Approaching Potential FSBOs Early

This is the 4th part of my series.  You can always start reading at this point and still pick up a few tips.  Here is the link to all thus far if you want to go back and read the first 3 parts – Obtaining More Listings

The real estate market has changed, as you are all aware.  In the late 1990s we went through a period in which just about anyone could hang out a sign and sell a home.  Or that is what the average consumer thought.  With the proliferation of technology there arose a host of new competitors to listings agents — competitors who tried to convince the homeowners that they no longer needed traditional real estate agents.

In slow times, agents must spend most of their resources marketing and selling their listings.  In great times, agents must spend most of their resources obtaining the listings.  With technology coming to the forefront, the resources necessary to obtain listings have increased in all markets.  In the future, no longer will the agent be able to say that the MLS is the only way to market a home and only through the agent will the homeowner have access.

What does this mean for the typical real estate agent?

  • First, more time must be spent differentiating agents from the new competition.  There are many services an agent provides expertise.  Many times the Internet and technology robs homeowners of the rmost precious resource – time.
  • This educational process must take place BEFORE the decision to list is made.  If you get there after the FSBO comes on the market and the homeowner has been given a cold dose of reality, you will be thrown in with the competition.  If you educate them before they make the decision (even if they decided to go at it alone at first) – you have a leg up.  In other words, marketing of FSBOs must come early in the decision-making process.

I plan on blogging about the provision of value to FSBOs.  Just as any other worthy target, you must provide unique value to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Do you solicit to FSBOs now?  What is your technique?

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How To Obtain More Listings – Part 3 – Value in Education

If you have not been following along – here are the other parts on How To Obtain More Listings

My last post spoke about the value of a unique offer.  The offer must add value rather than discounting your services in order to be unique.  There is one area in which we can always add value to the process and that is education.  Many homeowners do not understand the real estate sales process and educating them gives you several advantages. (quick note – Be careful not to give TOO MUCH information. That can work against you because the homeowner may become confused).

 

  • You are seen as an expert instead of a sales person.  Experts are much less likely to discount their services.
  • You are being unique – while others are discounting, you are teaching.
  • Your prospects become educated, which makes them better customers.
  • You have the ability to involve your synergy partners – partners who are also giving you referrals.

 

Education can take many forms.  You might distribute an article on preparing a home for sale.  Or perhaps the article distributed is from a synergy partner.  For example, you might distribute an article on the tax ramifications of selling.  The article could be from a CPA with whom you have a reciprocal referral relationship.

If you would like to get more proactive with educational efforts, try delivering seminars on such topics as getting top dollar for your home in any market or how to purchase a home before you sell your present home.  You could set up these seminars with your synergy partners and/or use association networks to deliver these seminars (for example a homeowners association or a local church group).  In any given week, there are plenty of first-time homebuyer seminars in a particular market, but how many seminars are there for potential sellers?

People prefer doing business with experts.  Set yourself up as an expert and you will be building a foundation for expanding your base of listings.

You can see from most of my posts, I always refer to your synergy partners or business partners.  There are many opportunities to cross reference those that you work with in almost every transaction already.  These individuals work with homeowners too and could be your best source of referrals.  Karen Otto wrote a great post about working with a Home Stager – Arsenal of Influence.  I suggest you check it out, if you haven’t already.  Just another example of possible opportunities.

BEWARE: There are dangerous twins on the loose – Fear & Greed

BEWARE: There could be dangerous twins in your area. They are called Fear and Greed!

Although these twins do not always hang out together, you will often hear about how they destroy one thing or another. It’s not their fault. They were left on their own as children and had to learn about the tough world. Unfortunately, they keep listening to the wrong people. Their idols are different than yours and mine. Most recently, they have had a lot of focus on Real Estate. I know you are wondering how can you tell them apart and what should you do if you find them?

