5 Ways Brokers Can Help Agents Succeed During COVID-19

5 Ways Brokers Can Help Agents Succeed During COVID-19

As brokers, we have experienced the highs and lows of the housing market. When the market is hot, you don’t have to be as strategic to be effective as you do when the market is down. And right now, we are entering a confusing and challenging time for real estate markets across the country. So now more than ever, it’s time to refocus your marketing strategies to adapt to a slow.

What can we do to shoulder this responsibility and ensure our agents’ success? We must set our agents up for success with the latest and greatest resources and knowledge to help them tackle the challenges of a slow market, especially while doing so from home. Read on for 5 ways brokers can help their agents during this challenging time.

Stay up-to-date with the news, and provide your team with resources.

Striking the balance of news consumption is no easy feat these days. But it is of the utmost importance to stay updated. You want your agents to trust that you are providing them with accurate and reliable information, as they want to be that same reliable source for their clients and leads. 

Set aside some time each day and read up on COVID-19 and how it is interacting with the housing market. You’ll also want to treat your sources with discern. There is a lot of confusing information out there right now, and not all of it is factual. Do your due diligence and make sure the articles you are sending your team are based on careful analysis and sound science. The NAR can serve as an excellent resource for you to start.

You might even consider this a great opportunity to build a marketing tool: compile your research into an email for your team, who can then share that with their clients. Include the links as well as your insight on the information.

Assist Your Team With Virtual Showings

This one might not be new for you and your team, but people have to stay connected virtually now more than ever. The good news is that real estate has proven itself to be easily adaptable to these technological changes within society. Realtors can provide sellers with just as immersive an experience as an in-person tour would these days. The potential buyer can control which part of the house they look at and from which angle. The National Association of Realtors has compiled a great list of resources for you to get started.

Spend Time + Money On Education.

We’re all spending a lot of time at home, and many of us are struggling to adjust to this new way of life. Sharpening existing skills and learning new ones not only alleviates stress and anxiety, but it is also a fantastic way to have some fun and strengthen your business. 

Do you have a favorite real estate webinar series that you watch? Send it over to your team, and review it together. Or maybe you’ve always wanted your agents to learn a digital skill. You can even make your own! There are many tools available for you to take advantage of.

Start Creating Content

If you haven’t already, take the time to update the blog on your websites. If your agents have individual websites, you can advise them to do the same. Blogs are important for a variety of reasons. The right blogs with relevant information can establish you as an industry leader. They can drive traffic back to your website, increasing leads and even sales. Blogs increase your SEO, so updating your blog with fresh content is key to staying at the forefront of your competitors. And they can even strengthen your customer relationships. By connecting directly on your website, your clients are getting to know your business and the voice behind the business, deepening that connection.

Set up weekly check-ins.

We know that many businesses have been affected and will continue to be affected by COVID-19. Whether it be your businesses, someone you know, or a local shop you’ve gone to for years, this has been tough on everyone. Let your team know you care about their physical and mental well-being right now by setting up weekly check-ins. Take some time each week to come together for support within the company. 

We recommend getting to know the ins and outs of your preferred digital meeting platform, whether it be Slack or Skype or Zoom. There are many options for you to get comfortable with, and you won’t want to deal with technical difficulties on your calls. Once you’re all set up, talk to your agents about what is and isn’t working right now. Ask them how they are confronting the current challenges we are being faced with. Then, it’s more than ok to have some fun activities or time to destress. Play a get to know you game; play charades or download one of many virtual multiplayer gaming apps that you can play on your call. You can even host a virtual happy hour!

Should You Hire a Transaction Coordinator?

Should You Hire a Transaction Coordinator?

Whether or not to hire a transaction coordinator is a question many brokerages and agents will face during their careers. Once a home is under contract, it’s not time to relax–especially if you’re handling the coordination yourself. From opening escrow, handling inspections, handling contingencies, repairs, to communicating with clients on the details/deadlines of the title transfer, it can be a lot.

And it can be a lot to risk. The last thing you want to see happen is to have a deal unravel due to details falling through the cracks, while only inches from the finish line.

