5 ways to win at luxury real estate marketing

5 ways to win at luxury real estate marketing

1. Be accountable

The best thing about having an accountability partner or group is that the relationship is mutually beneficial. I think many real estate agents find accountability groups or partners to be a waste of time. They forget having a “coach” or “partner” that wants them to succeed and expand is vital to any industry.

Cheerleaders are absolutely necessary, and meeting with them on a consistent basis is of utmost importance. Consistency is the key to success in anything we’re determined to accomplish.

2. Connect x 100

You should connect with 100 people every day. We all know many real estate sales come from our sphere of influence (SOI), so focus on building relationships and making your sphere larger and stronger. Network to create new relationships, but always keep nurturing the ones you’ve already established.

To avoid coming off too “salesy” when messaging new people on social media, it is suggested to use  something like:

Hey (insert name), I just wanted to connect with you. I see that you are in the _____ industry. I am trying to build my network and find good people in your industry.

People you connect with will peruse your profile, realize you’re a Realtor and perhaps take interest in starting an honest and open connection with you.

3. Update your profiles

Nonworking phone numbers, old addresses, and outdated profile photos should be replaced regularly.

Maintaining our social media presence can be tedious, but we must keep up with it because it’s where most people are looking. Think about it as your personal brand. It is good ot update all profiles every January with a new picture and fresh information.

4. Make a detailed checklist (no matter what the listing price is)

I loved this statement, and I am a huge advocate for treating each listing exactly the same whether it’s an RV lot or a multi-million-dollar listing.

Prepare a detailed checklist for your review once you get the listing. Your checklist should not only include placing a sign, preparing flyers, taking professional pictures and shooting a video, but it should also include a detailed marketing plan based on who your buyers are and where they come from.

5. Use your network when marketing your listings

This is something I think we forget to do (or weren’t taught), but using your network is arguably the most important part of your marketing plan.

You have to know who your buyer is, where your buyer is coming from and how to connect your listing with the agents who might have that buyer.

Agents should be calling (not emailing) other agents; they should be showing their listings to other agents; they should be marketing their listings to other agents before those listings even go live on the MLS.

I think the world of real estate sales is changing, and we need to step up our game and take ownership of our own brand, network, and success.

4 things every agent should know about creating the perfect social media strategy

4 things every agent should know about creating the perfect social media strategy

In March, Ignite Visibility CEO John Lincoln released “Social Media Marketing: The Movie,” a 45-minute film where 10 social media experts explain how each of the top social media platforms works and share how to find success on each platform as a business owner. Here’s what the CEO and social media expert had to say about creating a solid strategy:

1. You don’t have to be on every platform.

There are a plethora of social media platforms and tools real estate agents can use to expand their sphere, grow their influence and, ultimately, get more sales. With all these choices, it can be tempting to be “everywhere” at once, even if it’s not beneficial for your bottom line.

“What people try to do is do a little bit on a lot of sites,” Lincoln told Inman.

He said agents should only join platforms they feel comfortable with and provide an ample opportunity to connect with their audience. Lincoln also said agents should take a deep dive into how the platform works, understand the reason for the platform (e.g. Instagram creates engagement around photos) and study the platform’s user demographics.

If there’s a new platform you’re interested in joining, there’s no problem with creating an account and doing a little experimentation — but don’t spend your advertising dollars until you ask these questions:

  • What’s the community size of the platform?
  • How does it compare to other platforms?
  • Is my demographic there?
  • Can you grow a community there? If so, how big?
  • What kind of clicks and traffic can you generate?

“You don’t want to start making it a part of your social media strategy if it’s going to take a lot of time and resources, and if you’re not going to get a direct return because your demographic isn’t there,” Lincoln said.

2. Accept that you’ll have to ‘pay to play.’

The days of garnering explosive organic (unpaid) traffic are gone, and the sooner agents can accept that new reality, the better. At one point, Lincoln explained, every person who liked your business page would’ve seen the majority of your posts, especially if you had a high relevancy score.

But in the face of “fake news” scandals, questions about data being improperly used by advertisers and spammy posts, Facebook has changed its algorithm to favor posts from family and friends, which has tanked organic traffic rates.

“Lincoln says a budget of $200–$750 per month is a great starting point for Facebook ad newbies, and that money can bring an extra 500 to 2,000 visitors to your site per month. Of course, agents can start out with basic content marketing and promotion and direct conversion (pay-per-click), but remarketing ads (ads to re-engage people who’ve visited your website or mobile app) and advanced targeting metrics tend to be more effective, especially for real estate professionals.

“There’s a lot of opportunities out there for real estate agents, but it’s all in the strategy,and it’s all about knowing the right way to execute,” he said.

