Zillow Group Partners With Facebook-Gives Listing Agents A Boost!


Zillow Group recently announced the launch of two new products for its Premier Agents, Premier Agent® Direct and Seller Boost. Premier Agent Direct uses Zillow Group’s Precision Targeting to connect real estate agents and teams to their advertising audience on Facebook; Seller Boost generates listing leads:

Premier Agent Direct – Premier Agent Direct combines the power of a real estate network with social media, allowing users to expand the targeted audience they advertise to through a simple, easy platform using Zillow Group’s Precision Targeting. This technology identifies home shoppers using Zillow or Trulia and connects with them on Facebook. Agents can feature a specific listing or automatically highlight new listings or recently sold homes.

Premier Agent Direct helps agents more efficiently work their farm area and either extend or eliminate the need for a direct mail campaign by using Precision Targeting to connect with local home shoppers and sellers on a medium they are using every day. Premier Agent Direct is available on mobile and desktop.

Seller Boost – Seller Boost leverages Zillow and Trulia’s audience of potential home sellers to generate listing leads for Premier Agents. The new Seller Boost ads will appear on the home details pages of homes that are not-for-sale and the owner dashboard. Both of these products seamlessly integrate into the Premier Agent App. Seller Boost will be available to a limited group of Premier Agents before the end of the year.

“We have worked incredibly hard this year to create new opportunities for agents to connect with buyers and sellers so they can scale their businesses with greater ease. The new products are the results of those efforts,” says Greg Schwartz, Zillow Group chief business officer. “Through this new publishing platform, we have created a way to significantly increase the agent’s reach to consumers who are in a transaction mindset. With Precision Targeting, we know these people are using Zillow and Trulia, and now there’s a new opportunity to connect with them on Facebook. Coupled with the launch of Seller Boost, these products will help agents connect more effectively and easily with interested buyers and sellers through our growing platform.”

For more information, please visit www.zillow.com.

Let’s Thrive…


When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is. And your life is just to live your life inside the world — try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.

That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is: everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

    -Steve Jobs

Three Steps to Find More Listings This Fall


You may be busy preparing your home, family or even wardrobe for fall, but don’t forget that you should be preparing your business, as well. As the market slows down during the fall and winter months, it may be more difficult to generate new listings. Because of this, now is an opportune time to look for FSBO and expired listings to work with.

Statistics show that nearly 92 percent of sellers who try to market a home on their own fail and many expired listings eventually go back on the market, which presents a lot of opportunity for you to find new listings. It’s up to you to show the value you offer in a selling situation. Here are three steps to help you prepare to meet with this kind of seller.

Plan Your Approach
When a listing expires, it’s often because the property wasn’t marketed or priced properly. This is an optimal opportunity to show sellers how you’re different (and better) than their previous agent. Create a marketing plan and present it to the seller, showing them how you would market their home. Include points about establishing a strong web presence, your use of social media, sample advertising ideas, etc. Your marketing plan should show how you can connect with potential buyers and create opportunities to sell.

Similarly, the No. 1 reason someone chooses the FSBO route rather than hiring an agent is because they don’t want to pay commission fees. However, these sellers rarely understand the time and effort agents put into a transaction. Sure, those FSBOs may be saying they don’t want an agent now, but that mindset may change once they start to see how much work it takes to sell their home. Just like sellers with expired listings, approach FSBOs with a marketing plan that shows how much work you’ll put into selling their home.

Develop a Script
Before making contact with the seller of a FSBO or expired listing, prepare exactly what you’re going to say. Remember, rather than focusing on the logical reasons these people want to sell their properties, try to find the emotional reasons, and use that information to turn them into a client.

For example, if you’re working with an expired listing, plan to ask the sellers about their previous experience. If they worked with an agent, ask questions about what that person did to try to sell their home: did they take high quality photos of the interior and exterior, use social media to promote the listing, advertise appropriately and recommend staging options? If it’s a FSBO property, ask the sellers why they didn’t work with an agent the first time: was it a financial issue, did that have a bad experience previously or are there any other factors influencing their decision?

