Reimagine the Formal Living Room

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

A living room likely isn’t topping many home shoppers’ must-have list these days. In fact, some architects say the formal living room – that upscale room welcoming guests at the front of a home – is becoming extinct.

Call it a casualty of the Great Recession, when home buyers started to get choosier when it came down to the bare essentials to a home. The formal living room started to lose favor to other preferences, like a home office or larger kitchen. After all, why have a room devoted to fancy chairs and sofas that rarely gets used?

As such, some buyers are walking through older homes today, questioning what to do with that formal living room space. Here are some ways to get your buyers to re-imagine those spaces.

The perfect home office?

The perfect kids play room?

The perfect library?

The perfect hobby room for the craft, sewing or music lovers? Here’s a wine and music room:

The perfect dining room?

 

 

Source - Realtor.org

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The Biggest Social Media Fails in Real Estate

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Bill Gassett

By Bill Gassett

It’s no secret that social media is a must in the world of real estate. Today’s buyers and sellers turn the to various platforms and make snap judgments on what you have to offer. You do get points for actually having accounts on all of the main platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest), but if you’re not seeing the results you had hoped for, chances are you’re making one or more of these common social media mistakes. These blunders not only cause you lose business, but you quickly gain a reputation as the person nobody wants to see when they log in.

Social Media as a Whole

Before I get into the social media fails in specific platforms, let’s talk about the main purpose of social media. I’ll give you a hint: It’s in the name. Yes, it’s about being social. Getting to know your audience, providing them with information that is useful, and building trust. If you are more focused on promoting yourself than you are about genuinely helping your followers, then it’s no surprise nobody wants to do business with you.

What many agents fail to understand is that social media is not about direct selling. If this is what you are doing, it’s no wonder you’re not getting anywhere! Just like having a top real estate blog, your attention should be focused on helping others and answering their questions. When you do this, sales will naturally come your way.

@Mlphoto, 2014. Morguefile

Twitter Turmoils

It’s a fast-moving, hashtag-loving, 140-character-limiting social media site, and it’s a must-use for all real estate pros. However, you better not be making these mistakes:

  • Blast your message directly to people – This is not something you should do. This is akin to receiving a spam email. Nobody wants to receive sales pitch notifications in their stream from someone they don’t know.
  • Ignore notifications – Just because there’s not a direct feed under every tweet, doesn’t mean you don’t need to reply. Make sure to review your notifications regularly to see if anyone has re-tweeted something, replied to you, or mentioned you. If they have, say something back, or better yet, re-tweet their content. This is one of the best ways to say thank you. Reciprocation wins big time in real estate social media. Learn how to use Twitter for real estate in this handy guide. Build an engaged audience by following the simple tips.
  • Blast nothing but listings – Hello? Can you say annoying? Folks, people do not go to Twitter to buy houses! If all you do is post listings – and they are not owned by the rich and famous – you will command nothing buy yawns from your followers.
  • Use random hashtags – Hashtags are a must for Twitter because they put tweets in a relevant context and make your tweets more searchable. However, you better be sure that your hashtag is what you think it is. If you just choose whatever sounds good, you may end up accidentally aligning yourself with something that can hurt your reputation. Use hastags that are connected to the business like #realestate.

Facebook Faults

This giant social media platform is undoubtedly the most popular, so you would think real estate agents would have the strategy for this site perfected by now. Unfortunately, these errors are seen all too often:

  • Post at the wrong times – It’s true that Facebook posts do have longer staying power than Twitter, but posts are usually surfaced in the news feed with the most recent first (unless it makes it into your friends’ news feed “top stories.”) So if you post late at night, by the time your audience wakes up, there is a high chance they won’t even scroll long enough to see what you had to say.
  • Skip follow through – If you post something, stick around long enough to see if anyone has anything to say about it. And if you must go, don’t forget to check back in and reply to any comments made.

    ©Bill Gassett, 2015

  • Use only a personal page – If you don’t have a designated business page for your real estate business, you better fix it now. Not only is it technically against Facebook’s rules, it puts limits on how many people can find you and follow you, and it’s just not considerate to your friends.
  • Skip the foolish event invites – One of the most silly mistakes made by real estate agents is not inviting appropriate people to events. When you have an event you want your contacts to know about don’t check off your entire list of friends. Pick people who are local that will want to attend your event. There is nothing more annoying than getting real estate agent Mary’s invite to her kid’s bar mitzvah. Mary, you live in Texas. I live in Massachusetts. Other than a few Facebook posts, I really don’t know you personally. Sorry, I won’t make it. Maybe next time…NOT!

