Build Your Referral Network with a Newsletter or Blog

As any real estate agent will tell you, referrals from past or existing clients can be a great way to build and expand your business. Once you’ve closed the sale, you have a great opportunity to cultivate an ongoing relationship that can be not only personally rewarding, but professionally rewarding, as well. 

Positions You as the Local Go-To Expert

One of the keys to asking for referrals is to stay connected with your clients, positioning yourself as the local go-to real estate expert, prompting your existing and closed clients to eagerly send you referrals and turn to you to represent them in their next sale or purchase. 

But how do you best keep in touch with your clients? How do you walk that fine line of being informative and helpful — without being intrusive or bothersome? One of the best ways to maximize your client referrals is to develop a referral program. And one of the best ways to get the word out about this program is through your newsletter or blog.

Agents who embrace this kind of content marketing can simultaneously grow their businesses and distinguish themselves as a leader and innovator in their local market, and in the industry as a whole.

Stay Top-of-Mind with Effective Promotion

Once you have your newsletter or blog in place, you need to alert your customers. And from there, it’s all about promotion. Smart real estate professionals know to consider multiple avenues of promotion to remind your customers of your newsletter or blog — and add calls to action (CTAs) for clients to sign up to keep in touch at every touchpoint.

Add a CTA to your email signature, directing contacts and clients to sign up for updates to new posts or to be added to your newsletter mailing list. 

Why Real Estate Professionals Should Blog

Let’s break down the tactics behind why blogging works so well to generate referrals. Listed below are three practical and specific outcomes. While it’s important to adopt a long-term mindset to really see momentum build, in all likelihood you should start to see positive increases relatively quickly in all of these areas.

#1. To Generate Website Traffic

According to inbound marketing giant, Hubspot, companies and brands that blog receive 55 percent more website visitors than those that do not. Because your blog acts as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website, there is more opportunity to convert visitors into clients. 

#2. To Foster Interaction

Blogging allows you to interact with your clients, and also gives them the opportunity to provide you with valuable feedback. Invite and encourage your followers to talk to you by leaving comments or questions — and you can even turn some of the better questions into their own blog posts. 

#3. To Build Authority and Trust

Blogging also allows you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and demonstrate your authority in your field. By utilizing your real estate knowledge to write solid content, you will quickly begin to earn the trust — and the business — of your followers. 

Real Estate Blogging Best Practices

  • Make sure you’re always linking your blog posts to related and relevant pages on your website, and link your social media posts to your blog posts. 
  • Update your blog on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is to start with one blog post a week. Once you’re comfortable, consider bumping up that number. Research has shown that companies that blog receive 434 percent more indexed website pages that those that don’t
  • Optimize your post with keywords, images and, above all else, natural sounding content. 
  • Always include a call to action, encouraging your readers to convert by filling out a form, signing up to follow you, or contacting you directly. 

To learn more about building your referral network, including the most effective way to ask for referrals, best practices for staying in contact with past clients, how to use surveys for real growth, and where it is appropriate to make a social connection, sign up for our platform and check out our course Building Your Referral Network today. 


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

Advice for Buyer Clients: 3 Tips for Getting Pre-qualified for a Mortgage

As any real estate professional knows, the lending landscape is always changing. While there were a number of years when it was very easy for homebuyers to secure a mortgage loan, mortgages are now under more scrutiny than ever, with tight regulations in place to help keep banks sound. Because most of your home buyers will need to take out a mortgage loan, it’s important that you have a working understanding of the process. 

The Difference Between Pre-qualified and Pre-approved

There are differences between getting pre-qualified and getting pre-approved for a mortgage. It is important for you to be aware of these.

Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage is an initial check-in to get a preliminary estimate from a lender of the mortgage your client will probably qualify for. It helps guide the home search process by narrowing down to the range that they will likely be able to borrow. It’s the first hurdle a borrower must clear.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage happens further down the road in the lending process. It requires an even closer look at your client’s income, debts, assets, and credit. While still not an assurance of obtaining the mortgage—pre-approval is the second hurdle in the process, and brings the client one step closer to a successfully closed transaction.

