Category Archives: News

4 Marketing Tips to Jump Start your Real Estate Career

1) Predictive Technology

Finding prospective clients in today’s market has become more competitive than ever and tech-savvy agents are finding a way to stay ahead of the game by predicting which homeowners are likely to sell. Buying data subscriptions and purchasing predictive leads from websites like My Listings Agent and Smartzip promise agents a scientifically proven way to find prospective clients by using big data and predictive analytics.  James Craig, CEO & co-founder of My Listings Agent, says they use big data to create a “Listing Score” for each home that shows how likely that owner is to sell.

Some real estate tech companies are using more traditional outlets of data to to generate leads.  Scanning obituaries for leads has long been a tactic of up-and-coming real-estate agents looking for an alternative way to generate business, and today, the practice is getting a 21st-century makeover.

Major life events such as marriage, divorce, and death frequently entail a home purchase or sale—and new businesses have found innovative ways to use these public records for real estate marketing.  Morry Eghbal, a co-founder of the website Successors Data (briefly known as ObituaryLeads.com), says the 1-year-old company, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., already has 1,000 paid subscribers at $99 a month. Along with scanning obituary records, Successors Data searches the records of title companies for estates of deceased homeowners that are likely to enter the probate-court process.

How it Helps: Use predictive technology to generate high quality micro-targeted leads.  Big data and predictive analytics is still relatively new to real estate which ensures you a competitive advantage over other agents for the foreseeable future.

2) Go Out and Walk the Neighborhood!

I can’t stress this point enough when I talk to new agents.  While technology is a necessary and growing component of your real estate business it is not the ONLY component.  The traditional approach to find prospective clients, that being interpersonal contact, still remains one of the most effective ways to generate new business as a real estate agent.

So go out and walk!  Knock on doors, leave flyers, etc.  As mentioned above, predictive technology now allows agents to identify which homeowners in the neighborhood are most likely to sell, so instead of sending prospective clients a postcard in the mail go out and visit them instead!

How It Helps: With the advent of technology, interacting with prospective clients face to face has gone by the wayside.  Agents report walking neighborhoods and visiting prospective clients in person as the most effective way to generate new business.

2) Be Mobile and Respond ASAP

Mobile is now in the majority. Sixty-six percent of emails are opened on a phone or tablet. Facebook has more than 650 million daily active users on mobile devices. And mobile traffic to websites now accounts for almost 30 percent of visits. Simply put, mobile devices continue to grow in popularity while computer use remains on the decline.

Competent use of mobile technology is also important in terms of how responsive you can be as a real estate agent. With mobile devices you can respond to the inquiries of prospective clients almost instantaneously, – so respond ASAP, before another agent does first!

How It Helps: Being mobile-friendly provides a positive first impression to prospective clients and will allow you to be more responsive in your real estate business.

3) Automate your Marketing

Sending an online newsletter or sharing content across a variety of social networks should no longer be a manual process for real estate agents.  Marketing services such as Corefact and Sharper Agent will allow you to automate both your direct mail and online marketing campaigns, go ahead and check em out!

How It Helps: Automating your marketing helps free up your time and will allow you to be more efficient in your real estate business.

4) Avoid Zillow/Trulia

Paying for leads from these websites is expensive and simply doesn’t work.  On average, agents spend $320 per month on leads from Zillow, and it’s estimated that leads from these websites convert to new business only one to four percent of the time. Not the best use of your marketing dollars.

Zillow and Trulia provide a service that many casual home shoppers want: a consolidated list of available homes for sale in a centralized location. However, most agents (with good reason) don’t like the idea of their listings being submitted to these services only to then have to pay to be featured as the listing agent.  And we don’t blame them.

How It Helps: Spending your money on mass online marketing is expensive, over-saturated, and ineffective.  Instead, use predictive technology to obtain leads at a fraction of the cost and start spending your marketing dollars smarter.

Low Inventory and Seller Empowerment

Lack of supply is a big problem in the market right now, and you know what that means…yep, it’s a sellers market.

“Homes are being built as quickly as possible, yet most are not in the price range where inventory is needed most – the entry-level market,” said Jim Gaines, Ph.D., economist with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.

Texas is among the top states with the tightest housing supply in the nation.