That is why agents opt to hire transaction coordinators to handle all of the intricacies surrounding a real estate deal, allowing them to put their attention towards generating new business, and managing the intra-personal client relationships.

So what should agents/brokers do?

The usual scenarios we see play out are, (i) brokerages hire a salaried coordinator, (ii) agents will use their own outsourced coordinators on a transaction per transaction basis. 

The pros and cons of brokerages hiring a salaried coordinator primarily lie in the structure of the employment agreement. Employees can be costly and get bogged down during the busier times of the year (Summer in most markets), which keeps the clients waiting and pushes the GCI (Gross Commissionable Income) further down the road.

If this happens, top producers are going to look elsewhere for their transaction coordination—most likely to an outsourced person. Which for agents, this has its pitfalls associated with it. One, there is no commonality when it comes to following procedures or using the same software amongst coordinators. 

That is a nightmare for any broker or agent who’s looking to scale their business. Like any other business, the way to grow is through repeatable experiences for clients and systems for internal procedures.

But what if there was another way?

The new wave of real estate is here, and its backbone is technology and professional service providers. By utilizing technology, real estate businesses have been able to grow faster, smarter, and bigger than ever before. From the seemingly endless CRMs, listing providers, lead generators, etc., it can feel a bit robotic running your business. 

That’s because, despite real estate’s backbone being in technology, it’s heart is in the brokers and agents who push the business forward. 

That is why we made REBO (Real Estate Black Ops), a place where we could use all of the advantages of technology, and combine it with the human touch.

What is REBO?

Unlike private transaction coordinators, REBO is a transaction coordination service that allows brokerages to implement a seamless system, with professional transaction coordinators. This provides a secure and consistent process that opens the doors to scaling, ensures all documentation and steps are followed while providing excellent service/visibility to your agents’ clients.

How much does it cost?

As we mentioned above, having a full-time employee dedicated to transaction coordination can be costly–especially if sales are slowing. Brokerages have to provide a place to work (overhead), supplies (computers, printers, software, etc.), and stay on top of payroll taxes (more expense and liability). That’s why we charge a flat fee per transaction, so you don’t get caught paying for something you’re not using as a broker. 

What does REBO handle?

We handle the transaction process from opening escrow until the money ends up in the seller’s hands. With REBO in your corner, your transactions can be processed efficiently and securely while leaving you the time to run your real estate business.

All-in-all, for a business to scale it needs the perfect blend of human touch, backed with great partners. As the growing need for uniformity and scalable systems becomes apparent for real estate professionals, REBO is there to help fill in the holes in the transaction coordination process and get your deals across the finish line faster and in a more efficient way. 

5 Tips For Starting A Real Estate Blog

5 Tips For Starting A Real Estate Blog

The existence of such a wide array of blogger tools available for free today, starting a real estate blog has never been easier.

Blogs are a good way to provide personalized content directly to your target audience.

Writing your own content is the perfect way to demonstrate to your social sphere that you are the arbiter of knowledge and experience in your local real estate market.

Just follow the step by step guides provided by one of the blog building software available online like SquareSpace or TheBlogBuilder and begin producing valuable content for your clients and readers right away!

In today’s user-friendly online environment, creating, implementing, and promoting your blog is easy as ever.

The hard part, is writing content for your blog in a way that best expresses the value you provide as a Realtor and real estate market place guru.

We have compiled a list of advice and tips for best reaching your audience, claiming a high SEO score, and generating leads from your blog.

Consistently producing high value content peppered with optimal key words, increasing traffic to your website, and retargeting visitors is a key component for keeping up with the changing landscape in the increasingly technologically driven business of real estate.

Failure to adjust to new marketing trends like localized blogging surrenders territory to those who do adopt the new ways and allows them to dip their hands into your lead and referral business.

Reposting from other sources is a good way to accomplish this when time is short, but generating your own content as well will better guarantee your posts are localized and relevant.

