Every Door Direct Marketing – Target Marketing from the USPS

EDDM Steps and Presentation

The big frustration with most REALTORS when it comes to postcards and direct mail marketing is they don’t get the response they are hoping for. Meaning tey did not get a listing or a new buyer from the campaign they just sent. The biggest mistake agents make is sending our Just Listed and or Just Sold cards. Their hope is the consumer will see the sold or listed card and immediately respond with a request to sell their home or to assist them in buying their new home. The problem here is consumers don’t pay attention to the mail they receive.

The average consumer in the US receives 3 pieces of junk mail a day. this on top of their real mail averages 5 pieces of mail each day. With today’s technology most bills are paid online. Fewer and fewer mailed bills are sent out and thus mail is not as important as it used to be. Think of how you go through your own mail. Do you respond to the teeth whiting, landscaping, house cleaning, and or automotive ads you get? The answer is most likely NO! However, you can argue that you always read the real estate cards that come. That’s because you’re in the business and you pay attention to your business. Study after study is done each year to measure the effect of consumer response to mail. The good news is direct mail marketing real works.

The best direct mail campaign you can do is to be consistent with your message and the look & design of your printed material. Consistency is the main ingredient here. What’s the one piece of marketing mail you get each month and you immediately recognize it? COSTCO! That’s right Costco does it right. each time their mailer is sent it looks exactly the same, the cover never changes. You instantly recognize this because you see it all the time. The more they continue to send it out the more their market share increase with awareness. The inside content changes but eh cover remains the same to build brand identity. The same should be done when you create a direct mailing campaign.

Do away with changing the home each time you sell one. Stop promoting the new listing. The consumer simply does not pay attention and thus you are wasting your money. Instead create a marketing piece about how you sold another home, or just listed another home. The front should always look the same, same captivating photo, your face and a strong call to action. Better yet use only Call to Action Postcards. These are proven to generate the biggest results. A good example of a strong CTA is Home Values. 

The front is all about Call To Action. Beautiful background home with a strong get your homes value URL CTA. The back is your branding. These cards work so well I can guarantee if you follow the instructions I have outlined below you will generate new listings.

EDDM Explained: The Every Door Direct Mail campaign is the cheapest and most impactful direct mail program on the market. The average card to mail is just $17.4 cents a piece. When  you add the cost to print the cards you are still on average less expensive than any other way. Gone are the sneaking in the back room at the post office with your Bulk Mailer carts and gan sorting the cards by coded numbers only to get told you did it wrong. The process with EDDM is super simple.

First head over to www.usps.com (or go here)

You will need an exact address of the neighborhood you wish to target. Start small, 500 postcards is ideal, affordable and the numbers really work. When you pinpoint the neighborhood the map will show area blocks or subdivisions. The postal service divides neighborhoods into section for easy definition and to create simple targeted campaigns. You can see from the illustration above we have targeted 454 homes in this neighborhood. The cost to mail to these homes will be $79.90. Clicking continue takes you to the check out and set up for mailing the cards. All you have to do is follow the instructions by inputting your information, the date you want them mailed. You can pay online ahead of time or you can pay at the post office. Once your order is complete you will need to print out the pre filled out forms (There will be a total of three) One page is the description of the entire order and mailing instructions. The second page is a receipt and the third page(s) is the bundle pages for your cards. Your cards need to be wrapped into stacks of 50 or 100. They do not need to be exact so feel free to count one stack then stack them side to side and make them even. For our 454 cards you will want 5 bundle sheets wrapped in 4 bundles of 100 each and the last would wrap the final 54 cards. That’s it, head to the post office in the neighborhood you plan to mail to and drop them off. Pay and go.

Here’s the Trick… In order to get rolling with a listing from this campaign you need to do this 10 times over 20 weeks. The same mailers, to the same neighbors over and over again every other week. Starting with 500is good for two [primary reasons. First it’s affordable. Second it’s enough to make the numbers work. In California home ownership turns over on average 7-8% each year. this means in your neighborhood of 500 homes you can expect that as many as 40 residents will move. That equates to 40 potential seller leads. Direct mail when done right should yield a 10-15% response to a strong CTA. This means if done right you should get 4 to 6 sellers interested in using you as their REALTOR.

