The to-do list every seller needs before you host an open house

Agents have a number of responsibilities when preparing for an open house, and none may be more important than getting the seller on board with your plans. Having the seller’s approval and support can mean the difference between wasted efforts and earning yourself a sale with a new crop of leads. In this blog post, we’ll cover how you can encourage and guide your client to being a valuable partner in your open house, and how they can help you achieve your goals.

Sellers need to understand their role in the open house. Let them know what you’re planning and why. Assuming they are motivated to sell for the highest price, they’ll understand that the home has to be in great shape and will do whatever is needed. You are trying to create a home that prospective homebuyers can imagine themselves living in, and your sellers must understand this goal from the beginning.

Give your sellers a checklist of tasks to complete, including:

  • Remove everything attached that’s not for sale, including small appliances, ceiling fans and fixtures. You don’t want to spend time explaining to potential buyers what’s included and what’s not.
  • Secure all valuables such as laptops, tablets and phones, as well as any prescription medications.
  • Purge the refrigerator of all unnecessary foods and decorations.
  • Use white towels. You will be amazed how easily you can turn any bathroom into a luxurious spa escape with a fresh stack of fluffy white towels.
  • Take the trash out of every wastebasket in the house.
  • Maximize curb appeal. The lawn should be cut and shrubs pruned, with all toys and gardening tools put away in the garage or other location.
  • Take out any artwork or décor that could offend prospective buyers, including items that are political or religious in nature.
  • Place fresh flowers or flowering plants throughout the home.
  • Clean and fluff bedding, towels and rugs.
  • Sweep and clean out the garage.
  • Set the thermostat at a comfortable temperature.
  • Clean, clean, clean! Beds should be made, countertops should be cleared and all linens should be tidy. Surfaces should gleam.

Once this is completed, you can begin to stage the home and prepare for arrivals. To learn the seven steps to a successful open house, sign up for a seven-day free trial at AgentEDU and watch the course. Then, explore the entire Open House track and you’ll be on your way to making every open house a success.

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8 Simple Ways to Get More Referrals

After you’ve closed the sale and received your commission, it’s tempting to think the job is over. It’s not! Now is your opportunity to set the tone for an ongoing relationship with your clients. Once you’ve proven yourself by closing a sale, you can start building a lifelong business relationship. This is your chance to position yourself as the go-to real estate expert, prompting your closed clients to comfortably send you referrals and ask you to represent them in their next purchase.

Here are eight basic relationship builders used by top agents, all of which are actions you should take after the closing.

  1. Update your database. Your database will be one of your most important tools, so make sure it contains contact information about each of your clients. Make notes about your clients’ preferences and how they engage with their community. Are they foodies? Sports fans? What about hobbies? You should note kids’ names, schools, or other people who are important to them.
  2. Send a thoughtful closing gift. If your clients are buyers, you can send a closing gift to their new home with a personalized note. This shows your appreciation for their trust and business. Try to personalize the gift — perhaps a gift card to a local restaurant in their new neighborhood. If your clients were sellers, send something special to them, like a bottle of their favorite wine. Don’t send form letters with closing gifts — always send a personalized note.
  3. Check in on them after they close. Continue to show your closed clients that you care about them even after you have received your commission. Give them a call after they have lived in the home a few days to see how things are going. Checking in on them will help build trust.
  4. Ask for referrals. Referrals are the backbone of a strong real estate business, and you should ask your closed clients if they know anyone in need of an agent. Let closed clients know that you enjoyed working with them, and that if they know anyone who is looking to buy or sell, you will do a great job for anyone they refer. If you stay in touch in a friendly, professional and helpful manner, your business will grow and customers will come to you!
  5. Send a post-close survey. One great way to improve your business and build long-term relationships is to follow up with a survey. In your efforts to always do the best work you can, you should have the survey ready to go.
  6. Get a testimonial. Another relationship builder is asking for testimonials. While you’re still top of mind with your clients, ask them if they would give you an endorsement. A testimonial is just a few sentences about their experience working with you.
  7. Make a social connection. If you haven’t already done this, make a social networking connection. Use your Facebook business page to friend them, and post smart real estate-related items. Remember: This is NOT your personal page. It’s a chance to show your professional knowledge of the community while sharing news about your awards and successes.
  8. Stay in touch. Most importantly, use your good marketing practices to stay in touch with your closed clients. Send them cards, emails and neighborhood invitations to join you at community events, for example. Some agents even have client holiday parties and invite all of their past clients.

