Keeping up with iBuying services

With instant-offer home listing services like Opendoor and Redfin part of the mix, you may be considering new ways to integrate technology and ala carte services in your business. Although not every seller will want to use this type of tool, there are sellers who opt for the instantaneous, so it’s best you’re aware of this new trend. Here’s what you need to know about iBuying services.

If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd, then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch our “Representing Sellers” track.

 

Getting on board

You may have seen signs at busy intersections that say, “Sell your house for cash NOW” or commercials about companies that will buy a sellers’ home in any condition. These are tactics that have been around for many years, but more recently companies are utilizing new technologies to leverage them. One notable real estate agency that has tapped into this trend is Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams Realty. Although they are currently launching the “Keller Offers” service only within the Dallas-Fort Worth market, they plan to expand the program to nearly eight other major markets by the end of 2019.

While officials at Keller Williams say the share of sellers who use the iBuyer method is roughly 10 percent of all sellers, it serves as a vital addition for agents to offer this unique service to their sellers.

 

Standing out

Some services, like Opendoor, utilize their own home valuation analytics software in which an instant offer is made based off the estimation. The Keller Williams service goes a step further, offering an agent to both act as a trusted guide through the process and take into account the characteristics of a house that an analytic home valuation software may miss. This means that not only are agents providing a helping hand in a process that can be confusing for sellers, but also personal touch is key in not only standing out but also creating an agent-seller relationship that may turn into more referrals.

Sellers that use these instant-offers services are often those with an urgent need to move, perhaps prompted by a recent job relocation. Another major group of users of these services are those looking to flip a property.

The technology that comes with iBuyer services often utilizes algorithms and local market data as indicators for price points. Although these programs are becoming more prevalent, the role of an agent is still ever-present. Most sellers will need an experts’ advice in the selling process on what is truly a good offer and what is subpar.

In any situation that your seller may be in, having these additional services as a part of your business operations is key in giving your clients a variety of choices. Moreover, the use of more technology is a necessary step in being more tech-savvy and able to open more communication channels with potential clients. To learn more on better serving your sellers, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to our “Representing Sellers” course.

 

 

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5 must-haves for high-end buyers

With more home gadgets being unveiled each year, there’s are now an overwhelming number of features that a home can be equipped with. This is especially true with luxury properties, as high-end buyers have more specific wants than a typical homebuyer. Here are the top five things that are on luxury buyers’ must-have list.

If you’re part of the TL; DR crowd, start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course titled, “Representing Buyers.”

 

Latest tech

With technology becoming more accessible and advanced, it has also made its way from our pockets and into our homes. Systems like Amazon Alexa or Google Home serve as a voice command assistant. Another big trend has been digital, and even mobile, smart-home security systems such as the Ring Video Doorbell. These smart security systems can even be activated remotely from ones’ smartphone, creating not only simplicity but also a sense of security for homeowners.

 

Privacy 

Along with added in-home security, high-end buyers are not afraid to pay more for their own privacy. This gives you an idea of how to set up home searches for such clients. Privacy features that these buyers are looking for include gated communities, ample security features, tall gates, barriers and privacy hedgerows around the property.

 

Modern kitchens

One of the main hubs in any home is the kitchen, so these areas must be up to par with buyers’ wants. High-end buyers want their kitchens outfitted with large white cabinets along with white quartz countertops. Stainless steel appliances remain king, along with a sizable kitchen island. Another trend in kitchens is dark hardwood floors and brighter LED lighting.

 

Designer names

There’s been a trend in residential towers, and that is the association of residential buildings with a major luxury brand. One example is the Aston Martin Residences tower in Miami, Florida. Amenities here include two cinemas, an art gallery, a virtual golf room and an exclusive yacht marina. These buyers aren’t afraid to spend more for luxury residences or their amenities, which also gives you more options for new construction.

 

Fitness and health

Luxury amenities don’t have to be all about the glitz and glamour. Many buyers have fitness goals or overall health concerns, which is why luxury home builders have taken note and incorporated amenities to check that box. This includes spaces such as yoga studios, spa lounges and even boxing rooms.