If you’re looking to relocate to Texas you may find it quite difficult to find your ideal home.  According to a new report from the Texas Association of Realtors, housing inventory in the Lone Star state just hit record low.  This tightening of inventory isn’t just in Texas however, buyers across the nation know first hand that sellers are in control.

Sellers Take Charge

There is the current mentality among some homeowners that home values will continue to rise as far as the I can see. Similar to the mentality among many stock investors, their bias towards optimism can lead to them holding onto a stock too long, especially when clear market indicators tell them to SELL.

That said, people believe their properties will increase over time. Regardless of whether or not this statement is true, it is indeed conventional wisdom among the majority of homeowners, but more importantly, potential homesellers.  This mindset has become another factor in the tightening of inventory and the hesitancy shared among many homeowners to sell.

Ok I can sell, but where would I go?

We’ve already taken a look at a few of the potential constraints on the move-up buyer but let’s look a bit further. Lower inventory triggers a downward cycle of even lower inventory.  If one cannot find a new home to move to, they will not list/sell their current home, and so on, and so on…

Move-up buyers aren’t the only ones suffering the effects of low inventory.  Senior citizens and retirees are finding little options in terms of new r retirement communities in their local area, thus they decide to remain in their homes indefinitely.

Foreign capital continues to flow into real estate.

Blockbuster real estate deals are back and breaking records as foreign cash continues to pour into U.S. office buildings, apartment complexes and other investment properties.

In the first quarter of 2015 commercial transactions jump up by 45% driven by sales to international firms looking to setup shop here in the United States, according to research firm Real Capital Analytics Inc.

Real estate deals surged to $129 billion during the three months through March, marking the most active start to a year since 2007, according to Real Capital. The largest was Blackstone’s $8.1 billion of IndCor Properties Inc., an owner of industrial buildings, to GIC Pte, Singapore’s sovereign-wealth fund.

Demand for property from single-unit warehouses to towering skyscrapers is booming, propped up in part by more than six years of Federal Reserve efforts to stimulate economic growth. The Fed’s response to the financial crisis was to keep interest rates low and expand our recovering real estate market to foreign buyers. About $24 billion in foreign capital flowed to U.S. properties in the first quarter, more than half the total for all of 2014, according to Cushman.

This number is poised to grow further because the majority of sovereign wealth funds. London-based Preqin said in a report this month, total property allocations for such funds now top $6.3 trillion, more than double the amount in 2008.

To read the full article from Bloomberg click here.

What’s driving your success?

Real estate agents put in a lot of miles on the road, and to them the automobile is much more than just a way to get around town.  Picture this: A young handsome agent emerges from a freshly detailed Mercedes C Class Sedan to shake hands with new prospects he is meeting for the first time.  This agent is very familiar with the concept of “curb appeal.”

“Curb Appeal” is a concept agents try to drill into their clients’ heads every time they take a listing. First impressions are vital, whether it’s a house about to hit the market or a real estate agent about to hit a house. You only have a fraction of a second to make a lasting impression.

There is a fine line, however, between projecting a professional image and intimidating a client. How you tip toe that line depends on the region, the customs and practices within that region, your niche clientele, and yep, good old common sense!

There seem to be two schools of thought among those in the industry when it comes to which car you choose to pull uo in:

  • My car gives potential clients the impression that I am successful.
  • All that matters is that whatever I drive is clean and reliable.

Let’s look more closely at these conventions of thought.  The first way of thinking assumes that real estate clients only want to work with mega-reality tv type agents– the über successful in the market. The second assumes that what we drive doesn’t offer a first impression. Who is correct?

If what we drive is a measurement of our success, and thus a reflection of our skills, why do many physicians in the U.S. drive Toyotas or Hondas rather than luxury cars?

Why does Mark Zuckerberg drive an Acura, and fellow billionaire and co-founder of Facebook, Dustin Moskovits, drive a Volkswagon hatchback?

The truth is, the best car for you, as a real estate agent, is one that matches your community and also targets your niche market.

It seems as if “appropriate” is the word when it comes to choosing a car. Agents in Michigan wouldn’t be caught dead driving an import, while those in Miami, Beverly Hills and Midtown Manhattan, who deal with international clients, should probably be driving something similar in comfort and style to what their Dubai clients drive at home.

Here are some common “musts” for real estate agent’s cars:

  • It must be late model and dent-free with shiny paint.