Pinterest Problems

No, this site is not just for housewives; it’s a huge marketing tool that every real estate agent should be taking advantage of. When you do, just avoid these errors:

  • Pin in bulk – The site is addicting, which often results in an abundance of pins in a short amount of time. This is fine, as long as you are organizing them on boards accordingly, but you can’t just disappear for a week or two afterwards. A better option is to pin to a secret board, and then slowly unveil them to the public over several days. When you have a lot of pins to share, a better strategy is to post them every 60 minutes instead of all at once. You won’t annoy your followers, and you’ll spread out your presence over the course of the day. This simple trick can lead to more followers. See how to use Pinterest for real estate exposure. Keep in mind that Pinterest has the longest shelf life of a link shared than any other platform.
  • Skip descriptions – Whether it’s a re-pin or an original, you need to take the time to write a description. It should be precise and engaging and let your followers know exactly why you think it will benefit them. Use appropriate keywords so your posting has a better chance of showing up in search.

LinkedIn Lapses

While LinkedIn is great for job hunting and recruiting, there is a lot more to it. Essentially, it’s a place where you can grow networks and increase profits, as long as you aren’t making these errors:

  • Connect only with personal contacts – Anyone on LinkedIn is fair game, you absolutely do not have to know them from the real world. Think of the six degrees of separation!
  • Overlook the feed – Yes, LinkedIn has a news feed just like Facebook. Read it, respond to it, and throw in a post or two yourself on occasion.
  • ©Bill Gassett, 2015

    Post your listings into groups – Most real estate groups on Linkedin are for discussing relevant topics. They are NOT for sharing your latest listing on Nobody Cares Street USA. So many real estate agents make clueless mistakes like this that make them look foolish in front of their peers. See how to use Linkedin for real estate for great tips on how to use this social channel properly.

  • Forget about keywords – People use the search feature on LinkedIn more than on any other platform. You need to make sure your profile and company pages are keyword rich so that you get found.

Google+ Goof Ups

Google+ is very much still in the game, and if you aren’t getting any traction from it, perhaps you are a victim of one of these common oversights:

  • Forget the public circle – Every post you make should include the green circle, meaning everyone can see it. If you skip it, only those in the designated circles will see your posts.
  • Use plain text – Google+ is the only platform that allows you to bold and italicize your posts, so you need to be using these tools to make your posts stand out.
  • Write short leads – On Facebook, you are only supposed to write a sentence or two before you share a link or photo; however, Google+ users expect more of the story. It’s not uncommon to include quotes from the article, a short summary, or questions to the reader asking for their input.
  • Misuse the email function – One of the more common problems with newbies or marketers on Google+ is using the email function improperly. For those that don’t know you can email those you have put into a circle. The problem is the people you have in a circle are people YOU follow not the other way around. So when you email your latest and greatest post to someone who doesn’t know you and has never had any dialog with you, it can be pretty frustrating. In fact, it is no different than getting email spam. See how not to share a post on Google Plus for a complete explanation.

There you have it; all of the worst mistakes made by real estate agents. If you can tweak your social media strategy accordingly, you will soon see what all the hype is about. Think of social media as a place to build relationships with people and not where you will make your next sale.

Bill Gassett is a nationally-recognized real estate leader and one of the top RE/MAX salespeople in New England. See all his real estate articles at www.maxrealestateexposure.com.

Source - Realtor.org

Are You a Real Estate Misfit?

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Lee Davenport

By Lee Davenport

Are you on a hunt for more leads? Whether you’re new to real estate sales or a veteran interested in reinventing your lead generation strategy to keep your sales pipeline full, if you said yes, then you may be interested in hearing how top producers are leading the pack.

One sales leader suggests using Instagram and advertising on Facebook. You try the exact steps given but you don’t see the same results. Then another leading sales agent encourages you to go back to sending postcards and having open houses.  Your results after several months are still less than noteworthy. Others propose methods that have been “tried and true” for them, but you still do not see the same level of closings.

What is going wrong? Are you just not cut out to sell real estate in today’s marketplace?

Answer: You probably are not using lead generating tactics that complement your natural behavioral tendencies and personality. In other words, the suggested prospecting activities are personally awkward for you and it shows in your sales (or lack thereof). As a result, you are a misfit in real estate – but there is help available.

