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10 Tips For The Ideal Open House

10 Tips For The Ideal Open House

Whether you are holding your own open house or hosting for another realtor, you want to present yourself in a memorable way to homebuyers resulting in new clients and referrals.

We’ve put together a list of simple and affordable ways you can make a lasting impression to open house attendees. Follow these ten easy practices for the most successful open house ever:

1. KNOW THE DISCLOSURES

The most important tip and best way to maintain a professional appearance is to be knowledgeable about your listings.

Nothing is more off putting to a potential buyer than a realtor holding an open house who can’t answer questions about it.

If you put the work in to know the disclosures backwards and forwards, you’ll set a precedent in buyers’ minds that you will work equally as hard for them.

2. BE ON TIME AND STAY LATE

Many buyers dedicate their Sunday afternoons to looking at open homes, meaning they plan to get to the first one right when the majority of open houses in the area are scheduled to begin.

If they decide to come to yours first and you are not there, then you could lose a client, a sale, and the chance at establishing yourself as a reputable realtor.

Likewise, you could miss out on last minute stragglers if you’re too eager to leave early. Stay an extra 5-10 minutes just in case.

3. STAGING

Studies have shown that houses sell faster when open homes are staged rather than owner occupied.

Additionally, keep in mind the likely buyer demographics of the home you’re selling.

Staging in a way that mirrors their lifestyle will help them better envision themselves living there, and increase the probability of purchase.

As a final option, offer to pay for a portion of the staging. This will increase repeat business from the seller, and give you an extra perk you can brag about in your personal brand advertisements.

4. SCENTS

You’ve probably heard that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory and big corporations have put a lot of money into scent marketing to exploit that fact. Studies have shown scents that tend to be more closely linked with happy and/or relaxing memories result in more spending among browsers.

Common smells utilized are baked goods, chocolate, vanilla, and coffee. If you lack the culinary skills, you may want to just stick to coffee or invest in an artificial aroma generator, (don’t worry, non-commercial aroma generators are cheap!)

5. UNIQUE IN-HOUSE MARKETING

Invest some time into researching companies that can help you market yourself and your open home in memorable ways.

For example, you could place a retractable pull up banner displaying a personal branding ad, (so it can be reused), or a video drone tour of the property playing on a loop in the living room.

This is an opportunity for you to get creative, and the marketing you employ should reflect you and the home you’re selling.

Feel free to contact us if you’d like our recommendations to accurately reflect your unique brand.

6. PITCH WALKTHROUGHS

In addition to staging, another good way to imprint a sense of ownership among walkthroughs is to pitch them with details and possibilities specific to their lifestyle or hobbies.

If they have a baby, talk about where cribs would look good in the home. If they are sporty, talk about nearby fitness clubs, storage possibilities, or any positive contributions to their lifestyle the home could make.

It’s as easy as striking up a genuine conversation with buyers and learning about who they are, then conflating features of the home with their responses.

7. DRESS CODE

This is another issue that should be left to the discretion of the agent depending on the expected demographic of people viewing the home.

You want to portray a sense of professionalism and cleanliness regardless, but a suit and tie might not necessarily be ideal.

If it’s a younger demographic in a newly gentrified region, realtors might be better off dressing down a bit to instill comradery amongst home browsers.

Knowing the clientele and what they’re likely to respond well to is more important than dressing to the nines in all business settings.

Use your best judgement and try to depict yourself as both someone your target demographic is likely to connect with and deliver a prompt, professional experience.

8. DIGITAL ADVERTISING

Most realtors already take advantage of advertising opportunities offered on social media and consumer facing listing platforms, but there is a lot more to be done in this scope to increase both reach and strength of personal brand in terms of both the type of digital advertisement and how to present them.

Look into alternative digital advertisement sources that remain largely untapped within the industry, such as advertising on mobile gaming platforms or utilizing virtual tour platforms.

Also pay attention to the quality of ad.

Professional photographers might seem costly considering photos can be easily taken and uploaded from your phone, but they’re unlikely to attract new clients when compared with the quality a professional brings.

