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Building Better Client Relationships

Aug 17, 2019 by

American Home Shield® Paves the Way to Long-Standing Relationships

John M. Franklin has always had an interest in housing. An agent with RealtySouth Over the Mountain’s Alford Avenue office in Birmingham, Ala., Franklin worked in both the mortgage service and construction sectors before moving into residential real estate in November 2015.

“I love helping people,” says Franklin. “A house or piece of property can be the biggest investment someone ever has the privilege to own. I ensure that my clients see me as a resource, not just someone who will stick a sign in the yard or visit a house with them.”

One way Franklin sets himself up as a client resource is by offering a home warranty on the properties he lists.

“The home warranty is a tool that provides a level of protection and comfort to buyer clients, but also allows sellers to feel like they’re providing a level of care to the buyers who have chosen to purchase their home,” Franklin explains.

Franklin’s business model focuses on client care, with an emphasis on building a superior working relationship before, during and after the sale.

“Negotiating a home warranty into the purchase contracts for my buyer clients is a great benefit to them. The home warranty provides coverage on components of the major systems and appliances in the house that they’re purchasing, which can help buyers feel more at ease with the process.”

Of course, not all home warranties are built the same.

Franklin has been offering clients a home warranty with American Home Shield (AHS®) since he started in 2015. “RealtySouth offers the base home warranty plan with the Seller Coverage Option through American Home Shield, with no cost due to the seller until the home closes,” notes Franklin. The Seller Coverage Option covers the main systems in the home during the listing period.

“That extra layer of protection can really help,” says Franklin, “especially with the stress of getting a home ready to list and show.”

Why does RealtySouth choose to work with American Home Shield?

“Business relationships are key in the real estate industry, and that doesn’t just apply to agents and clients; it’s all of the affiliate partners, too,” Franklin comments.

Franklin notes that his local AHS account executive, Tobi Pryor, is a wealth of knowledge who genuinely cares about her job and the people that interact with her, and has an excellent relationship with all of the agents in the area.

“If my clients choose American Home Shield, I know they’re in great hands because of Tobi’s dedication,” says Franklin, who can easily contact Pryor by phone, email or text whenever an issue arises. “She’s also an excellent networker and is willing to go the extra mile to make sure the agents she supports—and the homes that are covered with an AHS home warranty—are well taken care of.”

And when it comes to superior service, word of mouth travels fast.

“I’ve had clients brag on the amount of money and headaches they’ve saved just because they carry an AHS home warranty year after year.”

These bragging rights are a boon to Franklin’s client relationships, track record and overall business. 

For more information, please visit www.ahs.com/realestate.  

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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The Military Client: Helping Them Decide to Buy, Sell or Rent

Mar 20, 2019 by

The following information is provided by the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD).

Because real estate professionals know the local market dynamics, they can help military and veteran clients make informed decisions. To be most effective, you’ll need to stay up-to-date on rental prices in your market area, even if you don’t handle rentals. You’ll also need to keep up-to-date on the local military basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates in comparison to local rental and utility costs.

You may meet military prospects who want to buy but really need to become or remain renters. Unfortunately, some agents miss this opportunity because they don’t see the tenant relationship as potential future business. Consider renters as investments in future transactions. If you work with renters and protect their interests as you would any buyer or seller client, they will remember you and refer business to you when they or their friends or family are ready to buy or sell.

Buy or Rent?

When military families experiencing a permanent change of station (PCS) need to move to a new home, they often must decide whether to rent or buy. Of course, anticipated length of stay and making the numbers work are decisive factors, but other considerations go into the decision, as well. For example, anticipation of military downsizing can affect the rent or buy decision.

During a time of downsizing, the military encourages service members to leave voluntarily, or helps ease them out. As a result, when there is a climate of downsizing, military buyers may avoid buying and opt for renting. The highs and lows of recent housing markets have definitely created a perception among the military community that renting is less risky than buying.

