Fall email marketing may be key to boosting real estate sales activity

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Email newsletters are a great way for real estate professionals to keep clients up to date with the market, even after activity cools in the fall. However, it is important to ensure the information in those email blasts is pertinent to the current housing situation, and encourages would-be clients – whether buyers or sellers – to get into the market even as attentions may be turning elsewhere.

One of the smartest things agents can do at this time of year is not necessarily highlight how strong the market is, but rather how much they are able to help clients on both the buying and selling sides of the real estate sales process, according to Forbes article, Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of the technology-driven real estate company Compass. Agents should always look to highlight their personal expertise, but as the market chills, that experience may become an even more important differentiating factor.

Find what works
The good news for agents is that it’s becoming easier for them to determine which aspects of their marketing resources are resonating with prospective clients. This gives the ability to really hone in on the kind of messaging that helps them forge connections with their clients, and turn those into potentially years-long relationships.

Agents should take the time to carefully examine these issues and determine what’s leading to clicks and calls and what isn’t, and use that data to inform future decisions about email marketing that focuses on agents’ personal brands.

A stronger return on investment
Agents may wish to scale back the volume of email messages they send out this time of year. That gives them the chance to put together better content in each email blast, which could be more effective in terms of grabbing people’s attention and click through to an agent’s website. These sorts of “lead magnets” could include checklists that help people understand when it may be the right time to buy or sell, or other helpful info given the current market that could prove valuable for anyone looking to get into the market.

Agents need to be able to adjust their marketing frequently to meet the trends they are encountering in the course of their daily work. The more attuned to these issues they can be through careful examination of their marketing strategies and results, the more likely they will be to generate greater success in the long run.

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.

Affordability may be shifting in 2017

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Another year is in the books and real estate professionals across the country collectively saw the housing market continue its trek back toward pre-recession norms. However, many experts now believe that the surprising results of November’s presidential election could throw a number of industry trends off their previous course, and it will be vital to keep up with the many ways in which the market will shift in the year ahead.

One of the biggest changes from previous expectations – which was already observed within weeks of the election – is that mortgage rates started to spike in short order, according to Tribune News Service. Home values have been on the rise for some time, but rates quickly moved from the mid-3 percent range to north of 4 percent. And it’s important to consider what impact that could have on buyers’ motivations.

Assessing the situation
Most agents know that real estate sales in many parts of the country weren’t always easy to facilitate in 2016 because of the limited inventory of properties for sale, and it’s possible that quickly rising rates might discourage additional selling especially among homeowners who refinanced in recent years, the report said. But the fact is that because both prices and rates aren’t likely to shrink back down again any time soon, any efforts would-be buyers can make to get into the market as soon as possible – especially younger adults who have never purchased before – will help them to save at least some money in comparison with what they will closer to the end of 2017.

This might also be made possible by the fact that lenders are expected to continue to loosen their mortgage standards over the course of the year, especially for buyers who can make sizable down payments.

How much could affordability change?
Rates have already risen appreciably, but expectations for that rapid uptick to continue for some time to come are a little dim right now, according to MarketWatch. While rates north of 4 percent weren’t seen for almost all of the first 11 months of 2016, it’s not yet clear whether rates will surpass 5 percent before the end of 2017. More likely is that rates – which have seemed shockingly low to many observers for all but a few brief periods in the past few years – could hover in the 4 percent range for most of the year.

“I don’t believe that there will be any significant changes to interest rates, at least in the near term, since the underlying fundamentals that have led us into a low-interest-rate environment haven’t changed,” Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Ten-X, a real-estate auction site, told the site.

It’s further important to keep in mind – and to remind hopeful buyers – that rates even as high as 4.9 percent are still below pre-recession norms, which tended to range between 5.5 percent and 6 percent prior to the start of the housing downturn. With this in mind, affordability can still be somewhat strong for hopeful shoppers.

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.