Contact the Sellers
When you’re prepared, it’s time to contact your prospective clients and let them know you’re here to help. Start by sending the sellers an email highlighting your qualifications. For FSBO properties, explain how you can take away the stress of home-selling, sell their home more quickly, and likely get a better price than they could on their own.

When you’re able to speak with these sellers in person or over the phone, put your script into play. Build trust and discover why they’re looking to sell, then go for what Chris Smith, author of The Conversion Code, calls the “trial close” with a “here’s what happens next” question to keep the process moving forward. For example, you could ask “Does Wednesday or Thursday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. work better for my photographer to come by and start taking pictures for marketing materials?” This will help the seller understand what you are going to be doing for them and make them feel more secure in the final steps of the process to list their home.

If sellers aren’t prepared for the trial close or insist that they want to work alone, wish them the best and give them some advice that could help. As time goes on, if they aren’t able to sell, they’re likely to remember you as someone who offered encouragement and call you for help.

Powerful Prospecting Activities


Don't think of prospecting for leads as just another routine task. Instead, think of prospecting as a gateway to endless income possibilities and an essential part of growing a thriving real estate business.

To truly benefit from prospecting you must be willing to put yourself out there and try new things. If you're ready to make more money and prospect for leads in a whole new way, here are 117 lead generating activities you should try

1 Open houses
2 Floor duty
3 Door knocking
4 Pop by’s (individual & business)
5 Direct mail
6 Newsletters
7 E-Newsletter
8 Phone calls
9 Face-to-face meetings &
10 Hand written notes
11 FSBO’s
12 Expireds & Withdrawns
13 Client Appreciation Party
14 Volunteer
15 Networking Events
16 Coach your kid’s soccer team, etc.
17 Annual updates (CMA’s)
18 Circle prospecting (5x5’s)
19 Meetings w/Human Resource Directors
20 Relocation opportunities/tours
21 Print advertising (newspaper or magazines) 22
Social media—pulling & pushing info
23 Blogging
24 Hand out business cards
25 Email drip campaigns
26 8x8 campaigns
27 REO/HUD/bank listings
28 Attend the public trustee sale
29 Send notes to homes “for rent” as possible
30 Trade shows/homes shows
31 Host an informational seminar/talk
32 Network with affiliate providers
(CPA’s, attorneys, insurance agent)
33 Put your nametag on or logowear and
go somewhere where there are people to talk to!34
Preview properties (know the
inventory) — leave your business card
for the Seller
35 Work short sales and pre-foreclosure properties
36 Enroll in a class or a new hobby to meet people
37 Join a book club
38 Target renters (non-owner occupied)
39 Mail home anniversary cards
40 Send letters to out of town rental owners to
check up on their property (take photos) & do a
41 Write an informational article for the newspaper
43 Bus benches, grocery carts, and billboards (can
be expensive)
44 Create and hand out a personal brochure
45 Radio campaigns—see if you can be a guest on a
talk show
46 Attend a “meet-up” (meetup.com)
47 Give your vendors your business cards
to hand out (hair dresser, nail salon)
48 Learn a new part of this business
(commercial, vacant land, new construction) —
look for referral opportunities with other agents in
attendance & share business leads