Almost every homebuyer has a checklist in mind when looking for a new home, and luxury buyers are no different. However, their checklist may vary a bit from the rest. These are five major points of interest for them, and they’re not afraid to shell out more money to get them. With that in mind, it’s key that you customize your home search process to align with the desires of higher-end buyers.

Learn more about how to better serve luxury home buyers with a seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and check out the “Representing Buyers” course.

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5 Things Your Client Can Do to Help Sell Their Home

Preparing a home for sale for top dollar can take more time and effort than your clients may realize. This is where you need to engage, and possibly even get in front of potential clients who may not be ready to sell now but possibly will be soon. No matter what state of mind your clients may be in, it’s never a bad idea to keep a list of important pre-sale tasks to share for when it comes time to sell. Here’s a list of five things your clients can do to further prepare their property for selling.

If you’re part of the TL;DR crowd then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, “Representing Sellers.”

 

Purge and donate

Moving can be an expensive task; there’s no reason to pay to pack and move items that have sat unused and will remain unused in a new home. Although people may have items they keep for sentimental value, freeing up space is a great start toward an eventual move. Tell your clients to start by going through closets and sorting unwanted items into donate piles. Closet space is essential in selling a home so freeing up valuable storage areas contributes a positive selling point. Another positive to remind you sellers of in this conversation is the donation aspect. There are many deserving charities that’ll benefit from clothing and household items they no longer use. And don’t forget to mention the possible tax deduction.

 

Deep clean

Now that there’s more space in the home, it’s time to convince sellers to roll up their sleeves and get to work. There are areas of the home that typically never get a good scrub unless you dedicate time to it or hire professional cleaners. Remind clients to think about spaces such as  under beds, inside appliances, fan blades, blinds, and windowsills. Remind them to ensure their showerheads and tubs are free of calcium and rust stains. This is also a great time to get the HV/AC unit serviced and cleaned.

 

Home inspection

It’s probably been a while since the property’s last home inspection, so you may want to suggest a prelisting inspection. This’ll allow any known issues to be dealt with sooner rather than later. This will not only save time when their home is officially on the market, but also can put both the sellers’ and buyers’ minds at ease while building trust and transparency between the two parties.

 

Repairs

There may be some repairs that the home inspection report suggests undertaking. If there are larger issues that need repairing, such as electrical work or plumbing issues, hiring a professional is the way to go. Smaller fixes like cabinet doors and knobs that need tightening or fixing broken door locks can be done by the homeowner if they’re comfortable with the work. But if there’s a long to-do list, it’s best to hire a handyman.

 

Updates

Often there’s a to-do list that sellers have been fidgeting with since the initial move-in, but never got accomplished. Maybe it’s taking out carpet, removing wallpaper, adding a backsplash to the kitchen or getting cabinets replaced. Go over this list and help your clients decide what, if anything, should be done before listing the property.

Freshening up a home is a key low-impact way to get the property market-ready. Simple tasks like clearing out closet space or replacing kitchen cabinet handles are small touches than can make major impacts. These are mostly inexpensive ways to prepare a property for the market, but also smart ways potential sellers can get a head start on the selling process, even if they don’t plan on putting their home on the market for several months.

To learn more about the ways you can prepare a property for market and better serve your sellers, start your free seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and watch our “Representing Sellers” course for vital information.

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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.

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How to Help Your Frustrated Homebuyer

The home-buying process is one that requires patience and understanding of your clients’ needs. Also, a good agent keeps up with how their client is feeling. If a homebuyer is frustrated this can create some difficulty in the process. As an agent, you must properly assess the situation and provide guidance to your homebuyer to ease the frustration.

This blog will explain where this frustration stems from, has it changed and how you can create a better experience for your client. If you’re part of the TL;DR crowd then start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU today and watch the full course, “Representing buyers.”

In today’s technology-driven society, almost anything can be done on a smartphone. Therefore, it has been widely assumed that the process of home shopping is easier today that ever before. However, a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders finds that more Americans are frustrated in the process.

