4 Ways an Assistant Markets a Listing

Attracting qualified buyers to purchase properties is one of the most important skills that sellers expect from their agents. An assistant can be very useful in helping to reach the right customers. In this blog you’ll learn more about 4 ways an assistant can help marketing listings to sell a home.

If you’re one of those TL:DR types, then start your 7-day free trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, ‘An Assistant’s Role in Marketing Real Estate Listings’.

 

Traditional advertising

Although all this may seem like a lot for an assistant to handle, there is still much to do in traditional advertising. In many cases, traditional media is still very effective for the real estate business. Your agent may be getting great results from direct mail postcards and advertising in print and online. Using postcards to let neighbors know what an agent just listed or just sold works because it offers market information, plus exposure for listings and the agent. Make sure the photos look great, the message and the call to action are clear and that the brand is properly reflected. Advertising in print is effective in certain markets, not in others. Online advertising allows potential clients to click through the ad to the agent’s website or email. And don’t forget to look into marketing opportunities on syndication sites like Zillow. These can help with lead generation. Ultimately, advertising works best when you know who your target market is and how to best reach them.

 

Social media

With social media’s important role in marketing, most real estate agents maintain at least one social media account for their business. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat are among the most popular, but additional networks may emerge and you’ll need to be ready. The idea is to keep your company relevant and useful. If you can find a specific angle that can bolster your brand, all the better. Create an editorial calendar going three months out so that you can map out a strategy and use any analytics that are available to optimize and refine your message. Social media holds a varying level of importance, depending on your target market, but no agent should ever appear to be technologically challenged. Be mindful of keeping the agents you work for up to date.

 

Surveys, testimonials and reviews

And there is much more marketing that you can help with as an assistant. A completed transaction is not the end of the relationship. There is still marketing work to do! Start with surveys, testimonials and reviews. It’s a good idea to send a survey to clients after a transaction is finished to let them share the pros and cons of their experience with the agent. This information is useful to agents so they can make improvements to their systems and services. It’s also a low-pressure tactic used to ask for a testimonial and an online review. There are third party survey services that are simple and inexpensive to put into practice. This should be part of your operating procedure at the close of every sale. And getting testimonials and reviews on sites like Yelp can really help an agent get new clients and stand out from the competition.

 

Participate in the neighborhood

Lastly, one of the best ways to market the business is by simply being top of mind when it comes to real estate in your neighborhood. The simplest and most effective way to do this is by actually spending time participating in the neighborhood. Have a presence at festivals and town meetings. Consider volunteering at the local school. Suggest that your agent sponsor neighborhood events, or simply make sure to get a table at them. You may want to keep track of event opportunities for your agent and maybe even attend yourself. Seek out opportunities to put your agent in front of the right target market.

No one likes someone who only talks business, but there’s nothing wrong with being helpful and relevant. If you keep your ears open and participate with people, you will find organic ways to help market the company that makes businesses and residents truly feel like the company is part of the neighborhood.

All in all, it’s important to remember that selling homes is just one part of your business. It’s just as imperative to ensure that your business has a future flow of potential customers and that your brand and reputation is being managed in the best way for your company. To learn more about an assistant’s role working with an agent, start your free 7-day trial of AgentEDU today explore our 8-course track, dedicated entirely to training assistants in the unique needs and demands of the real estate industry.

Read More

Do You Know Who Your Buyers are and What Challenges They Face?

While honing your craft as a real estate agent is important, it’s also vital that you understand the demographics that are driving today’s market. This blog will explain who is dominating the current housing market, offering tips on how to be the best agent for any situation. If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, “Representing Buyers.”

 

Who’s buying

The National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that married couples continue to make up the majority of buyers at roughly 63 percent. The next largest chunk are single females, making up 18 percent of the market. This is on par with their 2017 report. Some trends shifted from 2017, however. For example, single male buyers made some traction by going up from 7 percent to 8 percent of all buyers. Another slight shift was that first-time home buyers fell from 34 percent to 33 percent in this latest report.

When it comes to buying the actual home, single males tend to spend more on homes than single females. Unmarried men clocked in with a median home sale price of $215,000, while single women buyers had a median home sale price of $189,000.

