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5 Best-Kept Home-Buying Secrets

Nov 8, 2018 by

Buying a home is probably one of the most exciting life events there is. It can also be stressful. But, if you start your adventure armed with some good advice, chances are those stressful moments will be few and far between.

These five helpful tips may make your home-buying experience one of the most cherished memories you have. After all, your home is where many of the best memories will be made. These tips might help you find your new home:

Get nosy in the neighbourhood. You’ll want to scope out the area in which your prospective home is located. Talk to some neighbours and get a handle on what they like about living in the area. We Canadians are a friendly bunch and it’s highly likely these folks will be more than happy to offer up some information. Check the area for schools, grocery stores, parks and other places that you feel are important in a well-rounded neighbourhood.

Don’t date it. Buy it. Yes, it’s hard to keep emotions out of the home-buying equation, but you really need to try. Falling in love at first sight with a home may cloud your financial judgement. Trust your instincts, not your emotions. You can always change the paint colour of a home after you’ve bought it. Buying a home should be a wise investment and one that is made with more logic, than emotion.

Be aware of all the costs. Owning a home means more than just paying the mortgage. When you’re house hunting, you should ask questions about the utility bills, taxes, cost of upkeep and other things that will impact your bank account.  Always make sure you have enough stowed away for unforeseen events.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Contrary to popular belief, you may do well buying a home that needs some work. Its value may appreciate more than the biggest, most beautiful house on the block. That huge house with an expensive price tag may only appeal to a certain segment of the population upon resale and you don’t want to limit the number of people who may want to buy your home if you ever decide to sell.

Let go of the “best time” idea. There is no ideal time to buy a home, so let go of any market-timing ideas you might have. Real estate is a cyclical business and if you try to wait for a right time, you may miss out on your dream home.

The post 5 Best-Kept Home-Buying Secrets appeared first on RISMedia.

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3 Secrets to Building a Real Estate Team That Won’t Drive You Crazy

Aug 9, 2018 by

Real estate teams are incredible, but they’re not for everyone, according to 18-year real estate veteran Leigh Brown. Brown is a broker/owner of Leigh Brown and Associates with RE/MAX. The 2017 president of CRS, Brown is also a recipient of Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame and Circle of Legends recognitions with RE/MAX International.

Building a team will either be a smart idea or a money pit, according to Brown, and you need to know how to make it successful before you start hiring. It’s not just earning big numbers; it’s about the earning the right numbers. The three secrets to building a successful real estate team are:

  • Understand why you’re setting up a team
  • Create a solid foundation (hire the right administrator and agents)
  • Create a true team environment

“I know a team who was doing $ 50 million in volume, but the team leader was only taking home $ 50,000 in sales. That was a money pit situation,” Brown says.

Do your research so you don’t end up in the same situation.

1. Understand Why You’re Setting Up a Team
Is a team the way to go for you? It could be if:

You need better work/life management.
If you feel like you’re going to explode if the phone rings one more time, your work/life balance is probably “out of whack.” You’re burned out. A team can help you restore balance.

You consistently have excess opportunities.
Are you staying busy but still getting calls you can’t get to—or are you so busy you’re not able to give your clients the level of service you want to? A team may help you seize the opportunities you’re missing, and help improve the service to the clients you already have.

Your strength is management, not sales.
You love the field, but what you’re really good at is managing, marketing and lead generation. Part of setting up a team is understanding yourself, your strengths and your skills. As a team leader, you’ll need to be a good manager, or hire one. When you’re putting together a job description for yourself, be honest: What is it you really love to do?

Things to Consider Before Setting Up a Team

Lead Generation
You have to have enough leads coming in to sustain you, as well as your team. As a team leader, you’ll be responsible not only for your income, but the income of others.

Control Freak
Can you control your inner control freak? You need to understand that you’re not going to have a team that does things 100 percent like you do. Understanding that if your team does things “right” 80 percent of the time, you’re ahead of the game. When you allow people to make mistakes, they’ll stop walking on eggshells and start working harder to get things right. Learn to let other people shine and they will.

2. Create a Solid Foundation
Before you hire a team of agents, you need a foundation. That foundation begins with a talented administrator.

However, before you can hire an administrator, you need to run your financial numbers. Look at the number of hours you work per week, including administrative work, email, DocuSign, Dropbox, showing houses and making calls. Now, add up the commission dollars you’ve made and divide that by the hours you’ve worked. What do you earn per hour? What does it cost to hire in your market? How many hours a week will you need them? Five? Ten? Twenty? With those numbers in hand, you’re ready to start building your team, and the first person you need to hire is an assistant.