9. SOUND

As is the case with scents, sounds that induce happy and relaxing memories in buyers are strongly correlated with greater purchase volume.

You can create a soft playlist to quilt the interior of your open home to help buyers achieve this relaxing mentality, or you can simply rely on the scientifically backed playlist featuring, “the most relaxing songs in the world.”

Whichever route you choose, keep in mind this technique is meant to be supplementary to every other tactic you employ, not the star of the show, so don’t turn the volume up too loud.

10. REMOVE CLUTTER

Lastly, to quote John Wesley, “cleanliness is close to godliness.”

Take the time to hire cleaners to remove infringing stains and odors, make sure the yard is well kempt and free of clutter, and remove any semblance of a previous owner occupancy.

If you provide home buyers with a blank template, they can fill it with visions of their own life, and allow them to imagine living there more easily.

———-

For any specific questions or concerns you have about an open house you’re holding in the near future, please email us and we will get back to you promptly with solutions unique to your situation.

Incorporate these techniques into your open house holding actions. Action becomes habit becomes character.

And in the case of realtors, character becomes new clients and repeat business.

Written by:
Tommy Wolf
California Licensed Realtor
tommyw@realestatebackops.com
DRE # 02044169
Top Real Estate Automation Tools

Top Real Estate Automation Tools

Realtors may be concerned that the real estate industry is moving towards automation that will make tasks performed by agents obsolete and possibly even replace agents altogether.

Such fear is largely unfounded and any real threat of agent replacement is far in the future. In fact, there’s been a surge in the number of automated products or services in real estate. These tools actually work in a complementary fashion to the role of the agent.

Agents who use these tools can gain an edge on the competition. By delegating some of their responsibilities to these automated processes, agents can use their extra time to increase business.

Here are the top tools and services that help real estate agents automate their real estate business:

 

GET LEADS AUTOMATICALLY

Unless you’re a well-established agent driving your business solely on referral fuel, you’ll need new leads to be successful. There are countless techniques for generating new leads, but only a few which have been automated in an effective manner.

 

Open House Management

Collecting numbers from open houses is a crucial contact generator to pour into your marketing funnel and eventually qualify leads.

Collecting the information and interpreting illegible  handwriting can be a tedious and sluggish process.

Providing open house management software apps on your tablet not only eliminates the hassle of transferring the data into electronic form, but most can even integrate with your CRM and auto-populate the contact information into an actionable format.

Companies: Spacio, Open House Wizard, Open Home Pro

 

Auto Cold Call Services

Following up on expired listings, FSBOs, and open house numbers can be very time consuming. Dealing with the high frequency of inevitable rejection from this tactic can also be demoralizing.

Automatic cold call services follow up on leads for you by leaving a professional, human-voice message and filter the mass of numbers to the few good leads that call back with no effort on your part.

Companies: Slydial, RedX

 

Social Media Ad Management Platforms

Advertising on social media has quickly become a necessity for real estate agents to remain relevant in the industry.

Finding content to post and boost individually on each platform can be a very gradual process and is hardly the best use of time.

Additionally, determining your target audience through A/B testing, trial and error, or simply guessing is an inefficient use of time and resources.

Social media ad management platforms exist that can automatically find relevant content for your target audience, post the content across all your social media platforms, and cull your target audience appropriately in real time to maximize the effectiveness of the ads posted.

Companies: CityBlast, Adext

 

NURTURE LEADS AUTOMATICALLY

Now that you’ve employed automatic lead generators, you’ll need to filter these potential clients through marketing processes to strain the qualified leads out and allow you to determine which to focus your time and energy on for optimal business efficiency. Fortunately, this process has been largely automated as well.

 

Email Drip Campaigns

Email drip campaigns are effective tools for maintaining contact and providing your lead with relevant information and value.

This is also a very time-consuming process to undertake manually, and there’s no good way of knowing what content to provide each client without the proper IDX data at hand.

Automated lead generation and email drip services can be built into your website to automatically determine what content would be relevant to each browser based on their search history.

Email campaigns are then automatically assigned to the browsers accordingly to maximize results.