Frequency + Consistency + Strong Call To Action = RESULTS

In this presentation attached below you can see slide by slide as I walk you through how to effectively create and deliver a strong CTA EDDM campaign. As always, feel free to leave a comment and or reach out to anytime for help with your marketing efforts.

Hosting A Mega Open House

I have recently been asked to share more about Mega Open Houses. Last Spring in our Spring Into Action MEC event I spoke about this hot new marketing strategy Mega Open House. Since then I continue to get questions about the best practices for hosting a Mega Open House. There really is no secret. However, there are a few must do’s to give yourself the best possible chance at a highly successful open house.

According to NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers open houses are a great way to find top tier prospects.

  • 44 percent of all buyers used an open house as a source in their home search process.
  • 68% of all buyers and sellers say they used the first agent they met!
  • Buyers with a median income between $175,000 and $199,000 are more likely to find their home through an open house compared to those in other income brackets.
  • Repeat buyers are more likely to find their home from an open house than first-time buyers
  • and repeat buyers use open houses more frequently.

Knowing that Open Houses are the single best practice to pick up a buyer and potentially if you’re really good a seller. You should be hosting open houses every chance you get. Here are my 10 steps to a successful Mega Open House.

1.Knock out a quick video to promote the open

Using video apps like Videolicious are the easiest way to generate a quick video about your open house. You simply download the app, take a few pictures of the home you plan to host open, click start and start talking. This app is so easy you’ll have a video up and on Facebook within minutes.

2.Post video throughout social networks

Social media is the most cost effective medium for advertising listings and open houses. Post your video on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and of course YouTube. YouTube is super important because you then get the SEO value of indexing the property address on Google and YouTube. You will always be found as long as the video stays online.

3.Boost your video on Facebook

Boosting ads on Facebook is a must to promote your Mega Open House. For approximately $60.00 you can run a Facebook boosted ad for three days and reach thousands of impressions, get hundreds of clicks and drive traffic right to the very video you made posted on YouTube or your website.

4.Mail or hand out personal invites to neighbors

Grab a handful of flyers and or invitations to your Mega Open House and hit the streets, Target the neighbors within walking distance of the home you will be holding open. Door knocking is a wonderful way to find your next listing. Walking door to door inviting the neighbors to come early and see the home is a great way to discover a listing as well as set the stage for you Mega Open House.

5.Host a private Neighbor only event 1 hour prior

In conjunction with the above door knocking you’ll want to host a one hour neighbor only pre open house. This is a great way to get to know the neighbors and find those potential sellers before other agents working the area get a shot at the listing. Make sure you have snacks and beverages on hand.

6.Use a minimum 20 directional signs

Signs, signs, everywhere signs… So goes the song. The more the better. Frank Liu a RE/MAX Gold agent in San jose uses 0ver 40 signs all directing traffic to his Mega Open Houses, This not only gets more traffic to your open house but it sends a strong message to the neighbors that you mean business when selling a home.

7.Use flags, banners, balloons, etc to attract attention

Here again the more the merrier. Use the tall flags that plop in the ground. Banners, the RE/MAX 7ft air balloon is an awesome tool for Mega Open Houses. You basically want to create a ton of attention for your open house and demonstrate to the neighbors that you will go above and beyond to sell their home.

8.Roll out red carpet and serve refreshments

You read right. Red carpet is a must! Go to your local fabric store and ask for a giant roll of red material. Roll it our from the front door to the street. This is a great way of welcoming guests to your open house .

9.Post notice “Seller’s require all attnedees sign in on door”

Many agents bring their iPad, tablet or even laptop to the open house and have a snazzy little app that capture buyers information. Nothing works as good as a simple hand written notice taped to the front door that simply says “The sellers have requested that all attendees sign in”. Works everytime and you will walk away with everyone’s email and phone number.

10.Set up a sign in table at the front door.

Don’t forget this essential. If you do the above you’ll need a small table with a sign in book.

That’s it. No magic formula. Like most marketing efforts it only requires you get out of bed and make it happen. If you follow these 10 steps outlined for hosting your next open house you will master the Mega Open House and win more listings.

