Time management is vital for successful agents

There are only so many work hours in the day, and real estate professionals often need to get a better handle on how they manage their time to gcalendaret the most out of their business.

There are only so many work hours in the day, and real estate professionals often need to get a better handle on how they manage their time to get the most out of their business. As agents often know full well that time is money, finding the best way to strategize in this regard can pay off.

Perhaps the biggest key to effective time management is being proactive about planning, according to Max Real Estate Exposure. After all, if agents aren’t spending time during their work days trying to figure out what to do next, they’re going to be making more efficient use of every hour of the day. In these cases it may be helpful to think about what kinds of goals agents want to accomplish over the course of a day, week or month, and use their experience to determine how long they think that should take them.

What comes next?
Once goals have been established and the time various tasks should take has been figured out, it’s wise to set the schedule for a given period of time. Agents have to determine whether they want to devote a large chunk of a given day to lead generation, for example, or if they want to break up that day with other activities such as online marketing work or following up with clients. Here, too, it might be wise to leave at least a little wiggle room, since it’s not always easy to predict how every effort is likely to proceed, or if things might crop up unexpectedly that deserve agents’ immediate attentions.

The fact is, though, that the more agents know what they “should be” doing at any given time, the more likely they will be to do so, and meet whatever goals they set for themselves in as timely a manner as possible.

Knowing the value
It’s also worth noting that there’s a
difference between being busy and being effective in whatever tasks are being undertaken, according to Inman. There’s plenty of work agents can do in a given day, but they need to think about how much closer that work gets them to achieving their goals, and exactly what an hour may be worth to them in terms of dollars and cents. That way, they can figure out whether they’re getting a maximum return on investment for every hour they spend on any task.

However, it’s also important to get a big-picture look at these tasks and see how they intersect. Moreover, it may be about keeping things simple. Agents who block off their time in advance may find that they’re juggling too many things at once to be truly effective at any one task, and that can erode the effectiveness of time spent on all tasks.

Having a clarity of vision when it comes to what needs to be done, and charting the right course for getting there, will often go a long way toward ensuring that agents are getting the most out of the time they spend on the job. That can translate into a happier lifestyle as an agent.

Agents looking at strongest market in years

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Across the country, real estate professionals and their clients have benefited from the economic growth seen in the past few years. More people can now afford to buy homes, sellers enjoy ever-increasing competition that helps to raise asking prices, and many agents see business growing in a way not observed in at least a decade. The good news for all involved is that this trend could continue for some time.

Today, 90 percent of all millennial sellers and 92 percent of buyers in the same age group use agents to help guide them through the real estate sales process, according to the National Association of Realtors’ latest Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study. Much of the focus in the real estate industry over the past few years has been on both millennials and boomers, but the NAR’s data suggests that it may soon be Generation X who pushes the market forward.

Alleviating the constricted inventory
It’s worth noting that many members of Gen X are already homeowners, but they had to delay their home purchases – potentially for years, and longer periods than even millennials now face – because of the student loan debt they carried, the data showed. Even now, Gen-X buyers say they’re still dealing with an average student loan balance of about $30,000. But another group of Gen Xers has an even greater role to play: selling their homes.

The average Gen Xer now selling a property has been there for 10 years, and have often been locked out of selling simply because they wouldn’t get a good return on their investment until home prices reached, and then surpassed, pre-recession norms. That’s now happening in most parts of the country, and may encourage current owners to sell in the months and years ahead.

“Fortunately, the much stronger job market and 41 percent cumulative rise in home prices since 2011 have helped a growing number build enough equity to finally sell and trade up to a larger home,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “More Gen X sellers are expected this year and are definitely needed to ease the inventory shortages in much of the country.”

Growing demand for agents
The good news is that the market now seems to be adequately prepared for a potential glut of new buyers and sellers in the near future, according to the latest NAR membership data. Through the end of February, more than 1.21 million agents were members of the NAR, up more than 5 percent from the 1.15 million seen in the same month last year. Not surprisingly, some of the most populous regions in the country also have the largest membership numbers; California (more than 174,000), Florida (almost 161,000) and Texas (nearly 103,000) are the only three states with upwards of 100K agents. However, the state with the most agent growth on an annual basis is South Carolina, at nearly 11 percent.

