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December 15, 2017

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The Rookie Agent’s Guide to Selling New Construction: Part 2

Tue, 12/12/2017 - 20:23

David Hakimi

By David Hakimi

This article is part two in a two-part series on how to sell newly-constructed homes. Read part one here.

In my last post, I discussed the buyer’s agent’s duties in a new construction transaction and the sales process. Now I’d like to touch on hurdles clients may face buying new construction, as well as contracts, financing, and agent compensation.

Selling new-construction isn’t without its own set of unique hurdles, all of which can prove to be sufficiently challenging.

In most states, challenges arise largely from the differences between the builder’s contract and the normal re-sale contract that agents are more familiar with. Many states allow builders to circumvent the normal re-sale contract provided by your state’s real estate commission or REALTOR® association, and substitute a proprietary contract of their own instead. These proprietary contracts are typically crafted by the builder’s attorneys and they normally contain extensive language that heavily favors the rights of the builder. Additionally, a typical builder contract is often 60 to 80 pages long, compared to the 3 to 15 pages found in most states’ resale contracts.  A smart agent should always ask the builder’s sales person for a copy of the contract a day or two in advance so that they can carefully read it in its entirety—highlight any crucial dates or clauses that a buyer should be particularly aware of. This will also lead to a much smoother signing once the buyer is present, because you won’t have to read and explain an entire 80-page contract on the spot. Many experienced agents keep a file in their office containing example contracts from every active builder in their area. This allows you to quickly re-familiarize themselves with each builder’s contractual nuances in advance, so you’re prepared when a buyer asks you to go see a that builder’s model homes.

Financing can be particularly tricky when dealing with builder transactions.

@paulbr75, 2017. pixabay.com

Most mortgage lenders typically cannot cost-effectively lock-in an interest rate for more than 90 days in advance of a closing. Therefore, when dealing with an unfinished (or dirt-start) home that likely won’t be completed for 4 to 18 months, this can pose a substantial risk. If a buyer’s debt-to-income ratios barely qualify them to purchase the home at the time it’s contracted, then there’s a risk that they may no longer qualify to buy it at all if mortgage rates increase before they’re eligible to lock-in their rate. Because none of us own a crystal ball to predict which direction the rates may go, it’s always very prudent to make sure your buyers will still qualify even if the rates increase. A good rule of thumb is to make sure they would still qualify even if the rates climb by 1 percent. If not, then they are taking a major gamble buying new-construction. If a buyer barely qualifies for the amount they are trying to spend, then it makes more sense to find that buyer a home that they can close on within the term of their rate-lock. None of us wants to hear the lender tell our buyer that after waiting 13 months, they no longer qualify for enough to close on their new home.

Most builders also have an ownership stake, or affiliated business arrangement of some kind with a lender and a title company. Additionally, most builders will tie their incentives and/or discounts to the requirement of using this lender and title company. While they cannot force a buyer to utilize these service providers, they will routinely withhold discounts and incentives from buyers who insist on using an outside lender or title/escrow company. Often, these incentives are substantial enough that most buyers will comply with this requirement in order not to lose them. Therefore, it is prudent that the buyers understand this in advance, so that it doesn’t cause issues if they are particularly loyal to their current bank or lender.

Make certain you understand exactly how the builder will compensate you for bringing them a qualified buyer.

Builder co-op commissions are often structured differently then re-sale commissions, so you need to be clear on how you’ll be compensated. In most instances, builders only pay a disclosed percentage of the home’s base price, but do not pay any commission on the lot premiums, structural upgrades, landscaping, or design center options. This is important to factor in, because these costs can reach as much as 50 percent of the final price on some homes such as former “model homes.” Make sure you clarify in advance whether a builder pays commission based on the home’s base price, or on the home’s final purchase price. Also clarify the percentage they intend to pay as well. In most cases it’s slightly higher than the percentage paid on a resale to compensate for the fact that we aren’t paid on the home’s entire price. However, in some instances builders do pay on the complete amount, and there are some instances where the percentage paid is slightly higher than the area average for resales. This typically occurs when a development is selling too slowly, the builder has too many completed spec homes in inventory, the market is declining, or the builder is closing out the development. In these instances, selling new-construction can be particularly lucrative!

Make sure your client has never registered in the past while touring model homes without including your name on the registration card.