3. Not making videos? You’re missing out.

Lincoln said videos are one of the most effective ways to build an audience and expand your influence and that real estate agents often have the perfect personalities for this medium. But some agents fail at video, not because of a lack of talent or content, but because of inconsistency.

“You want to have a regularly scheduled program, just like a TV show,” he said.

Instagram and Twitter are best for talking about the highlights of a home or a brief professional topic since there’s a one-minute limit on both platforms. LinkedIn has a 10-minute limit,and Facebook and YouTube allow creators to make videos of any length.

Lincoln said within the first 10 seconds of a video, agents need to explain what they’ll be discussing and why it’s important. Also, he suggests, agents should have a static title bar at the bottom of the screen that includes the video’s topic, such as “10 ingenious ways to generate leads.” Lastly, agents should end with an invitation to like, comment or subscribe.

Just like any other piece of content, Lincoln said agents will have to promote their videos with an advertising budget ranging anywhere from $5–$100 per video.

4. Never fully depend on social media.

Lincoln said all agents need to have their own website where they can aggregate and save all the content they’re making on social media because there’s no guarantee that any of these platforms will stick around — remember Vine?

“I’ve seen sites tank, I’ve seen sites get huge boosts, and these sites are always changing things,” he said. “The most important thing is not to rely on the social sites or external sites to build your business. That is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make.”

5 Facts Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Credits

5 Facts Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Credits

Too often, getting a signed contract and putting your money into escrow is the beginning of what can become yet another round of negotiations. Here are five things every home buyer and seller should know about last-minute negotiations or credits.

Buyers may ask for credits based on property inspections.

Usually, a real estate contract either provides for a property inspection, or buyers inspect before signing. Depending on the property and the issues, a buyer might also have a particular type of inspection for the sewer line, septic, pool or roof.

These inspections can bring to light issues that the buyer couldn’t possibly have known about before making an offer. Once inspected, the buyer may still be interested in pursuing the sale. But given the needed repairs they will probably want to re-negotiate the price by asking for credits or a reduction in the purchase price.

Sellers should consider having a property inspection before listing.

The goal is to avoid negotiations once you’re under contract because they’re not going to be in your favor. If you know the roof is near the end of its life or the furnace breaks from time to time, let it be known upfront, because rarely can you “sneak” something past the buyer.

You might even go as far as having your property inspected before listing the home. This way, you can address any issues, and make the inspection report available to buyers. They can come up with their best offer up front, knowing what they’re getting.

If you have an inspection report or are otherwise assured your property is in great shape, you could even ask for an “as-is” clause in the contract. Although it’s not necessarily enforceable, it will send a strong message to the buyers that you aren’t open to more negotiation.

Sellers may try to avoid giving credits by having work done before escrow closes.

After inspections, the seller might agree to have work done before the closing. Or the seller may require that a payment is given directly to a contractor for the purpose of performing the specific, required work and nothing else.

These agreements help protect the seller because buyers sometimes ask for credits just to help offset the closing costs — and never intends to do the repair work.

It also protects the seller if initial estimates for needed work turn out to have been overstated.

Buyers who ask for credits just to get the price down may be taking a chance.

Sometimes the buyer concedes on the purchase price thinking they can come back after the property inspection and ask for an additional concession.

The buyer may even feel empowered now that they’ve completed a series of inspections and are just weeks away from closing. The seller isn’t going to go back to the drawing board with a new buyer over a few more dollars, right?

Actually, they might. If it’s a strong buyer’s market, there’s a good chance the buyer can pull it off, but if it’s more of a neutral or a seller’s market, the seller may call your bluff. They’re assuming that you’re the one who, having invested all this time and money on inspections and an appraisal, isn’t going to walk away over a few dollars.

Buyers nearly always ask for credits, so sellers should give themselves some cushion.

You should also leave some additional room for negotiation when you’re in escrow. Always assume the buyer will ask for minor repair work — they nearly always do, even if there are no major issues. If you leave some cushion for yourself, you’ll feel better about the deal, and you’ll have protected yourself against the inevitable.

Converseand dollars credit — just when you think the deal is finally done.

3 tips for breaking into the luxury real estate niche

3 tips for breaking into the luxury real estate niche

THE LUXURY REAL ESTATE NICHE

A successful real estate agent might sell a couple million-dollar homes every year but will typically make the majority of his or her money from median-priced home sales in his or her market. And even though the median U.S. home value has risen 6.5 percent year-over-year to an all-time high of $206,300, it still takes a lot of home sales to generate a lucrative income.

At a standard 3 percent commission, you’d need to sell roughly 25 median-priced homes per year to generate a $150,000 annual salary — or one every two weeks. There are definitely a ton of agents doing this, but the problem with consistently trying to generate a high income from lots of small sales is that you’re susceptible to market swings.