50 Interview people you want to meet to broaden
your sphere of influence
51 Go to charity events and meet new people
52 Mail sports cards/calendars
53 Do a drawing to capture names
54 Create and maintain your website profile;
create a customized website
55 Capture and follow up with internet leads
(follow-up is the key!)
56 Host a networking group yourself (lunch for
eight concept)
57 Maintain your mailing list — always look for
who you can legitimately add to your list!
58 Farm a neighborhood
59 Work out of state referrals
60 Take care of your current clients—ask them
for referrals
61 MySite (automated search program through
MLS) for everyone!
62 Schedule a public speaking opportunity at a
service club
63 Adopt a school—take them treats and pop
by’s, volunteer
64 Prospect in laundromats—usually tenants are
“hanging out” there!
65 Wedding announcements — are they
interested in buying a home?
66 Baby announcements—do they need more
67 Work with attorneys to prospect for divorce
and estate transactions
68 Send holiday cards (not just the “usual” ones
— do “odd” ones)
69 Get a wrap or magnetic sign for your car
(mobile advertisement)
70 Create videos — use to highlight the area or
yourself (link to internet)
71 Host a “house warming” party for your client
after closing — get their friends’ names for your
sphere list
81 Give your business card to your waitress when
you eat out (tip well)
83 Work with people who are retiring or
downsizing (investment advisor or assisted living
84 Pay for the person behind you at the drive
through—give them your card
85 Sponsor something and ask if you can attend
or have a table at the event!
86 Visit with marriage counselors— perhaps they
have clients who can’t reconcile and need to sell?
87 Make a float and participate in the 4th of July
or Christmas parade
88 Host an educational/information session (i.e.
redecorating tips,landscaping ideas, etc.)—”show
& tell” for your clients
89 Walk a neighborhood and put up door hangers

90 Send out a time change postcard
91 Send a Just Listed postcard to a move up
neighborhood (if you don’t have a listing, “borrow
92 Facebook ads
93 Target a niche — condo buyers, horse
property, veterans, 1st time home buyers, etc.
94 Hand out notepads or other “schwag” at a
large open air event like the Arts
Picnic or Farmer’s Market
95 Ask for referrals!
96 Gather testimonials & send to your clients
97 Ask a “busy” agent if you can put your rider on
one of their signs or advertising some of their
98 Buyer “needs” — send postcard to the area
asking for listings
99 Call out-of-area listing agents and see if they
would like some showing help for a referral fee
100 Send “Just Solds” postcard (multiple homes)
to an area to solicit listings
101 Get names from the Chamber and send an erelocation
102 Work garage sales (they’re cleaning up, do
they want to move?)
103 Purchase tickets to an event & offer to your
104 Host a tour of homes (multiple open houses)
105 Teach a class on buying rental property with
a property management company
106 Target kiddie-condo investors @ UNC/
107 Call capture programs (800 numbers)
108 Craigslist leads
109 Talk to car dealers—people qualifying to buy
a car may also qualify to buy a home!
110 Contact HOA management companies for
potential leads
111 Visit with new construction representatives—
sometimes they don’t want to take listings
112 Courts could be a place to prospect—
evictions, probate, divorce, tax liens, and code
113 Partner with a local business and send a
coupon to your sphere of influence
114 Put up information on bulletin boards at
coffee shops or grocery stores
115 Talk to your newspaper or postal carriers
about vacant homes
116 Work in a coffee shop and put up a tent card
that you’ll buy customers a cup of coffee!
117 Meet other Realtors at classes or conventions
and ask for their referrals

The Home Buying Road map – Infographic

Without a doubt your buyer clients will have a question or two about the home buying process. Be their hero by providing them with a branded Home Buying Road Map. This handy infographic does a great job explaining the basics of the home buying process. The best thing about this document, it can be branded for you when you add your contact information and photo. Our new partner Breakthrough Broker has designed this amazing infographic and As always the PDF of this design is available at no charge!


There are two versions of this document. One uses the term “Under Contract”and the other uses “In Escrow” depending on your location. Scroll down to create the one you would like.

To customize your own click on the following link: http://www.breakthroughbroker.com/id/remaxgold

Once you create your account scroll to bottom of the page and look to the left for this item titled: The Home Buying Road Map, select the link and follow the instructions on customizing this document for yourself.

Look like a pro next time you meet with a home buyer and give them this informative document.


11 Ways to Promote Social Engagement on Your Facebook Page


Have you noticed a drop in your Facebook engagement?

Wondering how you can better engage with your fans?

Making small changes to what and how you post can help your Facebook updates generate clicks, likes, and comments. In this article, you’ll discover 11 tips for boosting Facebook engagement.

