Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    Welcome to the world of real estate, soon-to-be-wildly-successful agent. Your spanking new license, hung with a broker you probably just recently met, is your ticket to the big bucks – or so the story goes.

    Between now and then, you may be hungry. You may be frightened about the future. You most likely will be financially challenged. Your sole focus will definitely be on securing one client – one deal – to help you stay in business long enough to get to the next one.

    The ideal vehicle to get you to that deal – indeed, the very bedrock of your nascent real estate business — is personal branding.

    Creating an impression, and the reputation you will eventually build, combine to generate your personal brand. Constructing your brand is job number one as soon as you’ve hung your license. Everything else falls into place once this is accomplished.

    Read on for three essential tips guaranteed to help you fire up the iron and stick it strategically to your hide.

    1. What makes you Remarkable?

    “Unique” is a word that gets tossed around a great deal when it comes to discussions on branding. Among real estate agents, however, commonalities are more obvious than differences.

    Let’s face it; the basic duties of every real estate agent are the same: you list homes, fill out paperwork, show houses and act as your client’s intermediary.

    This is where personal branding comes into play. What makes you different from most of the others? Perhaps it’s your education – an agent with a juris doctorate or even a staging certificate has an angle that many other agents lack.

    Previous careers often play into an agent’s branding efforts as well.

    As a former TV news anchor, Bob Sokoler with Re/Max Properties East in Louisville, KY is undoubtedly the best real estate video producer among the agents in the area. It makes him stand out, and he uses that as part of his branding.

    Answer the following questions to help determine what makes you different:

    • What are your interests and passions? What motivates you?
    • What are your strengths? What behaviors, attitudes and abilities have consistently produced positive outcomes in your life?
    • Consider your education and previous work experience.

    Get clear on what makes you remarkable. Those qualities, those aspects of you, are what will keep you from being a dime-a-dozen agent.

    Then, state those qualities, commodities or even quirks in a declarative statement that helps you get a handle on your brand. “I am a high-end real estate agent giving the sophisticated consumer a stylish and tailor-made real estate experience,” wrote a luxury agent.

    2. Who is your Target Client?

    Radio DJs are taught early in their careers to get a clear image of who they’re talking to every time they open the microphone. They’re told to imagine one person, and to speak directly to him or her.

    Define your target client. It may help to create an actual profile of this person. For instance, if your passion for golf has lead you to decide to concentrate on golf course homes, your ideal client is, obviously, someone who plays a lot of golf. Is he retired with lots of spare time or a weekend warrior that hits the links as soon as the tie comes off? Golf isn’t cheap, so this client most likely has disposable income.

    Once you know who your target client is, you’ll be in a better position to start thinking about how you’ll brand yourself to attract this client and others like him.

     “A brand has to resonate with the target market by standing out in the sea of sameness, and fit like a glove based on one’s personal preferences,” suggests Ron & Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants, International

    3. Try it on

    You know what sets you apart, you have a handle on the types of clients you’ll attract, now you need to try some stuff on and see how they fit and how they’ll be perceived in the marketplace.

    “Are you flashy, edgy, comforting, or sophisticated? Does that fit the consumer base you’re looking for?” asks Seattle broker Sam DeBord.

    The “feel” you want to promote dictates how you’ll build the basics of your brand, such as “logos, fonts, colors and graphics that fit the theme and relate it to your customers,” DeBord says

    Once you’ve found a good fit, you’ll need to build that brand into your website, blog, business cards, brochures and everything else that makes up your business’ public face.

    “Not every agent can be the top salesperson in town, but each can find their own branding niche:  dog-friendly agent, houseboat sales team, modern design brokerage, stone-cold investment-negotiation expert,” DeBord explains.

    “Then find visual guidelines and a business process to inform your specific customers that you are the right professional for their needs.”

    What will you be known for in the marketplace? It pays to take the time to figure that out.

    Send a postcard from the Move-Up Market Series to an area where you want more listings.

    Need help targeting a specific 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 some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

    1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

    The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted mailing lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

    2. 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, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

    3. The Free One-Page 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

    4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

    Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

    5. 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

    6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

    The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted mailing list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

      Too many Americans who want to buy a home feel they can’t because they don’t have the cash to put 20 percent down on the mortgage.

      Yes, we know that 20 percent is “so yesterday,” but the general public is still operating under this illusion.

      In fact, according to a NerdWallet.com survey, 44 percent of Americans think that the 20 percent down payment figure is written in stone.

      Sadly, the respondents who don’t currently own a home said that what’s holding them back is the lack of this large down payment.