When inventory goes down (like it’s expected to this year), or when the market crashes (as it did less than a decade ago), it’s nearly impossible to sustain your same levels.

Have you thought about trying to break into the luxury real estate niche?

Not only is the luxury real estate niche better insulated from market swings, but it’s also highly lucrative. The sale of one $5 million home would net you the same commission as 25 median-priced homes. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a huge chunk of money from a single deal — rather than dealing with two-dozen clients across a multitude of deals.

The luxury real estate niche — which would be defined as the top 1 percent to 5 percent of home sales in your market — isn’t an easy niche to get plugged into. If you operate in a small market, there are probably already a handful of agents who take on the majority of this work; they won’t be keen on relinquishing their grasp.

If you’re in a major market, the sheer volume of agents in this niche will limit your chances to stand out. But it’s possible — and highly lucrative.

3 TIPS FOR BREAKING INTO THE LUXURY REAL ESTATE

As is the case in any sales-based position, thriving in the high-end real estate market is all about understanding who your audience is and delivering a service they perceive as valuable. Not sure where to start?

Here are some practical tips: 

1. Get out there, and mingle

You aren’t going to slip into the luxury real estate niche by sending out emails and purchasing some ad space on Facebook. If you’re serious about getting plugged in, you need to be moving in the same circles as high-end clients. Often, the best place to start is with networking events.

“One of the most popular places to start is BNI International. They host networking events with professionals of all stripes and have chapters throughout the world,” real estate marketer Jason Fox wrote on his blog. Other good places include Rotary Club, Lions Club and your local Chamber of Commerce.

2. Treat clients well

High-end clients expect to be treated like high-end clients. The same approach you use for a newlywed couple buying a $150,000 house won’t work with a CEO buying a $3.5 million estate.

The good news is that the healthy commission you’ll make allows you to pamper your clients. This means you can do things like book private jet charters and fly clients around to quickly and efficiently check out properties over a wide geographical area or wine and dine them at luxury restaurants. The key is to show them they’re special.

3. Be OK with co-listing and co-marketing

According to Andrew Greenwell, a successful luxury real estate agent and former star of Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, you must be willing to co-list and co-market properties at times.

As Greenwell puts it in this RESAAS blog post, “half of a lot is more than a lot of nothing.” In other words, it’s better to split the commission on the sale of a $5 million property than it is to get nothing at all. 

5 housewarming gift ideas for all types of clients

5 housewarming gift ideas for all types of clients

1. A fun gift they’ll use for years to come (at least, we hope they will)

Most importantly, gauge your client’s personality. You want to get clients something they will appreciate, not something they really don’t want.

If your clients are young, and they’ve let some vulgarities slip while around you, get them a coaster set. It’s funny and classic. They’ll be sure to have them out when their friends come over for a housewarming party — or any party really. Their friends will probably ask about the hilarious coasters, which will give your client the opportunity to talk about how fantastic you are!

For families or couples that seem a little more conservative, get an Amazon Alexa or a Google Home! Even if they already have one, they can always use one in another room.

These personal assistants are fun for families, handy for people who love to cook and need to set lots of timers and perfect for people who are forgetful.

2. A gift they’ll binge on

A three- or six-month membership to Netflix, Hulu or MoviePass is an innovative gift idea. This gift gives people experiences (more memories that can lead them back to thinking about you). Also, this kind of gift gets people talking.

Imagine what kinds of captions they’d use on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram posts because your gift would definitely be post-worthy.

3. Knowledge, and some money to follow it through with

Is your client totally new to the area? You might do well to buy them a gift card to the most unique — and tasty– restaurant your city has. They’ll appreciate your recommendation and try it out.

If you’re lucky, it will become their favorite restaurant, and they’ll think of you every time they go. When their new friends ask, “Have you been to Satchel’s,” they’ll say, “Yes, our amazing real estate agent gave us a gift card to go our first week here.” Then, they’ll say more nice things about you.

4. Can’t figure out what to get them? Give them the ability to get

Buy your client an Amazon Prime membership! It takes the stress out of figuring out what to get them and gives them the freedom to have whatever they really want to be delivered to their brand new doorstep.

They’ll be thinking about you all year, and if they renew, they might think about you as long as they’re members. Additionally, they might associate you with the products they buy, which is also a win.

5. Have them think of you everytime they lose their house keys

Tile is a small keychain clip-on that your client can use to track their house keys from their mobile device. Every time your clients lose their house keys and have an easy way to find them, they’ll think of you and how you’ve always got their back when it comes to the home.

It’s a cool conversation piece to show their friends. Plus, if they lose their keys in front of someone, that person will likely ask about it, giving your client another opportunity to mention you.