Marketing, Realtor Advice

5 Real Estate Topics to Talk About on Your Social Media Pages

ListingsNot everyone is a writer.

Not everyone is a storyteller.

Not everyone is creative when it comes to what to write about when it comes to social media.

Well, you really don’t have to be a writer, storyteller or creative as long as you are consistent—and providing USEFUL information regularly.

But you might be saying to yourself, “what should I write about?”

Here are five simple ideas for topics to write about, which will encourage more people to follow you because of the timely, useful information.

1. The Top 10 – Perform an MLS search and report on the “Top Ten” real estate sales in your city. It could be the top 10 luxury homes. The top 10 new homes. The top 10 entry-level homes. The top 10 unique homes.

2. Bargain Homes – Are there some great listings out there that you think are a bargain? Maybe they need some TLC. Or they have gone through an extensive renovation. Or homes in a certain area that don’t go up for sale very often.

3. New Listings – They don’t have to be your own listings, but search the MLS for listings to share with clients. They could be customized to be:

      a. Top 10 listings between the price range of X to Y

b. Top 10 Craftsman-style homes.

c. Top 10 Townhomes

4. Frequently Asked Questions – Pay attention to the questions your clients ask you on a regular basis. Post the question and either write an answer or create a video. After a while, you’ll have a serious list of Q & A’s that you can direct your clients to read/view.

5. Information About City/Neighborhood/Farm Area – Write what you know about the local real estate market. The schools. Community events. Unique businesses you would recommend. Don’t hold anything back hoping people will contact you for more info. The more you tell, the more you sell.

What are some of the other things you suggest that I add to this list?

Marketing, Realtor Advice, Sales

10 Ways to Use Your Testimonials

When you get a testimonial from one of your clients, what do you do with it? Do you put it in the file? Post it on your website and forget about it?

I’d like to suggest 10 ways you can use your testimonials and client surveys as a killer marketing tool.

  1. Instead of calling them “testimonials,” call it “What My Clients Say About Me.”
  2. Take a picture of the actual, hand-written “statement” and post it on Facebook
        a. From a thank you note
        b. From the client survey
        c. From the note card if you are sent flowers or a gift
  3. Create a Tab on your Facebook Fan page and post all your testimonials there TOO.
  4. Add them to your website
  5. Create a coffee table book
        a. Place the originals in a plastic binder sleeve
      b. Take a picture and create a book using online companies like
  6. Send a copy of the survey to the loan officer involved – with a note that says…just wanted you to know what Mr. & Mrs. Jones thought about me!
  7. On the back of your business cards
  8. On your personal brochure
  9. Get a video or audio recording of a testimonial
      a. Take your recording equipment to closing. While maybe 1 out of 10 people will do it, those that do agree will have an even BIGGER impact!
  10. When sending a thank you note or thank you email to your clients for doing business with you, add a P.S. that says: Also, thanks for the testimonial (comment) that you made about my services when you said: “Then quote their exact words.”
      a. This reinforces and jogs their memory, and is a “record” of what they said about you and your company.

If you would like to read more about using Testimonials in your marketing, go to my Sale Update newsletter:  Have Your Customers Say It


Marketing, Mortgage Business, Realtor Advice

There’s a Lot More to a Loan Officer than Interest Rates

loan_officer_boyI often get calls that start out by asking the same question: “What are your interest rates?”

It reminds me of the time when a distant relative purchased a home. I quoted him an interest rate and when I called to follow up to see if he wanted to set up a loan application appointment, he told me that he ended up going with a lender who had a lower rate.

Fast forward 3 weeks later. The same relative called in a panic. One week before the scheduled closing date, you know what happened, right? His loan had been denied by the other lender due to too much debt. The other lender told him there was nothing more he could do. Case closed.

So, the file was transferred and yes, he had too much debt. But, by paying off one of the credit cards (yes, he got a gift to help him out), he qualified and closed the loan.

Here’s what I have found when a file gets transferred to me from another lender:

  • Some lenders “lowball” the interest rate just to get a loan in the door.
  • Some lenders don’t obtain a credit score BEFORE quoting an interest rate.
  • Some lenders don’t review the file before it goes to an underwriter.
  • Some lenders just don’t know the mortgage rules.

I wanted to tell you my story because if you find that you are having problems getting one of your real estate transactions closed, I’m available to give you a “second opinion.”

I want you to know that “I’m more than just a loan officer who quotes interest rates!”

