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The 10 steps to a successful sale

Every real estate agent has his or her own methods for getting to know clients and moving them through the homebuying process. But there are some tried-and-true steps that every agent should follow:

1. Greet the client and develop rapport – Help the client get comfortable with you. Build trust through authentic interactions.

2. Ask qualifying questions – Ask about what the client is looking for, their financial situation, buying motivation, and timeframe.

3. Set expectations – Lay out the procedure for the client: how to prepare their lender paperwork, timing for making a decision, preview of a blank contract if it’s a resale, and review new construction contracts. Walk them through what happens after deciding on a home.

4. Present their options – Talk about homes on the market that fit their criteria. Present your plan for picking the best one or extending the search.

5. Demonstrate the homes – Show the homes, going over every detail and focusing on the home’s features and benefits. Keep client motivations and desires in mind at all times. (Though it’s really the listing agent’s job, this important step is often left to the buyer’s agent.)

6. Narrow it down to one home – Narrow down the options until the client is left with one home that meets their needs and that they’re able to buy.

7. Overcome objections – Anticipate objections and remove them before they even come up. When objections do arise, be prepared to address them.

8. Close the sale – You may know the saying “ABC” (Always Be Closing), which means that good closers keep closing in mind throughout the whole process, and use every opportunity to move the buying process forward.

9. Make sure the steps between sale and closing go smoothly – Stay on top of the lender, inspector, and appraiser. Assist with arranging movers or other tasks to help the client transition into their new home.

10. Follow up and get referrals – Seek client feedback via phone calls or a survey. Agents can ask for ways to help clients with any of their post-close suggestions and put them on a long-term referral plan.

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The 10 qualifying questions that lead to a sale

Below are just a few of the questions agents need to ask to assess potential clients’ current situation, motivation, and timeline.

1. How long have you been looking for a new home? How soon do you hope to move?

2. Have you been working with another agent?

3. What have you seen so far? What do you think of the homes you’ve seen?

4. Tell me about your family. What size place to you think you need? What about schools?

5. Do you own your current home? Do you need to sell it before you can buy a new home?

6. Are you interested in new construction, resale, or both?

7. What is your price range? Has a lender prequalified you for that amount?

8. Do you want a single-family home, townhome, or condo? How many bedrooms and baths do you need?

9. When do you want to start looking at properties? When will you be ready to buy?

10. Do you prefer to be contacted by phone call, text, or email?

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This Week In Real Estate: NAR Bans Zillow, Inventory Issue Hamper Spring Homebuying And More

This spring homebuying season could be a difficult one for first-time buyers, but Ten-X Residential Real Estate’s Nowcast projects continued growth in existing-home sales. Stay up to date on the latest real estate news with our weekly roundup:

  • This spring homebuying season could be a difficult one for first-time buyers and middle-income consumers in many of the nation’s largest housing markets, according to a recent analysis from Zillow. Find out which housing markets are facing the largest inventory issues here.
  • Ten-X has released its latest Ten-X Residential Real Estate Nowcast, which projects continued growth in existing-home sales for May. Read what Ten-X Chief Economist Peter Muoio has to say about how economic progress is aiding housing here.
  • The National Association of Realtors holds a number of events aimed at elevating its membership by introducing them to the cutting edge of the industry – the latest strategies, the trends and the technologies. But this year, Zillow Group is not welcome at any of them. Learn more about the legal situation between NAR and Zillow here.
  • Across the country, the salary needed to live in the largest metro areas has fluctuated in 2016, according to a new report from How much money do your clients need to purchase a home in your metro area? Find out here.

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A Marketing Plan That Will Rev Up Your Income

Possibly the most important part of your business plan is how you will market yourself to potential clients. If you are unable to demonstrate to buyers and sellers why you are the right agent to represent them, the rest of your business plan means nothing. Watch our video below to learn how to successfully market yourself to potential clients and grow your income.

For more on marketing your business, sign up for our selection of marketing-focused courses.

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This Week In Real Estate: New NAR Vice President Named, A Revised MLS Policy And More

The National Association of Realtors was busy this week naming its 2016-2017 vice president and approving revisions to its Handbook on Multiple Listings Policy. Stay current on industry news with our weekly news roundup:

  • Single-family homebuilding is showing encouraging strength in 2016, according to new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. According to analysis from Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia’s chief economist, single-family starts are up 13.1 percent in the last 12 months, compared to the same time period in April 2015.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 1776 and Free Enterprise recently released a joint analysis of the best cities in the country for startup companies. Find out if your city made the list here.
  • Illinois Realtor Mabèl Guzmàn will be a 2016-2017 NAR vice president, according to a new release from the Illinois Association of Realtors. Guzmàn, a broker for @properties in Chicago, will focus on association affairs, and will be part of NAR 2017 President Bill Brown’s cabinet. She will be joined by 2016 NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, and another vice president, Kevin Sears of Springfield, Mass.
  • The National Association of Realtors board of directors approved revisions to its Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy that will henceforth require all members have the rights to any listing content entered into the MLS. Learn more about the policy update here.