 

Challenges for buyers

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated, “With the lower end of the housing market – smaller, moderately priced homes – seeing the worst of the inventory shortage, first-time home buyers who want to enter the market are having difficulty finding a home they can afford,” adding that this inventory shortage of creates a challenge for first-time home buyers. “Homes were selling in a median of three weeks and multiple offers were a common occurrence, further pushing up home prices.”

Another challenge for many buyers is significant student loan debt. Thirteen percent of buyers said they’re having difficulty saving for a down payment, with half of those respondents stating student loans as the primary reason. First-time homebuyers are specifically struggling with this issue, as 40 percent have some student loan debt with median debt totaling $30,000. Student loans hit both younger homebuyers and singles harder. Younger buyers are either freshly out of school or struggling to prioritize student loans with saving for a down payment. Single people don’t have the support that married couples have as they’re working to pay off their student loans.

 

Trending upside

Overall, the outlook is trending positive, according to Yun: “Existing home sales data shows inventory has been rising slowly on a year-over-year basis in recent months, which may encourage more would-be buyers who were previously convinced they could not find a home to enter the market.”

Such improvements may even be showing up in the numbers already. The 2018 NAR report found buyers put a median 13 percent down on their home purchases, up from 10 percent last year and the highest amount since 2005.

Knowing the relationship and financial status of your buyer is key in setting up the home search process for them. To learn more about how to appropriately and efficiently represent your buyers, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to the “Representing Buyers” course.

Read More

How to Recruit the Best Agents for Your Firm

Having a real estate brokerage that is both efficient and successful is essential in improving sales and generating leads. Recruiting top talent is one of the most helpful ways to both delegate work load in order to free up your own time, but also to build up your company’s reputation.

This blog will explain the best practices to take in recruiting agents to your firm. You’ll see report findings from Engel & Völkers on what agents like best about their brokerages as well as tips on how to make appropriate offers to your new talent. If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, “Team Building.”

 

Mostly satisfied

In a survey done by Engel & Völkers Americas, agents expressed overall satisfaction in their current state of employment. The company’s State of Real Estate Recruiting report found that around 96 percent of agents are satisfied, with 94 percent stating that they would remain at their brokerage for another year. Furthermore, 90 percent of agents said they would recommend their brokerage to other agents.
However, even with satisfaction rates in the nineties, 35 percent of agents stated that they consider leaving their brokerage at least once a year. Some of the top reasons for leaving include searches for better commission splits, increased lead generation opportunities and greater benefits. Indeed, 38 percent of agents say they would leave their current brokerage for better commission splits. These are agents who are looking for a way out, and could possibly make a great addition to your own firm.

 

How to appeal

One of the first things a managing broker should do to recruit top talent is to conduct research on agents they want to target. This is key to attracting them as well as in sorting out any agents who do not fit your needs or may be underperforming. The Engel & Völkers report suggests brokers “thoroughly research these agents, and certainly before meeting with them have an understanding of their production level, style of doing business and reputation in the industry.”

Kelly Stephens, vice president and managing broker at Engel & Völkers Atlanta North Fulton and Engel & Völkers Buckhead Atlanta, found that the two main things agents are looking for are support and leads. Location also matters for agents, with 72 percent stating they prefer to work in a brokerage with a physical office space. The report also notes that it’s important for managing brokers to highlight some of the other benefits, aside from splits, that agents will receive or lose by switching.

Being both transparent and upfront about your offerings is key in appealing to the best agents for your team. The way that you personalize your recruiting efforts to match the profile of the agent you hope to attract is key. The report goes on to state, “Recruiting top talent is not something that will happen without a brokerage’s concerted effort into reaching prospects with the right message that will resonate.” The way that you reach out to these prospective agents will show them that you are doing in-depth research in the effort.

To learn more about building an efficient and successful team of real estate agents and other fundamental skills on running your business, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to our “Team Building” course.

Read More

Mortgage Rates and the Market

Mortgage rates are a factor for both buyers and sellers, which means agents need to be aware of what they’re doing on any given week. However, focusing too much on what economists or the news media say can throw you off track.

This blog explains the impact that lower mortgage rates have in fueling housing market optimism.