#1: Pose a Question

One of the simplest and most effective ways to kickstart a dialogue with your Facebook fans is to ask them a question. Basically, you’re inviting a response. If fans can relate to the question and you find a way to leverage people’s interests or needs, they’ll find it hard not to answer.


Here are some questions to ask:

  • Specific: What’s your favorite…?
  • Tips: How do you…?
  • Experiences: What’s your favorite moment from experience/memory…?
  • Edgy: Do you think…? (controversial question)
  • Direct: Why do you…?
  • Events: Who is going/Who attended…?
  • Timely: Today is…, so what are you…?

#2: Share Relevant Images

A picture can say a lot more than a text post. A visually striking image can bring the rapid thumb-scroller to a halt. Images have proven time and again to improve engagement, especially when they tell a story or connect with the audience on a personal or emotional level.


According to BuzzSumo, Facebook posts with images see more than double the engagement of basic text posts.

Use relevant, colorful, and high-quality images. If you want to spice up your photos but don’t have Photoshop-level skills, try free tools like Canva and Adobe Spark.

#3: Crowdsource Feedback

People love giving feedback. When you ask for input the right way, your audience will jump on board and be quick to respond. The added benefit is you can uncover opportunities to improve your business and delight your customers.


Imagine the potential boost to customer loyalty (and future engagement) if you make changes to your business based on the input you receive? Give this tactic a try. It’s a much more personal approach than surveys and you can respond to people directly to address their feedback.

#4: Include a Call to Action

The standing rule for any kind of marketing is that if you want your audience to do something, you have to tell them to do it. Use a call to action in every post, whether it’s to prompt a comment, share, opt in, like, RSVP, or any other action.


Always tell your audience what you want them to do to encourage engagement.

#5: Boost Your Best Posts

If you have a Open House or a New Listing, post it to your Facebook page and boost that post. You don’t need to throw hundreds of dollars at it; give it a modest boost of $25 – $50 and target the people in the city you do business in and who like your page and their friends.


You won’t necessarily see thousands of shares, but a boosted post can help get your best content in front of your target audience and spark some engagement. The more people engage, the greater the organic reach to their networks. This tactic can be especially effective with Open Houses and sharing the results with the owners. Often this method is far less expensive than advertising in the newspaper.

#6: Share Industry News and Hot Topics

Even your most loyal fans are interested in more than just your business. Sharing big news from your industry will show your fans that you’re not focused solely on promoting your business; you want to keep them informed about current topics. They’ll appreciate and respond to that.


Curate industry news from a trusted source and ask your fans what they think. Ask people to contribute their thoughts and share the post. I often share resources from other marketing sources in order to ensure our agents have every opportunity to thrive! Sharing news, articles of interest from other trusted sources to your sphere makes you more credible and likable!

#7: Adjust Your Post Frequency

If your Facebook engagement is slipping, it might have something to do with your post frequency. Posting too little (say a few times a week) won’t help you establish relevance with Facebook’s algorithm and you’ll be fighting for space in your audience’s feed.

On the other hand, posting too often can hurt you, too. Facebook tries to show users the most interesting and relevant content from everyone they follow. If you’re posting a half-dozen times each day over a short period, expect a lot of your content to be missed.


To find a sweet spot, try posting a few times each day at the times your fans are most likely to engage. Check out Facebook Insights for specific audience data you can use to target your fans.

#8: Give People a Giggle

We all love a good laugh in our news feed. Lighten the mood for your fans and show them that you have some personality. Don’t overthink it; just do something to give your fans a chuckle. Keep their interests in mind and make sure the humor is relevant to your audience.


obviously make sure no one knows the people or who’s home you are giggling over. We work in one of the best industries for finding things to laugh at. A great source for Bad MLS Photos etc is this awesome Facebook Group “Really Bad MLS Photos” https://www.facebook.com/groups/146553387152 Join the group and prepare for a laugh.

#9: Respond to Everyone

If you receive comments from your fans but fail to respond or acknowledge them, they’ll notice and stop engaging with you. It only takes a few minutes throughout the day to monitor your social activity and make a few quick or witty responses to fans who comment.