With more agents, comes more competition, even as the number of sales is likely to rise in the near future. To that end, it’s important for agents to do all they can to stand out from the crowd by marketing themselves as experienced local experts.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Working with an agent can reduce stress for buyers and sellers

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As the spring buying season arrives, real estate professionals often find the demands on their time and attention pulling them in a number of different directions. However, staying focused on the task at hand – that is to say, facilitating real estate sales – is not only vital for their business, but also for helping buyers and sellers through what can sometimes be a stressful process.

There are a number of worries that can arise during the sales process, no matter which side of it they happen to be on. Consequently, agents would be wise to prepare their clients for any number of eventualities that might arise.

How to help sellers
One of the biggest aspects of the sales process that can be problematic for sellers – is pricing a home, according to Excel Real Estate Experts. Agents typically have plenty of experience with pricing in the marketplace, while most homeowners understandably do not. Therefore, agents would do well to take the time to explain how they have valued a home and why, not only setting a price point but also talking about the impact that outside issues can have a property’s price.

It might also be wise to set both a realistic aspirational price, and a fallback position that will still allow homeowners to come out ahead. Those who don’t have much experience selling a property may not know everything that goes into asking prices, but experienced agents who can assuage their concerns and help them to better understand the ins and outs of proper pricing are most likely to have success and reduce their selling clients’ stress levels.

How to help buyers
The good news for sellers is that demand for properties in many markets is so high that some homes may appear to sell themselves. On the flip side of that, is that buying clients will likely have to face bidding wars for the properties they want, according to Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group. However, agents can help to reduce stress for these shoppers as well, by carefully explaining how the process typically proceeds and what they can do to best prepare themselves for each step of the way.

The first aspect of preparation for buyers is to understand the maximum amount they will be able to pay, and agents along with a trusted mortgage professional, may be able to help them get a better understanding of what affordability means for them. Agents should probably also keep in mind that while the sales process is old hat for them, it’s not always the case for many buyers and sellers. As such, a little empathy and a good amount of advice can go a long way for all involved.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Look to other industries for marketing inspiration

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While many real estate professionals typically rely on tried-and-true industry methods of marketing their services, there’s something to be said for thinking outside the box. While old industry standards are well-known and often-used because they work, it can sometimes be a good idea to look to the way other types of professionals or businesses market their services. That can help provide new inspirations that agents might need as this year’s buying season arrives.

One of the big emerging trends in marketing is going digital-only, and while that might not be the best strategy for real estate agents looking to connect with would-be buyers and sellers of all ages, there are still good ideas to harvest from this new trend, according to digital marketing critic Gabriel Shaoolian, writing for Forbes. One of the big ideas that’s permeating digital marketing now is the need to get as personal and innovative as possible. What this means is that agents should be marketing themselves as local experts and tailoring their efforts to what their current or past clients have expressed the most interest in.

How can this be done?
One great method for connecting with clients in this way is by holding Facebook Live events that are advertised across various social media channels. While some agents are starting to hold these events for open houses, experts also say it can be wise to do so for something as simple as a question-and-answer session about a number of topics, including the real estate industry, what an agent’s job entails, the best way to buy and sell in today’s market and even local recommendations.

Along similar lines, agents that focus on sending out social media blasts that address similar topics via Snapchat might have a better time connecting with young clients in particular. The trick here will be to find a social media tone that works and feels natural. That will help create an authentic and enthusiastic feel to any digital marketing efforts.

What about the real world?
Meanwhile, agents can also find inspiration in the way online-only companies market themselves offline, according to Tech.co. Of course, many of these companies rely on the same kinds of traditional advertising methods that may be old hat to those in the real estate game, like newspaper ads, local signage and so on. However, one area where these online businesses may be able to provide a little more of an edge to agents is through what some call “event marketing.”

This means that putting down a little bit of money to host a small event – even something as simple as a fun fair for kids in the office parking lot – can attract a lot of attention from passersby and help to get an agent’s name and face out there. Being ready to talk to people about how agents’ expertise can help to ease the stress of the real estate sales experience is wise here, of course, but if the name of the game is just to get the word out as the buying season gets underway, this is a great place to start.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Agents can get ahead with an ‘app audit’

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Millions of people use a lot of apps in their everyday lives, but real estate professionals might be able to boost their productivity with a careful review of their current options. There are many apps available that can boost users’ efforts to save time and energy, so it’s always a good idea to do a yearly “app-audit” to determine if there are any new apps that offer new efficiencies for business that’s always on the go.