Assistant
Before you hire, you must know what you want your assistant to do, so create a detailed job description for the position. Create a checklist of any NRP (non-revenue producing) activities you want your assistant to handle, including paperwork, signs and lockboxes, putting out postcards, inputting people to your CRM and DocuSign requests.

Include “at-bats” (at least one lead generation or referral a month) in the job description. If you don’t ask people to bring you a referral, they won’t. 

Referral Agent
You may not be ready or want to train, hire and manage a buyer agent right away. If so, you can seek out a like-minded agent who is great at closing, but who needs leads.

Expectations are the key here, Brown emphasizes. Know what you will pay them. Have systems in place for tracking leads and closings. Figure out what happens after the closing and what your role with the client is after the closing. Build a relationship on honor and trust with these agents.

Buyer Agent
The job description here is critical. Be very clear when setting and communicating your expectations. You should also take time to figure out what kind of personality you’ll work best with. Look for someone who will balance you, and whom you will balance.

Hiring tips:

  • “Hire the people who are great at what you suck at,” Brown says. “Check with REALTORS® who are not built for sales or who don’t want to put in ‘REALTOR® hours,’ but who want to be in the business.”
  • Pay a little more to get the best people possible. If everyone else is paying $ 10 an hour, you should pay $ 13-$ 15 an hour. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much more for you, but it will create loyalty in your employee. It also shows others you take care of your people.
  • Hire in your local market, not offshore. By hiring locally, you become known as a local employer, and people you hire can also refer people to you.
  • Hire part-time. You can hire someone for 5-10 hours a week and build. If you hire someone who will hustle and generate leads to increase your business and their hours, all the better.
  • Hire for qualities, not task performance. “Attitude matters more than skills,” Brown explains. “Phone skills, handwriting, personality and people skills matter.”
  • Take the DISC personality profile. Take it yourself first, then have them take the DISC personality profile to ensure you balance each other. Pay the $ 29 for the full test, not the free one. It’s more accurate.
  • Take your time hiring. Make hiring a multi-step process so you get the right person.

3. Create a True Team Environment
Once you’ve built a team, how do you stay the course? Start with the details. This includes meetings, goal-setting, team evaluations and individual reviews. Unless your team is one cohesive unit with excellent communication, specific goals and opportunities for everyone involved, your team won’t work.

In a recent webinar, Brown went into extended details about how to structure payment schedules, training, reviews and team-building. Get tips from Brown and watch the full webinar for more detailed steps to ensure you find, hire, train and retain the right people to get the best team members possible.

For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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

The post 3 Secrets to Building a Real Estate Team That Won’t Drive You Crazy appeared first on RISMedia.

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7 Secrets for Adding a Finishing Touch to Your Staging

Oct 22, 2017 by

Styled Staged Sold_ Adding Finishing Touch to Staging_Image

Photo credit: Blinds.com

By Katie Laird, guest contributor

When staging a home for an open house, you can transform a space from an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill property to one with a “wow” factor. But without a little extra attention to detail, even the most professionally staged homes can leave something to be desired. Don’t let staging efforts go to waste—advise your clients to put the finishing touches on their staged homes, and boost their chances of selling. Here is a list of seven often overlooked finishing touches that can make a home shine.

1. Switch the lights.

It may seem like a big project, but switching out ceiling light fixtures is actually quite simple. Replacing old or broken fixtures can add a polished look and make a home feel updated. Remember that during showings and open houses, all lights will be on, so buyers’ eyes will be drawn to them. Choose something timeless that will go with any décor. And don’t forget the switch plates – dingy or yellowed light switches can make a staged room feel incomplete.

2. Consider window treatments.

Your clients may hesitate to replace blinds or shades before they move, because they can’t take them when they go. But remind them that custom window treatments can add significant value to the sale price. The right treatments can add privacy, style, and even energy efficiency to the home. They’re also the perfect way to frame a professionally-staged room. During your showing, treatments should allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Natural light balances any overly yellow lightbulbs and provides a blank canvas for the buyers to see clearly.