 

Homebuyer expectations

The NAHB polled nearly 17,000 people over two months, and of those polled, 13 percent considered themselves prospective homebuyers at the time. A majority of them were first-time buyers in the millennial demographic.

Seventy-two percent of these prospective buyers said they expected the ongoing home-search process to become “harder or about the same” in the months ahead. Only 19 percent said they thought it would get easier. One of the top frustrations for home buyers is the inability to find an affordable home. Fifty-two percent of millennial respondents, the largest prospective home-buyer demographic in the survey, cited price as the toughest barrier in buying. Price is key in any home search, which is why thorough communication with your client on this topic can create a smoother home search.

 

Obstacles for homebuyers

It is possible that price growth and inventory shortages are taking a toll on homebuyer confidence. When NAHB conducted this same survey last year, fewer prospective buyers (65 percent compared to this year’s 72) said they thought their home searching would get harder in the months ahead and 27 percent expected the search to get easier.

Price growth is one aspect that impacts both the buyer and seller. The buyer wants the best deal whereas the seller wants to make a profit. More than three-quarters of buyers surveyed said that at least half of the listings in their market were outside their price range. 49 percent of respondents stated that they could not find a home at a price they could afford. This is up from 42 percent a year ago.

The inventory storage is an obstacle that homebuyers with specific desires hits the most. In NAHB’s Housing Trends Report, 40 percent of active buyer respondents said they were specifically looking for an existing home rather than new construction. Appropriately negotiating price brackets and understanding homebuyers’ wish lists for their homes is key in creating a process where both parties can understand expectations.

 

Road ahead for buyers

Even with all the obstacles and frustration in the process, these prospective buyers generally planned to continue actively searching. When asked what their next steps would be if they could not find the “right” home in the next few months, 63 percent of respondents said they would simply “continue looking until the right home opens up in a preferred location.” Forty-four percent said they would expand their search area in response. This means that homebuyers may be frustrated, but they are dedicated to find their dream home even if it means opening search areas or spending longer times searching.

Home shopping has its obstacles, and recent inventory shortages in unison with price growth can amount to frustration. Those are aspects you cannot truly control. You can, however, guide your client into realities and make the home search process much less stressful. By discussing plans with your client and having an understanding of their concerns, you can alleviate some of that frustration. Check out our AgentEDU course dedicated to understanding buyers. If you start a seven-day free trial, you’ll have access to our “Representing Buyers” course.

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How to Determine Your Advertising Needs

Many successful agents reach a point in their careers where they need more sophisticated marketing and advertising strategies. Though many brokerages offer this kind of support, top agents often outgrow typical offerings and want to take brand marketing into their own hands. If this is where you find yourself, or you just want to stand out from your competition, you may want to consider tailoring your relationship with your in-house department or using an outside marketing firm that can offer you something different.

In this blog you’ll learn the pros and cons of working with in-house personnel vs. outside firms and how to determine what you really need from your marketing campaigns.

If you’re part of the TL:DR crowd, then start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and watch the full “Using In-House Vs. An Outside Ad Agency” course.

 

Cost

For many agents, the cost of working with a professional agency is the most important consideration in deciding who will handle marketing and advertising efforts. While you investigate whether or not your brokerage can do the job for you, consider these questions.

Can you get discounts for media placement? If your brokerage already has an advertising contract with a particular media outlet, you may be able to benefit from their frequency discount. Many media outlets offer lower rates on advertising space based on the number of placements purchased. If your brokerage secures a substantial media buy, and in return offers you discounted pricing for the space, you may see a significant savings when compared to buying media placement on your own or through an outside agency.

Does your brokerage offer opportunities to include your listing in ads that advertise multiple listings? What does it cost to be included? This opportunity may give you access to media space you couldn’t afford to purchase on your own.