Stop using a lack of ideas for content as an excuse to begin this essential cornerstone to your business. Here are your tips for setting yourself up to create valuable, recurring content and ensuring you capture as much business as possible with your new blog:

1. LOCAL NEWS

Providing your target market with information relevant to your local community is absolutely crucial for imparting valuable content and establishing an authoritative SEO score.

There are several earmarks in your local community that will consistently give you the opportunity for generating this content since there will often be updates and changes within those earmarks.

a. Local Schools

Local elementary schools will host fundraisers, sporting events, concerts, plays, and a variety of other events that you can report to your local community. This information will be relevant both to your immediate sphere of influence and anyone interested in purchasing property there from out of the area.

This content will likely be shared by social media friends with children or relatives participating in any local school events, expanding your outreach and driving more traffic to your blog.

b. Local Events

Most communities engage in shared events periodically throughout the year. These events usually relate to some holiday, like a local 4th of July parade or a community Easter egg hunt. 

Take advantage of these events by creating consumable lists for engaging in these activities specific to your community, like, “5 Tricks for Staking Out a Good Spot at the Walnut Creek Parade,” or, “7 Worst Foods to Cook at the 4th of July Crocker Heights BBQ.”

c. Local Sporting Events

If your city is fortunate enough to have local minor league teams, promoting their games, new acquisitions, or halftime extravaganzas are a good way to provide support for your local teams, and therefore help to establish you as the active go-to Realtor of the local community.

This will also be content that may be shared by team administrators, making your presence and expertise known to players and staff alike. Considering the high player turnover on semi-professional teams, this will allow you to position yourself as the preferred Realtor to be contracted by any new acquisitions. This is a more feasible goal than doing this at the professional level, since the amount of content covering these teams is much scarcer.

d. Local Policy Changes (Especially Affecting Real Estate)

Policy changes often go unnoticed by communities, as there is very little content relating to these changes at a hyper-local level. 

Take some time to attend City Hall meetings occasionally. Try to hand pick any new policy changes that will have a direct effect on the lives of citizens in your local community. Not everyone is willing to take the time to attend these meetings, but they’ll be much more likely to click an article discussing any new potential changes in their daily routines.

e. New Local Hotspots

This will help to provide additional relevant neighborhood information to keep you at the fore front of your local community. Anyone interested in the food and dining your neighborhood has to offer will be highly inclined to click on a localized article like, “New Dining Experiences to Try in San Jose.”

Notify the restaurants or bars you’re discussing. They’ll likely share it on their social media channels as well, heightening your outreach and driving more traffic to your site.

f. Local Charity events

Promoting local charity events will drive traffic to your site in addition to helping convey your charitable inclinations to the surrounding community. Displaying a list of charities your site promotes can also help to do this, as well as link your site to anyone outside your community searching for more information or trying to donate to these charities.

2. PERSONALIZED CONTENT TO INCLUDE HOBBIES AND INTERESTS

We’ve said it before, but it merits repeating – people like buying from other people like them.

By expressing your interests and hobbies outside of real estate on your blog, then tying them back to your real estate business, you will attract buyers and sellers who also express interest those shared activities.

Pick a hobby or activity in which you hold an exceptionable amount of knowledge and insight, then write articles that conflate it to real estate through analogy or metaphor.

For example, if you’re a dog person, write something like, “Why Single-Family Tudors are the Golden Retrievers of Residential Real Estate.”

Or, if you’re an NFL fan, “Which NFL Team best represents your neighborhood?” 

Then discuss commonalities between the two categories you’re comparing. These can be very broad comparisons, but will serve to attract like-minded people to your site.

3. PROMOTE YOUR EVENTS 

Hosting community events is a great way to rub elbows with your neighbors and potential clientele.

Not only can you meet new clients by attracting them to attend, but these are ideal for capturing new content to share on your blog.

The content you share can conform to what activities you arranged for your event. Discuss prize winners, contests, charitable givers, or whatever you feel best portrays your events as community unifiers.

Content generated from these presents the opportunity for promotion both before the event, and advertising your business afterwards.