3 Myths In Real Estate That Could Be Hurting Your Business

Real estate marketing in the digital world can be confusing at best. Most agents try everything and anything they read and or hear about to find their way through this social craze and online exploration we call the digital consumer. One thing is for sure. Myths seem to find their way into our business practice nearly every day. I am always surprised when agents tell me they heard this or they heard that about the online marketing world. You might be surprised yourself to learn the 3 biggest Myths I learned about this last year. these very Myths are misleading you down the wrong path and one filled with frustration. No worries. I am here to set you straight and get you on the path to success again.

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Whether you are new to digital marketing and just getting started or perhaps you are a seasoned pro, you may have tried a variety of organizational and marketing tasks hoping to arrive at the perfect system that helps put your digital tasks on autopilot to let you do what you do best: SELL! The Front Porch Report is an awesome “Do It For You” marketing system that takes the challenge of understanding the when, how and why out of your daily tasks, I strongly believe agents should empower assistance and or hire marketing platforms that do it for them. Stop wasting money (Which we all know time is money) on tasks below your “Pay Scale”

Myth #1: CRMs don’t work

We know that NAR states that 40-50% of real estate leads come from referrals from people you know or from repeat clients. I’ve implemented plenty of CRM (contact relationship management) systems in my day. I think it is absolutely mandatory you understand and use a digital CRM platform vs. the old system (email, sticky notes, excel spreadsheets, etc.). This is not to say that a handwritten note once in awhile almost always seals the relationship and takes it to another level.  Having said that, the system that you may have selected may not be the best or easiest system to use. It may not be the best for your industry, your mind type.

Fact #1

CRM systems DO WORK if they are well selected and implemented. Today’s CRMs are not the same as even a few years ago. The evolving nature of automated drip campaigns as really elevated the value of CRMS into a must-have in order to NOT let any your leads or referrals sources get lost in your digital ecosystem and automatically helps keep you top of mind while you’re out selling, selling, selling. There are many options to choose from and it’s imperative to find the right CRM for you, the way you work, what reports you want and what workflow processes match the way you manage your day-to-day business. After you pick the right one, to get the value out of the software you selected, you must COMMIT to using it and it alone for all your contact data and communication needs. This paradigm shift can take a good 30 days so make sure you give it the time it needs to be successful and you feel really comfortable with using your new software. Trust me when I tell you, you will not be disappointed.

Fact #2

In almost all CRM eFarming drip campaign newsletter providers I see the same thing. Real Estate, Real Estate, Real Estate! Yes you read right. Stop sending your client’s all real estate related material. The occasional market update is fine but everything you send them should not be real estate related. Why companies can’t figure this out is beyond me. Let’s take The Front Porch Report Daily Posts and Weekly Email as an example. We focus on three primary subjects, Home, Health and Wealth. These three topics are proven winners for engagement in the social world of marketing. This means more people will like your posts and click through to the stories if they involve their lifestyle. Nutrition, fitness, recipes, inspiration, travel, good eats, decor, design etc are all hot topics that create engagement with your consumer. Real Estate related stories are advertising. This advertising should be sprinkled in between the articles. When done right. Magic happens. Your sphere grows, and referrals happen.

Myth #2: I’ve tried Facebook and it doesn’t work

I love it when I hear this. There are so many questions I ask following hearing this response. like “what did you try?” and “why do you say it didn’t work?” The responses I hear are typically “I have a Facebook and I post on it but I never get leads from it.” Implementing HOW you can make it work for you takes time and knowledge. The sad part is that as SOON as you think you’ve mastered Facebook for business, it changes. Facebook is one of the fastest evolving advertising platforms around. That’s right, I said advertising. After tasting the sweet fruit of organic and free traffic / visibility / connectivity on Facebook, they have flipped the script and are making businesses pay for reach (not new news / not surprising).

Fact #1

Facebook is simply The single most powerful tool in advertising right now. You can find exactly who you want to target (age, income, homeowner/not), where you want to target them (location, The ability to target and reach your intended audience is beyond amazing and is a marketing professional’s dream come true. Most business owners who want to use Facebook use as a blow horn to say “HEY, COME BUY FROM ME!” You have to understand the nature of today’s performing marketing practices is all about creating compelling value and authentic relationships. Then, you have to understand the Facebook platform and why people are there. They are on Facebook to connect and engage. If you are hitting COLD traffic with COME BUY FROM ME type of messaging, then don’t be surprised when you aren’t getting any clicks / leads. Advertising has evolved and you have to evolve with it or be left behind.