The builder’s salespeople are tenacious about pressing everyone who enters the model homes to fill out a registration card. Much like an open house on a re-sale, they want to capture the buyer’s information for follow-up purposes. However, those registration cards also serve a more insidious purpose as well. There are questions on the card that ask the buyer how they found out about the development, and whether they are represented by an agent or not. If your buyer previously visited the sales office without you (even if it was before they started working with you) and they didn’t put your name on their care, the builder now has a record of it. If you bring that buyer back later and attempt to register them as your client, the builder may not allow you to. The builders only intend to pay you if they determine that you were truly the procuring cause and initially brought the buyer to them. If they determine that the buyer found them on their own, without your involvement, then the builder will most likely refuse to pay you a commission. So be careful and ask your clients early in the process if they have registered with any builders before hiring you!

As long as you do your homework, the pros outweigh the cons.

Selling new construction can be very rewarding, and it can provide you with precious inventory in a market where re-sale homes are in short supply. If you take the time to tour all the builders’ models in your area, and learn as much as you can about their homes and policies, it will be time well spent. Get to know the sales people and their floorplans, because a solid knowledge of the builders in your area will be a benefit to both you and your clients. Be confident in your abilities and go sell some new homes!

David Hakimi runs the Hakimi Team with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate in the Denver and Boulder, Colo. market. Connect with David at www.DavidSellsDenver.com or on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Go for Unbroke in 2018

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:35

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

I love a good challenge that helps me work smarter in my business. How about you? Well, as the New Year approaches, I’m challenging you to go beyond “going for broke” and “go for unbroke.” No more feast or famine. Stop involuntary income roller coaster rides. Make 2018 your best year yet!

If you are a veteran of real estate, I encourage you to take an hour and reflect on these questions:

1. What brought me new business in 2017?

2. How can I realistically double those things in 2018?

3. What brought me repeat business in 2017?

4. How can I try to triple those things in 2018?

5. What seemed to cripple my business in 2017? In other words, what needs improvement?

6. How can I make sure those issues are minimized, eliminated, or improved in 2018?

Whether you are a rookie or an experienced real estate agent or broker, I want to further challenge you to complete these four strategies on my infographic below. Make 2018 your year to go all-in.

Pay close attention to number 2, because only about 12 percent of agents and brokers admit to giving local, specific items of value.  Translation: You can clean up on missed opportunities by others if you really implement this strategy. Check out this complimentary explanation video to further this point:

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. Want more of the best practices from our nation’s top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

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How Volunteer Work Benefits Our Business

Mon, 12/04/2017 - 16:43

By Christina Pappas

Growing up in a Miami real estate family, I always envisioned working with my father and grandfather. But before I jumped into the industry, I wanted to give my other interest a try: hotels. After graduating from Cornell University, I moved to Los Angeles to launch a career in the hospitality field.

I landed a job at a top L.A. luxury hotel—Viceroy Hotels and Resorts—where I moved up the ranks and was excited about my career. I was planning my next steps and looking back on how far I had come when my phone rang. Everything changed.

My grandfather died.

Grandpa’s unexpected death altered me. Ted Pappas—one of Miami’s most successful real estate brokers and the 1975 Miami Board of REALTORS® president—was more than a role model. He was one of my best friends; someone I could talk to about anything. My grandfather’s death in 2011 made me realize all the family time I missed while living on the opposite coast.

I quit my L.A. job and moved back to Miami. Three months after grandpa’s death, I was working at the family business like I always thought I would. My father, Michael Pappas, is the CEO of The Keyes Company, Florida’s largest independently-owned firm with more than 50 offices and 3,500 agents.

My negotiating skills and hospitality background eased my transition to real estate, but I did struggle with the pressure of trying to follow in my father and grandfather’s footsteps. My attention to detail and passion for the industry helped me triumph. In 2012, I was named Keyes Rookie of the Year for highest sales volume. I rose the ranks and today I’m managing Keyes’ Brickell area office—one of our firm’s highest-producing offices. I oversee 41 agents, and my goal is to continue to grow the Brickell office and inspire Keyes’ “Next Gen” group of under-40 associates.

I’ve been fortunate to have the same growth as a leader of the MIAMI REALTORS® (MIAMI), the nation’s largest local REALTOR® association with 45,000 members. I started volunteering with MIAMI as a member of its Young Professional Network. I was elected as 2015 MIAMI YPN chair, creating new events and seminars to help young members. In 2017, at the age of 31, I became the second-youngest in MIAMI’s 97-year history to serve as residential president.