Well, Fear is the younger twin. He is unsure of many things in the world and is easily influenced by the articles he reads and hears about. Plain and simple, he is just afraid of what ‘could’ happen. This feeling may have been caused when he was younger, tried to be like his brother, Greed, and was unsuccessful. Perhaps it did happened because he watched too many movies or maybe he went to Vegas and watched too many people lose their money. No one really knows why and no one has taken the time to show/tell him differently. You may have run into him in your area without even knowing.

Here are some things that Fear may say or talk about, as well as some helpful tips for you:

  • Fear – “I don’t want to buy a house that will decline in value. I heard all markets are down 18%.”  
  • Tip – Show/tell them stats in your area. True that the overall average price decline is 18.2% but that is because some areas are down over 30% and others are down 2%. For example, DFW is down 3% on average and maybe less, depending on your specific market (Frisco Texas is up 1%). If you are a Realtor in North Dallas, I may have listed your city numbers in this post.
  • Fear – “I’m not sure I would qualify for a home loan because I heard banks are tightening their requirements and not lending money.”  
  • Tip – As you know, this is incorrect. Sure, banks are looking at files more carefully. But that does not mean you do not qualify. Take a litmus test: Is credit over 580 (540 with some lenders), verifiable income, no BK or FCL within last 3 years?   if they have a FICO above 580 (540 for some lenders), receive a pay check, and have not been in Bankruptcy or Foreclosure for the past 3 years? There is more too it, but this will get the ball rolling.
  • Fear – “I don’t know if I make enough money to buy a home, so I just rent.” or “The attendant at the local 7/11 told me to wait because it will get worse.”
  • Tip – If you have not spoken with a professional, then you still have no idea. Suggest a local mortgage professional talk with your client to see what they may qualify for. Advice from people outside the business or someone that knows ‘someone’ is not a viable resource. Besides, who knows where they receive their information.
  • Fear – “What if I lose my job like the other 500 million people per day?” (There’s only 305 million in all America)
  • Tip – If my grandma had balls, she would be my grandpa (no offense grandma). The point is that you can not live off of ‘what if’. As you can see from the video, sometimes even the ‘professionals’ get stats wrong. Share the stats in your state, county, city. For example, Texas actually increased employment from last year by 153,000 compared to the year before (yes, that’s including the last quarter). Unfortunately for other states, Texas is the only state with positive numbers. But perhaps your area is not as effected.

 

Now, Greed is completely opposite of his younger brother. Greed is always thinking WIIFM (what’s in it for me). Often he is thinking of the quickest way to make a buck without spending money or working too hard. He wants to own the BEST and the BIGGEST, but doesn’t want to pay more than the worst and the smallest. Again, its not necessarily his fault. Greed has always looked up to those that rolled the dice and got lucky. He is hoping to get lucky as well. You may have also run into Greed in your area without knowing.

Here are some things that Greed may say or talk about, as well as some helpful tips for you:

  • Greed – “Im holding out for a lower interest rate.”
  • Tip – Sure, rates could decrease another 1/8 or 1/4 percent, but it could also increase (without notice). If you are not already approved with a lender, you may miss out on some of the lowest rates in a very long time. Don’t squabble over 1/4 percent while rates are low already and home prices are still low.
  • Greed – “I may be able to buy the house for less and/or wait for the listing price to drop”
  • Tip – Take the advice of your Real Estate Agent and make an offer that is fair in comparison to the market. Don’t focus on ‘low-balling’ the offer or holding out. Not everyone is looking for the lowest price and someone could come along and steal your dream home.
  • Greed – “I think my house is worth more than what you are suggesting, Mrs. Realtor.”
  • Tip – There is not doubt that you will feel that your house is worth more… to you. Current sales for your size home show a different story. The good thing is that the house you want buy is also lower than what the sellers think its worth. This is a win/win market in many cases.

