Marketing a Listing

By Suzy Lins
April 19, 2017

Don’t be a secret agent with a listing nobody knows about! As soon as you take a listing let everyone know about it. First, you need great photos of the home. Hire a professional photographer. You can hire a good photographer for about $200-300. For more photos or larger homes the price goes up. Get a video made of the listing too. Century 21 creates a video slideshow set to music for every listing that has 6 or more photos. If you have a high end listing consider getting a drone video. Keep in mind that these images are in investment in you and your business. You’ll be able to use them when you go on your next listing presentation because that would-be client will not be impressed by photos taken on your phone vertically.

Now that you have your photos, maybe a video or drone images too, this is how you get the word out.

Email blast

Send an email to your database to let them know about the listing. The email should include a great visual image of the home or an embedded video with some details and the price. Include a Call To Action (CTA) in the email like: “Call/Text me for a tour” or “Do you know someone looking in this neighborhood?”

Send an email blast like the one above to all the agents you know. Add the agents in your office to your database as well as agents you meet at Open Houses, Broker Previews, etc.  The CTA should obviously be different, something like: “Do you have a buyer looking in this neighborhood?”

Facebook
To promote your business or to create an ad on Facebook you need to have a Facebook Business Page. Use these strategies to get the word out about the listing via Facebook.

Make a JUST LISTED post on your business page. Again, use a great visual image or video of the property. Don’t stop there. After you make the post go back and BOOST it to target the specific area and demographic that you want to reach beyond your Facebook followers.

Another option is to create an ad on Facebook about the JUST LISTED property. Creating an ad from scratch, rather than boosting a post, allows you to put multiple images in the ad (carousel ad) or a video plus you can target the ad to reach a more specific demographic. Here’s an example of what I mean: You have a $2 million+ listing on a golf course – target the ad to reach people with the income level needed to buy that home who like to golf AND who are likely to move.

The great thing about advertising on Facebook is that for dollars a day you can get your listing in front of the right people. An added bonus is that you have the option for your ads to appear on Instagram too. When Facebook bought Instagram they added this option. You need to have an Instagram account in order for your ads to appear there.

Other Social Media
If you use any other social media channels for your business get it out there too.

For Instagram, place an ad discussed above or you can post an image of the property with details. Instagram does not have the ability to include a hyperlink in the posts. Instead, direct them to your Instagram profile and include a hyper link there back to the property website.

For Twitter or Google +, post about your new listing with a link back to a video of the property or a property website. At Century 21 every listing automatically gets a Unique Property Website that has a URL using the property address. If you have a YouTube channel, upload the property video and share it on your social media sites.

Meet the Neighbors

After you take the listing get out there and introduce yourself to the neighbors on either side of the home. There’s something called the 5-5-5 rule. Knock on the door of the 5 houses to left, 5 houses to the right and 5 houses across the street and let those neighbors know you just listed a house on their street. Invite them to an upcoming Open House and ask if they know of anybody who has been looking to move into that neighborhood. This is a great opportunity to ask them if they’ve considered selling their home. If so, they’re going to be watching very closely how you market their neighbor’s property.

Print Marketing
Some “old school” marketing would be a “Just Listed” postcard to people who live in that area. You can mail it but if you door drop it yourself it’s a great way to meet people in the neighborhood. You can also place an ad in the local newspaper showcasing the listing. Print marketing is expensive compared to online marketing so use it wisely.

Open House
Now that you got the word out about your new listing you need to have an Open House. Again, you need to get the word out about it. Use the same tactics listed above for an email blast, Facebook post and BOOST and a Facebook ad. Just tweak it for the Open House. Next, create an EVENT on Facebook. List the date & time of the Open House along with all the details and invite your friends. Promote the Facebook event by selecting your audience and budget and you’re good to go.

Make your Open House an event. Make sure you have a lot of signs directing people to the property. Add some balloons and include food. Invite the neighbors to the Open House. Do a give-away for a gift card for people who sign in and give you their contact info. Consider doing a Facebook LIVE video from the Open House too.

Broker Preview
Put it in your office caravan or local broker preview. At CENTURY 21 Discovery we have regular sales meetings followed by a caravan of our new listings. At our meetings the agents have an opportunity to “Pitch” a property that is not on the market yet. We also have several broker previews in our area that allow agents from any office to place their listing on the weekly caravan.

Most of these marketing strategies cost very little except time and creativity on your part. You’ll be a real estate marketing guru and your seller is going to love you! Do you have any marketing strategies to add? Please share in the comments.

 

About the author: Suzy Lins is the Communications Director for CENTURY 21 Discovery. For more information about CENTURY 21 Discovery you may call (714) 626-2000.