Christina Pappas at her 2017 inaugural as president of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®

During my year of service, I didn’t feel I had to prove any skeptics wrong who might have questioned how a young female can handle a presidential role. I knew that as long as I served with an open heart, open mind, and pushed our association in the right direction, I would gain support from my colleagues. REALTORS® support each other like family as long as you put our members first.

I have experienced the breadth and resilience of this REALTOR® family power while serving as MIAMI’s 2017 residential president. I saw our members in action before, during, and after Hurricane Irma. I watched how they mobilized quickly to help friends, families, communities and complete strangers after the hurricane made landfall in the lower Florida Keys on Sept. 10, 2017.

The MIAMI Association as well as The Keyes Company and many other South Florida brokerages held donation events to collect items for victims impacted by Hurricane Irma. The MIAMI Association connected with other REALTOR® groups to secure a plane to fly the items to Monroe County in the Florida Keys the day after the donation event. REALTORS® are the heart of the community. No other profession has such a close link to the community. We are truly leaders.

Next year, I will stay on as a Miami leader serving on MIAMI’s 2018 Residential Board. I’m also thrilled to continue volunteering with Florida REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). I am honored to serve as the 2018 NAR Large Firm and Industry Relations liaison. I believe I bring a valuable insight as a conduit between large firms and the NAR Leadership Team, to help my committees see beyond what I know.

We at Keyes encourage our brokers and agents to volunteer because it provides leadership training and builds networks. Here are some ways volunteer work can help your business:

Leadership Training

Being able to understand a board room full of experienced real estate professionals and communicate what other board members are trying to say is a strong skill-set. It is remarkable to be able to coalesce our ideas in the MIAMI boardroom into an action or a program that helps thousands of REALTORS®. You bring that leadership training back to your office to help your office, team, and fellow associates. I’ve also benefited from the spokesperson training class that comes with serving the Florida REALTORS®.

At the Forefront of the Industry

Serving on a local board gets you the most up-to-date information on the real estate industry so you can bring the changes back to your office first. As a MIAMI leader, we are at the forefront of our industry. When you serve at the association level, you understand how you can impact your business and agents.

You are also building a trust level with some of the region’s top brokers. Real estate is a very small world, even when you serve on the national level. Building that trust and camaraderie with fellow brokers and agents through my volunteer work has helped grow our company’s network.

Building Your Network

I tell agents all the time: No one knows where their next deal is coming from. You don’t have a crystal ball. You need to be everywhere. A lot of people talk about using technology, but I never overlook association events or board meetings as a possible referral networking event.

I now know people who live all over the country. For me, it’s not just a referral; it’s a client and a person. I want to give that person the best real estate professionals in my network. So, I want to understand how different brokers and agents run their business. Whenever I meet someone with a winning business model during my volunteer work, I look at if they could be a good referral match for me. I find out if they’re a trustworthy businessperson. It’s about looking at all the angles.

Managing Work and Volunteer Time

People ask me all the time how I manage all of my volunteer obligations with my work. My answer? A calendar—a really good calendar with a skilled administrative assistant.

You can’t manage time. Managing time means telling time to stop. It’s about managing your calendar on a daily basis. It’s about prioritizing what takes precedence. What did I commit to? My grandfather used to say that it takes 25 years to build a reputation and five minutes to destroy it. If you commit to something and don’t follow through, ultimately that’s not serving anyone well.

I estimate I spend about 16 hours a month volunteering at local, state, and national boards. As a MIAMI leader, I attend four quarterly three-hour meetings for each board. I also attend many conferences, such as when I represented MIAMI at MIPIM, the world’s leading property event in France this year. I’ve also participated in state, local, and national conventions.

When I come back from an NAR meeting, I share what I learned with our vice president of operations and our leadership team to discuss how it can improve our agents’ business. There are so many takeaways, from NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s presentations to NAR’s lobbying efforts on legal issues to new technology developing in our industry.

I believe the brokers and associates who volunteer find great value. With the New Year approaching, I would challenge those of you who have not volunteered to find something you’re are passionate about and get involved. And always remember: You have to give to receive.

