Realtor Advice, Sales

Unique Ways Real Estate Agents Can Create a “Brand”

A View from the Beach

Branding is the name of the game in this era of social media, email and online marketing – and let’s face it, you have a business to build.

There are so many different ways to brand yourself, but you many want to consider doing something different from what all the other agents are doing.


So, I have a few suggestions for you:

  • Bring donuts, bagels, sandwiches to local police and firefighters on a quarterly basis. Include your business cards and a sign “compliments of….”
  • Hang out at a local coffee shop with a sign on the back of your laptop that says “Ask Me Anything About Real Estate”.
  • Change your phone message on your voice mail every 3 months and try to make it more humorous.
  • Sponsor a cause that matters to you. Make it part of your brand for the entire year, and convey to your clients and on social media why you are passionate about the cause.
  • Join a club or organization. Invite me to join with you. Join a committee with the goal of becoming chairperson of that committee.
  • Connect more offline than online with calls, snail mail newsletters, postcards.
  • Ask for testimonials and post them everywhere (FB, Active Rain, website, your listing booklet).
  • Sponsor a family-friendly movie night. Invite past clients, loan officers, title reps. Provide popcorn and health snacks.
  • Record a 2-minute videos about real estate. Why getting pre-approved is critical when buying a home. Why you need a home inspection. About title insurance. The closing process. Home owners insurance. Certified funds at closing.
  • Instead of celebrating traditional holidays, send out on less recognized days. Valentine’s Day. National Donut Day.
  • Create a list of “fun facts” that most people don’t know about you. You speak fluent Spanish. You are a cancer survivor. You love oysters. This will help you connect with people who can relate to you and make you more “human” in their eyes.

Please let me know if you’d like to meet to talk about some of these strategies – and maybe we can do some joint marketing together.

Realtor Advice, Sales

Tips on Non-Intrusive Ways to Contact Expired Listings

A View from the Beach
A View from the Beach

“List to Last” is what real estate trainers a brokers preach to their agents.

So, how do you get listings, especially if you are a newer agent?

If done right and in a non-intrusive way, expired listings have already raised their hands and said that they were willing to sell their home in the first place.

It’s usually not the real estate agent’s fault. Sometimes it’s the home. The location. Or the seller just got tired of showings.

Oh, and you can bet that when that listing expires, the seller will be getting a ton of phone calls from other agents, which usually upsets them. After the 30th call, they will either hang up or let the calls go into voice mail.

If you don’t want to be one of those pesky agents but see the value of marketing to expired listings, there is a different way of marketing to them.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Work with expired listings that are 30 days to 1 year old. Nobody is bugging them to list their home after the initial flood of agents calling them.
  • Choose listings that fit within your farm area or homes that have a good chance of selling—if priced right.
  • Send a postcard with a handwritten note and target expired listing that are 30, 60 or 90 days old. With newly expired listings, the home may already be relisted by the time the postcard arrives.
  • Deliver a listing package, again to the older, expired ones. Do not put it in their mailbox (it’s not legal) but leave it on their door step. Personalize it with comps and suggestions on what you would do to get the home sold.
  • Send a handwritten note after delivering the listing packet and ask for a meeting.
  • Send a local real estate report every three weeks or so to keep them updated on local trends, days on the market, listing to selling price.

Make it simple. Choose 10 expired listings per month. Follow the steps above with the goal of landing one listing per month. Over a one-year time period, that’s 12 listings that you may never have gotten—by spending only a minimal amount of time and money.

What other tactics have you used to market to expired listings?

Realtor Advice, Sales

How to Ruin a Real Estate Relationship

A View from the Beach
A View from the Beach

A potential seller calls you and wants you to list their home.

Your next phone call is from a buyer who was referred to you by a previous client.

You become overwhelmed with paperwork. Preparing a listing presentation. Researching homes to show your home buyer clients.

Oh, and don’t forget that you have to also keep touch with past clients on a regular basis so they remember you when it’s time to sell their home or refer their family and friends.

So, what are some of the mistakes that real estate agents make when it comes to building and maintaining relationships? Continue reading

Realtor Advice, Sales

Are You Sure that Rates are Going Higher?

A View from the Beach
A View from the Beach

The big question in real estate finance, in fact all finance markets, is the direction of future interest rates.  The experts are all predicting higher interest rates, both short and long term, and in my world, that means higher long term mortgage rates and quickly increasing home equity line of credit costs (whose rates are typically tied to the short term Prime Rate).

But, what if we don’t see higher mortgage rates.  What if mortgage rates actually drop and stayed low again – say for the next 12 to 24 months.  Could an argument be made that this scenario may play out?

A recent blog post from the Stratmor Group outlines a good rationale supporting this proposition.  The full post can be read here:  Are You Sure that Rates are Going Higher?