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One of “Those Days” in Real Estate

By Joe Lins
February 6, 2017

Whether or not your team won the Super Bowl yesterday, today is one of “those days” in residential real estate.  It’s a day that historically the real estate market just “picks up” for the new year.  Inquiries become appointments, Sellers are ready, open houses have more traffic and Buyers are just more interested!

Real Estate Agent at an Open House

Other examples of these kind of eventful days are tax day [April 15], the day kids start summer vacation, the 4th of July and Memorial Day to name a few.  Hopefully, you have been diligently working and are already on your way to accomplishing your 2017 goals.  At CENTURY 21 Discovery we are focused on a positive attitude, accountability, listening to our Clients and understanding their goals, and continuing our education through Coaching and Learning Sessions.

As of today there are 32 NFL Teams whose goal is to win the Super Bowl in 2018 and only one will hold the trophy at the end of the game.  They have already begun the preparation. Are you prepared? I invite you to take a closer look at what we are all about at CENTURY 21 Discovery and how we can assist you in achieving your goals in 2017.

JoeLins

 

About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

How To Stay Relevant in 2017

By Joe Lins
January 4, 2017

The real estate industry continues to evolve and to remain successful REALTORS® we need to stay relevant to our clients. Real estate agents at the top of their game have already developed their strategy for 2017. Here are some additional points agents should pay attention to in the new year:

Consumer Behaviors

Pay attention to the consumers’ behavior by understanding your clients’ needs and how you can satisfy their needs. Listen to them and then give them sound, unbiased information so they can make a decision based on what’s right for them. Doing this will allow you to achieve your goals helping others achieve theirs. Also, remember that the old adage “The consumer is always right” is still applicable today. Buyers and Sellers don’t behave any differently than we do when we buy or sell anything as an individual. Keep that in mind as you work for your clients’ best interests.

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New Real Estate Laws and Revised Forms

Pay attention to what’s going on within the industry. There are new laws that went into effect on January 1, 2017. Learn what those laws are and how they affect your business. As a REALTOR®, you should be reading the information provided from your local association. Your broker or management staff should also alert you to these changes. Some of the forms that we use in every transaction in California have been revised. Real estate agents need to have a clear understanding of these new forms. Again, your association or office management should be making you aware of these changes.

Local Real Estate Market

Pay attention to what’s going on in the real estate market. This seems like a no-brainer. REALTORS® need to be aware of the current market in regards to inventory, average days on market, local initiatives that can affect the market as well as interest rates. You need to have market knowledge backed up by true facts rather than just repeat what you hear from people who aren’t selling homes in the business. This knowledge of what’s truly going on in the market place backed up by data makes you invaluable to your clients.

Bottom line is we need to consistently pay attention to what’s going on in our industry. If we don’t we become irrelevant.

Joe

 

About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

How to Baby Proof for the Holidays

By Guest Blogger
December 20, 2016
*This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on November 16, 2015
(FYI – Most of these tips can also be used for pet proofing your home for the holidays!)

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If you’ve got a little one this holiday season, don’t make the mistake of being unprepared. This time of year brings about unique potential dangers for him or her that you might not have considered. Follow these five tips on how to baby proof your home for the holidays.

  1. Skip the tablecloth. Infants are known to be grabby, and the hanging end of a tablecloth is too tempting to resist. In one quick tug, your tyke could accidentally pull down the entire dinner table setting, including your dishes, silverware, and candles. Yikes!
  1. Keep flowers out of reach. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias aren’t actually poisonous, but there’s still no reason for your child to ingest them. Keep all plants out of reach. They’re not food, and you never know which one may make a particular individual sick.
  1. Don’t wrap with ribbons. Stick to wrapping paper only when giving gifts. Leftover ribbons can easily fall on the ground, presenting a choking hazard for you baby. Additional tip: Gather up and throw away wrapping paper as soon as it’s discarded. Again, you never know what your child might put in their mouth.
  1. Secure your tree. Fasten your tree to the wall and consider blocking off the area with a baby gate because after all, the tree is for looking, not for touching. If you want to bring your baby closer, do so under strict supervision, and don’t let them tug on any branches.
  1. Hang ornaments higher. Hang all ornaments out of reach on the top half of the tree, just in case your tot does get closer to the tree. Smooth, shiny decorations will be sure to attract their attention, and all too many are easily breakable. If you feel like your tree is a bit bare, opt for paper or felt ornaments on the lower half.

These simple changes to your holiday decorating routine may make for a safer celebration for your newest family member.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

What Drives Mortgage Rates?

By Chris Smith
September 27, 2016

There are many things that drive mortgage rates available to Buyers. Some things are out of your control: National Employment Patterns, the Stock Market, actions of the Federal Reserve, natural disasters and geopolitical or global events.