A third-generation Miami real estate professional, Christina Pappas is the second-youngest board president in the 97-year history of the MIAMI Association of REALTORS®. Pappas oversees 41 agents as the district sales manager for The Keyes Company’s Brickell area office, a top-producing office in downtown Miami. Pappas, who led MIAMI’s Young Professionals Network in 2015, will serve as the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Large Firm and Industry Relations liaison. Learn more at www.keyes.com.

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The Rookie Agent’s Guide to Selling New Construction: Part 1

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 18:33

David Hakimi

By David Hakimi

This article is part one in a two-part series on how to sell newly-constructed homes. Read part two here.

It’s no secret that the housing market has fully rebounded over the past eight years and is now experiencing tremendous growth. In fact, demand in many major metropolitan markets has clearly outpaced supply. In numerous cities, builders have been spurred to start churning out new homes as fast as they can build them.

According to economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, builders are now producing approximately 1.18 million homes per year nationally. Given the proliferation of new construction, new agents entering the business will be wise to quickly familiarize themselves with the key differences between selling existing homes and brand-new homes.

Understand the key differences between a buyer’s agent’s duties when dealing with re-sales vs. new-construction transactions.

There will always be some difficult deals that require extra steps on the agent’s behalf, but for the most part, a buyer agent’s primary responsibilities on a re-sale transaction typically revolve around the same five general functions:

  • Structuring the offer terms competitively to compete against other offers, and lining up any contingent sales that must occur concurrently.
  • Researching price by analyzing comparable sales to maximize the chances the home will sufficiently appraise, and ensuring that the buyer isn’t over-paying.
  • Negotiating price, post-inspection repairs, and concessions.
  • Managing deadlines such as loan application, earnest money delivery, appraisal scheduling, title review, review of HOA documents, binding homeowner’s insurance, contingent sales, and closing.
  • Protecting the buyer’s earnest money, by recognizing any inability (or unwillingness) of the buyer to comply with a date outlined in the contract, and working to either extend that deadline or terminate the offer in time.

By comparison, an agent’s primary role in a new-construction transaction is a little different, and can generally be summarized by the following eight functions:

@paulbr75, 2017. pixabay.com

  • Interpreting the buyer’s rights outlined in the builder contracts, and noting any crucial deadlines relating to the buyer’s ability to terminate without forfeiture of the deposit money.
  • Negotiating the price, incentives, and inclusions. Just like a car dealership, new home salespeople can often offer extra inclusions, or discounts to secure a contract.
  • Solidifying the price the home will come to after lot premiums, design center options, structural upgrades, low voltage options, appliances, landscaping, and builder incentives have all been factored in. The builder’s advertised “base price” is generally tens of thousands of dollars below the final completed price, once these factors are added together.
  • Analyzing the meaning of soil surveys/engineering reports pertaining to the chosen lot, or reading blueprints and floorplans.  The amount of expansive soils found during the soil survey, determine the type of foundation that the engineer will require the home has to be constructed on. Slab-on-grade foundations can be used when the expansive soil content is low, but costlier pier-and-beam foundations must be used when high amounts are present.
  • Advising the buyer on making the best use of the budget. Choices like which lot, what structural upgrades, or which design center options, can all make-or-break a buyer’s budget. Some cosmetic options can be done more affordably after closing, while some structural items cannot easily be done at all after the house is completed. Most builders will also require additional deposit money, once a buyer’s design center choices exceed a set amount. This can be up to 50 percent of the cost of the upgrades, once the cost of the options goes past a predetermined dollar amount.
  • Questioning the builder’s sales rep about all the inclusions, contingency terms, financing and incentives that a buyer might not think of on their own until it’s too late. The model homes are packed with every imaginable upgrade, so it’s extremely crucial to ask which features are included with the basic home, and which items are upgrades. Even basic things like lawn grass, sprinklers and fences in the back yard, are often not included. Refrigerators, garage door openers, window blinds, and central air conditioners aren’t always included eitherSee my complete “Builder Questionnaire.”
  •  Accompanying the buyer on the walk-throughs the foreman will conduct at the various stages of construction. Pre-drywall, electrical, low voltage, and the final pre-closing walkthrough for identifying touch-ups. It’s the agent’s job to help hold the builder’s foreman accountable for completing any repairs or necessary corrections discovered at these walk-throughs.
  • Protecting the buyer’s earnest money remains a common thread. There aren’t as many crucial deadlines, but there are still a few like the loan application deadline and the contingent sale deadline. It’s your job to make sure the buyer understands them. Also, some builder contracts have verbiage that entitles them to keep a percentage of the deposit, even if the buyer backs out for a legitimate reason defined in their contract. Make sure you and your buyer are clear on this point, so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Selling new-construction is a different process, but it’s certainly nothing a new agent should be afraid to take-on.

