc.

Don’t scrimp on the photos and the adjectives when you write the descriptions. You want people to feel that if they miss this open house they’ll regret it forever.

Digital sign in

Many agents tell us that one of the most awkward parts of the open house is getting visitors to sign the guestbook. An old trick is to keep it by the door and tell visitors that the owner has requested that, for security purposes, they sign in before touring the home.

A quick and easy way to sign people up is to use the Open Home Pro iPad or Android app or the less-pricey AM Open House. Agents who use it say open house visitors more readily sign in on an iPad than the old-school pen-and-paper.

Open house extras

From a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies to a full-on burger bar featuring a platter of sliders, food is becoming a mainstay for the real estate open house.

Whether you serve food depends on regional customs and your tolerance level for possible litigation. A lot of agents shy away from the practice – why take a chance a kid will choke on your chocolate chip cookies?

Since courts have held brokers jointly responsible with the homeowner for injuries on the property, these agents have a point.

If you want to offer your guests something, how about bottles of water with custom labels emblazoned with your brand or a CD of your virtual tour of the home or neighborhood?

If you’re the agent that has lots of promotional items, such as pens, calendars, and pads of paper with your contact info engraved on them. Or make goody bags up — like the ones you got at birthday parties when you were a kid — and fill them with promotional items.

Mike Blaney of Limelight Marketing in Vancouver Canada suggests that you should create a package of property information for your open house guests including:

  • Photographs (or a tour CD)
  • A list of all personal property included in the sale
  • Descriptions and photos of the home’s unique features
  • List of repairs and improvements, with dates
  • A list of average monthly utility costs
  • The copy of the property survey
  • Neighborhood information (including proximity to schools, if it’s a family-type home)
The bottom line

If you crossed open houses off as not worth your time, with two potential transactions riding on it and a bunch of new ideas to test, it’s time to reconsider for 2018.

Getting ready for an open house? Send 100 Open House Postcards to the closest surrounding neighbors ten days prior to your open house!

Always know that we are here to help you in any way we can.  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 if you would like help creating your new mailing lists or marketing materials.

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

 

Convince Your Buyer to Bite

You’ve conducted a buyers’ consultation and you have a pretty good handle on what your potential buyers want in a home. And, they have a handle on the buying process. Now, it’s time to find them a home.

Be safe out there

First and foremost, your safety should be top-of-mind at all times when showing real estate to strangers. Remember to park your car where it can’t be blocked, to always follow, not lead, the client during the tour of the home and never ignore gut instincts.

For more tips on agent safety, watch this video produced by NAR on REALTOR® Safety Video

The checklist

Just as no two listing clients are identical, not all buyers are alike. Some of them will take your consultation to heart, while others will remain unfocused. Although the following technique works for both, it’s the latter who will get the most out of it.

Create some checklists and worksheets for your clients to use as they tour each home. HUD offers a home comparison checklist that you can download. Brand it and hand it out to your buyers.

Do the same with a wish list worksheet – which is just as useful for you as it is for your clients. It helps you narrow down the list of homes to show and it helps keeps your clients focused on what is truly important to them.

Go overboard on sharing information

If there’s a home on the viewing list that you know fits most or all of your clients’ requirements, help make the sale by loading them up with valuable information (including property flyers). Open House Flyers

Is it their first time in a neighborhood? Be sure to grab some information about it and nearby amenities. If you know where they work, get an estimated commute time by putting the home’s address into Google maps and asking for directions to the work address. The time it takes to drive from one location to the other is included in Google’s directions.

If the buyers have children, locate nearby schools on a map of the area. Even if they don’t have kids, learn about the quality of those schools.

If you get lucky, and the home is located close to a quality school, remind childless buyers of how homes near good schools are good investments because they tend to hold their value better than homes near poor-performing schools.

The best way to get this information is by going online, to schooldigger.com, and entering the name of the school or district in the search box.

Finally, compiling a CMA for any home you think the buyers will be interested in is a must. They’ll want to know if it’s priced right and had those stats at your fingertips is a valuable customer service tactic.

Don’t encourage enormously high expectations

I love this tip from John D. Mayfield, broker/owner of Mayfield Real Estate in Farmington, MO. He calls it “underselling,” and cautions agents not to “hype” up a home before the showing.

Why?

“Buyers may feel the home doesn’t meet their hyped-up expectations,” he suggests and goes on to caution that “The opposite is true, too—many practitioners have stories of showing homes they thought were downright ugly, only to learn” that it was just what the buyers were looking for.

Sure, you should mention the home’s features that match their wish list, but, as Mayfield says, “Let the home sell itself.”