      It’s safe to say that the down payment is one of the biggest obstacles to homebuying today. And, it doesn’t have to be.

      Get the word out to renters that there are various first-time homebuyer programs that many can qualify for.

      We rounded up four that we think agents should bone up on.

      1. Fannie Mae’s 3-percent-down mortgage

      Launched a few years ago, Fannie Mae’s Conventional 97 is a brilliant alternative to the FHA-backed loan. In fact, it is “among the most in-demand programs for today’s homebuyers,” according to Dan Green at TheMortgageReports.com .

      Conventional 97 is what FHA used to be — ideal for both the first-timer and repeat homebuyer who lacks a large down payment. While borrowers are still required to purchase mortgage insurance, the premiums “are usually less expensive than those of comparable FHA home loans,” according to Green.

      Best of all, according to Tim Lucas, editor at MyMortgageInsider.com, borrowers can qualify with scores as low as 620 and “gift funds can be used for down payment and closing costs.”

      Speak with your preferred lender to learn more about how to sell this to potential homebuying clients who think they can’t afford the down payment for a home.

      2. Freddie Mac HomeOne℠ loan

      If your preferred lender isn’t among those conventional lenders approved to offer the HomeOne loan from Freddie Mac, it’s time to add another to your vendor list.

      Like Fannie Mae’s loan, it allows you to help your eligible first-time homebuyers achieve the dream of homeownership.

      Features include:

      • No income limits
      • No geographical limits
      • Allows for the purchase of a single-family home, condo or townhome

      Buyers are required to have at least 3 percent for a down payment and a credit score of at least 620. If first-time buyers, borrowers must agree to attend a buyer education course.

      Naturally, there is more to know about Freddie Mac’s HomeOne loan. You can get the details either from your preferred lender or online at SFFreddieMac.com.

      3. Freddie Mac Home Possible®

      Freddie Mac offers an alternative to the HomeOne loan and that’s the popular Home Possible mortgage. This program is deal for your lower income buyers who lack a big down payment and require “flexible sources of funds.”

      These sources can be family members, employer assistance “secondary financing and sweat equity,” or a combination of these, according to Freddie Mac’s website.

      Your buyer’s qualifying income (on an annual basis) cannot exceed 80 percent of the AMI.

      There’s a 3 percent down payment, but unlike other similar programs, a borrower can quality for 105 percent LTV with Freddie Mac’s Affordable Seconds®.

      Consider mentioning Home Possible to your very-low to low-income buyers, move-up buyers and retirees.

      4. HomePath Ready Buyer™ program

      Another Fannie Mae program, HomePath Ready Buyer, offers 3 percent down payment assistance for qualified borrowers who agree to participate in an online homebuying course and then purchase a HomePath property.

      The bonus for agents whose clients use this program is that you end up with a client prepared for the process.

      It’s important for you to understand your part in the process as well. Your client will need to request a course completion certificate and then you’ll need to include it when you submit the offer on a HomePath property.

      “The request for closing cost assistance must be made at the initial offer in the HomePath Online Offers system,” according to information on the HomePath website.

      The website includes the verbiage the buyer’s agent needs to use to make the request for closing cost assistance for the buyer. You’ll find that when you scroll to the bottom of this page.

      Your buyer must not have owned a home within the past three years, they must agree to reside in the home as their primary residence and take possession within 60 days of closing.

      There are plenty of other programs out there that will help you to assist reluctant buyers who think that they can’t buy without a huge down payment. Learn about them, then use them in your marketing.

      Send a postcard from the First Time Buyer Series to a targeted mailing list of renters in an area where you want more buyers.

      Need help targeting a specific 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 some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

      1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

      The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted mailing lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. –Click Here

      2. 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, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

      3. The Free One-Page 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

      4. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

      Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

      5. 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

      6. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

      The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted mailing list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

        When I was buying a home a couple of years ago, I met with an agent at a nearby Starbucks. His entire buyer’s consultation consisted of trying to get me to sign a buyer’s agreement.

        No matter what I asked him about, from current market conditions to requesting a referral to a lender, it always came back to me having a pen shoved in my direction.

        No, he didn’t win me over as a client.

        Sure, it’s important to many buyers’ agents to get a signature on that agreement. But a little foreplay would’ve been nice and probably would’ve resulted in getting my signature.

        You have a lot of valuable information to impart, especially to first-time buyers. Providing excellent customer service demands that you share this information with potential clients. The payoff is a more relaxed client and a smoother transaction.

        The pandemic has us all going a bit stir crazy, but using the time to prepare yourself to be more customer-service oriented when it’s over is a wise move.