In fact, most experienced agents consider selling new construction a less taxing process than selling a re-sale. This is true because there is often less negotiation over earnest money, possession dates, concessions, post-inspection repairs, and even price in some circumstances. Post-inspection repair negotiations don’t exist, because new homes are fully covered by the builder’s warranty and a builder’s reputation depends on delivering homes that are free of problems. However, you should pay close attention to the verbiage in their contract that deals with defects that are discovered during the routine walk-throughs. Most builders will not allow a buyer to terminate over these items, but rather insist that the buyer allow them to correct the issues before the home is delivered. Also make sure your client is aware that builders will not normally allow changes to materials, or structural features once construction has started. This is because the builders cannot deviate from the initial plans they submitted to the county to obtain the building permit. Likewise, materials such as tile, wood flooring, countertops, appliances, cannot easily be changed midstream either. Builders place their material orders in bulk to receive wholesale pricing, therefore, it isn’t feasible for them to make changes after the materials order has been placed.

Completion timelines can also have variances and delays that push the closing back. Things like bad weather, materials shortages, labor strikes of unionized trades, delays with county permit issuance, project financing issues, etc., are all factors out of the builder’s control that can prolong the construction process. Make sure you are clear on the maximum time frame the contract provides a builder to complete a home. Most builders typically promise delivery somewhere between 6 and 13 months, but the contract may allow them to delay completion up to 24 months without penalty or legal recourse.

Builders will often insist that their prices are non-negotiable. This may or may not be true, depending on the market.

This varies from market to market, and sometimes even between neighborhoods and builders. If a particularly hot neighborhood is selling faster than a builder can release lots, then odds are they won’t deal on price. However, if the builder has several unsold “spec” homes in inventory, then it’s usually a good bet that they will negotiate. This is even more true at the end of the month, the end of the fiscal fourth quarter, or when the builder is down to the last few homes and they are trying to close out the development. In these instances, a smart agent will negotiate hard for their client!

New homes are typically offered on a first-come, first-served basis, which means that the first qualified buyer to place a deposit on a newly released lot, gets it.

Therefore, creatively structuring offers to be more competitive against competing offers often isn’t necessary. Researching comps is rarely a factor either, since the builder prices are carefully set at levels that the builder can justify based on the value of the land and construction costs. Unless a buyer goes overboard with design center options, new construction homes rarely fail to appraise. However, it’s worth noting that many builder contracts state that the buyer is still required to close on the home, even if the appraisal does somehow come in low. Therefore, agents need to advise their buyer’s not to over-improve the home (in the design center) too far above the norm for the neighborhood. The burden of managing deadlines is greatly reduced as well, because most builder contracts make a buyer’s earnest money hard within 2-3 days after the contract is executed. Aside from the buyer’s loan getting declined (assuming it was no fault of the buyer) or the builder failing to compete the home in time, builder contracts generally have no other provisions in place for a buyer to terminate without forfeiting their deposit. Therefore, there are far fewer crucial deadlines to manage on a new-construction transaction.

In my second post, I touch on some common challenges associated with new construction, including buyer financing.

David Hakimi runs the Hakimi Team with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Innovative Real Estate in the Denver and Boulder, Colo. market. Connect with David at www.DavidSellsDenver.com or on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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How to Promote Your Real Estate Blog

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 17:52

Anita Clark

By Anita Clark

Finding it difficult to make an impact with your real estate blog? In this industry, half the battle is making sure that your traffic is actually relevant. Use these guidelines below to do exactly that, then take a look at this extended guide to creating and promoting real estate content.

The last thing you want your blog doing is wasting your time or the precious time of your readers. To avoid those unseemly scenarios, follow these steps:

Validate Your Content

You will save a lot of time and frustration if you validate your posts before you build them. How do you do this?

You can subscribe to real estate blogs, check online forums, join groups, and follow successful real estate professionals on social media. Create a list of their content and categorize it by type in a spreadsheet. Track the shares, title, date, and topic. You will start to notice trends over time and can cherry pick the content ideas that work best. Just make sure the content you create is unique…do not copy what others have already created!