Why It’s Good to Have Pre-qualified Clients

While getting pre-qualified for a mortgage does not carry the same weight as getting pre-approved, it does serve as the initial guide post for making sure that you are selecting homes that are realistically in your client’s price range. You may of course have to narrow home selections even further once the financial options and constraints become clearer, but it’s a great place to start.

One of the most frustrating things for agents is working with buyers who have not yet been pre-qualified for a mortgage. You take buyers to see a number of homes, only to find out that they are not likely to get approved for the mortgage that is required to purchase those homes. This is why it’s helpful to be working with pre-qualified clients from the get-go, or for you to urge your buyers to get pre-qualified early in your business relationship.

Advice You Can Offer At This Stage

So then, as an agent, what advice can you give at this stage? How can you help raise your clients’ chances of success at the pre-qualification stage? Let’s look at three effective pieces of advice for your clients at this point in the process. 

#1. Recommend a Credit Review

One of the first steps toward getting pre-qualified, as well as knowing the types of houses your buyers should be looking at, is for them to know where their credit rating stands. If not already done so, recommend that your buyers review their credit report and check their FICO scores to uncover any potential issues or mistakes, and determine if they need to build their score before searching for a home. 

#2. Urge Them to Fix Credit Errors Quickly

If mistakes are found in their credit history or on their credit reports, your buyers will want to resolve them before moving forward with getting pre-qualified for a mortgage. Have them contact the credit reporting agencies immediately if any errors are found. Mortgage companies that want loans to close on time may offer to pay credit agencies to update your buyer’s credit report quickly with a rapid rescoring service

#3. Remind Them to Try to Be Realistic

It’s not uncommon for lenders to pre-qualify or pre-approve applicants for a mortgage that’s more than they can afford. Make sure that your buyers aren’t letting lenders dictate how much they spend on a home. Lenders determine pre-qualifying amounts based solely on income and credit report information, and don’t factor in day-to-day expenses such as daycare, car payments, groceries, insurance, and more. Rather than purchasing a home for the maximum amount allowed by the lender, make sure your buyers are making a smart investment by purchasing a house that is within their means

As an agent, although you are not a loan officer, you still play an important role in the mortgage process. To learn more about what you need to do to help keep the sale on track, check out our course Guiding Your Homebuyer Through the Mortgage Process today. 


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

Visual Marketing for Different Kinds of Properties

Most real estate agents will tell you that quality photography is one of the most important tools for marketing their listings. In fact, great photography is at the very heart of marketing any property, allowing potential buyers to make an emotional connection to the home, even before seeing it in person. On the other hand, poor photography can also be an immediate turn off to potential buyers, causing them to bypass the listing entirely. Done poorly, it can even lower the perceived value of the property.

Photos Can Make or Break a Listing

These are more than just anecdotal opinions. NAR’s annual Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers is a long-standing resource from the association which evaluates consumer behavior and preferences. It has shown that listings with photography will hold a potential buyer’s attention for at least 20 seconds, compared to a mere 2 seconds for a listing without images. Most shockingly, 84 percent of home buyers said they wouldn’t even consider a listing if it didn’t include photos.

Use the Right Media for the Property

Different kinds of properties benefit from different kinds of visual marketing approaches. While you might want to set up an entire landing page with aerial video footage for a luxury property, the same approach would be overkill for a home that’s more closely aligned with the national median price point.

What’s more, visual marketing strategies and tactics are different for various types of homes (luxury condo, single-family home, vacation home, city vs. rural, etc), making it even more complicated. What works for your type of property in your particular market just depends.

You may wish to do a little competitive analysis and scope out how other colleagues are making their visual marketing stand out. If comfortable doing so, you can even go to them for tips and advice on how they got to where they are with their photography skills.

The Elements of Quality Real Estate Photography

So, given the importance of photography, how do you know the best way to visually market your listings? Whether you choose to work with a professional photographer or not, it’s important that you understand the basics of quality real estate photography. 

#1. The Right Skills

Only after you determine the type of visual content that will work best for the property—photo, video, aerial—can you determine who will be best to do the work. There is no right or wrong answer here (unless you’re talking about who is legally authorized to operate a drone). Depending on your skill level, in some cases you will be able to do the photography yourself. In other instances, you will definitely need to hire a professional.