Let’s focus on the things you CAN control to get the mortgage rate that fits your budget and allows you to get into that home you want.

what-drives-mortgage-rates

Credit Score
The better your credit score the lower your interest rate. Having a high credit score makes you a more favorable borrower in the eyes of the lender. First, find out what your credit score is. Then try improving your credit score before you start the loan application process. Talk to your loan consultant on ways you can improve your score.

Down Payment
There are a lot of low down payment options for borrowers. What you may not know is that if you increase your down payment on the home you are buying you can secure a lower interest rate. This can ultimately save you more money over the life of the loan.

Size of the Loan
The amount of money you borrow can impact the interest rate.  A larger loan amount will usually have a higher interest rate. The reason for this is because paying back a larger loan amount will likely take long and there is more at stake for the lending organization.

Type of Property and Occupancy
Loan pricing is slightly lower for single family homes compared to condominiums. Owner occupied loans also have lower rates than non-owner or investment properties.

The best way to understand all your options regarding interest rates is to talk to a loan consultant BEFORE you start your home search.

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About the Author: Chris Smith is a Senior Mortgage Consultant (NMLS  #253394) with New American Funding. For more information about home financing you may contact him at 714.401.5921. 

Best Practices for Real Estate Brokers and Agents

By Joe Lins
August 24, 2016

I had the opportunity to sit down with Laurie Popp of Century 21® to discuss best practices I use within my real estate business at CENTURY 21 Discovery. We discussed advice for brokers and managers, creating the type of office culture that allows the agents to succeed and advice to agents just starting out in the business.

Brokers and managers need to be available to their agents. We need to communicate with them how they want to be communicated with (email, text, voice mail, in person). Get back to them right away. We need to set a good example as their leader. This is what the consumer wants and the agents need to learn to have a quick response time.

I’ve been accused of being “Old School” and I think that’s a compliment. Our office culture mixes the old with the new. We take advantage of the tools and technology Century 21 has to offer and we teach our agents how to use these tools. It’s not just about who has the latest technology. We also teach them the good old-fashioned skill sets they need to have in this business: negotiating, time management, preparation, etc.

My advice to new agents is to invest in yourself. Hone your leadership skills and have passion for what you do. Most importantly, be ethical and moral. I don’t believe that real estate agents are going to go away. It’s not a common purchase. It’s not buying an airline ticket or a pair of shoes online. It’s a lengthy process and a good agent is needed to help the consumer navigate the process.

JoeLins

 

About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

Last-Minute Open House Cleaning Tips

By Guest Blogger
July 14, 2016
This was originally published on the official blog of Century 21® on February 19, 2016

Your open house is almost underway! You’ve already made sure your home is warm and inviting and you’ve taken time to carefully stage it. Now, here are some last minute cleaning tips to quickly spruce up any areas you may have missed.

OpenHouseCleaningTips

Prep for Pets
You may be ready for your open house, but your four legged friends might have other ideas. Perform a last minute inspection of any areas your pets frequent to make sure they haven’t left an unpleasant surprise somewhere in your home. Also, pet hair has a way of showing up unexpectedly. Vacuum carpets and sweep any floors with a rubber broom to clean up debris that may have gathered since your last cleaning.

Check Your Entryway
Although you may have painted your front door and meticulously cleaned your home’s entryway in the days before your open house, recheck it on open house day. Be sure to check for marks on your door, damaged plants, disheveled door mats, and unexpected messiness that may have accumulated in front of your home since you last inspected it.

Clean Up After Kids
If children happen to be in your home during the hours leading up to your open house, you may want to check for additional messes before potential buyers arrive. Look at your lower windows for finger smudges, which can be cleaned quickly with a cleaning agent and microfiber cloth. Also check your doorway for dirt, and look at the lower part of your walls for crayon streaks or other stains.

Ready Your Refrigerator
While easy to overlook, the inside of your refrigerator should be as neat and clean as the rest of your kitchen. Make sure it isn’t full of half consumed food or overstocked to the point where it looks cluttered. Additionally, any fridge magnets should be removed to further depersonalize your home for potential buyers.

Care for Your Lawn
Last minute removal of lawn debris can make your home more appealing and may attract more buyers. Depending on the season, eradicate lawn clutter with a leaf blower, a rake or a snow blower. If you’re too busy for exterior home cleaning, consider hiring someone to do it for you, so you can focus on the interior of your home.

These last minute cleaning tips may help your home shine brighter on open house day.

*Article reprinted with permission of Century 21 Real Estate LLC.

Do’s and Don’ts During The Loan Process

By Bill FitzMaurice
May 19, 2016

You found your dream home and your offer was accepted. Congratulations, but before you start packing for your big move there are some definite Do’s & Don’ts we recommend buyers to follow as they go through the loan process.

DO:

DO ask donor(s) for gifted funds as soon as possible, if being used towards your down payment. Ask your Loan Officer about the necessary steps and documentation for gifts.