Consistent responses make fans feel valued and they’ll be more likely to engage with future posts from your page.

#10: Make an Emotional Connection

If you want to elicit a big response from your fans, publish a post that appeals to your audience on an emotional level. Share content and tell stories that pull at people’s interests, emotions, fears, and even their dislikes. Brand loyalty doesn’t come from a product; it comes from a customer’s joy at experiencing a shared sentiment or finding a solution that works.


Emotion drives loyalty and engagement. It’s why millions of people couldn’t help but share the “Thank You, Mama” P&G commercials, making them the most shared Olympics ad at the time.

#11: Provide Value

Anytime you share or post content to your Facebook page, ask yourself what kind of value you’re providing to your fans. The best way to get their attention is to make sure there’s a takeaway or something in it for them. At the very least, give them a good chuckle. At best,teach people how to do something, inspire them to take action, and add value to their life.


This exhaustive list of ideas should help you fill your calendar with a good mix of content types that are likely to promote engagement among your Facebook followers. Keep your Facebook posts short for maximum effect. The ideal character count is about 50 or fewer.

Also keep in mind that if you want engagement, you need to post and respond to your fans every day. While Front Porch Report is an awesome tool to automate the lifestyle articles for your social network.  Go for the human connection and provide value, and you’ll see your engagement rise.

Was this helpful? If so, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.


The House Hunting Checklist


Keep your buyer clients organized while shopping for properties by using The RE/MAX Gold House Hunting Checklist.

This helpful checklist makes it easy for your clients to keep track and make notes about their thoughts on potential homes. With questions regarding both the home and neighborhood, The House Hunting Checklist is a great way to note why the property will or won’t work.

We recommend printing a few copies before the house hunting trip takes place. Prior to visiting a property, write the address and MLS information down for your clients. Once you arrive, share The House Hunting Checklist with your buyers and tell them to have fun! Don’t forget a clip board and a pen!


Click to Download PDF

25 killer Pinterest real estate board suggestions to target buyers and sellers

bill-best-photo-002-1-jpgThis guest post was written by Bill Gassett, a Realtor with Re/Max Executive Realty who has been helping people move in and out of the MetroWest Massachusetts area for the past 26 years. Connect with him on Google Plus.



If you are just getting your feet wet with Pinterest for your real estate business, you may not know just how good the site can be as a marketing tool! You might also not realize that you need to have a variety of boards posted that are about a lot more than just the homes you have for sale. Using Pinterest for real estate well entails having a variety of useful boards.

A common mistake that is prevalent among many real estate agents is the natural instinct just to share real estate listings, which to most people is really boring. Have no fear — here are 25 ideas for real estate boards that you can create to bring your Pinterest strategy to the next level and drive tons of traffic in the process back to your blog or website.

Before getting into the creative ideas, here’s a quick recap on ways to make your Pinterest pins reach their full potential:

  • Only pin interesting and high-quality images or videos. Blurry or boring pictures/videos have about a zero percent chance of getting repinned. Some of the best photos for pinning are of the long and skinny variety. They just stand out better in a sea full of pictures. There are times you will see a photo that has been pinned that is too small. You want to avoid this at all costs, as it will generate little activity.
  • Apply for rich pins. Rich pins look much better than a standard pin. When you are on Pinterest the difference between a rich pin and non-rich pin is night and day. The rich pin will have a bold title and an enhanced Web link. You can get rich pins by following a few steps. First you need to mark up your site with Web coding known as schema. There are numerous plug-ins you can add to your site that will do this for you. Once you have done that, you apply for rich pins at Pinterest. Once approved, your pins will look beautiful.
  • Keep descriptions short and sweet. People are on Pinterest to look at pictures, not read a novel. Make your descriptions keyword-rich but still short. You can even ask a question to get emotions involved and encourage comments (example: Can you picture yourself in this home?).
  • Add your website to the description. Adding your website to the description will provide a link to your website on every person’s board who repins your article. While the link is “no followed,” it is still a link and makes it easier for the reader to have something easy to click to get to your site.
  • Make hashtags your friend. They aren’t just for Twitter anymore. Pick two or three keywords or phrases that people would search to find your pins, add a hashtag to the front of them, and add them to your pin (example: #realestate #Boston homes, #dream home, #home inspiration, #home improvement, etc.).