The lessons and consequences of the housing market meltdown are still painfully fresh for those who may still be underwater on their mortgages. They are afraid of getting caught again in a money-losing position. A buyer who used 100-percent VA financing and paid a funding fee plus closing costs and then saw housing values drop may have to bring cash to the closing table—por, the service member’s equity, or available cash, may be tied up until a previous home sells or rents.

Sell or Rent?

For prospective sellers, the cost benefit of future rental income may be part of the decision to sell a home or keep and rent it. For example, service members who are confident of returning to a location—cycling back through the station—may consider buying a home and renting it during the time away, or, a service member nearing retirement may purchase and rent in anticipation of returning to a location to settle down or start a new career.

If a service member decides to keep a home purchased with VA financing and rent it, there could be a potential downside. The service member’s entitlement—expense reimbursements that help offset the costs of frequent moves—will stay locked up in the property until it is sold or the loan paid off. Whatever remaining entitlement, if any, can be used toward the purchase of a home in a new location.

NAR’s Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification course takes an in-depth, thorough and detailed look at how VA financing and entitlements work. In any event, the real estate professional who knows both the sales and rental sides of their local market can help a seller or buyer evaluate the property’s investment potential as a rental. If your company does not handle rentals, your referral network should include a reliable property management firm.

Rent or Buy Calculators

An online search for rent or buy calculators yields myriad choices that can assist you and your military clients, among others. Try out some online calculators yourself to find the one that works best for you and your market. An excellent calculator tool is available at realtor.com®, which also offers a comprehensive Veterans Guide to Homeownership.

For more education about serving the military market, check out this month’s featured online course at the Center for REALTOR® Development, the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification course, which is the educational requirement for NAR’s Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification. 

For more information, please visit RISMedia’s online learning portal from NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD) and the Learning Library. Here, real estate professionals can sign up for online professional development courses, industry designations, certifications, CE credits, Code of Ethics programs and more. NAR’s CRD also offers monthly specials and important education updates. New users will need to register for an account.

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Cartus Accelerates Into Next Phase of Digital Transformation With Reinvigorated Client Experience

Feb 6, 2019 by

Cartus Corporation, a Realogy company and a market leader in global mobility, has a dedicated focus on creating innovative technology for clients, customers, partners and employees. With key leadership in place and a clear strategy, Cartus is poised to drive the business forward by building expertise in areas such as product innovation, digital transformation and predictive analytics.

The recently-launched version of the new client interface in CartusOnline® is the first of many planned tech enhancements Cartus will be unveiling over the coming months. This latest reinvigorated version incorporates dynamic data analytics while offering a modern look and feel for an enhanced user experience. All clients will benefit from advanced business intelligence and data visualization right on their homepage.

The new homepage offers mobility leaders a complete snapshot into their active relocations. Key features include:

  • Simplified navigation and streamlined interactivity
  • Integrated data visualizations with enhanced drill-through capabilities
  • Powerful ad-hoc reporting capabilities to build your own reports from the ground up
  • Consolidated “To Do” items with color-coded badges
  • Move phase categorizations
  • Integrated feedback mechanism
  • Responsive, mobile-friendly design
  • Advanced keyboard shortcuts for power users

In a truly collaborative effort, the Product Solutions team aligned with Cartus Account Management to develop this new client experience. The redesigned client interface provides enhanced access to tools and incorporates key features based on client suggestions and feedback.

MovePro Vision available for clients with significant supporting data

Cartus recently unveiled their next predictive analytics innovation for global relocation, MovePro VisionSM. MovePro Vision is the first client-facing product designed to anticipate events and provide data-driven decision support during the corporate relocation process. Clients who have completed a statistically significant number of moves—which is required to generate the data needed to fully benefit from this technology—can designate MovePro Vision access to key mobility leaders.

