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.

3 Ways to Use Open Houses to Build Your Business

Although many home sellers consider the open house a standard practice, stats show that open houses don’t often generate an actual sale. Still, many agents find open houses offer a way to get new clients, deepen their engagement in the neighborhood, and satisfy the seller’s expectations. In this blog, you will learn three ways you can use open houses to build your business.

All Attendees Are Potential Homebuyers

The fact is, almost everyone who comes into an open house is a potential homebuyer. Many are looking to buy a home and may not have an agent yet. And even if they are not in the market, they may know someone who is. Maybe they plan to buy sometime in the future.

This is your chance to show them that you know the neighborhood well, understand area pricing and are easy to work with. Demonstrate your leadership and marketing skills and show that you are sympathetic to the challenges of buying a home. Don’t squander any opportunity to make what could be a life-long connection with every person who walks through the door.

How to Market to a Large Audience

Get your name and brand out there! The first step is thinking about how to market your open house to a wider group. There are many ways to get the word out about an open house, and you should explore them all. Employ the most appropriate methods for each home’s particular circumstances. For a big impact, send two waves of direct mail postcards and emails – both before and after the open house.

Send out the first email as an invitation. Let them know how to schedule a private appointment with you if they can’t make the open house. Then, position your brand in front of leads in the neighborhood who didn’t attend the open house by sending a post-open house mailer. It should say something like: “In case I missed you at the open house last Sunday, I want to make sure you have this information…”

Simply putting out signs the day of the open house is not enough to maximize your opportunity. Use the postcards in conjunction with signage, flyers, print ads, Facebook ads or whatever is appropriate for the market.

Invite Neighbors to a Private Open House

If you think your open house will be busy, you may want to schedule a special open house where you can spend time getting to know the neighbors.  When appropriate, this kind of open house can help you grow your business and deepen your involvement in the neighborhood. Consider holding a “neighbor’s only” preview a few days before the public open house.

This is a great way to get to know neighbors’ concerns, allay any fears they have, and enlist them to help you find suitable buyers. It also gets the “curious lookers” out of the way early on, allowing you to spend more time with serious buyers who attend the weekend open house.

Man the Open Houses of Other Agents

If you find yourself without any listings suited to open houses, you can build your business by offering to man the open houses of other agents. Open houses can be a great way for agents to jumpstart business activity.

Whether you are a new agent or just want some new business, helping other agents with their open houses can give you practice with potential buyers while you learn about the local market. If you are new to an area or a specialty, manning an open house can give you the experience and confidence to move forward.

How It Works

It typically works like this: An agent who is looking to gain experience lets their managing broker know that they are willing to man open houses, and the managing broker can put the word out. Some agents may choose to offer their assistance directly to experienced agents who may be too busy to man their own open houses.

It’s smart to man the open houses of agents who do a good job of marketing the homes. If there has been no marketing and the agent is just holding an open house to appease the sellers, it may be less fruitful. If this happens to you, make sure any potential buyers who attend the open house know that you’re hosting it on behalf of the seller’s agent.

A Mutually Beneficial Arrangement

Experienced agents get help with the details of their open house, allowing them to concentrate on other priorities or listings. And the more junior agent gets to attach his or her name to a more experienced agent while getting real-life experience. There is often a daily stipend or a referral fee if that open house leads to a sale.

Whether an open house is for your listing or someone else’s, when you host an open house, you get the opportunity to put yourself in front of a group of potential new clients. To learn more about how to generate leads from your open houses, start your free seven-day trial of AgentEDU and begin with the course How To Generate Leads with Open Houses.

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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.

4 Ways to Handle a Negative Yelp Review

Despite your best efforts, it’s possible to receive a less-than-stellar review on Yelp and other social media platforms. While about 79 percent of the reviews on Yelp receive three stars or more, every business will likely receive negative feedback at some point because it’s impossible to please 100 percent of the people you deal with 100 percent of the time.

With this knowledge in mind there are ways to boost your online reputation and make sure that your Yelp profile is working for you and not against you. In this blog we’ll cover the four ways to handle a negative Yelp review.

Start with Great Customer Service

Most real estate agents place an emphasis on making sure their clients feel great before they walk out the door. But in this age of social media, business owners should always treat their customers as if they were newspaper reporters. Anything you say or that your customers observe while they’re working with you can end up online.

Stay Cool if You Read a Negative Review

If you find yourself getting too emotional about your reviews, you may not be the best person to respond to an upset customer. Appoint a trusted admin or another agent at your brokerage to manage your online reviews. Also, if you see a negative review written by someone without a photo and no friends, it may not be worth losing sleep over. Consumers on Yelp naturally gravitate to reviewers who have established presences on Yelp.

Be Diplomatic

When it’s time to respond to a critical reviewer, use Yelp’s free review response tools to join the conversation about your business. You can respond privately or publicly but remember to always take the high road when it comes to your customers and your reputation. If you feel like a review violates Yelp’s terms of service, you can flag it for evaluation by Yelp’s user support team.

Implement Feedback

Online reviews can help you figure out what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon. Some business owners discuss Yelp reviews with their employees during staff meetings and implement corrective measures according to the feedback they receive.

If you work hard at customer service and promote a positive image of your business, many of the reviews you will receive will be positive. Over time, all of the positive reviews become like an online book of testimonials for your business. You can send new customers to your Yelp page so they can learn more about the great service they will receive if they choose you as their representative.