4. DEMONSTRATE YOUR MARKET KNOWLEDGE

This might not necessarily be the focal point of your blog since it won’t generate as much interest, but demonstrating your professionalism, experience, and knowledge of the local real estate market is a good way to present your aptitude as a Realtor, and give you an additional recurring source of updates and information to maintain a blog with consistent posting.

a. Market Open Houses

Every time you host or hold an open house, this presents an opportunity for a blog post.

Write pricing comparisons of the house you’re hosting relative to the surrounding area, and include graphics from you’re CMA provider.

Describe the house briefly, (this can be the same description in your local MLS or on consumer facing listing platforms like Zillow), then add visual content like embedded drone videos, virtual tours, or listing photos.

This will not only increase traffic to your site and open homes, but demonstrate to sellers the amount of effort you put in when given the opportunity to represent a listing, increasing the number of leads you receive and your referral business.

b. Local Market Updates

To demonstrate you have your finger on the pulse of the local real estate market, periodically post market updates for the neighborhoods in which you operate.

These updates can also show readers that you are a credible source of real estate knowledge in their local area and can lead to more business.

c. Mortgage Rate Updates

Keeping your readers up to date with changing mortgage rates will help further establish your reliability as a real estate expert.

These posts are quick and simple since the data is readily available and require only short blurbs as to the effect on potential buyers and sellers.

5. TIPS FOR HOME IMPROVEMENT

We mentioned utilizing reposts from other blogs is a good way to uphold a consistent posting schedule, and there is no shortage of posts for this topic.

If you do use other posts for this category, try to make sure they reference local companies that can carry out these tasks for home owners. That way, your blog remains more relevant to the local community and additionally increases your SEO score.

If posts referencing local businesses don’t exist, use ideas or concepts from these other posts, then include services of local businesses that can remedy or help with these ideas.

As always, be sure to contact the local business when you do this and encourage them to share your post on their social media as well.

Key Takeaways:

Choose generalized topics in your local community that consistently generate new updates and information.

Once you’ve written about those changes and shared them on your social media channels, contact the organizations or companies mentioned in your article, and ask them to share it on theirs’ as well. 

If you’re busy with other facets of your real estate business, posting content from other sources particularly with regard to market updates or broad real estate questions the general public poses is a good way to maintain a consistent posting process.

9 of the Best Realtor Conference and Event Practices

9 of the Best Realtor Conference and Event Practices

A great way for real estate agents to learn about new developments in the industry, expand their referral network, and generally make new connections for their business is to attend real estate conferences and events. Many agents already implement this tactic, but are they positioning and marketing themselves as effectively as they can? If you’re going to spend the time and money to attend a real estate event, make sure you’re doing everything before, during, and after to optimize your experience and get the most out of their marketing ploys. Here is our list of tips for real estate agents to accomplish that when attending real estate events and conferences:

1. Collect numbers, not business cards.

Business cards create clutter, are ineffective at establishing yourself in the memory of your cohort, and generally yield very low call back rates. Instead, offer to exchange your phone number and email by creating a new contact in your phone on the spot. Then, send them a short, personalized email or text right away. They’ll be more likely to respond and remember you if you use this practice instead of being one of the hundred other agents that handed them a card.

2. Find the bar and stake it out.

Rather than trying to meet people by approaching groups or actively seeking certain individuals, get a space near the bar. You can strike up conversations with any agents who go to order a drink more innocuously this way. For those that have ever attended a real estate event or conference, you know you can expect a lot of agents to patron the bar.

3. Leverage the event to boost your social media outreach.

Post about the event before, during, and after on your social media channels. Be sure to include tags relevant to the event and referencing it so any agents searching for information about it see your posts. Your posts can be as simple as a photo of a speaker or a new insight you gained at the event.

4. Build a website page exclusively for the event.

Another good post you can promote on your social media channels is your personalized website page about the event. This is a good way to improve your website SEO for anyone interested in the event and is a good way to directly provide value to attendees searching for information about it. A call to action on this page like a newsletter signup or an eBook download. This will further help you stand out and increase your connection rate with attendees.

