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.

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.

How to Stand 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.

Agents Are Still Needed

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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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.

Are Open Houses Still King?

Open houses can act as a door opener for generating new leads. It gives the opportunity to showcase the property and network closely with potential buyers, among other benefits. Although some argue that open houses are a waste of time, only you can make that decision. Here’s a breakdown on whether an open house is essential for your listing and your business.

On the Upside

Positive aspects of open houses are that, nationwide, homes that had an open house sold for more than $9,000 more and spent fewer days on the market than homes that had no open house. This comes from a recent study of open houses in major metro areas by Redfin. For example, homes for sale in Miami that featured an open house within the first week of listing sold 11 days sooner than those without an open house. One caveat to keep in mind is that these successes in open houses may stem more from the appeal of the home itself and the marketing associated with it rather than the sole event.

Not So Fast

Still, the data might not tell the whole story. First of all, it’s a small dataset: In 2018, only 24 percent of listings nationally featured an open house within the first week. Also, in some markets open houses are associated with more days on the market rather than less. Examples of such markets include New Orleans and Nashville, where homes featuring an open house spend eight more days on the market. Although this does not apply to all areas, it is something to watch if you’re selling in those areas and are thinking of conducting open houses. But in the end, days on market is more a factor of the appeal of the property, state of the local market and the price of the home.

Do’s and Don’ts

Orchestrating an open houses takes various steps, all with an ultimate goal of finding a buyer for the listing. However, secondary purposes for the open house may arise that get in the way of the original purpose. Some agents host open houses to market themselves and make the event more of a social one, where the focus is taken away from the house and put onto the agent. That is a path to avoid; focusing on the aspects of the house and giving valuable information to these prospects will make you come off as a trustworthy and knowledgeable agent.

According to the study from Redfin, timing is key. Try to conduct an open house within the first week of listing. The first week a home is listed is crucial, as you can capitalize on the freshness or “just listed” aspect of the property.

Decide with Your Seller

In all, open houses can be a useful tool when done correctly. Whether or not to conduct an open house is a call that you and the seller make together, and in that conversation, mentioning both the benefits and possible drawbacks is key. For more best practices when it comes to open houses, check out our AgentEDU course “Open Houses.” You can start with a seven-day free trial and gain access to the full “Open Houses” course 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.

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.

#1. 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.

#2. 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.

#3. 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.

#4. 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.

#5. 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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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.

How to Correctly Use Facebook as a Marketing Tool

A marketing plan is key in both generating more leads as well as increasing exposure for your business. Given that the technology landscape is ever-changing, it also comes with its fair share of scrutiny and controversy at times. Here are a few best practices in utilizing Facebook as a marketing tool.

To mention Facebook is to also mention some of its downfalls. More recently in March, Facebook was charged with violating the Fair Housing Act by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In the suit, Facebook is accused of restricting who can view a housing-related ad, since Facebook allows users to customize ad campaigns to target certain people and locations.

Teachable Moment

The dispute with HUD and Facebook has created an opportunity for agents to adjust their marketing plans and educate their clients on the rules and regulations that come with marketing a listing. This means that when clients are asking for more social media engagement and bold ideas to get their property to sell, mentioning fair housing is key to being on the same page and clearing any confusion. This also calls for agents to check their marketing plans; if you use a third-party vendor it’s best to follow up on their alignment with the Fair Housing Act.

Make It Personal

It’s more than likely you’re active on some social media platform. Whether that’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube, you have the opportunity to reach out and create a brand image. With that in mind, creating content for your business profile doesn’t need to be pure real estate all the time. Adding in a personal touch — such as posting about what you do on your free time, with family, or on nights out with co-workers or fellow agents — creates more connectivity with your clients. It allows prospects to see you as a person, rather than just a business owner.

Engage

Another key component of any marketing plan is to be engaging with your clients through social media channels. Along with making it personal, this is another great way to connect with your followers and clients. Allocate some time, or even hire an intern to assist you, to write back to people who comment on your posts and take time to comment and like their posts as well.

Being a Dependable Source

With social media at everyone’s disposal, the issue of misleading information and confusion is also a problem. As an agent, building trust is an area you should always be working on, and this also means making Facebook a part of those efforts. Creating content that counters false information is a great way to become a dependable source. This can go hand-in-hand with educating your sellers in regards to the Fair Housing Act, but also it can be incorporated in marketing, such as showcasing your recent sales figures or the current state of the market.

In all, Facebook is a fundamental platform and needs to be a part of any marketing strategy you have. Incorporating Facebook in your business activities allows for more growth and exposure. However, as explained here, there are rules and regulations to follow and be aware of.

For more tips on how to create effective marketing, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to the fundamental advertising track.

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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.

5 Ways to Help Buyers Understand Credit Scores

The homebuying process can be an overwhelming ride for buyers, particularly first-timers. Add in the aspect of understanding credit scores and your clients can become even more perplexed. While most homebuyers will require a loan, a fundamental step in acquiring that loan will be an adequate credit score.

This blog breaks down four ways you can make the credit score topic more understandable to your clients.

#1. Understand Your Buyers

One of the crucial first steps is to create dialogue with your clients on their understanding of credit. Start this off by asking some general questions, as it’ll set the stage for clearing any confusion. Do they have any student loan debt? Do they know what their credit score is? Have they owned a property before? Knowing where your clients are financially and their knowledge level will help you to tailor the information you give them in a more relevant manner during the buying process.

#2. Avoid Technical Language

In your daily life as an agent you may use terminology that the average non-agent individual may have no clue on. Using terms like LLPAs, PITI and loan-to-value won’t impress your audience, it’ll just add complexity. Financial jargon may be useful when it comes down to understanding the paperwork, but creating explanations that your clients will understand is key in keeping focus.

#3. Explain the Typical Timeline

Walk buyers through the entire process, from the purchase and credit line decisions that could impact their credit score to prequalification and preapproval to the process of applying for a mortgage. Many don’t understand the process after they’re approved but before they close. This time period is critical in terms of keeping the financial of the deal intact, so don’t end the timeline prematurely.

#4. Utilize Visual Aids

Many people are visual learners and they understand topics better if they can see what they’re trying to comprehend for the first time. Touch base with lenders and mortgage brokers that you frequently work with and ask if they have infographics or charts that’ll help breakdown the complex loan process visually.

#5. Bring It All Together

The process of homebuying has many complex stages. From perfecting the home search for your clients to walking them through the mortgage process, credit scores are another area that can cause confusion. Utilizing the five ways explained in this blog can create a simpler and better understanding of credit scores. To learn more about guiding your clients through these processes, begin your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and gain access to our fundamental “Representing Buyers” video course.

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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.