Companies: Zurple, Zapier

 

Chat Bots to Qualify Leads

This tool can instantly generate leads in the same moment it nurtures them.

Once a website visitor has engaged a chat bot, it can automatically pull or request user information and social profiles, collect data as to what line of questioning yields the best results, and even adjust its language to mirror inflection of the user.

These now qualified leads can be seamlessly transferred along with the data collected on them to your CRM automatically as well.

Companies: Bold360, FreshChat

 

Lead and CRM Integration

Once a lead has been deemed good and worthy of a follow up, you’ll want to incorporate all pertinent information for that lead in a CRM to effectively organize and track these leads and help dictate your contact points.

These lead management platforms can also collect data of each lead including demographic, contact points, type of contact, and step by step activity leading to conversion then automatically use this data to begin qualifying new leads as they come in.

Companies: FreshSales, HubSpot

 

CONVERT LEADS AUTOMATICALLY

Once you’ve acquired your lead, nurtured them, and eventually reached a contract agreement, the transaction process begins wherein the completion from escrow to close is dependent on highly functional transaction coordination.

 

Outsourced Transaction Coordination Services

This is a tedious and daunting process for agents to undertake on their own, with or without transaction coordination software at hand.

Transaction coordination platforms can take time to learn and you are liable for any errors made throughout the timely process.

Alternatively, send your transaction coordination paperwork and organizational mandates attached to an outsourced transaction coordination company to complete the conversion of your lead for you.

Companies: REBO

 

MAINTAIN POST SALE RELATIONSHIP AUTOMATICALLY

You’ll want to set up a system for retaining these successfully converted leads as clients after the sale is completed. When they enter the market again, you can remain at the forefront of their mind by instituting the use of automatic reminders periodically of the service you provided them.

 

Recurring Gifts or Postcards

Client gifts or postcards are a great way to remind them you are their realtor.

Since it can be difficult to organize and execute the delivery of these yourself, it is useful to set up an automated, “set it and forget it” recurring gift or postcard service.

Several companies allow you do this by charging you a recurring fee after you’ve selected which client to give the gift or postcard to, what the gift is, and how frequently they receive it.

Companies: CauseView

 

Whether the product featured is AI or a coordinated team handling your tasks for you, the cost of automation can be well worth it, particularly if it’s in a facet of the business in which you tend to struggle.

The best automation services in real estate don’t remove agents from the equation, they free up the agent to do more of what they love while growing their business.

Why do real estate agents leave their brokers?

Why do real estate agents leave their brokers?

If you’re a broker who’s ever had a productive agent leave, you’re aware the wound can go much deeper than just that agent’s production alone. An agent leaving can be indicative of negative culture and shortcomings within the brokerage, and the action of them leaving often garners the attention of the other agents under your command, resulting in a snowball mass exodus effect and essentially battering the revenue stream of your brokerage to critically low numbers. There are three essential components to all business. In fact, one can argue these are the only three components to business:

  1. Obtain Clients
  2. Retain Clients
  3. Develop Clients

It’s that simple. Get new clients, keep them coming back, and make them better clients. In the case of a real estate brokerage, it’s tempting to identify home buyers and sellers as the clients, but this is a common misconception. Buyers and sellers are the clients of the agents.

AGENTS ARE THE CLIENTS OF THE BROKERAGE.

Some may consider better technology, lead generation, strong referral networks, training programs, or an adept, responsive administrative team to be the direct cause of brokerage prosperity. However, these are just the tools for obtaining, retaining, and developing agents. Obtaining, retaining, and developing agents is the true catalyst for the prosperity of a brokerage. So how is each one of these contributing factors best achieved? Is there more you could be doing as a broker to recruit more agents, keep them from leaving, and increasing their production?