Marketing, Realtor Advice

I’ve Always Meant to get into that Blogging Thing!

BlogHave you, as a Realtor, ever mumbled those words to yourself?

I’d like to share some tips from some of the top real estate bloggers who claim to get monthly leads from their blogging efforts.

I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty of how to set up a blog or what platform is best. What I’d like to share is how you incorporate a blog into your tool belt of marketing strategies.

  1. It’s about THEM – The truth is that they really don’t care about your company until they have determined that you can solve their problem. That’s why a blog with frequently asked questions (and answers) ranks higher and pulls in more leads. People ask Google questions. Google finds the resource with the answer using those key words. The hope is that home buyers and sellers find you. When someone asks you a question, a well-thought-out answer (using key words) makes a good blog post.
  2. Be committed – It’s easy to give up if you don’t see results right away. Give it a year. But like anything else, consistency is the key here. Commit to blog at least one hour every other day.
  3. What do you want them to do? – Every blog should have a call to action—what do you want them to do after they have read your post? Do you want them to fill in a form for more information? Follow a link to a live chat? If you don’t have a way to capture leads, then what you have is no more than a public library.
  4. Keeping it brief – Attention spans are getting shorter. A blog of 300 to 500 words is a perfect length. If you have MORE to say than that, break it up into several parts (part one, part two, etc.)
  5. Keeping it local – Who cares (other than the economists) whether or not there were 1.4 million housing starts this year? Talk about your local market. Hot subdivisions. The Cancer Run. Here’s the cool thing. If you frequently mention your location, Google will recognize you as the local expert.

Do you have a blog page that I can subscribe to?

Marketing, Realtor Advice, Sales

How to Add Pizazz to Your Open House

When making a listing presentation, I’m sure you discuss the open house option with the seller.

Here are 9 ideas that you can use with your listing presentation on the unique ways you would hold an open house—and how you plan to get it sold!

Prepare CD’s with at least 20 pictures of the home and attached a CD label with the picture of the home, the address, listing info and a “note to pass on to a friend”.

Hand out water bottles with the address and picture of the home on the label.

Invite a mortgage lender, offering free credit reports to prospects

Create a room-by-room feedback sheet. Attach to a clip board and ask visitors to make comments and return the sheet to you.

Increase the time for the open house, like from noon to 6 pm

Hold the open house in conjunction with the seller’s garage sale

Place 20-25 directional signs from all streets and freeways to make the home easy for people to find.

Prepare a flyer with the open house date and time. Distribute them to everyone in the neighborhood.

Print a small label with info about the house and the website where it can be viewed. Place the label on the back of your business cards so visitors remember where they met you.

Oh, the business card idea? Give a stack of them to your seller and ask them to pass out to their friends and family.

Marketing, Realtor Advice

How to Use QR Codes to Get More Business

You know those “boxes” with “squiggly lines” that you see on everything from food, to electronics, to automobiles?

Well, it’s called a QR Code, which translated means “Quick Response Code”. According to Wikipedia, it was originally created for the auto industry, but it’s making its way into real estate listings — as one of the ways to distribute information thru the use of smart phones.

What happens is that a consumer holds their smart phone, scans the QR Code, and instantly receives information about the home they are standing in front of.

Here are four ways you can use QR Codes as one of the pillars of your marketing strategy — including this as an option when making a listing presentation.
Continue reading


My Golf Balls


I buy a gross of the golf balls every year. If you play in various charity events at the beach you may have seen them as prizes or in silent auctions.

I donate dozens of these balls to Contractors for a Cause, Progress for Prostate, Lower Sussex Little League and more.

It’s a great way to combine my love of golf and promote my business and help raise money for good causes.

Marketing, Sales

End of the Quarter | Handy App | Rate Update

Good morning and welcome to the end of the first quarter of 2012 – what a quarter it was!  Sales in the local market seem to be very strong even if prices are still not moving up.  I would characterize prices as bouncing along the bottom in the beach markets.  It seems the fall in prices is probably over and 2012 may be the year things stabilize and we can start to see renewed growth from here.  Whatever your view of the market, sales are out there – how are you doing against your 2012 goals now that we are one quarter of the way through the year?  Hope you are killing it and I hope I can help you kill for the rest of the year.

I’m celebrating the end of the quarter by heading to Augusta, Georgia next week for the Masters.  I’ll be traveling Monday – Friday next week, attending the Wednesday practice round and Par 3 Tournament at Augusta National.  It’s my first trip to the Masters and I cannot wait to take in the scene.  Of course, I’ll still be available next week if you need to get in touch and Kathleen will be in the office to take care of any mortgage needs.  We also have great loan officers in our Ocean City and Salisbury offices that can handle pre-approvals for you.