A closing does not mark the end of the relationship. It’s an opportunity to set the tone for an ongoing relationship with your closed client and build your referral network.

For more information on how to build your referral network, receive a seven-day free trial when you sign up at AgentEDU and view this course today.

 

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3 Things Every Real Estate Assistant Needs to Know About Marketing a Listing

Finding potential buyers for your listings is one of the most important aspects of a real estate agent’s job — and marketing is essential to their success with this task. As an assistant, your role will be to use marketing to attract and secure new customers for your agent’s business, and once engaged with a client, you’ll use marketing to sell properties.

In this blog post, we’ll focus on three things every real estate assistant needs to know about marketing their agent’s listings.

 

MLS

The first place you’ll want to put a listing is in the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service. This central database of listings allows home sellers a centralized location to post details on the properties they have for sale and is an industry standard.

Accuracy in preparing a listing cannot be overstated. Not only is the MLS the central location for your listing, but listing sheets are generated directly from the system and sent to agents and buyers. Also, websites that are accessible to any potential home buyer, such as Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com, use the data directly from the MLS. So remember to check and double-check that the specifications and descriptions for the site are exactly as you want them.

Besides the standard form data, which includes details on the home such as square footage and the number of rooms, you’ll have an opportunity to provide a 1,000-character description. This description will appear on the listing sheet and on any websites that pick up MLS data. It’s important that this copy sells the home, and should be treated like any other marketing material.

 

Photography

Photography is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan and should be handled with care. You may consider outsourcing the photographs to a professional photography company like VHT Studios. Along with ensuring that your photographs are of the best quality, there are a number of other concerns when preparing your photos to upload. Use this checklist to make sure your photos are ready for the market.

  1. Photos should be beautifully lit, color-corrected, cropped properly and show off your property’s best qualities.
  2. Individual photos can be no larger than 10 megabytes.
  3. The image size can be no larger than 2880 x 2880 pixels.

Most MLS allow a limit of 25 photos, but don’t confuse quantity with quality. A photo of the exterior of the home is standard, and a good strategy for the other photos is to have at least one photo per each feature mentioned in your description. For example, a description that mentions an attached garage, a bay window and high ceilings should have photographs that show each of these features.

 

Social Media

The most popular social media used in real estate are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Your agent might use one, some or all of these. Each platform comes with its own set of analytics, so you can easily see if your postings are effective in driving engagement and, ultimately, sales. Facebook and Twitter allow you to schedule posts, but if you’re using more than one platform, a dashboard like Hootsuite allows you to generate all your posts from a central location. Depending on your subscription level, you can easily replicate posts across platforms and receive great analytics to help you determine how well your posts are performing.

There are four general pillars to consider when using social media across all platforms.

  1. Accuracy. The Internet is unforgiving of typos, broken links and other inaccuracies, any of which can also cost your brand credibility and trust. When a posting about one of your listings contains errors, it can negatively affect your chances of a sale. When posting about your business or brokerage, it can damage the perception of your brand. Check and double-check before you post content online.
  2. Relevancy. Social media is a crowded landscape with a significant amount of content competing for an audience. The more relevant your content is, the more likely it is to drive engagement. Engagement can help your business even if it doesn’t directly lead to a sale. Make sure that each and everything you post has some value to your reader.
  3. Positivity. Never engage in negativity online. Avoid controversial topics like politics or religion, and never disparage one of your clients or competitors. Bring value to your audience by staying upbeat and sharing more positive content. If it’s a beautiful day in a neighborhood where you have a property, share a photo with your audience. If you’re involved in a community fundraiser or charity event in support of a favorite cause, invite others to attend as well.
  4. Personality. Social media is an opportunity to share your unique personality. An Instagram photo of your agency serving meals to the homeless shows that you’re compassionate; a Facebook post about your team attending a baseball game shows that you’re fun. These are qualities that a client wants in a real estate agent, and social media is a great way to show them off.

A marketing plan can have multiple other pieces, including brochures, floor plans and open houses. To learn more about an assistant’s role in marketing real estate listings, view the full course here: https://bit.ly/2HHxLRq

Explore the entire AgentEDU Assistants track today, which features eight different courses designed to provide real estate assistants with the most comprehensive online training available.