#2. The Right Equipment

If you’re doing to work yourself, you’ll have to rent or purchase the right equipment. To get the shots that will really help sell your property, it’s time to consider putting down your smartphone. You may need an ultra-wide-angle lens, an external flash, a tripod, and editing software. It might be a great idea to make friends at your local photography store so they can advise you, or find a good online resource or tips guide.

#3. The Right Styling

There are some simple tips for preparing the home for your photoshoot. Prepare the house much in the same way you would for an open house—turn on all available lights, declutter the space, remove all cars from the driveway to freely show the entire exterior of the home, and more.  Learn from trial and error, as sometimes the only way to know what works is to play around with the variables of the shoot onsite and see what works best.

#4. The Right Composition

For real estate photos, there are some tips that you can use to help ensure that your shots of the home have the best composition. For instance, always show a third wall, show your rooms in thirds, use the lines of the room to draw the eyes through the space, utilize objects in the foreground, and more. It cannot be overstated how much of an impact lighting can have, so it will make sense for you to spend more time and resources on good lighting.

Taking It to the Next Level

While many real estate agents choose to work with a professional photographer, other agents choose to photograph their listings themselves. To learn more about the equipment you’ll need to shoot professional-looking shots, how to get the right exposure, tips for making your property photo shoot ready and more, sign up for our course How to Shoot Real Estate Photography Like a Pro today. This course was co-developed with VHT® Studios, a leading real estate consultant and service provider located in the Chicagoland area.


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

real estate assistants working together

4 Things a Real Estate Assistant Can Take Off Your Plate Immediately

As a busy real estate professional, chances are that you could benefit greatly from the services of a professional assistant. Real estate assistants can perform a wide variety of routine tasks. An assistant can support a general agent, a buyer’s agent, or a seller’s agent; an individual agent or an entire real estate team; or some combination of the above.

Most often, an assistant is expected to pitch in with general tasks that can free up real estate agents and allow them to spend more time doing what they do best — helping represent clients to buy and sell property.  

Be Mindful of State Requirements

Before unleashing an assistant in your business, make sure that you have a full understanding of what duties are and aren’t allowed to be performed by unlicensed real estate assistants in your state.

You Are Responsible for Their Work

Real estate brokers are responsible for the supervision, training, and control of an assistant. If assistants perform duties that are reserved for licensed professionals, you will be held responsible and it can jeopardize your own license and business. This is an important compliance issue for brokers and real estate business owners, so it’s important to be careful and do your research up-front. If not done properly, using assistants in your business can become a liability.

Obtain Official Guidance

To understand what duties are or aren’t allowed in your state, check in with the real estate board or commission of the state(s) in which you operate — to obtain the official guidance.

You can also supplement your research with resources such as this one from NAR, which aggregate state-based information into a user-friendly chart. It’s always wise to verify this information with your state to be sure, however, as state statutes and regulations can change unexpectedly and these changes not yet be reflected in secondary resources like these.

So What Can They Do?

Assuming you’ve checked what’s allowed in your state, let’s look closer at 4 things an assistant may be able to take off your plate immediately. 

#1. Scheduling Showing Appointments and More

One of the biggest benefits of an assistant is the help with keeping track of your schedule. Your assistant may be able to help in scheduling showing appointments, walkthrough appointments, and more. 

#2. Creating Social Media Posts

It’s no secret that social media is a huge piece of the real estate marketing puzzle. Your assistant may be able to create and schedule social media posts, promoting your personal brand as well as your current listings. 

#3. Answering Calls and Emails

As a busy professional, you know how often your phone rings, whether it’s incoming calls or emails. An assistant can help you by handling basic communications, fielding incoming calls to curate and prioritize the list of people who want to claim your time and energy. 

#4. Create, Post, and Manage MLS Listings

Your assistant may be able to access the MLS on your behalf to create, post and manage listings. In this capacity, he or she can upload information and photos about each listing, as well as making sure the information is correct and the status is up to date. 

What Makes a Great Real Estate Assistant? 