  • It must be clean, inside and out.

  • It must seat at least two other adults.

  • It must be reliable, safe and insured.

Real estate gets more tech.

For those of us in the tech world with a background in real estate, the impending tech opportunities in real estate may appear obvious. Real estate is a sector of the economy that’s done quite well despite it’s glacial movement towards tech, but the pace definitely appears to be picking up.

Yes, real estate agents are getting more “techy,” so to speak, yet there remains a divide between veteran agents who are entrenched in traditional marketing practices and recently licensed agents who exhibit an appetite for all things tech.  The state of real estate marketing is definitely trending tech however, whether agents are ready for it or not.

One evident reason for the boom of tech start-ups in real estate is due to the vast wealth the industry commands as a percentage of the nations total economic assets.  To be specific, residential homes account for the single largest “tangible” U.S. real estate asset, worth roughly $23 trillion.  Commercial real estate further accounts for another $15 trillion.  As an asset class, real estate is larger than other U.S. heavyweight industries such as fixed income, equity and health care.

So that being said, venture capitalists continue to swarm into real estate to get a piece of the action and capitalize off of the tech boom that’s quite unrealized in real estate. Venture funding of real estate technology startups reached a peak in the Q4 of 2014, with 32 companies raising around $300 million. In total, venture funds have invested $605 million in real estate startups in 2014 versus $241 million in 2013 – a growth of more than 250%. There are a number of signs suggesting the trend will continue through the remainder of the year.

While Zillow continues to grow it’s batch of proprietary technology with the recent acquisition of Trulia, real estate technology is indeed growing at a rapid pace.  New predictive marketing companies like Smartzip, ReboGateway, and My Listings Agent, promise real estate agents high quality leads using big data and predictive analytics.  Will simple web advertising on Zillow continue to satisfy the marketing demands of real estate agents, or will the predictive power of big data attract agents to sites like My Listings Agent?  It is indeed the dawning of a new tech age!

 

 

Celebrity Gossip: Who’s wasting water?

Famous celebs are reportedly not helping to help mitigate the drought in California.

California governor, Jerry Brown, enforced a provision calling for a 36 percent reduction of water usage within the state in response to the prevalent drought. The governor vowed to work on the proposal of enforcing a new legislation for a $10,000 water waste fine, instead of $100.

While Governor Brown has been hammering down on excess water usage, LA’s most popular appear to be hammering it up.  Celebs in Los Angeles are allegedly not minimizing their current landscaping projects. This comes in the midst of predictions of less than a year’s water supply to prevail in California’s reservoir before 2015 ends, according to Daily Mail.

Thankfully we now have drones to catch an aerial glimpse of these celebrities homes in their act of defiance!

NAR: Prices continue to climb in metro areas.

The latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors highlights the steady price growth in metro areas across the United States.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun stated,

“Sales activity to start the year was notably higher than a year ago, as steady hiring and low interest rates encouraged more buyers to enter the market…However, stronger demand without increasing supply led to faster price growth in many markets.”

Fifty-one metro areas in the first quarter (28%) experienced double-digit increases, a sharp increase from the 24 metro areas in the fourth quarter of 2014. Thirty-seven metro areas (22%) experienced double-digit increases in the first quarter of 2014.

The median existing single-family home price jumped in 85% of measured markets, with 148 out of 174 metropolitan statistical areas showing gains based on closings in the first quarter compared with the first quarter of 2014.

The national median existing single-family home price in the first quarter was $205,200, up 7.4% from the first quarter of 2014 ($191,100). The median price during the fourth quarter of 2014 increased 6% from a year earlier.

Lawrence Yun went on to comment on the sentiment among many potential sellers in the market,

“Some homeowners are hesitant to move-up and sell because they aren’t confident they’ll find another home to buy. This trend – in addition to subpar homebuilding activity – is leading to the ongoing inventory shortages and subsequent run-up in prices seen in many markets.”

Total existing-home sales, including single family and condo, slipped to 1.8% in the fourth quarter of 2014. Yet this 6.2% is still higher than the 4.67 million pace during the first quarter of 2014.  At the end of the first quarter, there were around 2 million existing homes for sale, which remained above the 1.96 million homes for sale at the end of the first quarter in 2014.

View the original article here.

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