5. Research sessions beforehand and come prepared with questions.

Know what the topics of discussion will be so you can anticipate how you can better be proactive and participatory during sessions. Asking good questions can help you get noticed and increase the interest of other attendees in connecting with you.

6. Follow hashtags for the event on social media.

Another good way to stay on top of sessions and topics of discussion is to follow the event tags on social media. This will allow you to better provide value on your own posts and take advantage of any offerings or promotions advertised by the event hosts.

7. Learn about new developments in the industry and blog about them.

If you’re strapped for blog post ideas, this is a good opportunity to gain insight into changes in the industry or new technology being introduced. This will help you establish yourself as a real estate agent with their finger on the pulse of the industry, making you stand out to fellow Realtors and potential clients alike as a reliable, knowledgeable source for all things real estate.

8. Use name association to remember people.

You’ll meet a lot of people and remembering all of them can be difficult if you try to rely on your memory alone. Associate their names with unique physical features to improve your name retention. For example, if someone you meet named Dan has curly hair, use a simple word association process to connect his curly hair to his name. Curly hair -> curling iron -> iron man -> man rhymes with Dan.

9. Follow up afterwards.

Finally, to cement the connections you make at the event, be sure to follow up with new contacts after the event. Try to work in a reference to something that was brought up in your conversation with them to help them remember who you are, and convey that you were listening and care about this new relationship. Alternatively, you can send them an article that discusses solutions for any issue that in the industry that was referenced in the conversation.

 

Real estate agent conferences and events are great opportunities for networking and learning about new industry developments like REBO’s flat fee outsourced transaction coordination service. Sign up with REBO’s white-glove concierge service and let us handle all the paperwork and communication involved in a real estate transaction from offer to close!

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Reasons Not To Hire A Transaction Coordinator

Reasons Not To Hire A Transaction Coordinator

Providing real estate agents with all the tools necessary for them to effectively conduct business is at the forefront of every broker’s docket. Ideally, they can do this while simultaneously reducing legal exposure, lowering expenses, and reducing the risk of agent turnover.

Achieving this perfect balance between functionality and security is difficult when brokers hire transaction coordinators as salaried employees for the following reasons:

Salaried Employees Get Benefits

Having transaction coordinators on payroll can be costly to a brokerages bottom line both in terms of cost/sale and benefits provided to employees.

Legal Exposure

A large number of TCs are unlicensed or have expired licenses.

A growing number of states like California are requiring transaction coordinators to be certified.

The ambiguity and volatility of these laws between states makes them difficult to interpret, and puts the broker at a greater legal risk by continuing the practice of hiring transaction coordinators who aren’t certified.

Agents are Loyal to their Coordinator

Agents often align their loyalty with their in-house transaction coordinator.

If the coordinator is poached by another brokerage, the agent may very well leave with them and vice versa.

If a transaction coordinator retires, this can create an unstable relationship between the agent and the brokerage if the new coordinator assigned to them doesn’t meet their standards, resulting in the agent leaving the brokerage.

Transaction Coordinators Don’t Use the Same Transaction Software

There’s often a difference in opinion among coordinators as to what the best transaction coordination software is.

This can result in the broker subscribing to multiple transaction coordination platforms, which is an unnecessary cost.

Alternatively, the broker could force the coordinators to all use the same platform, which will result in disgruntled employees and raise the likelihood for error by the coordinators who are forced to learn a new software, increasing legal exposure.

No Regulation

Each transaction coordinator has a preferred method of carrying out their tasks.

Some prefer to use DropBox, others use Docusign. Some store their PDFs in a folder on their Desktop, others in Google Docs, etc.

The non-conformity between how each transaction coordinator carries out their coordination responsibilities and how they store their files results in a greater hassle when file or correspondence retrieval becomes necessary, and in extreme cases, loss of files.

REBO CAN HELP

Fortunately, there is a simple solution for all of these issues.

Brokers that sign up with REBO instead of employing transaction coordinators:

  1. Save money
  2. Reduce legal exposure
  3. Reduce risk of agents leaving

Ready to find out more?

To learn how about how REBO can help you today and take advantage of our special offer click below!

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