OK, now that that’s covered, let’s get onto the Pinterest real estate board ideas:


Boards to attract buyers

  1. Home Decorating and Inspiration. Put together a board with a collection of rooms designed by famous designers.
  2. My Dream Home. Almost everyone on Pinterest has a “Dream Home” board, and your job is to find pictures that your followers will want to add to theirs. Think massive walk-in closets, stunning built-in pools, and homes with curb appeal to leave anyone drooling.
  3. Best Kid Room Ideas. A simple concept to find and an even easier one to gain you some repins.
  4. Outdoor Living. Photos of lush waterfalls, stellar decks, and anything that would make a potential buyer jealous.
  5. Style-themed boards. Make one with contemporary decor, another with traditional, and another with country living.

Boards to attract sellers

  1. Capitalizing on Small Spaces. Ideas for people to make the most of their space, like multipurpose furniture ideas, and tips and tricks to using color.
  2. DIY Weekend or Home Improvement Projects. Like adding a built-in bookshelf to the office or tips for repainting a bedroom.
  3. Organizing Inspiration. Pinterest fans love creative organization ideas, so why not make a board about it?
  4. Repurposing Ideas. Another popular theme on Pinterest: People love to make new things from old things and then brag about it.
  5. Tips for Staging. Pin images that show the ideal way to stage a home for sale.
  6. Community Boards. Most real estate agents have a territory they cover that includes at least a few cities or towns. Promote everything about the real estate communities you cover. Start first by having city or town pages on your website that have interesting and unique photos that people will want to pin. Now take this concept and create a board for each of the towns you provide real estate services for and highlight all the best landmarks including schools, parks, restaurants, lakes and others that would be interesting to visitors. Remember, you want to get the point across that you are the local real estate market expert!

Let’s Talk Real Estate – Terminology For The Consumer

In the middle of a discussion with a client, have you ever said a term that is common within the industry and could immediately tell that your clients thought, “Huh”?

Regardless if your clients are first time home buyers or seasoned movers, it’s likely they will ask you to clarify a term once or twice throughout the transaction.

Be proactive by downloading and sharing this document with them which highlights the most commonly used, client facing real estate terms from A-Z. Your clients will appreciate the effort and you will be able to speak freely about all things real estate!