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This Week In Real Estate: REAL Trends 500, Best States For Working Moms and more

Do you work for one of the leading brokerages in the country or live in one of the most accommodating states for working moms? Learn this and more in our weekly news roundup:

  • Every year, REAL Trends, a leading source for industry analysis and information, publishes its 500 lists, which rank the country’s top residential brokerages by transaction sides and total sales volume. Did your residential brokerages make the REAL Trends 500? Find out here.
  • A recent study from WalletHub identified the states that are most accommodating to working moms. The study looked at cost, quality and availability of child care; the professional environment as it pertains to women (i.e. gender pay gap, ratio of female to male executives, median salary, female unemployment rate, etc.); and average afforded work-life balance, which weighed policies on parental leave, as well as the length of the average work week and commute.
  • RealtyTrac recently reported that 1.4 million loans were originated on U.S. residential properties in the first quarter of 2016 in its Q1 2016 U.S. Residential Property Loan Origination Report. Daren Blomquist, the senior vice president at RealtyTrac, commented on the 12 percent nationwide decline, “After a surprisingly strong 2015, the mortgage refinancing market started running out of steam in the first quarter of 2016, despite lower mortgage interest rates.” Learn more about RealtyTrac’s recent report here.
  • According to a new analysis from Zillow, more Millennials now live with their parents than at anytime in the last decade, as wages for Millennials have fallen across all industries since 2007, home prices have risen, student debt has skyrocketed and savings rates have plunged. Find out what percentage of your city’s Millennials have moved back in with their parents here.

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The 4 things all successful luxury agents do

All agents strive to reach high levels of production, so we’ve put together four tips for making your way in luxury real estate.



1. Capitalize on a Unique Skill Set – Many luxury agents did not start their professional careers in real estate. Some worked in investment banking; others were appraisers; and some worked in the corporate business world. But regardless of one’s background, there is one constant – they all bring something unique to their business. So even if you did not work in corporate America for 10 years, you should still consider what distinguished skill set you can bring to your luxury business and advertise to differentiate yourself. Failing to advertise your unique skill sets means you’ll get lost in the crowd of agents and lose potential clients who might look elsewhere for their home-buying and selling needs.



2. Complement the Lifestyle – Sure, luxury homebuyers want premium finishes and top-notch appliances, but more importantly, they want a home that complements their lifestyle. For instance, if your buyer is a fitness freak, look into luxury new construction developments in your area with state-of-the-art fitness centers and amenities like yoga rooms and juice bars. Perhaps the buyer is a gourmand, and loves sampling different cuisines? Target homes with top-notch custom kitchens or areas known for their culinary offerings. You’ll need to understand your clients’ lifestyle standards as well as you know your local market to find the perfect home for them, so make sure your market research is up to date and you know what to ask in your initial meetings with prospective clients.



3. Know the Financing Pitfalls – Most lenders set $3 million as their maximum loan amount, and jumbo loans require multiple appraisals. As a luxury agent, you’ll need to be well-versed in the particulars of financing high-end home purchases, especially for international clients who may not have the same access to conventional financing as American consumers. Clients turn to you as the expert – don’t fall short of their expectations or guide them in the wrong direction because your knowledge of the financing process is incomplete.



4. Market Outside the Box – Remember what we said earlier about a luxury home complementing the lifestyle of the client? That is similarly true for the buying and selling process. Your typical listing photos and open houses won’t cut it with luxury properties. If you want to impress your clients and draw in potential buyer, you’ll need to use marketing materials that are similarly consistent with the luxury brand and lifestyle. Whether it be high-quality glossy pamphlets, drone video or an elegant, professionally designed website featuring high-definition photography, you should be prepared to think big, invest and meet high standards with your marketing efforts.

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Representing sellers: use buying signs to seal the deal

When representing a seller, how well you know the potential buyer and the potential buyer’s agent is crucial to getting your client the most money. Making note of certain things, like a buyer’s behavior during a home showing, can give you insight into the buyer’s situation, which you can use as leverage when negotiating. Watch our video below to find out how to successfully represent a seller in a buyer’s market.



For more on working with seller clients, sign up for our selection of seller-focused courses.


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A photo of young couple with cardboard boxes and potted plant. Portrait of man and woman are moving house. They are smiling while standing at entrance of home.

This Week In Real Estate: Luxury Housing Markets Decline, Inventory Shortage and more

This year is panning out to be a challenging one for both luxury and first-time homebuyers. Get the latest on the issues facing the real estate industry and consumers in our weekly news roundup:

  • A new analysis from Redfin reports luxury housing markets across the U.S. have seen declines in 2016. Redfin reports two major causes behind the declines in luxury housing – the fluctuations in the stock market and the strong U.S. dollar. Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson further explains the issue here.
  • First-time buyers may have a tough time buying homes this spring, as the supply of homes that they can afford continues to shrink. Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist, weighs in on how the inventory shortage is causing prices to rise in the lower price points here.
  • Facebook has launched a new messenger feature that will interact with your clients and potential clients on your behalf when you don’t have the time to interact with them yourself. The feature allows you to pre-program conversation points so that your Messenger can respond to client inquiries when you don’t have the time to. You can learn more about the feature here.
  • NeighborhoodScout recently released both its top 100 “safest” cities in America and top 100 “most dangerous” cities in America lists. The reports considers population and the rate of individual crime types per one thousand residents – including burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault – for its rankings. Take a look to find out if your city is amongst the safest or most dangerous in the nation.

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