Have your ever been out with clients and needed current mortgage rates or had to calculate a payment?  If you use a smart phone, check out my personal smart phone application called LoanApps.  Download the application to your phone and you can get my mortgage rates up-to-date, calculate mortgage payments and home affordability for clients and easily contact me via email or phone.  It’s completely free for you to download and use.

Click Here from your iPhone,BlackBerry and Android:

After you download the app, please use my activation code: 3026021067

Mortgage bond prices finished the week higher helping mortgage interest rates improve.  Rates were negative Monday morning but got a boost later that day as Italian Prime Minister Monti suggested that Spain may soon become the epicenter of the European debt crisis.  This reignited the flight to quality buying of US debt as fears grow that Italy and Spain will need a bailout like Greece.  Unfortunately for Europe, the economies of Italy and Spain are considerably larger than Greece.  Rates were helped later in the week when the durable goods orders data came in weaker than expected and weekly jobless claims were higher than expected.  Mortgage interest rates finished the week better by about 1/4 to 3/8 of a discount poin

For real estate professionals here's the link to my current rate sheet: <a href="; title="“>Baxter Rate Sheet

Have a great weekend and never hesitate to contact me if you need something – hit the cell, send an email, pop a text, or contact me on Twitter or Facebook.  And, if you need to get a buyer pre-approved?  Just send them to my secure online application – Baxter Online Mortgage Application – Click on “Start Your Application

And here's an easy way to introduce me to clients when you make a referral.  Send them to my About.Me Profile:  Click Here

Have a GREAT weekend!
Marketing, Sales

Is This Winter? | Testimonials | Rate Update




Good morning and welcome to another wonderful winter Saturday morning in Delmarva.  With only a couple of cold snaps, winter is almost done and we have Spring to look forward to.  Spring will also mean we are one quarter of the way through the year.  How are you doing with against your plan?  The real estate market is getting active and I hope you are taking advantage of it and selling houses, moving listings, and getting settlements.


Selling is a relationship business and without the elements of credibility and trust, you’ll be struggling in the dark to overcome an enormous handicap.  When a potential client asks “why should I do business with you?” how are you going to get that person to trust your answer?  A referral letter or testimonial is the most effective means of communicating a message that your have credibility and can be trusted.  I always talk about testimonials as “social proof” and I use them extensively on my LinkedIn profile (see it here – Jeff Baxter’s LinkedIn Profile). 


For more information and thoughts on referral letters and testimonials read my Sales Update newsletter – Have Your Customers Say It .  And while you are at it, I’d like to ask you to send me an email testimonial about your experiences with me and my lending team.  It would be very much appreciated and I’d be very happy to return the favor. 


Now the markets and rates . . .


Mortgage bond prices were slightly lower last week, which pushed mortgage interest rates higher.  Rates were positive the beginning of the week following weaker than expected retail sales data but rose sharply following unfriendly data Thursday.  Lower than expected weekly jobless claims started the negative trend.  The figure was the lowest since 2008.  A surge in the core producer price index also added pressure to rates.  The core rose 0.4% in comparison to the expected 0.2% increase.  Fortunately the core consumer price index was in line with expectations, which kept the rate increases in check.  Debt trouble in Europe continued to dominate headline news, which also helped.  Mortgage bonds ended the week worse by 1/8 of a discount point despite the volatility.


Here’s the link to my rate sheet online if you want to forward it:  <a href="; title="“>Baxter Rate Sheet (this rate sheet is provided for real estate professionals as an indicator of current market rates.)


Have a great weekend and never hesitate to contact me if you need something – hit the cell, send an email, pop a text, or contact me on Twitter or Facebook.  And, if you need to get a buyer pre-approved?  Just send them to my secure online application – Baxter Online Mortgage Application – Click on “Start Your Application


And here’s an easy way to introduce me to clients when you make a referral.  Send them to my About.Me Profile:  Click Here


When talking with clients, hosting open houses, or just emailing information to them, it often helps to provide a free report or article on a topic that would be of interest to the potential buyer or seller.  I have included below links to Free Reports that you can download, print and mail or fax or just email to your clients and prospects.  I hope you find them helpful.


Here are Free Reports for your clients! 


Existing Homeowners:


Have a GREAT weekend!