If you see these twins in your area, don’t panic. As a matter of fact, welcome them into your home. Show them some pretty pictures of the real world and how it could be if they were a little more open-minded. There are a WIDE variety of homes on the market today, so the choices are almost endless. Mortgage Companies are still lending money to the majority of applicants. FHA is a fantastic loan product for those with less than perfect credit and/or with little money down. And lastly, the rates are still outstanding!

Bottom line… Explain to them why its still a good market to buy and sell Real Estate.

 

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Other helpful reads may include the following:

Open House Strategies

Call Conversations

Credit Repair Suggestions

Realtor Marketing

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Always available for your Frisco Texas Mortgage needs!

John Cannata    p# 214.545.5604  

www.TxMortgageConsultant.com

Follow me on Twitter

Marketing…Are you getting your fair share?

We hear about homes being sold in and around our area all the time. Last quarter there were thousands and thousands of homes sold. In North Texas that is certainly true. If you missed it, my last post was – 2008 Real Estate Recap in North Texas. No matter where you live or what your farm area is, did your marketing efforts yield the return you expected?

Over the past few months, I have spoken with many agents. Each of them said it use to be that you could simply mail a postcard to your farm area and you would get a half dozen leads with one of them converting into a listing. Today its much more competitive.

How can your marketing compete for attention when there are over 10,000 licensed Realtors(r) for your area bidding for the same area? If your marketing isn’t producing results, someone else’s is. Homes are selling (not quite like hotcakes anymore… but they are selling). If your marketing is falling short of your expectations, than you’re losing opportunities. And if that wasn’t bad enough, with no leads it can create some strong emotional stress. One particular agent I spoke with last month said she’s lost some listings because she knows during her presentation that she came across too desperate for the sale. Some call this ‘commission breath’.

There are two major things that hold back your ROI:

Consistency – To have impact, your message must reach the same audience multiple times. Studies show that people won’t take any sort of action until they’ve seen your message at least 7 times. Thats a lot of messages, but thats the average.

Changing Your Audience – Every successful agent I’ve known had one thing in common; they marketed to the same farm for years. You don’t need to get a new audience just because your marketing does not generate leads after the first 2 or 3 mailings. You should not change your audience until the well is dry and when does that really happen?

Fortunately, the above items are easy to fix. First, commit to achieving more consistency in your marketing. Don’t give up too soon because you’re not happy with the results. Families need to become familiar with you before they’ll consider doing business with you. Second, pick a farm and stay there. Your goal should be to become the “Neighborhood Realtor (r)”. Anytime a neighbor in your farm area is thinking about selling or buying a home, they think of you first.

If you need help with your marketing efforts, there are some familiar faces on ActiveRain that may be able to assist:

Rebecca Livingston – “Real Marketing for your Real Estate Vision” – Rebeccca is the owner of Real Skillz in Wisconsin. She is always blogging about marketing, social media, and the latest and greatest tools available to you. She can also be followed in twitter @Rebeccalev

Katerina Gasset – Wellington Homes in Florida. I’m sure you know Katerina so she does not really need an introduction, but just in case. Katerina and Nestor are both Realtors. For years, they have been fine tuning their marketing efforts and offer a unique program which includes ‘hands on’ training to ensure success. Katerina can also be followed in twiitter @CoachKaterina

Clint Miller – Real Estate Client Referrals in Montana. Clint actually offers a more unique program which includes providing leads. I would not be able to do his program justice by explaining it, but I suggest you stop by his webpage or give him a call for further clarification. I can say that his Referrals Program is not like typical Lead Generations. Also on twitter @recr

Bottom line… Make it happen, don’t wait for it to happen. I wish you the best in 2009. Since you are following people on twitter… look me up @jcannata

Success with Open Houses (part 6) – Add Value

I am sure you have heard the term “value-added” a multitude of times with regard to sales.  The more value you add to the process, the more successful you will be in sales.  Open houses are no different in this regard.  The offer of value gets more people to the house and tends to help them become long-term customers.

