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

Consumer Advice, Realtor Advice

25 Tips to Prepare Your Sellers for a Home Inspection

Home InspectionI recently read a blog written by a top real estate agent. He has had several deals fall through because the home inspection report came back with comments like “not tested” or “not inspected—unable to access.”

When preparing sellers for a home inspection, he now provides them with a checklist to help ensure that everything gets inspected and the report is as complete as possible.

So, I’d like to share with you 25 tips on preparing your sellers for a home inspection.

  1. Turn on all utilities (gas, water, electric)
  2. Light all pilot lights (including gas fireplaces)
  3. If home uses propane or fuel oil, make sure there is sufficient fuel in tanks
  4. Turn off alarm systems (unless advised otherwise)
  5. Back up your computer, as the inspector may be testing the electric by turning it off and on
  6. Move furniture away from heat and return vents
  7. Clean out wood-burning fireplace

Continue reading

Consumer Advice, Realtor Advice

Federal Reserve Meeting – Are You and Your Clients Ready?

FEderal REserve StructureThe Federal Reserve’s next meeting is today and tomorrow, Wednesday September 16th and Thursday the 17th.  This event is one of the most anticipated Fed meetings in a generation.  Global traders have debated the timing of the first rate hike since the beginning of 2015.  The voting members of the Fed are as divided as economists.  The debate has played out all year and the uncertainty has caused wild price swings in all asset classes (stocks, bonds, commodities and currencies).  At times the wild price swings have hit a hyperbolic state with movements in stocks of greater that 1000 points.

Why the drama?  The last time the Fed hiked rates was almost a decade ago.  Put another way, the kids that recently started their senior year at high school were in second grade the last time rates were hiked.  The Fed dropped rates to zero and embarked on a series of other accommodative measures to kick-start the economy in response to the Great Recession of 2008.

The Fed has two mandates from Congress, full employment and price stability. Continue reading

Realtor Advice

TRID – Help with the New Mortgage & Settlement Process

d0c7b-closed_mortgage_filesReal estate agents need to make sure they understand the new Loan Estimate (LE) and Closing Disclosure (CD) process.  As the HUD-1 and the GFE forms go away, real estate agents are in the best position to help guide home-buyers through the new process.

It seems that the CFPB reached out to NAR for help in spreading the word about a new tool addressing questions about what exactly the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule will mean for the real estate industry.

The CFPB launched “Know Before You Owe: The Real Estate Professional’s Guide.” The online tool is intended to help industry professionals get up to speed on changes related to TRID that are coming their way. For real estate agents it’s another opportunity to brush up on what TRID means for closings and keep clients informed about the road ahead. Those tools went live this week on the CFPB’s website.

Please contact the Jeff Baxter Mortgage Team for assistance with the new process.  We are speaking to local real estate offices to help spread the knowledge.  Contact Jeff to schedule a presentation.

Realtor Advice

Is Your Clients’ Real Estate Data Secure?

Save PasswordsAre you doing everything you can to ensure that your clients’ information is safe and secure from hackers? The National Association of Realtors® has provided some tips on what you need to do to protect your clients’ data, and I’d like to share a couple of them with you.

  • Check with your legal department or state association regarding “client security laws”
  • Attend security training on how to best handle, store, retain and destroy data
  • Limit access to sensitive data to only a few people
  • Block access of employees who have left the company
  • Don’t share user names and passwords
  • Use “strong” user names and passwords
  • Update passwords every few months
  • Encrypt sensitive information (including emails, contracts and files)
  • Lock file cabinets, and don’t leave files on your desk
  • Log off your computer when done for the day
  • Regularly run virus and anti-spyware programs
  • Use a firewall to prevent hackers and protect against viruses
  • Notify your broker if your computer, laptop or mobile device has been hacked

While NAR provided many other tips, I wanted to share with you some that you can implement right now!

What other things have you done to protect your clients’ information from hackers so I can also add them to this list?

Realtor Advice

What’s Your Advice to Home Buyers AFTER Closing?

Moving%20PicI recently took a poll and asked several of my real estate buddies this question:“What is your advice to home buyers after they have purchased the home?”

I wanted to share with you some of the answers, and would love to get an email back from you with what YOU recommend to your home-buying clients.

  • Change the locks
  • Change the garage door opener codes
  • Change the utilities into their name
  • Set up an annual service contract for heating and air conditioning units
  • Pay your mortgage on time
  • Check to see if your property is assessed at the correct value
  • Keep copies of closing documents to refer to when it comes time to sell or refinance the home
  • Hire a cleaning crew to clean the home before you move in
  • Suggest upgrades/updates to the home
  • Review where gas and water shutoffs are located
  • Be aware they will be receiving junk mail now that they are homeowners
  • Ask for a referral
  • Get vents and dryers cleaned
  • Get an energy audit done on the home
  • Change washing machine hoses

Please email me and let me what YOU would add to this list!  Just send an email to jeff@sjbaxter.com

Realtor Advice

It’s May 1st – How is Your Year Going?

PanicIt’s true, nothing is ever gained by panic.  Hopefully, at the beginning of the year, you set goals and developed a plan for 2015?  Well, it’s now May 1st and you are 1/3 of the way through the year.  How are you doing?

If you are ahead of your goals and have a full pipeline of clients and potential clients looking for homes or looking for mortgage financing, then congratulations.  Now is the time to buckle down and keep the pedal to the metal – winners don’t coast when they reach a plateau.  Winners pedal harder while others simply coast.  But, the problem with coasting is that you then begin to go downhill.

If you are behind in your production for the year – don’t panic!  Review what you did the first third of the year and see what tactics and strategies are working and which are not doing so well.  Refine the most promising and drop the losers. Develop new plans to reach your goals.  Set a short term to get yourself back to where you need to be based on your numbers.  If you can accomplish that short-term fix over the next two months, you’ll have the second half of 2015 to really blow it out.

Nothing is ever gained by panic.  Thoughtful, realistic analysis of your situation and a look back to how you did things in the first part of the year will tell you what you need to do.  Best of luck for the remainder of 2015.  Let’s do this!