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How to Connect with First Time Homebuyers in 2018

For the first time in over a decade, there seems to be an influx of first-time home buyers entering the marketplace. But is it more than just anecdotal? Are more first time buyers actually in a position to purchase, and if so, what does it mean for agents?

In 2017, more than 2 million new or existing homes were purchased by first-time homebuyers, according to the First-Time Homebuyer Market Report from Genworth Mortgage Insurance, an operating segment of Genworth Financial, Inc. The report, which measured data from the fourth quarter of 2017, revealed the number of homes purchased by first-time buyers increased nearly 7 percent from the same time in 2016, making last year the best for the first-time homebuyer market since 2006.

“The first-time homebuyer segment had one of its strongest years on record, and we expect it to continue growing in market share and driving the purchase market in 2018,” says Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “Since 2014, the segment has accounted for 82 percent of home purchases, but is still facing many headwinds.”

First-time homebuyers are a unique group — one  that has its own set of needs that you as an agent must be prepare to address and . That’s why we created the two-part training course, “How to Find the Perfect Home for Your Clients.”

The most common complaint that buyers will about their agents is that they were shown homes that did not fit their needs. Knowing how to find the right home for each client’s situation is a core skill that every buyer’s agent must possess.

Whether your client is a first-time homebuyer or an empty nester who is looking to downsize, you need to be prepared to understand the market — as well as how to set expectations, how to interpret the clues your client is giving you and how to eventually close the deal.

By guiding a first-time homebuyer through the sales process successfully, not only have you completed a sale and earned your commission, you may have landed a lifelong client.

Don’t miss your opportunity. Sign up for AgentEDU and learn how to find the perfect home for your clients.

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The Tech Every Real Estate Assistant Needs To Connect With Clients

How Real Estate Assistants Utilize Tech to Grow Business

It can be extremely difficult to find time to manage all the daily communications required to be a successful real estate agent. Technology has opened up new avenues of communication, and a good assistant can step in and help you stay connected with your clients in many ways.

  • Text messaging is growing in popularity among both salespeople and clients. According to an Ellie Mae survey of both consumers and sales professionals, 76 percent of respondents say they are confident in a text message’s potential to improve the buying experience by speeding up key processes. They also reported being just as comfortable texting with businesses they have a relationship with as they are with colleagues.
  • Meanwhile, 63 percent of all homebuyers surveyed in the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends report said it is important that agents send property information and communicate through text message. Unsurprisingly, younger generations are more likely to prefer this method: Sixty-nine percent of those ages 37 or younger consider it important, compared with 61 percent of those ages 38 to 51.
  • Even with the explosion of text usage between client and customer, email remains king. A recent survey by NAR found that 96 percent of its membership uses email either daily or nearly every day, making it the most used form of communication by Realtors

But many agents simply don’t have the time to dedicate to using these technologies to grow their business. Nor do they have the time to properly train an assistant.

That’s why AgentEDU has released a new Assistants track, with courses specifically designed to train an assistant in the technologies needed to support a successful agent. “How to Use Technology to Support Agent Success,” “A Real Estate Assistant’s Role in Social Media” and “Technology for Real Estate” are 10-minute videos designed to train an assistant on how to stay engaged with clients and contacts, organize tasks, manage your digital presence and more.

Don’t let another client slip through the cracks. AgentEDU’s new Assistants track will train your assistant in the skills needed to support your business on a daily basis.

Click here to explore the entire Assistants track at AgentEDU. 

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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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Realtor Association of the Fox Valley to provide agent training for all members with AgentEDU

December 21, 2017 CHICAGO – AgentEDU.com, a division of Agent Publishing, has signed an agreement to provide online training to the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley (RAFV). The association, founded in 1921, has more than 1,300 members and is one of the top five largest local associations in all of Illinois.

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 extremely excited about the partnership with AgentEDU and how it will benefit our members,” said Mark Coleman, president of the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley. “REALTORS® are so mobile that giving them an on-demand option for their educational needs will fit their lifestyle so much better than classroom options.  There are so many topics, right at their fingertips, that our agents can access from their computers or mobile devices at any time, day or night.”

“As an innovator in agent training, AgentEDU is well positioned to enhance the RAFV mission to support member growth,” said Anne Hartnett, AgentEDU’s managing partner. “Our company will provide the RAFV 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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