Fact #2

Facebook is the single most important platform you should be using. Think of your Facebook feed as a place to Datamine. This means sit in front of your computer or on your phone and look for opportunity to engage. Each and every opportunity is a chance to build on your relationship and get their commitment to use your services when the time comes.  Take it to another level. Don’t just “Like”, “Comment” or “Share” this engagement. Reach out. Grab a note card from your desk and send them a handwritten note congratulating them on their accomplishment and or event that has just taken place. I call this “eBuffini” them. Birthdays, anniversary’s that’s the easy stuff. Look for job changes, accomplishments, send notes about how a post made you feel good. This is the magic formula to building referrals from social media.

Myth #3: The more websites the better

NAR states that on average 9-10% of real estate leads come from organic searches. I don’t think I’ve talked to an agent/broker that has less than 5 website domain addresses. Many have upwards of 10+ with roughly 5 emails addresses they are managing. They’ve left various firms and joined others or opened their own. There was a time when owning “YourTownHomeForsale” made sense. Not anymore. Where is the consumer looking for homes? ZILLOW with 80+ million visitors a month. We only sell 5 million homes a year and yet 80 million visitors monthly are searching. That’s a lot of dead leads…

Fact #1

More is not always better! Google is one really smart search engine. He’s getting smarter every year. Google dominates search with 66% of the search market and when Bing and Yahoo, they collectively make up 32% of the search market. You might be operating off of old SEO (search engine optimization) information when you think that more domains are better. Google releases 2+ algorithm updates a year. He knows which websites are trying to game the SEO system to reach higher organic (free) SERP (search engine results page) rankings and dings them for it. Google local is a whole other animal and there are professionals and software system specifically dedicated to helping users get found in the Google local pack in the top right corner. Submitting your business to Google as a REALTOR with RE/MAX Gold is a sure way to get noticed and indexed fast.

Fact #2

Your name as a domain website is probably the most important website you can own. And really the only one you need to own. Unless you are a SEO wiz and creating website landing pages sound fun to you. Stick with your name. You might be surprised how easy it is to get your name as a domain. Even if you have a very common name. jim Smith. Instead of trying to get jimsmith.com which will not be available. try Jim-Smtih-Real-Estate.com Use hyphens to seperate the words. This really helps when people are searching for you. Consumers no longer call phone numbers. they search fro you on Google. The Google the address. Finding you is your end result. Think of how you type in to find someone online. You don’t type in jimsmith, you type Jim Smith. You use spaces. Hyphens tell Google and other search engines “Space” This creates more accurate searches.  Try it and watch your business grow.

Hopefully these three tips will clear up some misguidance you have received over the last year. I still strongly recommend you work towards having this whole marketing stuff done for you. Front Porch report does it for you for $100/monthly. Try it today.

Three Steps to Find More Listings This Fall

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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

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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 &
appointments
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
listings
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
CMA
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
room?
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
facility)
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
one!”)
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
listings
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
guide
102 Work garage sales (they’re cleaning up, do
they want to move?)
103 Purchase tickets to an event & offer to your
clients
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/
CSU/CU
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
violations
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

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

Expanding Your Client Base through Social Media

Great article from Claire Wiese, Social Media Marketing Manager at HSA Home Warranty

Social-Media-Marketing-StrategyToday’s buyer will search online at some point during the buying process. When they do, it’s crucial that your business and contact information show up at the top of the search results. Many people think that this can cost thousands of dollars, but you can do a lot of the work yourself through social media. Here are a few tips to get you started on the major social networks.

Facebook
Setting up a Facebook page for your business is an excellent way to reach out to clients and their friends and family. To keep them interested, be sure to feature lifestyle content, in addition to your listings. Show your expertise by posting photos and information about the neighborhood schools, new cafes and upcoming events. Ask questions, run local promotions, do all you can to engage readers and build a connection. By reaching out and sharing your knowledge about the community, you can become the go-to real estate professional in the area.