Not that offering $10,000 off the selling price will not bring people in the door, but adding value really is a matter of giving something extra instead of discounting.  Besides, your extra traffic is more likely to be presented by those looking to “steal” the home.  Adding value produces a smaller crowd, but more serious buyers.

The question is, what value?  It must be more than a gimmick (free lottery tickets) and something different than what everyone else is offering.  Here are just a few ideas:

 

  • Offer a free home warranty for the home.  A warranty represents peace of mind and only costs a couple hundred dollars.  If they do not buy the house, you have lost nothing.
  • Offer a free pre-approval for a mortgage loan.  Perhaps you can have a lender attend the open.  It should cost nothing to get your customer pre-approved.  Most lenders only charge an application fee to ensure the customer is serious about buying.  Find a lender that is willing to work with you.
  • Offer a free report.  “10 Mistakes Purchases Need to Avoid When Financing Their First Home”, “Questions to ask Your Lender”, “How to Choose the Right Realtor”, or which ever report you currently have listed on your website.
  • Offer ten books on finance for the first 10 visitors.  “Your Money and Your Life”, “The Millionaire Next Door”, “Courage to be Rich”, or “Couples and Money”.  All are listed in the top 10 books about money and you do not have to purchase hardbacks.
  • Offer a free financial analysis with a financial planner.  There are many financial planners that would like to work with Realtors.  If you do not know of one, look them up in AR.  Don’t give up on someone because they tell you they have credit problems or have not saved a down payment.  Direct them to someone who can help.  In a few months or so, the customer will be back to you and ready to move forward.

 

With these and other “value” offerings, you may attract traffic that is not so much interested in that particular home but is interested in purchasing in general.  Isn’t one of the goals to generate prospects for your overall business?

The ultimate goal is to make sure you are putting something in everyone’s hands.  I have an open house flyer that demonstrates what payment and cash is needed to purchase a particular house.  You can make this flyer even more valuable by offering a free report or pre-approval via the flyer.  This is called a response mechanism and assures a greater response AFTER the open.  After all, follow-up is key.

Did you miss the last few posts about Success with Open Houses?  Click the link.

Have you found anything I have written to be useful?  Do you do many of these things already or was I able to give you some other suggestions?

I think I will add one more post to this topic to try and sum it all up, provide a few last thoughts, and really try to get some good feedback from each of you.  If you have followed along from the beginning, I appreciate you and hope you will let me know what you thought after my last entry.

Make every day great!   John Cannata – Reliant Mortgage Ltd

Success with Open Houses (part 5) – Get the Word Out!

As always, I am attaching the links to the previous blogs – parts 1 thru 4:

  1. Success with Open Houses – Part 1 (Attitude)
  2. Success with Open Houses – Part 2 (Focus on outcome)
  3. Success with Open Houses – Part 3 (Planning)
  4. Success with Open Houses – Part 4 (Preparation) 

If you have read my previous posts and have followed along, the following should be true:  You have the right attitude.  You are fully prepared.  The material is set.  Your objections responses are ready.  The place looks great.  The stage is set for a successful open house.  But then, the real disaster hits – no one shows.

All the preparation in the world will not make traffic flow through the door.  Advertising will.  Here is a list of marketing musts:

Signage – Make sure the signs are out during the week so that traffic in the area is alerted.  This is especially true if the first sign will be on a busy road.  Keep in mind of any HOA or State regulations which prohibit certain sign placements and how early a sign can be posted before the event.

Alert the Industry – What you would really like at your open house are serious buyers.  Serious buyers are typically already represented by real estate agents.  Therefore, you must alert the industry.  A professional flyer needs to be supplied to all area agents during the week – as well as a special letter and/or phone call to your personal contacts.  I am not referring to past clients, I am actually referring to business partners you have established – Appraisers, Shop owners, Home Stagers, Mortgage Broker, Auto Salesman, etc.  Some may feel that letters are not effective, and in some cases you are correct.  The secret to sending letters is being consistent.  You can not occasionally send a letter and expect a response.  When you are consistent, you will find better results.  An alternative to sending a letter is sending an email announcement and of course, blogging.