Do the research, because there may be considerable cost advantages to using brokerage resources. When you work with your in-house marketing department, you may be offered different payment options. You may pay for time, per project or creative services may be a free perk for top producers. It’s up to you to negotiate your own marketing package. You can compare the services offered in-house to those of an outside agency. However, keep in mind that most brokerages are less inclined to help you build a significant brand outside of the brokerage. You’ll need an outside agent if you want to secure a higher level of attention to your own brand.

 

Available resources

Let’s talk about the resources available to you. You’ll have to know what your options are before you can plan. Is there a skilled in-house marketing department that can provide the creative services you need? Is there a strategist on the team? Is there a graphic designer who will execute your direction? Are there professional copywriters?

Building effective ad campaigns and branded marketing is a highly creative pursuit, and quality may be subjective. As most agents have real estate expertise but are not trained creative artists, there may be a tendency to underestimate the value of quality design and to misunderstand how messaging can help or hurt marketing efforts. While agents may not recognize low-quality design or copy, many consumers do see the difference. Once you get a feel for it, you will see why some brands outperform other brands even when the actual products are very similar. It may seem too costly to hire professionals, but it will cost you even more to spend your ad budgets on ineffective designs and messaging.

The qualifications of the people you hire to execute this creative work can vary greatly. When reviewing candidates, look for artful attention to detail and an understanding of how to connect with audiences. Seek out creative people who know the principles of design, messaging, effective calls to action and brand standards. Ask for portfolios and past work and have them explain their process to you to see if you’ll work well together.

As in the real estate business, you may find your best candidates through referrals. Ask your colleagues if they have recommendations for marketing professionals or teams. Interview several candidates and get a feel for who would be a good fit. These people will be a part of your extended team, helping you identify your vision and meet your goals.

Don’t be intimidated. Some very good ad agencies are small shops while others are huge companies. If you are unsure if a particular agency is appropriate for the budget you have in mind, just ask.

To learn more about how to determine the marketing needs of your real estate business, as well as how to develop an advertising campaign that works, begin your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU today and start with our eight-course advertising track.

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AgentEDU Releases Comprehensive Training Courses Designed to Train Assistants in the Business of Real Estate

March 16th, 2018 CHICAGO – AgentEDU.com, a division of Agent Publishing, today announced the release of their latest course specifically designed to train assistants for the unique demands of the real estate industry.

A well trained real estate assistant can be invaluable when it comes to marketing, branding and time management, but an agent’s schedule may prevent them from being able to invest the time needed to properly train one. AgentEDU’s exclusive eight-course Assistants track was created to provide agents with an effective training platform that educates assistants on the regulations of the real estate industry as well as the day-to-day responsibilities when working with a real estate agent.

“With more than 20 years experience as a real estate agent I know how valuable a well trained assistant can be to growing your business. I also know how difficult it is to find the time and resources to properly train an assistant,”said Marci Sepulveda, AgentEDU’s managing partner. “We created the Assistants track to provide agents nationwide with easily accessible, but in-depth courses that will produce productive assistants and valuable additions to any real estate team.”

 

About AgentEDU

AgentEDU is an online video training platform designed to help real estate agents at every level advance their skill set, expand their industry knowledge and become better agents. Each 10-minute course focuses on the best practices for every situation. From daily core skills to high-level negotiations and everything in between, AgentEDU helps agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth.

 

About Agent Publishing

With nearly 15 years in publication and covering Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Boston, Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital and events. Online and offline, Agent Publishing delivers quality content that residential real estate professionals trust. Learn more at www.AgentPublishing.com

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Central Wisconsin Board of REALTORS® to provide agent training for all members with AgentEDU

CHICAGO — March 12, 2018 — AgentEDU.com, a division of Agent Publishing, has signed an agreement to provide online training to the Central Wisconsin Board of REALTORS®. Founded in 1994, the association has more than 650 members and is one of the largest associations in central Wisconsin.

 

AgentEDU will provide online video training courses from basic core skills to advanced courses that include negotiation, lead generation, marketing, technology and beyond.

“We are incredibly happy to offer this great additional benefit to our members,” said Paula Hall, CWBR Executive Officer. “AgentEDU offers a unique opportunity for all of our members—both new and more established agents—to grow their skills and become top producers.