Now that you have an idea of some of the tasks an assistant can handle for you, how do you spot a great assistant candidate? A great real estate assistant will possess a number of different traits, including the following:

Organizational Skills

All assistants are expected and asked to do a number of different tasks — and often all at the same time. A great real estate assistant will have strong organizational skills, allowing them to keep track of both current and upcoming tasks. Consider investing in an automated task management system, to help simplify your requests. 

Ability to Multi-task

In addition to being able to organize tasks, a great real estate assistant will be able to juggle different tasks simultaneously. He or she should also know how to prioritize tasks, allowing for the most important tasks to be done first. 

A Strong Desire to Learn

One of the biggest benefits for real estate assistants is that there is the possibility to learn so much about the real estate industry on the job. In addition to learning from the agents, great real estate assistants will take it a step further and choose to invest in learning on their own. 

Pleasant Demeanor

Your assistant is hired to make your life easier. Even when he or she is stressed or having a bad day, a great real estate assistant will not outwardly show this stress and will remain professional. 

In order to be successful in your role, it is crucial to delegate some of the more menial tasks, allowing you to spend more time on what’s important — buying and selling homes. For education about and for real estate assistants, check our our Assistants skills track of courses. 


AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.

header image for the blog post

3 Tips for Creating a Business Plan that Adjusts with the Market

As any practicing real estate agent knows, market conditions can (and do) ebb and flow throughout the year. What’s important, however, is that your business is prepared to weather all types of markets so it can survive the negative effects that plague unprepared agents. 

Whether you’re entering a buyer’s or seller’s market, consider these tips for adjusting your business plan.

#1. Monitor Your Business Plan 

With fluctuating markets comes the opportunity for your transaction volume to change. It’s not enough to set your business plan at the beginning of the year, put it in your desk drawer and pull it out when the next year rolls around. 

Savvy agents need to be able to adjust their business plan throughout the year to account for buyer’s and seller’s markets and other market fluctuations. This helps agents project their revenue, adjust marketing plans as needed, and consistently (and consciously) know what they have in their pipeline. Here’s a great article on how to “check yourself” throughout the year. 

Pro Tip: Schedule time in your calendar for business plan review — the same way you’d schedule an open house or floor duty. Review it at least quarterly to ensure you have plans in place depending on the market conditions. 

#2. Set Client Expectations  

Fluctuations in the market will have a great impact on both your buyers and sellers. Clients may need to be educated on market conditions in order to set expectations. As such, it’s always a great idea to have regular check-ins with clients to ensure they’re aware of market trends. 

Of course, this can mean keeping sellers abreast of recent comparable properties and having the “pricing conversation” as needed. For buyers, this can also mean a conversation about urgency and how to approach offers that are more appealing to sellers in a market where they have the power. 

Pro Tip: Consider adding some buyer’s and seller’s market content to your drip campaigns to help educate your sphere on market conditions. If you have your CRM segmented with “buyer” and “seller” buckets, this can be very helpful for sending appropriate content to your sphere.

#3. Consider Your Marketing 

While there are certain marketing activities that require year-round effort like your social media and website presence, there are some that can be implemented in advance of market fluctuations to keep your business flowing. If your market is shifting to a seller’s market, for example, the months prior are the ideal time to send out market reports to potential sellers in your sphere to showcase the value of their home.

Your marketing should ebb and flow with the market trends (ideally, in advance of trends) so your pipeline is always stocked with ready and able buyers and sellers.  

Pro Tip: The summer is too late to start marketing to buyers looking to move before the school year, for example. Map out the highs/lows of the previous year and use those to help you compose your marketing plan for the next year so you can always be ahead of trends. 

Mastering Your Business Plan 

For more information or to learn the ins and outs of a great business plan, sign up for our AgentEDU course on Creating a Business Plan today. 

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AgentEDU® is a platform where agents at every level can come to watch 10-minute video courses for the many situations that successful agents must master. From essential to advanced level and everything in between, AgentEDU® courses help agents become top producers with increased earnings and a plan for continued growth. For a 7-day free trial sign up here.

AgentEDU® is an Agent Publishing brand. For nearly two decades, Agent Publishing has been committed to providing residential real estate professionals with the information and training required to build successful and meaningful careers in their local markets. Agent Publishing’s influence extends to every career stage and reaches agents across print, digital, events and online learning.