Real Estate Terminology  

  • Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) — The interest rate is tied to a financial index making themonthly mortgage payment go up or down over time
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — The percent of interest that will be charged on a homeloan.
  • Appraisal — A report highlighting the estimated value of the property completed by a quali-fied 3rd party. This is typically done for the benefit of the buyer to ensure the property isworth what they are paying.
  • Association Fee/HOA Fee — In addition to a mortgage, certain housing communities such astownhomes have a monthly fee associated with maintaining the common areas and ameni-ties.
  • Balloon Mortgage — A long-term mortgage loan that starts small but has a large paymentdue at maturity.
  • Closing — This is the final meeting where the buyer and seller sign the necessary paper-work, complete the transaction, and release/take possession of the property. Usually therepresenting agents and attorneys attend.
  • Closing Costs — The buyer and seller have expenses associated with the transaction otherthan that of the actual cost of the home. For example, the buyer has a variety of fees duefor obtaining a new loan and the seller must pay commission to both agents.
  • Closing Disclosure — A form that provides the final details about the mortgage loan. It in-cludes loan terms, projected monthly payments, and how much the extra fees will be.
  • Collateral — Something of value (in this case your home) that is held to ensure repaymentof a mortgage or loan.
  • Commission — A percent of the sale price of the home that is paid to agents. The seller payscommission to both the buyer and listing agent.
  • Comparables — Homes in the area of interest that have recently sold that have similar fea-tures.
  • Contingencies — Conditions which must be met in order to close. Contingencies are typicallytied to a date, referred to as a deadline. If the contingency is not satisfied the contract maybe canceled.
  • Counteroffer — The response from the seller in regard to an offer.
  • Debt to Income Ratio — A lender will look at a borrowers debt versus income to determinethe amount of loan they are eligible for and if they can repay their debt plus the home loan.
  • Down payment — A percent of the cost of the property that is paid up front as a part of themortgage.
  • Earnest Money — The deposit made from the buyer to the seller when submitting an offer.This deposit is typically held in trust by a third party. Upon closing the money will generallybe applied to the down payment or closing cost.
  • Escrow — This term has multiple meanings; earnest money is typical held by a third partyuntil closing in “escrow”. It can also be referred to as the time period from when the con-tract is written and accepted by the seller to when the home sale actually closes.
  • Equity — The difference in the market value of a home versus what is owed on the home.
  • FHA — A mortgage that is financed through a private lender and insured by the FederalHousing Administration, often requiring a lower down payment and income to qualify.
  • Fixed Rate — The interest rate will remain the same for the entire life of the mortgage.
  • Home Equity Line of Credit — A loan or line of credit that is determined based on the equityor homes value after subtracting the loans owed.
  • Home Inspection — The process in which a professional inspects the seller’s home for issuesthat are not openly apparent, then creates a report for the buyer to review.
  • Home Protection Plan — An annual service that covers the cost of repairs or replacementsto items covered in the plan; items like stoves, washer/dryers, etc.
  • Hybrid — A loan that starts with a fixed rate period, then converts to an adjustable rate.
  • Mortgage Insurance — Insurance written in connection with a mortgage loan that protectsthe lender in the event the borrower cannot repay their loan. This is usually not required ifthe borrower has 20% or more for the down payment.
  • Mortgage Note — A promise to pay a sum of money at a standard interest rate during a spe-cific term that is secured by a mortgage
  • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — The national list of real estate properties that are availablefor sale. These are the most reliable sources to receive up-to-date listing information.
  • Pre-Approval — The process in which a buyer must provide a mortgage professional the ap-propriate information on income, debts, and assets that will be used to make the initialcredit only loan decision.
  • Pre-Qualification — Once approved for a loan, this is the process in which the maximum saleprice, loan amount, and month payments are calculated for the borrow. This not a loan ap-proval however, it useful to know prior to searching for a home.
  • Principal — The underlying amount of the loan which is actually borrowed.
  • Property Taxes — These are the taxes that are enforced by the city, town, county, and stategovernment entities. These taxes are included in the total monthly mortgage payment andare held in escrow by the lender.
  • REO — Real estate owned properties or foreclosed properties currently owned by a financialinstitution such as the bank that made the loan to the previous owner
  • Reverse Mortgage — This is specifically for seniors and it allows them to convert the equityin their home to cash.
  • Short Sale — A situation when the seller’s lender is willing to accept an offer and allows thesale to be completed for an amount less than the mortgage amount owed by the seller.
  • Title — A legal document proving current and proper ownership of the property. Also re-ferred to as a Title Deed, this document highlights the history of property ownership andtransfers.
  • Underwriting — The process in which the potential home buyer is evaluated for their finan-cial ability to obtain and repay a loan. This normally consist of a credit check and appraisalof the property.
  • VA Loan — Loans that are given to Americans who have served in the armed forces. Theyare administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Click to download a printable PDF version

Socially Connected: Tips for Mastering the Art of Instagram


Creating and implementing a consistent social media strategy is vital for REALTORS® looking to cultivate online leads while maintaining current relationships. Social media has re-shaped the way business is conducted, both nationally and globally, across all industries. For real estate agents wanting to reach every type of buyer possible, social media is a resource you can’t go without, or else money will be left on the table and marketshare will surely decrease.

