Marketing, Realtor Advice

Competency: The Key To Your Personal Brand

To learn more about this, click here!

Excerpted from Inman News, 2017

Realtor Advice, Sales

Sample Headlines to Ensure Your Emails get Read!

email

If you send out emails to your past clients, family and friends, I’d like to share with you some of the headlines that the pros say will help ensure that they will actually get read.

But first, here are a few tips about writing your email content.

  • Do a “so what—who cares?” test
  • Don’t be too cute or clever
  • Write as if you are writing to just one person (use the word you)
  • Make sure you deliver what you promised in the “headline.”

Examples of effective headlines:

  • Here’s a quick way to___________.
  • The Ultimate _______ Cheat Sheet.
  • The _____ pitfalls of ____________.
  • Has this ever happened to you?
  • Tips on how to solve (name the problem).
  • Do you need my help regarding (topic, but be specific)?
  • Little-known ways to make sure you never__________.
  • __#__ things you didn’t know about ________________.
  • I love this quick tip and wanted to share it with you!
  • You can’t believe what I just learned!

Do you need content or don’t know what to write about? I know you answer real estate questions for clients every day. Consider turning them into an email using these headlines, and share your answers with everyone in your email database.

Would you please share some headlines that you have used in the past?

Consumer Advice, Realtor Advice

Vacation Home Rentals

If you rent a home to others, you usually must report the rental income on your tax return. But you may not have to report the income if the rental period is short and you also use the property as your home. In most cases, you can deduct the costs of renting your property. However, your deduction may be limited if you also use the property as your home. Here is some basic tax information that you should know if you rent out a vacation home:

o    Vacation Home.  A vacation home can be a house, apartment, condominium, mobile home, boat or similar property.

o    Schedule E.  You usually report rental income and rental expenses on Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss. Your rental income may also be subje ct to Net Investment Income Tax.

o    Used as a Home.  If the property is “used as a home,” your rental expense deduction is limited. This means your deduction for rental expenses can’t be more than the rent you received. For more about these rules, see Publication 527, Residential Rental Property (Including Rental of Vacation Homes).

o    Divide Expenses.  If you personally use your property and also rent it to others, special rules apply. You must divide your expe nses between the rental use and the personal use. To figure how to divide your costs, you must compare the number of days for each type of use with the total days of use.

o    Personal Use.  Personal use may include use by your family. It may also include use by any other property owners or their family. Use by anyone who pays less than a fair rental price is also personal use.

o    Schedule A.  Report deductible expenses for personal use on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. These may include costs such as mortgage interest, property taxes and casualty losses.

o    Rented Less than 15 Days.  If the property is “used as a home” and you rent it out fewer than 15 days per year, you do not have to report the rental income.

o    Use IRS Free File.  If you still need to file your 2013 tax return, you can use IRS Free File to make filing easier. Free File is available until Oct. 15. If you mak e $58,000 or less, you can use brand-name tax software. If you earn more, you can use Free File Fillable Forms, an electronic version of IRS paper forms. Free File is available only through the IRS.gov website.

Publication 527 is available on IRS.gov. You can also call 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to get it by mail.

Additional IRS Resources:

o    Tax Topic 415 – Renting Residential and Vacation Property

o    Rental Income and Expenses – Real Estate Tax Tips

     Source:  Internal Revenue Service – IRS Summertime Tax Tip 2014-13

Realtor Advice

How to Double WOW Your Sellers

I recently read a social media post where real estate agents throughout the country posted comments on what they do to “double-WOW” their sellers AFTER they have listed their home.

I wanted to share some of their comments with you — and ask that after you read this article, you let me know what YOU DO to WOW your sellers.

  • Preview competing properties before recommending a listing price
  • Write up the MLS listing info and give to the seller to review before listing on MLS
  • Talk about open house strategies
  • Create great-looking brochures and provide an exterior brochure box
  • Always give feedback after each showing
  • Give feedback every time a new, competing listing comes on the market
  • Give feedback every time a competing list is SOLD
  • Provide copies of all ads and links to on-line ads
  • Ask the seller if they would like to view competing listings
  • Contact the seller at least 3 times during the first two weeks the home has been listed
  • Make an inspection of your vacant listings every few weeks
  • Ask the seller for feedback and their suggestions on how to get their home sold
  • If the seasons change, retake exterior photos

Would you please reply back and let me know what you do to follow up with your sellers?

I’ll compile a list from other agents too and send you another email with other ways to WOW sellers!

Realtor Advice

Tips to Increase Facebook Likes and Shares

Your Facebook Business Page can be an important part of your online marketing.  Here are some great tips.

This is from the IBIS Network and Joshua Millar who provides Networking Stratagies for Better Business.

Whether you are new to Facebook or just looking to be more successful in your marketing attempts, it is important to start off strong. Creating a Facebook page for your business is very smart, and promoting your page will be the most important element after creating your account. Below are some helpful tips to generate likes and shares on Facebook:

1) Engage in Small Talk – Talking with clients or prospective clients will build trust, especially if you talk candidly about products and services. Small talk will also allow you to get feedback on how to improve your business, while maintaining a pleasant and personal approach.

2) Time Your Posts – Research has proven time and time again that posting quality information at the right time of day will generate more likes and shares than randomly posting throughout the day. Typically mid-day to late afternoon is the highest traffic time on Facebook, but you may want to experiment a bit to see what works best for your users.

3) Link Your Website – Creating your Facebook page and getting it going right is a positive step, but your website is your true home on the internet. Social-media trends will come and go, and you want to outlast them all. Having a professional and engaging website is key to this. Link to your website via your Facebook page to help funnel traffic.

4) Offer Promotions – Getting creative and offering promotions through Facebook will make you extremely popular. Offering unique and engaging promotions, even small ones, will generate a bump in your traffic and keep users coming back for more.

5) Request Feedback – Don’t be afraid to ask for advice or feedback from your clients; after all, they are the ones keeping your business running. Be professional in your efforts to approach and ask questions, and in turn, be willing to give advice to those who seek it.

Sales

Housing Affordability Made Simple

1caa5-picture_device_independent_bitWe all hear talk on the street about “Housing Affordability”, but I wonder if it has ever really been explained in a way that everyone could understand? The following is the answer to my question:

Each month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases their Housing Affordability Index. The index measures the affordability of a home based on what a typical family earns. It assumes the borrower has a 20% down payment (80% loan to value) and a “front ratio” or housing ratio not to exceed 25% of gross income. It is based on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent monthly price and income data. Continue reading

Realtor Advice, Sales

How to Use QR Codes to Get More Business

Qr_code_picture

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.

  • Business Cards – Place them on your business cards to scan info about you, with a link to your listings.

  • Your Car – If you have a real estate sign attached to your car, many people not only notice was you stopped at traffic lights, but also when you are parked. By adding a QR Code to your sign, a person can scan and view listings, give them a link to your website, or email address.

  • Direct Mail Post Cards – Usually, you have no idea how effective a direct mail marketing campaign is — because you have no way of tracking the results. By adding a QR Code, you can track the number of people who used their smart phone to get info.

  • For Sale Signs – Add a sign-rider with a QR Code so people standing in front of the home can scan it and instantly get pictures or a video tour. It will also help you track the “interest” in a particular home and report back to your sellers.

The information to include are just limited by your imagination. Here are a few other suggestions that you may not have thought of immediately:

    Video tour
    Floor Plans
    Deed Restrictions/Covenants
    Property Survey
    Neighborhood Street Maps
    School Information
    Local Businesses

If you are looking for more information on how to create your own, Google the term “QR CODES” and you’ll find exactly what to do to create your own, including websites where you can host them for free.