The “smartest guys in the room” might be wrong with their forecasts, and that the era of low rates might stick around a bit longer. First, the Trump agenda might pack less of a growth punch than some have imagined. If so, you would expect the same cautious approach to rate increases from the Fed. The day after the election stocks rallied and bonds sold off/rates went up. Trump’s major tax cuts would tend to create a short-term boost in economic growth and higher interest rates. But there are some early signals that the Republican lawmakers who actually have to pass any changes to tax law, especially those in the Senate, are wary of tax cuts that would increase the budget deficit as much as Mr. Trump’s campaign plan would.

Interestingly, in the past several weeks we have seen a rally in the market for mortgage back securities which looks to be ready to break through a strong resistance line that was established when rates rocketed upward after the election in November.  Rates fell further in reaction to the Fed’s move in December, but have since rallied nicely.  The chart below shows FNMA mortgage backed securities pricing over the past three (3) months.  Remember that rates move opposite prices in the bond markets – i.e. as prices fall, rates increase.


Will the bond market break through the resistance line established back in mid-December?  If it does, we could see a strong rate rally, meaning a reduction in mortgage rates.  But that is the short term.

In the long term, there is still uncertainty.  As outlined earlier, the Trump agenda might not be as stimulative as some have thought.  And, there is always the risk that some of the President-elect’s policies could end up being a drag on growth – a trade war with China or Mexico for example.

Second, even if the economy does start growing faster, future Trump administration appointees could change their tune on the desirability of higher interest rates. Politicians, once in office, tend to learn that they like low interest rates, and there is starting to be chatter that some in the Trump administration will push for cheaper money and the Fed attempting to hold the line to prevent inflation.

Looking ahead, I would have to agree with the conclusion of the Stratmor Group.

Looking ahead, even if the Fed kept its short-term interest rate targets low despite rising inflation, long-term interest rates, which are determined by the supply and demand of the bond market, would probably rise. Mr. Trump doesn’t feel bound by the traditions that have governed how recent presidents have acted. So, the future of United States interest rate policy is uncertain – like everything else in the future – but no one should be sure that long term rates are destined to move dramatically higher if at all.

Realtor Advice, Sales

RX for an Attitude Check

A View from the Beach
A View from the Beach

When Attitude Affects Performance

Attitude will figure in every equation of performance and if you are honest with yourself it may be time for a change. Faced with three alternatives for action: Stay with the status quo, get on the right track, or find another vocation–which do you choose?

There is only one wrong choice: Stay with the status quo.

Under-performance is one thing. Acceptance of mediocrity is a whole new ball game. Nothing can cause your attitude to get worse than failure to reach your goals. And the worse your attitude becomes, the more you will tend to under-perform. It is a vicious cycle. No one ever went from failure to success by sticking with the status quo. The time to break this cycle is now–if you really want to succeed.

How to break the cycle. The first step in breaking a cycle of under-performance is being honest. If you really want to succeed, you will take the actions necessary to bring success. If you don’t really want success, you will tend to stick with exactly what you are doing now. If you really want success, take an accounting of what you really need to do–

•Do you need to change a negative attitude to positive?

•Do you need to go from being hampered by call reluctance to surpassing all obstacles?

•Do you need to find out where the business really is and continuously attack on all fronts?

If you are not succeeding and you don’t think that you need a change in these three areas, you are not being honest with yourself. It is now time to enlist the help of others. Elicit mentors–your boss, top producing peers, family and targets.

Ask them to be painfully honest. This is important because your inner circle will not want to hurt your feelings. Just because you are not a top producer does not mean that they don’t like you. You must convince them that you want only feedback which will improve performance. You are not interested in affirmation of any positive aspects of your execution. Any positive affirmation will point you back to the status quo. You may even choose to abandon positive aspects of your game plan to accomplish more in the long run.

If people are being honest, you will hear statements such as:

•You seem to miss larger opportunities that are presented because of smaller obstacles;

•You focus on the negative aspects of your job;

•You don’t seem to be able to solve complex problems;

•You seem to hang around the office too much.

Using the information. The purpose of this research is not to make you feel bad and cause your attitude to get worse. The reason that we ask an alcoholic to announce their disease is to begin the road to recovery.

The solutions for your recovery are quite simple. If you need to go where the business really is, then find out where it is. If you don’t know, ask your boss or top producing peers. Most offices or companies have top producing individuals from whom the information is readily available. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. The process of bench-marking uses the knowledge of those around us. Take a top producer out to lunch. Spend a day with them. Volunteer to be their assistant for one month. If you don’t know the answers, become a sponge for good information instead of a mediocre complainer stuck in the muck of the status quo.

What if you really don’t want success? If you really don’t want success, then the time for honesty is now. Salaried workers in the government sector may be able to reach retirement by coasting. Not so for commissioned sales personnel or business owners. There is nothing wrong with recognizing that you are in the wrong industry–or wrong aspect of the industry. It is wrong to not recognize that fact and continuously be miserable because you are under-performing with regard to your expectations.

If you can be happy in a salaried job with delineated responsibilities–then take action to achieve that position. The key is happiness. If your happiness comes through accomplishing independent successes in a self-directed career, then take the actions necessary to achieve your goals. There is no greater reward than that.