OBTAIN CLIENTS

Every brokerage has means of attempting to recruit experienced agents from other brokerages and reach out to newly licensed agents with a list of benefits of their brokerage. The problem many brokerages suffer here is there is little deviation between each brokerage’s process, offers, and material. As a relatively new agent, I can tell you in the months following receiving my license, I received 10-15 letters from brokers attempting to incite me to hang my license with them. I couldn’t have told you anything specific about any of the brokerages the next day, because all the recruiting materials looked the same and the benefits offered sounded the same. All the materials boasted the best technology, hands on support, or some other vague cliché. What attracted me to the brokerage I ultimately signed with was their demonstration of positive company culture. Agents can find technology driven lead generation and training programs anywhere. Finding a brokerage that treats you like family is difficult. A quick solution to the issue of obtaining clients is actually retention of current clients. Host more events for your agents, give more awards, and cultivate an atmosphere of comradery among them. Once this is achieved, invite potential recruits to these events so they can experience the energy themselves. It may be a data driven industry, but people will always be emotionally driven when it comes down to it.

RETAIN CLIENTS

In addition to changing company culture to better reflect what’s described above, retention of agents can be trickier since loss of an agent is often a result of personal issues that can’t be fixed by the broker, like location of the office. The success of this metric can be better attributed to the delivery of benefits spelled out in the aforementioned recruitment materials. A well-trained administrative team to support the agents is key. Technology, lead generation, digital marketing, and training programs will suffer without regulation. A strong administrative team that can organize, implement, and track the progress of each of these for each agent from initiation to execution will lead to happy agents, regardless of the technology or processes used. Lights and bells can help brand awareness, but nothing correlates to customer retention stronger than good customer service. Treating your agents like customers and training your support staff like customer service is the first step to laying the foundation for a powerful, well-oiled agent retention machine.

DEVELOP CLIENTS

This is where the training programs and technology come into play. Once your well-trained administrative team sets new agents in motion on your brokerage’s assembly line that goes through proven course instructors and effective technology education and follow up to insure adoption, your agents will be ready to begin obtaining, retaining, and developing clients of their own. There is a common, but complimentary issue experienced by new agents and seasoned agents. New agents struggle to obtain clients as a result of a lack of experience, while veteran agents struggle to retain and develop clients as a result of flooded inboxes and a general disorientation prompted by lack of organization and time. These problems can be solved symbiotically by instituting mentor-protégé relationships between newer and experienced agents. Newer agents will gain valuable experience and take a small cut of the commission while they learn handling the overflow from experienced agents, while experienced agents can be freed up to not only obtain new clients, but provide more focus to current clients.

Contrary to the behavior of many brokerages who think the secret sauce to agent happiness lies within the client management and lead generation technology provided to them, the answer is to go back to the roots of what made a functional brokerage in the pre-internet era. Worry less about what technology to provide, and more about establishing a competent, happy team. Once that is done, they’ll tell you what technology is best and how it should be implemented within the brokerage.

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

  • Steve Jobs

Find out how REBO can decrease turnover:

Give your agents an efficient and professional transaction experience!

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What Gifts Should Real Estate Agents Give to Clients?

What Gifts Should Real Estate Agents Give to Clients?

It’s that time of the year again. Lights, turkey, stuffing, family, songs, and business opportunity. If you’re a real estate agent, you know your gift obligations go beyond friends and family. Christmas is the perfect time to remind your clients you’re there when it’s time to sell and a good potential referral source when their friends visit, see your gift, and ask, “Where did you get that?” There are four characteristics you should aim for when getting your client a gift that will keep you at the forefront of their mind, and more importantly, their future business:

Unique

Unique gifts will stand out amidst knickknacks and the cornucopia of articles of clothing, gift cards, and other standard gifts that have come to be expected each Christmas, resulting in their recipience being less than memorable. A unique gift has a greater potential of leaving an impression, as well as inciting questions from any friends or family members, resulting in your name being mentioned to the benefit of both a potential referral and a reminder to your client.

Boutique

The gift you get your client should be a reflection of the hands on, white glove concierge service you provide them. Clients will likely conflate the value and craftsmanship of the gift with the type of customer service you provide. Consequently, a cheap, poorly made gift could actually have the opposite of the desired effect, subconsciously slating yourself in your client’s mind alongside the sultry condition of the gift. Instead, we recommend a luxury/boutique gift in an industry that typically churns relatively cheap materials and products. This way, you can create an association in your client’s mind between you and boutique style and class without breaking the bank in the process.