Set the stage

If you won’t be loading the buyers in your car, try to get to the home a few minutes before they do. This way you can run through the home and open drapes, turn on all the lights and ensure pets are safely tucked away.

Know when to back off

Veteran buyers’ agents know the signs of both interest and disinterest in a home. The buyer who zips through the home, barely looking at it, most likely decided at the curb that he didn’t like it.

Then, there’s the buyer who focuses on one or two rooms, repeatedly returning to them – a definite sign of interest.

When working with the latter, you need to know when to physically back off. Especially if it’s a couple, give them some privacy to discuss what is most evidently on their minds. “Is there enough room here for the sofa?” “How do you think yellow would work in here?”

The nit-picker, on the other hand, needs your presence. Although many agents think the buyers who notice every little thing wrong in a home show disinterest, an experienced pro at the helm can guide them into understanding what easy fixes many of these “problems” can be.

Give them a vision

Most buyer agents know that a couple that starts talking about furniture placement is interested in the home. They’re envisioning what the rooms will look like with their furniture and accessories.

Since you were smart enough to get them to provide a thorough wish list, guide their vision by pointing out the features they will find most desirable.

Get them to realize that just because a room is used as a bedroom, it doesn’t have to be

Do they long for a home office? Point out which bedroom would make the ideal office and why.

Be kind to the homeowners

Before leaving the home, ensure that it’s in the same condition as when you arrived. Close the drapes and turn off the lights. If your clients had children in tow, go through each room to ensure the beds aren’t rumpled and all doors to the exterior of the home are locked.Open House Door Hangers

Have a home showing coming up? Order 100 Open House Door Hangers delivered to you, to hang on neighborhood doors prior to the open house.

Need assistance taking your marketing to the next level?  Call our support team at 866.405.3638 today!  

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

 

polish your realtor presentation skills

The winning formula

You can blink your eye three times in the time it takes a person to judge your trustworthiness and competence just by looking at your face, according to research conducted by Princeton University.

Yet, the real estate industry is confounded that most real estate consumers go with the first agent they meet and that so many homeowners spend only one day choosing a listing agent.

As with all things real estate, time is of the essence during the listing appointment, so let’s take a look at how you can ensure the homeowner’s first impression is a winning one.

It starts with the first phone call

Whether it’s via a phone call or a response to a Free Offer postcard, how you respond to that first contact with a potential seller will pave the way to a successful listing presentation. This is the time to gather as much information as possible about the home and the owner.

Free Offer Series Postcards

Right now, make a list of questions so you’ll be ready for that next listing lead.

The National Association of Realtors even offers up some examples to get you started:

  • Why are you selling your home?
  • How soon do you need to sell?
  • Do you have a ballpark price in mind?
  • Tell me about your home – how long you’ve lived there, what you like best about it and whether you’ve performed any renovations or major repairs.
  • In your opinion, what makes your home different from others in the neighborhood?

When you set the appointment, let the homeowner know that all decision-makers should be present.

Before compiling the CMA, take a tour of every home currently for sale in the seller’s neighborhood and a drive-by of sold comps.

As most listing agents know, potential home sellers are keenly aware of current listings in the area and will many times bring them up during a listing appointment.

Rather than being embarrassed that the homeowner knows the local market better than you do, be the agent who is completely up-to-date on the local market.

Now you have the information necessary to put together the CMA. For the rookies out there, here is a list of quick tips to help you out with that:

  • Generics won’t make you stand out. Every home and every seller is different. Customize your presentation to this home and this
  • Even if you use a digital presentation, ensure that everything in your hard copy is professionally printed. Your competition won’t bother using the color printer, which is why you must. From your branding to the graphics and photos, color grabs attention and gives the impression that marketing is your forte.

Powerful first impressions

Remember how quickly we form first impressions? One of the best ways to ruin your chances is by being late for the listing appointment. No excuse on earth will work just show up on time.

Before you leave your car, turn off your phone, take a deep breath and relax. Remind yourself to smile and make eye contact as the homeowner opens the door. Hey, you got this!

Steer the participants to a place where it will be easier to maintain eye contact with everyone who is present. A round dining table is ideal.

Then, break the ice. “Driving over here, I was thinking about how excited I am about this meeting,”lets them know that you’re confident and have exciting things to share, suggests author and sales leadership consultant, Lisa Earle McLeod.

Another suggested ice-breaker is to ask a question. Engaging the homeowners immediately will help you make a quick connection.

while every listing agent is different in how they conduct a listing presentation, most that we’ve spoken with share the following:

Homeowners want to know that you’re truly listening to them. Making eye contact conveys that and taking notes as they speak shows you are serious about remembering what they’re saying.