 

Solid ground

One of the factors of there being such optimism for the 2019 year in regard to the market is the fact that mortgage rates are at their lowest levels in 10 months. This comes even as many economists and mortgage lenders were warning of higher interest rates in 2019. With the recent downtrend in rates and extra inventory opening up, the spring homebuying market will have an extra push. Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater stated that “the U.S. economy remains on solid ground, inflation is contained and the threat of higher short-term rates is fading from view, which has allowed mortgage rates to drift down.” Mortgage rates stood at an average APR of 4.41 percent on the standard 30-year fixed-rate loan, just 0.09 above last years’ levels, according to a February report by Freddie Mac.

Khater goes on to mention that today’s buyers have a larger selection of homes on the market as well as more consumer bargaining power than they’ve had in the last few years. Couple that with these low mortgage rates and there could be an early rally for the spring housing market.

 

Economists eye the Fed

A key component in the market is what actions the Federal Reserve will make. In late 2018 there were signs that the Fed was going to continue raising rates, and some economists estimated at least three rate increases for 2019. However, economic data gave Fed chair Jerome Powell cause to rethink that idea. Now a recent survey of economists done by the Wall Street Journal shows that most don’t expect a rate hike before June. Furthermore, most economist agree that there will likely only one more rate hike, probably in late 2019. This will effectively keep borrowing costs much lower than previously anticipated through 2019 and 2020.

Borrowing costs hinge on forward-looking indicators such as Fed meeting minutes and the consensus of economists, so reduced expectations on rate hikes for 2019 may keep mortgages more affordable for the first half of the year. However, there is a good deal of uncertainty baked into every economic forecast, so even expert consensus may not be a reality.

 

Keeping focus

Given the uncertainty, it’s key to be a levelheaded. It’s never a good idea to rely 100 percent on what an economist says MAY happen in the future is a good move. Being informed but also taking the information given with a grain of salt will put you more at ease and allow you to properly respond to the housing market.

 The real estate market has many indicators to look at and factors that play a role. Being in the know and taking note of the trends is key in planning the road ahead. For more valuable tips and tactics on mortgage rates check out our AgentEDU course dedicated to Mortgage rates. You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the “Real Estate Mortgage Basics” course.

Read More

How to Deliver Better Service to Sellers with Children

Being a listing agent requires cooperation and communication, especially when sellers have children. Adding children into the mix can lead to different wants and needs from the seller, which can make your job more difficult. From wanting a faster sell time to needing help fixing up their current home, sellers with children often demand more from their agents. You as their agent need to be prepared to serve them with a more focused approach.

This post touches on the expectations that sellers with children have for their agents and offers tips on working with them in an efficient way. If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the valuable course, “Representing Sellers.”

 

Seller-specific wants

One of the top things on the must-have list for sellers is that their agents sell their home in a specific timeframe. A report from the National Association of Realtors found that 22 percent of sellers with children wanted to sell their home within a specific timeframe and 26 percent of those sellers said that their need to sell was “very urgent.”

Another top want from sellers with children is for agents to be able to help them get their homes ready for market. 19 Nineteen percent of sellers with children said they wanted their agents to help them find ways to fix up their homes in order to sell them for more. Agents should plan on having a contact list of renovators, interior designers, contractors, plumbers, electricians and other personnel who can help fix up a home. Moreover, having a strategy for making a listing visible is key, such as social media promotions and quality photographs of the property to catch buyer’s attention.

Nearly 25 percent of sellers with children were selling because their current homes were too small, meaning they were looking to expand and upgrade. Another 18 percent of these sellers with children cited the top reason for listing their homes was a job relocation.

 

Sellers without children

No two sellers are alike. This statement is even more true when you factor children into a sale. Sellers with and without children have different expectations of their agents. Studies found that while nearly 20 percent of sellers with children wanted help of agents to fix up their current houses, only 12 percent of sellers without children felt this way.

Only 13 percent of sellers without children were selling their home because they thought their home was too small, compared to nearly a fourth of those with kids.

 

Plan ahead

It seems that having children causes sellers have more specific wants and needs from their agents. Although there are differences when it comes to sellers with and without children, what is not different is the desire to sell the home. You must come to the first meeting with your seller ready to communicate about what is expected from you as well as how you are able to better serve them. If you’re prepared and willing to fulfill their expectations you’ll find the selling process is much smoother.

For more tips on effectively serving your sellers and ways to make the selling process less of a hassle, head on over to our AgentEDU video learning platform. You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the “Representing Sellers” course.

Read More