For agents merely tolerating social media or for newbies wanting to dip their toe into the pool, Facebook is probably still the number one place to start. But if you want to target a younger, savvy audience, one with an itchy trigger finger, Instagram should be your new best friend. Instagram can help you connect with the millennials and first-time buyers that your business may be lacking. Though trite, the ol’ saying still rings true: “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” With Instagram’s photo and video sharing capabilities, you can easily share the unique amenities your listings have to offer, while also display snapshots of your own life to help buyers and sellers get to know you, building trust.

Keep in mind that out of its 500 million users, 70 percent check Instagram at least once a day , with half of those checking multiple times per day. Get in front of these prospective leads with these tips:

Sure, we cringe when people use hashtags in spoken dialogue (#worst, right?), but don’t let the informal culture of hashtags turn you off from their intended purpose: to organize, draw attention and promote. Using hashtags on your Instagram posts will help your target audience find you, and may even double your click-through rates, according to research from Buddy Media. Use hashtags on every Instagram post, if possible, such as #luxury, #kitchenremodel, #losangeles (insert your market here), #realestate, and #openhouse to help pinpoint your message and connect your post with other similar posts and the users browsing that topic. If you don’t use hashtags on Instagram, you might as well not use it at all (but spoiler alert: you should!).

Get in the gridGrid-iPhone
Using your phone’s grid feature will help you take much more attractive photos. Go into your smartphone’s camera settings and turn on the Grid feature. This splits your camera view into nine blocks (aka, into thirds). You can now abide by photography’s Rule of Thirds by aligning the subject of your photo with the four guidelines and their intersection points. These intersecting points are the areas where the eye is naturally drawn to. The grid will help you get the perfect off-center shot of that waterfall feature tucked away in your new listing’s backyard. You may not be a professional photographer, but you can still post heaps of quality photos that will really wow your followers.

Edit before filtering
Ideally, you want to be aware of natural light when taking photos of homes. With the right natural lighting, a photo will need very little editing and filtering, hence, the #nofilter hashtag (go ahead and brag a little!) Also, be aware of how different artificial lights affect a photo. Some may give off a yellow-y glow.

If you want to improve a photo without drastically changing it, click “Edit” and adjust things like contrast, warmth, brightness and saturation first. Once your colors are popping just the way you want, click on “Filter” and fiddle around with different looks. Always opt for natural light first, if possible; otherwise, Instagram’s sharp editing and filtering features can help you polish your masterpiece.

Be consistent with how often you post…
As with other social media platforms, consistency is key. According to studies by Union Metrics, most major brands post an average of 1.5 times a day to Instagram. To start, try posting once a day. Once your routine is set, try expanding to twice a day. Reports also indicate that some popular brands that post as much as 10 times per day did not notice a sizable loss in engagement as long as quality was still present.

Instagram on iPhone 5…and also with what you post
Whether you’re a part of a large real estate franchise or a small boutique firm, consider what your own personal brand is. Are you known for luxury listings? Certain neighborhoods? Working with first-time buyers? Move-up buyers? Your Instagram feed should represent both who you are and how you operate. Prospective buyers and sellers should be able to get to know you (albeit, virtually) via social media. Instagram photos are a huge component to that.

Sharing is caring
Instagram should be one element of a larger social media plan. A cog in the wheel. Using Instagram’s Share feature, you can post your beautifully edited and filtered photos to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr. You can also email them or quickly copy a link. Connect your social worlds by posting photos on your other pages. This will widen your reach by helping your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, etc., find your page on Instagram, which in turn will fuel engagement across the board. In the end, it’s all about engagement.

Instagram is a unique and wildly addictive social media platform that allows agents to promote themselves in a creative way. With a little bit of time invested, agents can make new connections and start turning leads into dollar signs.

Original post by: Nick Caruso

Nick Caruso is RISMedia’s Senior Editor and caffeine junkie. When he’s 
not writing about the amenities (and absurdities) of celebrity real 
estate, he’s obsessing over “Survivor,” scrounging to find new music, 
skiing, and writing on his own entertainment blog. It is his firm belief 
that bacon and hot sauce make everything better.