Of course, there can be issues if you do not give a lead generating approach enough time to work (i.e. you have to try it more than twice), your work ethic is lackluster or the “winning” technique inadvertently is “missing” a few of the critical steps (hopefully that was not purposeful but there can be stiff competition in sales). If those are not your qualms, then check to see if you are working against how you are wired to sell.

Have you ever seen a toddler try to place a square peg into a round hole?  The toddler persists to the point of frustration (i.e. a temper tantrum) and then may move on to another toy, never to again return to the peg and hole. Or, the toddler may force the peg to fit, not realizing that the toy may become inoperable. Unfortunately, I have seen agents do the same with lead generation: They either force it to fit but it just does not work properly, or they walk away from it never to return. Both scenarios end in nerve-wracking, career-altering, confidence-shaking frustration.

Understanding your behavioral personality (I like using DiSC for this, but there are others) and the lead generating activities that support your natural inclinations can be like finding the square hole in which to place the square peg.

Do you think you are currently a real estate misfit or match? Take my short three-question survey below to weigh in and discover how you can best profit with your personality:

If you are the steady type (meaning you are introverted but someone who is very dependable and oriented towards people instead of tasks), you are doing a disservice to your business if you are cold-calling, which is more appropriate for those with dominant or influencer as their prominent traits. Instead, as a steady type, you should look to cultivate one-on-one relationships with people from your sphere of influence, social media networks, past clients, vendors, and even other agents (who can refer business in times of illness, bereavement, travel, holiday, you name it).

Those with dominant traits who are extroverted and task-driven should focus on prospecting that allows them to track, quantify, and share results (e.g. cold calling, door-knocking, online ads, buying leads like with SmartZip, sharing monthly market updates through social media, mailings, or email campaigns).

Influencers, like our beloved Chatty Cathys who are extroverted and people-focused, should seek lead generating activities that allow them to socialize. Some ideas include vlogging about their community, having open houses, hosting community fair booths (with titles like, Are You Ready to Sell?, How Much House Can You Afford?, etc.), throwing client appreciation parties, and so forth.

The conscientious folks (those who are introverted and task-driven, get the job done well but are put-off by crowds) would best serve their time by focusing on written marketing endeavors such as blogging, mailing postcards, or writing buying and selling guides to post on your website or mail.

Tip: Keep in mind that many of us exhibit all four of the DiSC personality traits, but the key is to focus on the lead generating activities that mesh with your most prevalent characteristic. No matter your DiSC profile results, be sure to always ask for business. And as your business grows, hire staff and recruit team members who have different strengths/personality profiles, which will maximize the amount of lead generating your growing team can accomplish. Also, check out my upcoming free webinar series where I will discuss this further.

In the coming months, be on the lookout for my scientific study and white paper that will provide a more in depth examination of the correlation between sales success and lead generating activities that complement one’s behavioral profile.

By the way, follow me on Google Plus and Facebook for more tips and techniques. Here’s to your success!

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, business doctoral student, trainer and coach.  Learn more about the training and 1-on-1 coaching programs that she offers by visiting www.AgentsAroundAtlanta.com.

Source - Realtor.org

Is That Home Healthy?

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR(R) Magazine

Surprisingly, one in five home owners consider their homes unhealthy, according to the Healthy Home Study of about 800 home owners conducted by Houzz.

So what makes a home healthy to home owners? The top indoor concerns of home owners in gauging a home’s health: Moisture, air quality, and cleanliness. The top outside concerns: Air quality, grounds safety, and soil quality.

The home owners surveyed perceived newer homes to be healthiest with having no allergens or mold and limited instances of insects and rodents.

“Healthy homes” are considered 20 percent to 60 percent less likely to have some indoor contaminates, like excessive dust, mold, or contaminates in the drinking water, the majority of home owners said. However, nearly a third of home owners confess their home has excessive dust or pet dander issues.

Home owners who rate their home as “non-healthy” are more likely to remodel (view chart to see most popular upgrades planned). For example, one-fifth or more of home owners plan to do major painting, flooring, HVAC, windows, lighting upgrades, and insulation over the next 12 months.

Indeed, more than 40 percent of home owners say that preventing health problems remains a motivation for their renovation projects.

2014 Healthy Home Study, Houzz

 

Source - Realtor.org