“As an innovator in agent training, AgentEDU is well positioned to enhance the CWBR mission to support member growth,” said Marci Sepulveda, AgentEDU’s managing partner. “Our company will provide the CWBR with the curriculum and training that will enhance every member’s career.”

 

About AgentEDU

AgentEDU is an online video training platform designed to help real estate agents at every level advance their skill set, expand their industry knowledge and become better agents. Each 10-minute course focuses on the best practices for every situation. From daily core skills to high-level negotiations and everything in between, AgentEDU helps agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth.

 

About Agent Publishing

With nearly 15 years in publication and covering Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, Houston and Boston, Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital and events. Online and offline, Agent Publishing delivers quality content that residential real estate professionals trust. Learn more at www.AgentPublishing.com

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VHT Studios Partners with AgentEDU to Offer Real Estate Agents Best-in-Class Online Real Estate Photography Training Course

Real estate professionals seeking to learn about photography or sharpen their skills can subscribe to a new online class offered through AgentEDU.com, a growing national training platform for real estate agents, in partnership with VHT Studios, the nation’s leading real estate photography and visual marketing company.

AgentEDU and VHT Studios are rolling out the course, “How to Take Real Estate Photography,” to provide agents of all levels with direct online instruction on how to take gorgeous, high quality real estate photography so their listings stand out from the competition, attract more buyers and sell faster. The course is available with a subscription to AgentEDU.com. See an intro video to the course, here.

“We are turning to VHT Studios for the company’s unmatched expertise and deep commitment to serving the real estate community,” said Anne Hartnett, AgentEDU’s Managing Partner. “Agents know that quality photography for their listings is essential to grabbing a buyer’s attention, contributes to a shorter market time and helps get the best price for your listing,” she added.

AgentEDU is an online video training platform designed to help real estate agents at every level advance their skill sets, expand their industry knowledge and become better agents. AgentEDU lets agents access valuable learning resources anytime and anywhere so they become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth.

The partnership solidifies VHT’s position as the real estate agent’s primary resource for real estate photography while adding to AgentEDU’s extensive library of courses designed to help agents hone their skills and build a successful real estate career.

“We are proud to partner with AgentEDU and their parent company, Agent Publishing to provide this convenient and easy-to-access educational resource to real estate professionals,” said Sarah Anderson, Vice President, Marketing, VHT Studios.

“Over the past 20 years, we’ve proven that stunning real estate photography is the most effective way to attract buyers’ attention and sell homes. Yet, many real estate professionals don’t include high quality photographs in their listings, web sites, advertising and other real estate marketing materials. An online photography course offered through AgentEDU now makes it easy for agents to elevate their marketing expertise, attract new clients and grow their brand and business,” she added.

View this introductory video of the course, “How to Take Real Estate Photography.”

About Agent Publishing
As a leading trade publication with more than 15 years covering residential real estate, Agent Publishing’s influence extends to agents across the country through print and digital magazines, live events and career development.

Agents, brokers, builders, developers, lenders, appraisers and other real estate professionals rely on Agent Publishing for a cutting-edge mix of fresh local reporting, detailed analysis of major national trends and profiling of top industry professionals. Agent Publishing is unmatched in helping residential real estate professionals better serve clients and stay on top of ever-changing industry trends and news. Learn more at http://www.AgentPublishing.comAgentEDU.com and follow us on LinkedIn.

About VHT Studios
VHT Studios celebrates 20 years of delivering excellence to top real estate professionals who rely on VHT Studios for stunning professional photography, virtual tour videos, virtual staging, drone photography and video, interactive and standard floor plans, 3D home tours, and image management services.

VHT Studios’ broad range of visual marketing services ensures properties get seen more, sell and rent faster and at a greater price, which also helps real estate agents attract new clients and grow their businesses. A full-service partner to leading agents, brokerages and businesses, the VHT Studios team delivers the most powerful marketing and selling tools – starting with high-quality photography — through creation and final display. For more information, visit us on VHT.comFacebookTwitterLinkedIn or Instagram.

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