Taking the time to carefully evaluate which apps are being used for real estate-related efforts most often, and how effective they actually are is an ongoing process. For instance, many real estate pros are constantly in need of scanning functionality – and there are plenty of apps – including Scannable – that can scan and automatically crop everything from business cards to receipts, according to Real Estate Tech News.

Increasing efficiency and organization
Likewise, many agents may need scheduling and task management assistance. There are apps that can now automatically, with the help of artificial intelligence, schedule appointments for agents so they don’t conflict with other engagements they’ve already made. Similarly, apps can help create customized lists that help agents check off a number of tasks they need to complete on their way to a larger goal.

Agents can also use apps that help ease the signing process by allowing for eSignatures, build databases, find industry news and more. Often all it takes to unlock these kinds of organizational powers is to carefully evaluate the tasks that need efficiencies, and then do some basic research to see if there’s anything out there that would meet those needs.

What’s the goal?
When trying to find new apps that work for their current and evolving needs, agents need to think about a number of factors, including how to increase personal productivity, ability to communicate with colleagues or clients, and increase engagement with your sphere, according to Fliplet. To that end, it might also be wise to look into apps that can provide information about the local market and the area in general in order to stay on top of the latest developments.

After all, the more you can do to demonstrate a powerful command of local issues – not just related to the real estate aspects of the market – the more likely you’ll engage with would-be buyers and sellers on a deeper level. That, in turn, can not only assist in generating new opportunities that lead to more real estate sales as the buying season gets underway, but also result in strong word of mouth that can help you stand out from your competitors.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Using Drones to Highlight Property Features

droneMany real estate professionals who keep up with the latest trends in online marketing have probably noticed a lot of videos taken with drones lately. It should come as no surprise these aircraft are growing in popularity because they really can show off attractive properties. However, there are a number of things to keep in mind before agents incorporate drones into their own marketing efforts, including compliance with state and federal regulation.

The right shots taken with these unmanned aircraft can help a property stand out from the crowd, which can increase the likelihood of a real estate sale. But there are some tips and tricks those experienced with this kind of real estate marketing would impart to any new adopters, according to New American Agent

Where to begin
When it comes to using drones to get the perfect real estate listing videos and photos, experts recommend ensuring that adjacent features to the property also add positive interest to the subject property.  In some cases, a drone may show that the neighbors’ yards or other nearby features don’t paint a property in the most attractive light, and for these properties, it might be wise to avoid drone use. But when everything looks good, another potential benefit of aerial footage is the ability to provide perspective that highlights proximity from one home to another, as well as to main thoroughfares, schools, playgrounds, supermarkets and the like.

In addition, drones can be used to create videos that simulate the experience of “coming home” to a property, according to long-time real estate pro Bennat Berger. For instance, flying a drone down a street, up a driveway and to the front door of a home can help viewers feel like they’re the ones pulling up to a property, especially when they use the latest high-resolution cameras. Along similar lines, taking a drone all over a property at a low altitude can also highlight attractive features that might not show up as well with hand-held video cameras or photography.

Dealing with red tape
The Federal Aviation Administration recently changed some rules to allow drones use for real estate marketing, according to the National Association of Realtors. However, hopeful agents must navigate a number of issues first. The most important of those hurdles is agents will have to get a remote pilot’s license specifically for drone use, following completion of a test. After that, agents will have to renew their licenses every two years.

In addition, drones must be used during daylight hours only and cannot go more than 400 feet above a property. Operators will also have to be stationary on the ground during the flight and make sure they’ve carefully inspected the drone before putting it in the air. Further, agents will have to get homeowner permission to operate the drone on their properties.  Outsourcing drone footage may be an easier route, and there are a number of professional drone companies with licensed drone pilots that are available to shoot the aerial footage for real estate listings at a fairly reasonable fee.   As more and more listings with drone footage appear on the MLS, it’s clear that the results from listings with drone footage show a new level of professionalism and certainly help listings stand out from the crowd.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.