3. Touch-up the paint.

A professionally staged home will have impeccable furnishings and accessories. But chipped baseboards or scuffed walls can undo that polished look in an instant. Advise your clients to go through the home with touch-up paint and get rid of the most obvious offenses. It’s a simple way to hide the home’s age, and keep potential buyers focused on the its best attributes.

4. Give the floors some attention.

Stagers may add area rugs, but do not use rugs to hide scratched hardwoods or stained carpeting. Recommend that your clients make the investment into buffing and deep cleaning the flooring, so the rest of the staging looks at home in the pristine environment.

5. Add a little life.

Staging companies may add artificial plants as décor, but the living variety are even more appealing. Fresh flowers and houseplants brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. Go neutral white or use this as an opportunity to add a pop of color. Also, try bowls of fruit, hanging ferns, or a small window herb garden to avoid having to put fresh flowers out every week. Don’t forget to look outside and freshen up the flower bed with new blooms and/or add a few potted plants around the front door.

6. Remove personal items.

Another final touch to making sure the staging looks natural is to remove any overly personal distractions. Remove family photos and memorabilia. If your sellers want to leave the frames on the wall to hide nail holes, have them consider putting a nice landscape print or piece of scrapbook paper in that spot instead. This goes for art, too. Your potential buyers might not share your enthusiasm for turn of the century pop-art, so the best choice is to swap it out for something classic, or remove completely.

7. Don’t forget storage areas.

Stagers will give special attention to the main living areas, but storage spaces like garages, closets, and basements are also vital selling points that need attention. Potential buyers look for roomy areas where they’ll be able to fit all their stuff. If basements and garages are overcrowded, it might send the signal that the home isn’t big enough for the buyers’ needs. Sellers may benefit from renting a storage space to help declutter and make every inch of the home irresistible.

KatieLaird2016ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Laird is a frequent public speaker on social media marketing, social customer care, and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as “happykatie” sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. Laird is also the director of social marketing for Blinds.com.

Styled, Staged & SoldStyled, Staged & Sold

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7 Secrets for Adding a Finishing Touch to Your Staging

Oct 21, 2017 by

Styled Staged Sold_ Adding Finishing Touch to Staging_Image

Photo credit: Blinds.com

By Katie Laird, guest contributor

When staging a home for an open house, you can transform a space from an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill property to one with a “wow” factor. But without a little extra attention to detail, even the most professionally staged homes can leave something to be desired. Don’t let staging efforts go to waste—advise your clients to put the finishing touches on their staged homes, and boost their chances of selling. Here is a list of seven often overlooked finishing touches that can make a home shine.

1. Switch the lights.

It may seem like a big project, but switching out ceiling light fixtures is actually quite simple. Replacing old or broken fixtures can add a polished look and make a home feel updated. Remember that during showings and open houses, all lights will be on, so buyers’ eyes will be drawn to them. Choose something timeless that will go with any décor. And don’t forget the switch plates – dingy or yellowed light switches can make a staged room feel incomplete.

2. Consider window treatments.

Your clients may hesitate to replace blinds or shades before they move, because they can’t take them when they go. But remind them that custom window treatments can add significant value to the sale price. The right treatments can add privacy, style, and even energy efficiency to the home. They’re also the perfect way to frame a professionally-staged room. During your showing, treatments should allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Natural light balances any overly yellow lightbulbs and provides a blank canvas for the buyers to see clearly.

3. Touch-up the paint.

A professionally staged home will have impeccable furnishings and accessories. But chipped baseboards or scuffed walls can undo that polished look in an instant. Advise your clients to go through the home with touch-up paint and get rid of the most obvious offenses. It’s a simple way to hide the home’s age, and keep potential buyers focused on the its best attributes.

4. Give the floors some attention.

Stagers may add area rugs, but do not use rugs to hide scratched hardwoods or stained carpeting. Recommend that your clients make the investment into buffing and deep cleaning the flooring, so the rest of the staging looks at home in the pristine environment.

5. Add a little life.

Staging companies may add artificial plants as décor, but the living variety are even more appealing. Fresh flowers and houseplants brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. Go neutral white or use this as an opportunity to add a pop of color. Also, try bowls of fruit, hanging ferns, or a small window herb garden to avoid having to put fresh flowers out every week. Don’t forget to look outside and freshen up the flower bed with new blooms and/or add a few potted plants around the front door.