Assume the close

While some agents we’ve spoken with wait until the end of the presentation to assume the close, others do so throughout the presentation.

Here’s a brilliant example we read about at ActiveRain. Draw up two lists of services – one the basics, and one with the extra services you offer your listing clients.

Then, when explaining your services during the presentation, start with the basics – the stuff that is standard in your area. Then, whip out the second list and, as you tick them off, stop occasionally to ask if this is a service they want you to provide.

For instance, “Will you want aerial photography as well as the 3-D home tour?” Or “Do you want me to hold open houses?”

Although we don’t expect these tips to be everything required to beat the listing presentation willies, they offer ideas on how to prepare. And, knowing you’re prepared is calming.

And, when you’re calm, you’re confident and unbeatable!

Order at least 100 5 Facts That Drive a Successful Home Sale from our Free Reports and use them as part of your presentation portfolio, and as handouts for your farm and open houses.

The ProspectsPLUS! Team are your biggest fans! We are here to help you succeed in 2018. Please reach out to us if there is any way we can help you at  866.405.3638.

The Right Dialogue is the Key!

As we head into the holiday’s, now is the perfect time to sharpen your negotiating skills and polish your pricing techniques, the following are 3 powerful closing techniques to try. You know that old Floyd Wickman saying, “Worse than no listing is a listing that won’t sell.”  Make sure yours are priced to move and you’ll not only be a hero to your sellers, you’ll set yourself up as the agent to call in your marketplace.

3 Powerful Closing Techniques to Try:

1. Don’t Help the Competition: 

Overpricing your home in today’s market can actually help sell other listings. Explain to your seller to put themselves in the shoes of the buyer.  They’ve got an agent and they’re looking at listings that are priced at market value, show well and have motivated sellers.

If they look at your home and a comparable home and all things being relatively equal, in other words, both are 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 2600 sq. ft. homes and both show well but yours is $50,000+ above market value, which home is going to look more attractive to them when it comes to a bottom line decision for their family?

In fact, when it comes to choosing their property, if your home is overpriced, you’ve just made the lesser priced home look perfect by comparison.  They can feel good about their decision of getting the same sized home for less! You can also pull comparables from your MLS to show real world applications of this.

If the seller overprices their home today and it goes online via the MLS and your multiple web listing portals, their home won’t even have the benefit of SHOWING up when consumers search by price.

 They’ve just priced themselves right off the internet search – eliminating the possibility of that 85+% of consumers who start their search there.

2. The Four Sales: 

A great Floyd Wickman strategy is to use the following dialogue: You know we’ve covered the comparables – the research that I showed you with the prices of the other homes like yours that have sold recently in this area and I know you want to list it at the higher price. I’ve put a lot of thought into it, and you know if we went ahead and put it on the market at your price – and I was the only one that had to be sold on that price – well I guess that would be fine. But in reality, there are actually four sales that have to be made in order to sell your home at that price.

First…I have to be sold and I’ve gotta tell you – all I can go by is the CMA facts and figures that I showed you.

Secondly…the other agents have to be sold on showing your property at that price – otherwise they’re simply not going to show it to their buyers.  Unfortunately, they get their numbers the same way I do – from what’s recently sold in the area and those same CMA numbers.

Thirdly…and this is a big one – the buyers.  Let’s just pretend we sold the agents on it.  Now we’ve got to convince the buyers to pay a higher price for a property when there are other homes like it that are selling
for less.

Unfortunately in today’s world and with the internet, buyers have access to the same information that we have here.  They know what homes are going for in this area.  So that’s going to be a tough sale, don’t you think?

Now let’s just say everything lines up and somehow we even sell a buyer on paying more for your property than we know its worth in this market. We still have one more sale.

Fourth…there’s the lender.  Lenders use exactly the same formulas we do to determine Fair Market Value for a property before they’ll write a loan. Are you familiar with Fall-Throughs? Yeah, fall-throughs are what happens when people are thinking just the way you were thinking about pricing higher and the sale can’t go through because the property won’t appraise for what you’re asking for it. And that’s not what you want right?

3. Empathy vs. Reality Close: 

This dialogue comes from our friend, Coach Gord Gerrie. I understand how you feel Mr. and Mrs. Seller and there is no doubt, many others have felt exactly the same way you do right now. However, what they found was that once they had sold their house and focused their attention on their new home, they understood that the reality of accepting the offered price really only amounted to a few dollars more per month on their next home.

Again in reality, by accepting this offer today, you will know that your house is sold and that the difference between what you had hoped for and what you will receive will amount to less than $X per day in your new home. Would you let $X per day stand between you and the home of your dreams?

Want to learn more ways to grow your business?  Join us on our Facebook page or Google+ page today.