Build A Keyword List

Keyword research can help you hit the mark when you create new content. Place these phrases throughout your posts and you will start to generate organic traffic over time. There are a ton of tools to help you find these keywords, but here are some of the best:

These tools allow you to see the number of monthly searches, as well as the difficulty to rank for these phrases. Remember to keep the keywords natural, and when in doubt: write to consumers, not to please the search engines.

Real Estate Blogger Best Practices

@Photo-Mix, 2016. pixabay.com

Follow these tips to make your blog more enjoyable for your users and easier to find by Google. Developing SEO-friendly content is key to getting your information found.

Use Tags

There are three main types of tags to consider. By placing your keywords throughout these tags you will send a signal to Google that helps them understand your website’s content.

  1. Title Tags

Title tags are the clickable links you end up seeing in Google search, it is important to make these catchy and to include your target keyword.

  1. Header Tags

H1, H2, and H3 tags should also include some of your keywords. You can find these in the headings and subheadings of your articles.

  1. Image Alt Tags

You can name your images to help the search engines identify what your pictures are. Use these to describe your photos and graphics as best as possible.

Use Your Keywords,  Focus On One Per Page

It is all too easy to make the mistake of focusing on too many keywords for a single page. You do not want to confuse the search engines, but that is exactly what will happen if you’re not careful.

For instance, take two separate websites…

The first site has three pages targeting the key phrase “real estate in NJ.” The second website has one page targeting that same key phrase. It is going to be much easier for the second site to outrank the first on Google. Why? Because the first website is cutting its SEO juice down to 33 percent of what it would be with only one page. Having three pages means you are diluting your efforts instead of focusing your resources completely on a single page. Do not force search engines to decide which is the key page.

One page ranking in the top five is better than three pages ranking in positions 10-20. This is known as keyword cannibalization and should be avoided whenever possible.

Get Backlinks From Major Players

You do not want to forget manual outreach. This is where you reach out to the people and websites you mentioned in your posts. The idea is to have these people link back to you, capitalizing on their website traffic. A little known fact is the more quality real estate blog backlinks you have, the better your chance of ranking in Google.

How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

What is the point of a website if you are not getting traffic? You want consumers on your site, checking out your articles, doing home searches, and ultimately contacting you for help. If you want more real estate leads start with the tips below:

Add Sharing Buttons For Longevity

Make sure every page on your local real estate website has sharing buttons. Posts with sharing buttons have a much longer lifespan than those without. Many people will share good content…make it easy for them to do just that.

Post Multiple Times!

@geralt, 2015. pixabay.com

It is possible to post the same piece of content more than once. Plenty of people are a little hesitant to do this, but you are missing out big time if you do not repost old content.

In reality, you are only reaching a small portion of your audience when you post something new, which is why it is so important to post on several different days, and at several different times.

Look For Groups & Communities Online

Search for real estate groups on your favorite social media platforms. But be careful! The last thing you want is to end up looking like a spammer. Only contribute when you can add value that is relevant to the discussion at hand. If the information is good, you can bet others will be more inclined to share it. Always reciprocate—it is a good way to build relationships and it shows you are not just there to get something. Giving pays dividends!

Syndicate Your Content

Plenty of sites out there are hungry for good content. In fact, some of them will openly accept articles from new real estate bloggers. This is known as syndicating your content and can help you gain valuable traffic for free. It can also be a valuable resource for obtaining backlinks.

Guest Posting

This is similar to content syndication except for a major difference: Guest posting usually warrants a unique article, whereas syndicators will reuse old content. How do you find guest posting and syndication opportunities?

Try searching in Google:

  • Submit article real estate
  • Write for us your neighborhood
  • Guest post real estate

Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to becoming a successful real estate blogger. If you are already blogging, what can you do to improve your online presence to increase the chance consumers will find your information and call for assistance?

Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins GA Real Estate Blog.

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Introducing the 2017 YPN Networks of the Year

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 17:30

It was one of the most coveted tickets to nab during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this week: The YPN speakeasy networking event in Chicago at a 1920s-era lounge cleverly named Untitled. About 400 members gathered face-to-face with their peers from across the country to celebrate the ninth annual Network of the Year Awards. A crystal trophy was presented to a small, medium, large association based on membership size, as well as to one state association during the evening event. The winners showed exemplary leadership skills, furthering the YPN mission of member engagement and education, community involvement, and advocacy for real estate and homeownership.