6. Remove personal items.

Another final touch to making sure the staging looks natural is to remove any overly personal distractions. Remove family photos and memorabilia. If your sellers want to leave the frames on the wall to hide nail holes, have them consider putting a nice landscape print or piece of scrapbook paper in that spot instead. This goes for art, too. Your potential buyers might not share your enthusiasm for turn of the century pop-art, so the best choice is to swap it out for something classic, or remove completely.

7. Don’t forget storage areas.

Stagers will give special attention to the main living areas, but storage spaces like garages, closets, and basements are also vital selling points that need attention. Potential buyers look for roomy areas where they’ll be able to fit all their stuff. If basements and garages are overcrowded, it might send the signal that the home isn’t big enough for the buyers’ needs. Sellers may benefit from renting a storage space to help declutter and make every inch of the home irresistible.

KatieLaird2016ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Laird is a frequent public speaker on social media marketing, social customer care, and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as “happykatie” sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. Laird is also the director of social marketing for Blinds.com.

Styled, Staged & SoldStyled, Staged & Sold

read more

7 Secrets for Adding a Finishing Touch to Your Staging

Oct 20, 2017 by

Styled Staged Sold_ Adding Finishing Touch to Staging_Image

Photo credit: Blinds.com

By Katie Laird, guest contributor

When staging a home for an open house, you can transform a space from an unimpressive, run-of-the-mill property to one with a “wow” factor. But without a little extra attention to detail, even the most professionally staged homes can leave something to be desired. Don’t let staging efforts go to waste—advise your clients to put the finishing touches on their staged homes, and boost their chances of selling. Here is a list of seven often overlooked finishing touches that can make a home shine.

1. Switch the lights.

It may seem like a big project, but switching out ceiling light fixtures is actually quite simple. Replacing old or broken fixtures can add a polished look and make a home feel updated. Remember that during showings and open houses, all lights will be on, so buyers’ eyes will be drawn to them. Choose something timeless that will go with any décor. And don’t forget the switch plates – dingy or yellowed light switches can make a staged room feel incomplete.

2. Consider window treatments.

Your clients may hesitate to replace blinds or shades before they move, because they can’t take them when they go. But remind them that custom window treatments can add significant value to the sale price. The right treatments can add privacy, style, and even energy efficiency to the home. They’re also the perfect way to frame a professionally-staged room. During your showing, treatments should allow as much natural light into the home as possible. Natural light balances any overly yellow lightbulbs and provides a blank canvas for the buyers to see clearly.

3. Touch-up the paint.

A professionally staged home will have impeccable furnishings and accessories. But chipped baseboards or scuffed walls can undo that polished look in an instant. Advise your clients to go through the home with touch-up paint and get rid of the most obvious offenses. It’s a simple way to hide the home’s age, and keep potential buyers focused on the its best attributes.

4. Give the floors some attention.

Stagers may add area rugs, but do not use rugs to hide scratched hardwoods or stained carpeting. Recommend that your clients make the investment into buffing and deep cleaning the flooring, so the rest of the staging looks at home in the pristine environment.

5. Add a little life.

Staging companies may add artificial plants as décor, but the living variety are even more appealing. Fresh flowers and houseplants brighten dining rooms, entryways, and bedside tables. Go neutral white or use this as an opportunity to add a pop of color. Also, try bowls of fruit, hanging ferns, or a small window herb garden to avoid having to put fresh flowers out every week. Don’t forget to look outside and freshen up the flower bed with new blooms and/or add a few potted plants around the front door.

6. Remove personal items.

Another final touch to making sure the staging looks natural is to remove any overly personal distractions. Remove family photos and memorabilia. If your sellers want to leave the frames on the wall to hide nail holes, have them consider putting a nice landscape print or piece of scrapbook paper in that spot instead. This goes for art, too. Your potential buyers might not share your enthusiasm for turn of the century pop-art, so the best choice is to swap it out for something classic, or remove completely.

7. Don’t forget storage areas.

Stagers will give special attention to the main living areas, but storage spaces like garages, closets, and basements are also vital selling points that need attention. Potential buyers look for roomy areas where they’ll be able to fit all their stuff. If basements and garages are overcrowded, it might send the signal that the home isn’t big enough for the buyers’ needs. Sellers may benefit from renting a storage space to help declutter and make every inch of the home irresistible.

KatieLaird2016ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Laird is a frequent public speaker on social media marketing, social customer care, and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as “happykatie” sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. Laird is also the director of social marketing for Blinds.com.

Styled, Staged & SoldStyled, Staged & Sold

read more
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