Repeat Delivery/Subscription

The reason for this is simple. Repetition breeds familiarity. A subscription service delivered monthly to your client is a good gift for the same reason so many agents turn to email drip campaigns for their marketing. It allows you to remind your client often and easily of you and the help you provided them in the past with no intervention on your part beyond initiation of the subscription service. What’s better than marketing that’s done for you?

Personalized/Esoteric

This last one will require more thought on your part. It’s a good idea to show clients that you listen and you’re emotionally invested in the relationship you’ve formed with them over the course of your business dealings. Nothing shows you care and you’ve listened more than a gift that panders exclusively to the personal interests of your client. You wouldn’t get your mom a gift card for Christmas, would you? She would likely be hurt at the lack of effort you put into a present like that. A client should be treated no differently. Real estate agent as a profession can be somewhat of an outlier in this sense. Unlike other industries, as a real estate agent, the best way to maintain and cultivate a business relationship is to treat it like a personal relationship. Doing this will create a bond between you and your client, increase repeat business, and increase referrals.

Now that we’ve laid out the foundation for a good client gift, please take a look at some companies that provide gifts we believe meets the criteria described above:

MiaBella

Refresh Glass Client Gifts

Frameology

Atlas Coffee Club

Do you have a favorite gift that you love giving to your clients? Comment below and ad links!

The best real estate gift of all?

Have REBO manage your Real Estate Transactions and receive the gift of time!

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How Political Elections Influence Real Estate

How Political Elections Influence Real Estate

The recent midterm elections brought out historically large voting numbers, likely induced by one of the most politically charged climates in our nation’s history. Hot button issues have become hotter, the media is more outspoken, and politicians are more direct, sometimes even bordering on verbal abuse (we won’t name anyone in particular).

Social issues, immigration policies, trade tariffs, and controversial foreign affairs sparked political interest among U.S. citizens on both sides who once were on the sidelines. If you find yourself among these newfound acolytes of political discourse, we’re here to offer you some rhetorical ammo for any friendly, impersonal arguments you might have with your peers on the Internet. We took a look at each party by percentage of control including the presidency, house seats, senate seats, and governors since 2003.  We compared this information to the rate of change of median household price year over year to see if any correlation could be made between parties and negative or positive effects on the housing market in general.

Governors houseseats SenateSeats

Remember, we are looking at the change in median home price, not median home price itself.  At first glance, it appears that the change in median home price in the country year over year very closely correlates to the number of republican representatives in the house and senate as well as their representation as governors. This would suggest that republicans have a greater positive impact on the housing market while democrats have the opposite effect. It is important to keep in mind that republicans held the presidency from 2003 to 2008, during which time the average change of median home price each year was -4.89%. The democratic presidency from 2009 to 2017 on the other hand demonstrated an average change in median home price each year of 2.1%.

So, who’s responsible for the prosperity and who’s responsible for the downturn? Does the republican party guide the health of the housing market in direct proportion to the power they wield, or is the decline prior to 2008 the responsibility of republican executive orders, despite relative democrat strength during that time? For that matter, what can we expect from our current administration? Does Trump’s dedication to economic protectionism bode well for the foreseeable future of the American housing market?  We have the answers to these questions, and more.

We will discuss the political policies that have affected the housing market historically, identify parallels between these and current policies, and speculate as to the future for housing prices both nationally and locally on our new upcoming podcasts! Our podcast MC, Brad Clayton, has worked personally with over 4,000 real estate brokerages. Brad specializes in mergers and acquisitions, valuation, strategic growth, multi-office business strategy, and has been referred to as “the Malcolm Gladwell of Real Estate.” Brad will be leading discussions on what you can expect as a real estate agent, home buyer or seller, and broker with regard to change in local and federal economic policy. Tune in, expand your repertoire of housing market knowledge, and start making smarter investments and business decisions now!

Have you seen a difference in the market yet? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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