 Alert the Neighborhood – Yes, sometimes “nosy neighbors” can disrupt an open – but some may have friends who would like to live in the neighborhood.  Others are potential sellers down the line.  It also helps if you could talk nicely about the neighbors to prospects.  Personally inviting the neighbors is a great way to get exposure as the ‘neighborhood realtor’.  Ask them to help you find someone to live in their neighborhood – friends, family, co-workers.

 

Use the Newspaper Wisely – Just about every open will be advertised in the paper.  So, if you are going to throw in the rest – try getting some more bang for the buck.  For example, get together with other area agents and advertise as a tour of homes.  Or use something of value as a general response mechanism and/or to draw visitors.

http://www.suzannesutton.com/joinus.htm                 http://lib.colostate.edu/research/newspapers/

Market to your Sphere – You should have a large sphere of influence represented by your database.  Keeping them informed of opens is important.  As you know, most deals come from personal referrals – but you are not likely to get these referrals unless you keep your sphere informed.  Just like the “Alert the Industry”, you can use the same tools to alert your past customers and customers that are ‘on the fence’.

 

 

What other types of advertising do currently do to get the word out about your open house?

What business partners do you utilize to get the word out?  Or do you even use your business contacts as a resource?

In the next blog, I will address the question of value: how to draw visitors to your house and how to be more likely to keep them as long-term customers.  One way that I have helped agents with advertising is by sending flyers to my sphere of customers and contacts, deliver flyers to the real estate community, and notify an extensive mailing list of agents.

Make every day great!

Success with Open Houses (part 4) – Preparation

As always, I am attaching the links to the previous blogs – parts 1 to 3:

  1. Success with Open Houses – Part 1 (Attitude)
  2. Success with Open Houses – Part 2 (Focus on outcome)
  3. Success with Open Houses – Part 3 (Planning)

As we learned in the last blog, it is important to hold the open house at the right time, on the right date, and in the right location for the circumstances.  It is also just as important not to facilitate a disaster once your guests arrive.

  • The owners – You have herad thie time and time again – make sure they are not present.  Owners do not take kindly to browsers loughing at their wallpaper choice.  But do make sure they spend some time preparing the house under your instructions and are reachable for questions during the open house.
  • No teenagers or pets – Clear the other residents as well.  A teenager may opt to “stay in their room,” but no one is comfortable knocking on a door to disturb someone – even if the music is not blasting.
  • Creating the atmosphere – Open the blinds and bring in some flower arrangements.  Many resourceful agents have sild arrangements they use again and again.  Perhaps get some scented candles or plug-ins.
  • Cover the flaws – In addition to cleaning up, make sure the rooms with blemishes are painted and touched up.  Remember, the blinds will be open and stained carpets will be more noticeable.  The time to do this is before the open, not afterwards.
  • Practice onjection responses – If you have planned well, you will know potentional objections.  The secret to handling objections is to know your responses ahead of time.  Be ready with questions, such as – “what do you think of a fenced-in backyard?” – as an answer to such questions as “isn’t this street too busy for children?”  Be prepared.

As I stated in the planning stage, arrive early.  Make sure the planned cleaning really happened.  Sometimes your definition of clean does not coincide with the owners definition of clean.  Or perhaps they decided to ‘stay home’ at the last minute.

Stock Photo - messy bed. fotosearch  - search stock  photos, pictures,  images, and photo  clipart

Want to start the open with a great attitude and be ready to sell, sell, sell?  The place to start is with preparation for disaster avoidance.

Do you have any additional suggestions to prepare for your open house?  I’ll be discussing ‘getting the word out’ in the next post.  Watch for the latest update.

Make every day great!