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Ten Have-To-Haves For A Real Estate Agent

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#1 – Good contact management system

As a salesperson, you have to be able to keep in touch with prospects and clients easily and effectively. You have to be able to put your hands on names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses in an instant.

You can track and keep your people and prospects the old fashion way (on 3×5 note cards), but you will outgrow that quickly. My advice is always to get a CRM software package. There are many available that are specifically designed for salespeople, like ACT, Goldmine, Shareware, and Salespeople.com. These are all made for anyone in sales.

Another option is to buy something that is specific to the real estate industry. The programs that are specific to Real Estate Agents hold many advantages over the general sales programs. They are usually programmed with letter templates and correspondence an Agent could use. They also have pre-created lead follow-up and client follow-up plans already build in. Most have plans to apply when marketing a property. They also have plans you can launch once you have secured a buyer for your listing.

I recommend a real estate specific software like Top Producer or Online Agent. With Top Producer, you can also just pay a small monthly fee per user for an internet access version. This saves you all the up-front costs of the software, and you gain the updates for free. You can also access your database from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a high speed internet connection.

A good contact management system is a must for any serious minded Agent.

#2 – Real estate calculator

An Agent must have the ability to help their client figure out the approximate mortgage payment, net proceeds after the sale, and down payment amount needed based on loan to value ratios.

Most importantly, an Agent needs to be able to figure out their commission amount. When selecting a calculator, select one that has the features you want. Also, ensure that you can learn to use it easily. Some have so many different functions and keys that are unnecessary that it can take forever to learn how to use it.

#3 – Professional Attire

Each real estate area or region has a level of professional dress. Your first impression to a prospect can carry a lot of weight. If you are dressed well, they will assume you are successful even if you are not. The public will make a judgment of you, fairly or unfairly, based on how you dress.

For men, in most markets except resort or tropical markets, I still believe that a suit is the correct attire for a professional Real Estate Agent. It was rare for me not to wear a suit to work. You feel better and more powerful when you are dressed well in a suit. When buying clothes, buy classics that will never go out of style initially. Stay away from the ultra trendy colors and styles. By investing in classics, you can mix and match and expand your wardrobe. Blue shirts, black shirts, and white shirts with red and yellow ties are part of the classic look.

For men, have your shirts professionally laundered. There is nothing as crisp, clean, and professional as a well starched shirt. It reeks of success. I would advise women to do the same thing with their blouses. When meeting clients or out in the public, make sure you portray the image of success.

#4 – Personal website

With more than 85% of buyers using the internet to search for properties, your website has become an essential tool for lead generation and exposing your sellers’ homes.

You don’t need the fanciest, most expensive website you can find. There are a lot of companies that make solid template, mass produced websites. These types of sites are extremely economical in the initial investment you have to make, as well as monthly hosting. Many of these companies build cost effective sites, so they can get the residual income they charge monthly from hosting your site.

You want to work with a company that builds template sites as well as custom sites. You also want a company that has the ability to place you higher in the search engine rankings. This is where you will generate the traffic and leads. I would encourage you to check out ChampionRealtorWebsites.com. They build template and custom sites. They also have a program that generates high search engine placement.

#5 – Professional business cards with your picture, note cards, and letterhead

These are all essential tools for a successful Agent. You want business cards with your picture on them to help create a quicker connection and recognition. My caution with a picture is, make sure it’s current. I have seen too many business cards handed to me by Agents that caused me to look three times at the card and person to detect any kind of resemblance. Too often, our old pictures can look like we just left the high school prom.

Also, having note cards, letterhead, and envelopes that identify you is advisable. We need to ensure the professional image is carried through with every contact and correspondence with our clients and prospects.

#6 – Clean, professional, reliable car

If you are a newer Agent, you will be working with more buyers than sellers in the early part of your career. By having a professional and reliable car, you can increase your probability of success.

Ideally, you never want to meet prospects for an appointment at the home they called or e-mailed you on. You want to meet them at your office. By meeting at your office, you can suggest that you ride in one car. With the vast increase in gas prices, you can make this a benefit to them. You are better able to model the consultative relationship you want.

Before taking them out in your car, it is better to conduct a buyer interview. It’s easier to draw them into your office for this type of meeting if you aren’t meeting them at the home. When they arrive at your office, if they want to go out to the home they are interested in without a buyer interview, if they ride in your car at least you will be able to conduct some of the interview in route to the home you will be showing them.

That is why you need a professional and reliable car. You must also have a car that is clean both inside and out. You don’t need to drive a BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus, but you do need a car that demonstrates you are doing reasonably well. When you are a listing Agent, you can operate by other rules. I didn’t have a buyer in my car ever again midway through my third year in the business. The exterior of my six year old 7 Series BMW was perfect. The inside, to be truthful, was a trash can with papers, cups, bags, and clothes. It didn’t matter though, because the seller couldn’t see inside my car.

My advice is, if you can’t afford a luxury brand of vehicle that is new or newer, buy one that is older with low mileage. Make sure it’s a classic in style and prestige. I drove my original real estate car for over eight years, and it still looked good when I sold it.

#7 – A headset for your phone

You all know what a proponent of prospecting I am. A headset makes it easier for you to prospect effectively. It allows you to stand while you are doing the prospecting. Your hands are free to use to engage your body in your communication. A headset will improve your posture, position, energy, and enthusiasm.

It will leave both hands free, so you can type notes directly into your contact manager while you are talking with the prospect or client. It’s the only way to do it.

My caution is, don’t go the cheap route. You can get cheap headsets for $50, but they sound like cheap headsets. Make the investment of a couple of hundred dollars and get a good one. I prefer wireless headsets because I am completely free to walk my whole office when talking to someone.

#8 – A number based business plan

Too few salespeople have a business plan to follow that encompasses the sales ratios and numbers of this business. They don’t know or calculate the number of contacts needed to generate a lead, the number of leads needed to generate an appointment, the number of appointments needed to create a committed client, or the number of committed clients needed to generate a commission check. Once you know that and your average commission check, you can calculate how to make any amount of money you desire to earn.

#9 – Sales scripts

Knowing clearly what to say in every situation really separates the high earners from the low earners in real estate sales. Success leaves clues for anyone who is seeking. Ancient scripture says, “Seek, and you will find.”

My best advice is find yourself some scripts that are proven and work. Invest hours weekly practicing them to perfection. A word of caution, practice does not make perfect as the old saying goes. Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect. To achieve perfect delivery, be sure to have the right attitude, expectations or success, pauses, and enough repetition to master each script.

Be sure that your role play partner is as committed to your success as you are. My best role play partner was my wife, Joan. I know there were times when, on the inside, she was thinking “not again”, but she never showed it.

#10 – Support system

This is not a tool in the classic sense of the work, but we can use it as our most effective tool. In fact, this should probably have been first.

I would never have had the success that I had in my real estate sales career had it not been for my wife, Joan. There were countless days I went home dejected, frustrated, and beaten up. There were even a few days that I wanted to quit. She would listen, care, and love me. Then she encouraged me that, even though it was a bad day, tomorrow would be better. She told me straight out that she believed in me and knew I was going to be successful. Her support role caused my success to happen. I think you will find that, with many successful people in life, there is a spouse, child, friend, parent, or significant partner that contributed mightily to their success.

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Source by Dirk Zeller

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Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?

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Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.

Freelancers

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.

Advertise!

The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.

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Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them

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The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.

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Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer

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Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.

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Source by Damien Oh

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