MovePro Vision is powered by LEAP, Cartus’ Leading Edge Analytics Practice, which predicts and develops insights based on the company’s rich history of industry-exclusive data:

  • 3 million relocations
  • 7,700 unique country combinations
  • 80 million financial transactions

“Whether you’re managing dozens of moves in a single country or thousands of assignments across multiple continents, relocation is a complex machine,” says David Pascoe, senior VP of the EMEA and APAC regions at Cartus. Our reinvigorated client experience simplifies the entire online management process by putting the most relevant tools and information at your fingertips from the initial log-in. From verifying expenses, authorizing new assignments or predicting exception trends, the new client experience is designed to provide our clients what they need to make their job easier and your employees’ moves better.”

“It is an exciting time to be at Cartus,” says Michelle Vallejo, senior VP of the Americas region at Cartus. “We have a sharp focus on developing technology that delivers substantial benefits for our clients and customers. We initiated in-depth discussions with a variety of stakeholders and were able to incorporate many of their ideas and suggestions into our new client interface. The result is a clean and fresh look with easy-to-navigate pages filled with pertinent information.”

“Cartus’ technology evolution is focused on creating a smarter and more intuitive digital experience across all of our products and services,” says Nica Ganley, VP of Analytics and Technology Solutions at Cartus. “With our shift to an ‘Agile Development’ model, we will be able to meet client needs in a timely manner while offering flexibility in adapting to their changing priorities.”

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

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REALTOR® Safety: Every Client, Every Day, Every Time

Sep 29, 2018 by

More than a decade ago, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) launched the REALTOR® Safety Program to educate its members on the potential risks they face while on the job. While September is dedicated as REALTOR® Safety Month, this topic deserves attention every day of the year. For real estate professionals, staying safe requires knowledge, awareness and empowerment on many different fronts.

Beneficial Safety Resources
To simplify and support brokers’ efforts to educate agents about safety, NAR developed a wealth of materials, all compiled in one convenient location: NAR.realtor/safety.

Below are three steps you can take to spread the importance of REALTOR® safety with your agents, and to learn more about the resources available from NAR.

1. View NAR’s 2018 REALTOR® Safety Webinar
Habits to Keep You Safe on the Job Year-Round
Presented by: Cheryl Knowlton, REALTOR®

In this free webinar, an industry expert explains how to minimize risks and stay safe in your day-to-day business interactions. For more details and to watch the recording, visit NAR.realtor/safety/safety-webinars.

2. Watch and Share NAR’s Newest Safety Video
Videos are a great tool for raising safety awareness and educating consumers about your safety protocols. NAR has compiled over a dozen videos on a wide variety of safety issues, including the newest topic, “Personal Safety Tips for Real Estate Professionals,” which can be viewed at NAR.realtor/safety/videos.

In three short minutes, this new video quickly and effectively highlights safety procedures that every real estate professional should incorporate into their daily routine and follow with every client. Be sure to watch it and share it with your agents.

3. Utilize Customizable Safety Tools for Brokers
NAR has compiled several safety-related forms you can tailor to your office:

  • Agent Identification Form
  • Agent Itinerary
  • Office Safety Action Plan
  • Prospect Identification Form

To access these and other materials for brokers, visit NAR.realtor/safety/resources-for-associations-and-brokerages.

  1. Check Out Additional Tips and Tools
    NAR offers many additional safety resources at NAR.realtor/safety. Find help on:
  • Planning your safety strategy
  • Finding safety educators for in-person training
  • Locating safety articles, organized by category
  • Identifying more webinar recordings and videos

Follow us (@NARdotRealtor) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to repost our weekly safety tips and keep safety top of mind.

Continue the Conversation
However you decide to talk about safety with your agents, it’s important to keep the conversation going beyond REALTOR® Safety Month. Together, we can help real estate professionals understand and learn how to avoid the risks we face—steps that can mean the difference between life and death. Start today by sharing this article with your agents and help ensure safety is always top of mind.

Learn more and access all of NAR’s REALTOR® Safety resources at NAR.realtor/safety.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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As we were standing outside a $ 750,000 property, my photographer said something to me that I will never forget. She said, “Last week you hired me to do a shoot on a $ 30,000 house. I just think it’s great that you are treating that client the same as your higher end clients.” Real estate is […]

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