        Here’s a list of parts of the homebuyer process that confuse buyers the most. Use explanations of them in your consultation.

        What’s the local market like?

        Establish yourself as the local expert right out of the gate. Explain to your buyers that what they read in the national news about the housing market doesn’t necessarily pertain to the local market.

        Outline the difference between a buyers’ and sellers’ market and how they come about. Dive into current local market conditions and how it pertains to their home-shopping process. What will you do to help alleviate any market conditions that may be challenging for them?

        Finally, a thorough, easy-to-understand explanation of market value is in order. And, no, you don’t need to present these facts orally. An infographic or text explanation that they can take with them is even better.

        Mortgages confuse first-time homebuyers

        Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers haven’t seen a lender. They don’t know if they can even qualify for a mortgage let alone how much they can spend.

        Yet, they are out looking at homes for sale, according to a survey commissioned by Discover Financial Services.

        Crazy, right? Why are listing agents allowing non pre-approved buyers to tour their clients’ homes? Why aren’t buyers’ agents counselling their clients about the importance of seeing a lender?

        The dangers in the latter include buyers not knowing that they shouldn’t apply for credit or buy anything on credit. They don’t get that they shouldn’t change jobs and areg clueless about that second credit pull just before closing

        From application to underwriting and closing, your buying clients deserve an in-depth explanation of the mortgage process. If your preferred lender doesn’t supply this (and most don’t), then it’s up to you to do so.

        That downright scary home inspection report

        The chances are pretty good that most first-time homebuyers have never seen a home inspection report. Pity, because it would help prepare them for what is to come.

        From photos enlarged to super-giant-size to technical jargon that nobody outside of the construction industry understands, the results of a home inspection appear to most buyers as big, fat dollar signs flying out the window.

        Let your buying clients know that:

        • Although the report may seem nit-picky, the inspector is tasked with being thorough.
        • Problems in photos may appear far worse than they actually are.
        • If something big does turn up, “we can handle it.” Let your clients know their options (walking away from the deal, negotiating with the seller for repairs, etc.).

        HOAs and their documents

        Gotta love that mountain of paperwork the HOA provides buyers of homes in managed communities.

        Filled with legalese, it’s almost impossible for the average buyer to know, first, what to look for, and, second, how to decipher the information when she finds it.

        As an agent, your best course of action is to outline the typical docs in a HOA package, highlighting the ones that buyers should pay close attention to.

        Then, urge them to run the whole package by an attorney. Unless you are one, of course.

        Staying home, as we’ve all been urged to do, doesn’t have to be filled with long days binging on Netflix or catching up on home maintenance chores. Take some time to work on the parts of your real estate business that you’ve let fall by the wayside.

        Send a The Clean-Your-Plate-Pancake recipe postcard from the COVID-19 Series to an area where you want more listings.

        Need help targeting a specific 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 some Free resources we’ve made available to support your success.

        1. The Free Real Estate Mailing List Guide

        The Real Estate Mailing List Guide outlines the top tools for generating targeted mailing lists including Baby Boomers, Empty Nesters, Investors, Lifestyle Interests, High-Income Renters, Move-Up Markets, and more. The Guide also defines done-for-you marketing campaigns to match these markets. – Click Here

        2. 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, Get More Listings, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence. –Click Here

        3. Become a Listing Legend Free eBook 

        Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

        4. 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

        5. The Real Estate Marketing Guide “CRUSH IT” 

        The “Crush It” Guide includes easy steps to launching an effective direct mail marketing campaign, how to create a targeted mailing list, the perfect way to layout marketing materials for success, seven opportunities available to target in your area right now. –Click Here

          Check out our first-place $250 Gift Card winner & our second-place $100 Gift Card winner below!

          1. Congratulations Selina Lee on winning our first place $250 Gift Card!

          Selina shared the following feedback with ProspectsPLUS!.

          “You have excellent marketing materials and postcards!”

          Selina’s latest marketing piece she sent out was an Animal postcard from the COVID-19 Series (see Series below)

          2.Congratulations Stacie Foreman on winning our 2nd Prize $100 ProspectsPLUS! Gift Card!

          Stacie shared the following feedback with ProspectsPLUS!

          “There are alot of great options for postcards and ProspectsPLUS! makes it so easy to send them out!!”

          Stacie recently sent postcards out from the Get More Listing Series (Some of our most popular postcards from that Series are below).

          Take the lead from Selina and Stacie and send at least 100 marketing pieces to an area where you want more buyers and sellers!


          You might also like:

          Financial Help For the Self-Employed Real Estate Agent

          The Work-At-Home Real Estate Agent: How to Survive and Thrive

          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!