Developing your Yelp profile with positive reviews of your services is a great way to improve your referral sources online. To learn more, start your free seven-day free trial of AgentEDU and watch the full Yelp For Your Real Estate Business 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.

Manage Your Real Estate Team with Tuckman Stages

You should not expect your team to function as a well-oiled machine from the start. Teams go through stages as they learn to work together, an understanding of the growth patterns of a typical team will help you implement best practices to help them achieve.

“Tuckman’s Stages” summarizes the research Bruce Tuckman did on team dynamics back in the 1960s. This team research is a classic model of understanding. The five stages Tuckman identified are called forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.

In this blog post, we’ll walk through each stage so you can recognize it in your own teams and teach as it happens.

Stage 1: Forming

In the forming stage, team members are introduced, and they share information about themselves and form first impressions about each other. They learn about the project they will be working on, discuss objectives and goals and start to think about what role they will play on the team.

As the team leader, this stage provides you an opportunity to be very clear about your goals and provide direction about the work the team will do. You can help the team determine roles and responsibilities and guide initial interactions and preparations.

Stage 2: Storming

The second stage, storming, is an unavoidable transitional stage as team members begin to work together. Team members may compete with each other and varying opinions may cause conflict within the team. The team leader’s guidance is still important in this stage – you can help your hires solve problems, stick to roles and remind them how to function independently and as a team.

Your leadership in this stage can also help team members remain respectful and ensure that all voices are heard. As the team becomes more accepting of their own and recognizes the value of individual contributions, your involvement can lessen. Keep in mind that if you have younger team members or professionally immature hires, this stage can last longer.

Stage 3: Norming

In the norming stage, team members begin to work more effectively together. Individual goals are left behind for the good of the project. Each team member’s ideas should be heard and valued.

As roles are accepted and plans are implemented, working together feels more natural. Minor conflicts can be resolved and team members seek out each other’s opinions. The work gets done and the project moves forward, without as much participation from you.

Stage 4: Performing

In the performing stage, teams are functioning at a very high level. The focus is on collaboration to reach the team goal. Team members trust each other. As a team leader, your goal is to help your team get to the performing stage, a key plateau for a high functioning team. Teams in this stage can make decisions together and solve conflicts easily and effectively.

The team will be able to agree on changing processes if needed and won’t need to rely on the team leader for day-to-day work. As the team leader, you’ll continue to monitor productivity and team functionality, spotting breaks in the workflow if someone starts to work independently or if a new member joins the team.

Stage 5: Adjourning

In the adjourning stage the project goal comes to an end and the cycle gets ready to start with new goals and maybe new people. Your team members may move on to new projects together or with different team members.

This stage is an opportunity for you as the team leader to evaluate the team as you move into new collaborative stages. Review lessons learned as a way to introduce new projects and contribute to organizational growth. This stage also provides an opportunity to celebrate the team’s success.

Managing a team comes more intuitively to some than to others. To reach your goals and avoid problems, take management seriously and understand that what you do as team leader sets the tone for productivity and success. And to learn more about how to effectively and efficiently manage your real estate team this year and beyond, start your seven-day free trial of AgentEDU® today and begin with the Team Building 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.

The 3 Qualities Every Team Leader Must Have in Real Estate

Building a team is part of the growth and development of a business.  And as you build your team, with your vision leading the way, growing pains and operational challenges associated with managing people can be road blocks in the way of success. Chances are the initial phases of team building will mean working more and investing resources in others. So understanding how to better manage your team is a critical step.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the three key qualities necessary for team leaders to best manage personalities and ensure productivity.

#1. Vision

To start, think about what you see as the future of your team. As a team leader, your success will come when you can run a business that fulfills your vision. Finding and leading other personalities in line with that vision will make you a successful manager.

Shifting your role from agent to team leader can mean making compromises while you work to develop your management style and mindset. This doesn’t mean you have to change your perspective – in fact you should be certain your vision is clear. However, the shift in roles may require you to operate differently than you have in the past.

The mission, and strategic and operational vision of your business are the foundational elements necessary for you to achieve success. Have them in place before you build your team and ensure that each team member is well versed in how you plan your business to run. Share your vision with your team members and hire personalities that will complement and strive to engage that plan and make it their own.

#2. Trust

Often the most difficult skills in the transition from agent to team leader is to learn to let go and delegate responsibilities. But in order for your team to embrace your vision, you have to show them that you believe in them. Carefully outline responsibilities and expectations around client services and then trust in the people and policies you’ve put in place to fulfill them.

Once your expectations are communicated and team members have been trained, lead by example and coach team members only when necessary.  Focus on positive reinforcement, rewarding good work with compensation and recognition. This will help build trust between the team and you and will demonstrate your commitment to a team structure. This commitment will serve as a key contributor to the long-term success of your business.

#3. Clear Communication

Developing and maintaining clear and effective communication channels with your team, between team members, and with customers will help you showcase your commitment to the success of a team model. Share your vision, goals and processes with team members early in the relationship and lead by example, soliciting and exchanging feedback regularly. Host and attend sales meetings, as well as one-on-one and less formal gatherings.

Your primary goal is not to be best friends with every team member. Rather, you should strive to serve as an example of how to communicate as a team, with your vision at the center of every interaction. Reward team members for assisting others on the team for the good of the business.

To learn about how to lead a real estate team and achieve new levels of success this year and beyond, start your free 7-day trial of AgentEDU® today.