DO stay current on all your payments: mortgage, car payments, credit cards, student loans and any other debt.

DO continue to use your credit as normal. Changing your pattern may raise a red flag, causing your credit score to go down.

DO wait to make a major purchase such as a new car, boat or appliance until after your loan has funded.

DO keep copies of all important financial documents so you will be ready to provide if asked: check stubs, W-2’s, tax returns, bank and investment account statements, rental agreements, etc.

FemaleOnComputerDON’T:

DON’T keep cash in a safe or an overseas account if you plan to use these funds as a down payment. Ask your Loan Officer how and when would be the best time to put funds into your U.S. bank account if needed.

DON’T close credit card accounts. Keeping accounts open after you have paid them off lowers your debt-credit ratio. If you close a credit card account, it may appear that your debt ratio has gone up.

DON’T apply for new credit or give your personal information to anyone else who might run your credit report. Multiple credit inquiries may hurt your credit score.

DON’T make career moves. Your mortgage lender must verify your employment, so it’s crucial to maintain employment status.

DON’T make large deposits into your back account unless 100% necessary. If you must, save the documentation showing where the funds came from. Keep a “paper trail”.

Make sure to discuss any changes in your financial situation with your Loan Officer right away.

BillFitzmaurice2014(2)

 

About the Author: Bill FitzMaurice is a Senior Mortgage Consultant (NMLS #290216) with New American Funding. For more information about home financing you may contact him at (949) 291-1770.

Celebrating Success

By Joe Lins
May 11, 2016

I LOVE celebrating the success of our agents. Every year we have an awards breakfast to recognize the achievements of our agents from the prior calendar year. All the awards are important but I have two favorites: the Quality Customer Service award and the Most Determined Producer award. Both awards embody what I consider the most important aspects of our company culture. Below are some highlights from the day.

 

 

JoeLins

 

About the author: Joe Lins is President and Co-owner of CENTURY 21 Discovery. If you are interested in becoming part of the CENTURY 21 Discovery team or would like more information about our services contact Joe at 714.626.2069.

Closing on a home? Don’t Forget the Insurance

By Michael Williams
April 29, 2016

Congratulations! You found your clients perfect dream home. You used your years of experience, professional expertise and pockets full of patience to satisfy every one of their unique requests. So, why it is still stuck in escrow? Your client is saying it’s that pesky insurance agent!

InsuranceBlogimage1… But the real holdup might be that “perfect home”….

Below is a 3 part checklist that will help you identify potential hang-ups with your client’s home insurance.­­

1.      Location, Location, Location.
It’s not just important to REALTORS®. Insurance companies have three main location related exposures that can complicate securing a policy. Distance from Brush, proximity to Coastline or placement in a Flood Zone.

  • In wonderfully sunny Southern California, we don’t have to worry too much about wind or hail, but we can never forget about brush. A good rule of thumb is to use an online map service such as Google or Bing and measure the distance from open land to the home. A standard acceptable measurement for brush exposure is 1500 ft.
  • For our lucky friends on the coast, the average rule is 500 ft from the shore. Again, the best course of action here is to measure with an online map.
  • Finally, the wild card is a Flood Zone. Because you often cannot visually predict where a flood zone will be, a helpful site is FEMA’s mapping tool. Simply type in the address and it will return a flood zone score.

2.      The claim history matters: both buyers and the home.
This section often surprises many people. But the ability to insure the home is based off the loss history of both the buyer and the home itself. Insurance companies split blame for losses between the owner of the home and the structure itself. For example, when a water loss occurs, a point is assigned to the address and the owners. Getting as complete of a disclosure list as possible can help determine whether that home has a history of losses. In the state of California, water losses are the number one cause of loss and it is now almost universal for preferred market insurers to deny a home because of 2 or more water losses. If this is the case you can assume that insurance will double in cost and take a minimum of one week to place.

3. Good Bones vs. New Homes.
Age of the house is big player in acceptability. Some buyers want new construction and that’s great! But, others want classic charm. That beautiful home built in the 1920’s comes with its own host of potential hiccups. Many insurance companies won’t even write a home built prior to 1950. But the ones that do, require proof of complete upgrades to plumbing, heating, wiring and roofing. And it’s not just the cute cottage that could be a problem. Many Carriers are looking for upgrades on any home older than 20 years! So find out if the bones of that house beyond their useful life.

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As every realtor knows, no two purchases are the same. And while the client should always get the house they want, it’s best to build in that little bit of extra time should one of the items above be a potential problem. Simply call the insurance agent a bit early. A little planning can make for a much smoother escrow.

MikeWilliams2


About the Author: Michael Williams is Chief Operating Officer at Williams Insurance Company in Fullerton, CA. If you would like more information about insuring a home please call him at 714.526.5588 or visit the website at www.williamsinsurancefullerton.com