We are pleased to announced the following award winners:

Small Network: Gallatin Association of REALTORS®

Medium Network: Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS®

Large Network: Miami Association of REALTORS®

State Network: Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®

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‘Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today’

Fri, 11/03/2017 - 09:56

2017 NAR President-elect Elizabeth Mendenhall accepts the Elevate YPN award from 2017 Advisory Board Chair Krista Clark.

Gratitude was a theme at the YPN Advisory Board meeting during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago Thursday, as NAR’s 2018 President Elizabeth Mendenhall, CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty in Columbia, Mo., was honored with the Elevate YPN Award. “I feel like I’m at the academy awards,” she said. “This makes today very special.” In its second year, the Elevate YPN Award is given to an industry leader who encourages and supports YPN’s mission and members.

Advisory Board Chair Krista Clark, salesperson with Century 21 Signature Real Estate in Ankeny, Iowa, recapped YPN successes in 2017, including $30,000 for a national YPN website revamp. The site, which will be YPN.REALTOR, is expected to go live by January 2018, serving as the new central hub for YPN content, videos, information, and network resources.

The board also secured a $6,000 annual fund to establish four new network grants at $1,000 each, and four revitalized network grants at $500 each. The grants are helping YPNs connect with members and build involvement through kick-off, education, networking, RPAC, or other events.

The YPN Advisory Board also came up with a new YPN slogan this year: “Tomorrow’s Leaders, Today,” aiming to further its mission of involvement at the local, state, and national levels. That was underscored by 23 new networks formed in 2017.

Learn more about the YPN Advisory Board’s accomplishment this year in the infographic below:

For more information or to apply for a network grant, contact Rob Reuter at rreuter@realtors.org.

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Why You’re Not Generating Leads From Instagram

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:17

Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

Are you posting like a manic on Instagram, using every hashtag known to man, yet you’re not generating leads from this popular social media network?

“Arrgh…,” you think. “I knew all of this ‘Insta-fame’ hype was nonsense,” you smirk and resign in frustration.

Not so fast, friend! Check out this short video to see if you are considered a repeat offender by the “Instagram police” so that you can get off their blacklist and start generating leads in a smart way. Learn what  shadowban.azurewebsites.net can show you.

INSTAGRAM TOOLS, 2017 EDITION, BONUS TOOL from Dr. Lee Davenport on Vimeo.

I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor. Want more of the best practices from our nation’s top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success.

Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.

Apply for the 2018 Class of 30 Under 30

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 16:58

Have you always dreamed of one day being named a REALTOR® Magazine 30 Under 30 honoree? This could be your year. Tell us how you’re killing it in sales, taking on leadership roles, or making a difference in your community by filling out an application today.

We’re excited to announce that the 2018 30 Under 30 application period is now open through noon Central Time on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. All members of the National Association of REALTORS® who will be under the age of 30 as of May 31, 2018 are invited to apply.

Here are five ways to make your application standout from the pack:

  1. Answer every question. Judges appreciate applicants who put thought and consideration into every response. Be detailed and share real life stories and examples from your real estate business experience.
  2. Proofread. Poor grammar and copious typos can be distracting and show a lack of attention to detail. Proofread your application before submitting, and consider asking a friend proofread it for you, too.
  3. Seek references. We will accept up to two letters of recommendation per applicant. You will be prompted to supply their email addresses when you’re filling out the application. They will be notified to submit recommendations on your behalf. The deadline for letters of recommendation is also noon CT, Jan. 12, 2018. Remember, two letters are better than one, but one letter is better than none.
  4. Submit a video. Although a video is not required, it’s strongly recommended for helping your application stand out. Here are some tips for creating a compelling 30 Under 30 application video.
  5. Don’t wait: Remember the Murphy’s law adage, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” So, do not wait until the deadline to submit. Give yourself enough time to be thoughtful and creative in telling the story of “you.”

The application requires your 2017 sales numbers, and if you advance in the judging process, those numbers will be verified through your local MLS records or a broker-certified spreadsheet. Total transaction sides and sales volume of the 50 finalists and 30 Under 30 honorees will be publicly displayed in online profiles, so applicants should strive for accuracy.

Sales volume, though important, is just one element judges take into consideration. Judges are looking for well-rounded candidates from all regions of the country, backgrounds, and real estate specialties.

Learn more about 30 Under 30 and how to apply at realtormag.realtor.org/30-under-30. Good luck to all applicants!

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