Twitter
Twitter lets you communicate quickly and keeps you connected. Just like Facebook, your listings should not take up your whole feed. Tweet links to helpful articles about securing a mortgage or renovation tips. Offer incentives for visiting your open houses, encourage others to post pictures, make comments and share your tweets. Use hashtags so your tweets will be found by more than your followers, and make every word count. Remember, you’ve only got 140 characters to engage readers.

YouTube
YouTube videos are a smart way to promote yourself and the properties you represent. Social-Media-GraphicHave someone with a steady hand shoot short videos of you showcasing your listings and the neighborhood sites that appeal to potential buyers. Be sure to identify yourself in each video with your name and contact information.

Pinterest
As the most visual of the social media sites, Pinterest lets you set up colorful boards with images of the neighborhood, decorating trends, renovation tips, your personal interests and listings. Your clients can engage by saving pins to their own boards, or liking and commenting on the images. With Pinterest, you can draw clients in by using visuals to paint a more complete picture of what you can offer them along with your listings.

How To Effectively Use Social Media Grow your Sphere and Build Referrals

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From time to time I get asked about all the various platforms agents can conduct business on and build their sphere. Social Media has quickly become “A Must Use” in real estate if agents are to remain successful and wish to grow their business. The challenge is where to start? which platforms should you use? How often should you post, share, comment, like, wink, send, receive, upload, pass, create, play, email etc… The list is endless when it comes to the many different ways you can engage. The key word here is “Engage”!

social-media-engagement

Remember, as I have said in previous MEC events. Using Social Media as a way to mine for engagement is the key to success. Finding ways on social platforms to engage is how you should be using social media at all times. It’s important you balance work and play. Sharing your personal information is far more engaging than sharing your work related stuff. Your sphere is more excited about the day your having with friends, sharing food, playing a game, visiting a city etc.,  than they are about your new listing. Go with the 75/25 Rule. 75% of everything you post should be about you, your life, the things you enjoy, your hobbies, special interests, etc. Mix in inspiring quotes, funny posts, a cat or two and BAM! You are going to find people liking your posts over and over. (I am kidding about the alltwitter-social-media-signpost cat or two part). 25% should be about your business. Do not post things like “Just listed, 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in the Roaring Springs subdivision, if you know of someone interested in buying call me” This is boring and will illicit ZERO engagement. Instead post things like ” New listing, Roaring Springs, you have to see this kitchen.. Simply amazing. (Then attach a spectacular photo of the kitchen and link it to the homes single page website). Now you have a strong call to action that will not only find a buyer, but get you noticed since more people are interested in seeing this “Amazing Kitchen” than just buyers looking for homes. Those in your sphere that are not in the market will still click the link and want to see what it is you are so excited about. This drives traffic and when you print your analytical report for the home owners you look like a ROCK STAR!

Finding Ways To Engage: What you should be spending most of your time on Social Media doing is looking for ways to build relationships and get referrals.  You do this by scanning your wall for reasons to reach out to your sphere. Let’s say Janice is in your sphere and you sold her and John a house three years ago. It’s Saturday and Janice just posted a picture of her daughter Alyssa kicking in a field goal for her soccer team. Janice is excited and posts the picture to Facebook with the description “Woot, woot, Alyssa’s first field goal for her soccer team… Go Alyssa” You see this post and like most in Social-Media-EngagementJanice’s sphere you like it, you might even be savvy enough to comment on the post.  However, the real ROCK STAR Agent goes one step further. You pull out a note card, you write a hand written message that reads “Congrats on your first field goal Alyssa, we at RE/MAX are all super proud of your accomplishments” The  you mail it to Janice and Alyssa. Now who do you think Janice cares more, those who liked an commented or the one person who just took time to recognize a special moment in her life? This is what I talk about all the time. You have to spend time finding ways to connect, not just like, share or comment but a reason to send a note, pop by, Buffini them!

Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s talk Best Practices. Below is a one sheet you can use as a reference tool for setting up any social media platform as well as a mini guide an how to best use the particular social platform for success. If you have suggestion bring them on. Leave them in the comments box below and happy mining…

Social One Sheets. Right Click and save or print.

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twitter

youtube

pinterest

Instagram

Here’s a special one-sheet on Best Practices when it comes to posting.

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