Quickly Selling Real Estate by Owner When Fast Cash Is Necessary

The good ole 'days were refreshing. You could put up a sign in your yard and get fast responses from interested potential buyers, or hire a listing agent and not worry about their commissions eating up your cash. Times have changed.

Real estate has become competitive. In some areas, it's a sellers market. In others, buyer's take the reins. No matter what though, there are many thousands more individuals in real estate now than there were back then. With investment seminars and flipping shows becoming more mainstream, the real estate pool is growing bigger on a daily basis.

But what if you are in a hurry to sell? Does that mean you are motivated? Let's take a look at what constitutes a motivated seller, and whether or not some of these seller techniques will work for your situation …

Motivations:

  • You are facing foreclosure

Times can be tough. You may have been let go from that job and couldn't replace the income in time. The bank sent you a letter giving you notice of a Lis Pendens (the beginning of a foreclosure, also known as a preforeclosure) You are out of options, and you don't want the foreclosure to end up destroying your credit.

  • You are behind on taxes

Just as before, this is an immediate situation that can destroy your credit. Taxes will get collected no matter what, so bad credit doesn't need to be added to the mix. Back-taxes will not only eat up your equity, but will also be attached to your future wages.

  • You have bad tenants

You are constantly receiving complaints about the tenants in one of your properties. Police are becoming a normal sight in front of the property. Perhaps the renters are turning your intended investment into a drug house. You don't want to deal with the situation and would rather take cash out of the investment and walk away.

  • You are getting divorced

Let's face it. Not many are fair in divorce proceedings. Who is keeping the house? Neither of you? So you have no choice but to sell quickly so you can avoid your soon to be ex like the plague, and get some cash for a fresh start.

  • You are retiring

Whether you are a landlord who is retiring from the business, or a couple with a home that you've had for years, you just want some cash for your equity so you can move to warmer climates and bingo.

  • You inherited real estate

You just inherited a house or multi unit property, but would rather have cash instead. You want a quick sale, and don't want to be bothered with upkeep.

  • You are an out of state owner

You thought you could manage the investment property in California while relaxing in your home in Maine. Unfortunately, good help is hard to find and the property managers all turn out to be drunks. The grass is high and you are getting letters. It's causing more headaches than it's worth.

  • You just want some extra cash

You don't have a need for the property in question and you simply want to pad your bank account.

These are all valid reasons that would make you a motivated seller. The only question I have for you in this case is … are you greedy?

A number one killer of real estate sales is an owner who has too much pride to accept that the market will not support their outlandish property valuations. The fair market value may be high, but nobody is biting. How is that quick sale going for you? The first step in selling your home quickly is acknowledging that you need to be open minded. If you can be open minded about the price of the sale, or the terms, then selling fast will be a breeze.

Where are my target buyers?

You have quite a few options. Some will take longer than others. Probably the number one way of selling quickly is seeking out a wholesaler. A wholesaler is a real estate investor who looks for discounted properties, writes an offer, then assigns the contract to one of their many cash buyers. Often, the wholesaler will have hundreds, or even thousands of investors in their contact list who are ready to buy immediately. Their investment partners have been qualified by the wholesaler with proof of funds, and will have shown the wholesaler multiple deals that they have closed in the past.

There are wholesalers that buy properties in multiple states, while other wholesalers are limited to a single state. Some of them even stick to a specific city or regional area. They are known for the use of phrases such as "we buy houses, any area, any condition". While many wholesalers stick to deeply discounted properties, others work with low equity deals where Subject2 and seller financing can be put into play. These are some of the techniques that require you to be an open-minded seller that is truly "motivated".

Another option for a quick sale is Craigslist and other classified websites. If you are going the classifieds route, you have to be prepared for the 'tire kicker' responses. There can be a lot of newbie investors, and people who are just looking that will take a lot of your time to screen out before finding a true buyer. When listing a classified ad for your home, make sure you include as many details as possible in the ad. Leaving out bedrooms, bathrooms, parking, and other features will only mean that you have to spend time discussing these things when taking the multitude of calls you will receive.

If classifieds are not your thing, you will want to find buyers through a more direct route. Go to where they hang out. There are forums such as EquityPaper, and BiggerPockets that have premium subscription options for real estate listings and other networking tools. These are forums where investors get together to discuss real estate topics daily. If you list your home in these professional member areas, or marketplaces, you can get fairly quick responses from interested buyers.

Determining property value to an investor

When listing your property, there are some things that potential buyers will want to know in addition to the standard property details. ARV (after repair value) is one of them. To find your ARV, go to Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin. On each of those websites, search for your property and write down the estimated value for each of them. Add all 3 of those values, then divide the sum by 3. The result will be your ARV.

After you have your ARV, you want to determine what the new buyer will have to put into the property in repairs. If your home is in great condition, you only need to account for simple things such as paint, appliances, and other things related to the buyer's tastes. You would multiply your square footage by $ 10 to get the total credit the buyer will want. If the property needs some updates such as flooring, new toilet, etc, then you will multiple the SF by $ 15. Broken windows, doors, etc will be $ 20. If the house is a disaster and a complete rehab, then the multiplier is $ 30. Now subtract that number from the ARV.

Whether or not the buyer is a wholesaler or a flipper, they need to make something off of the deal. This can be anywhere from $ 2,000 to $ 50,000 or more depending on the location, value, and other factors for your property. Many good wholesalers will stick to the $ 10,000 pricepoint or close to it however. So take your new ARV and subtract the buyer profit for an expectation on how much money you will be offered for the property.

Creative financing for a fast sale

Assuming that the final number from the calculations listed above was not even close to taking care of what you owe on the property, then you need to learn to be creative. Some wholesalers and flippers will still take on a property with little to no equity.

Subject 2 Financing

Subject 2 is a technique that allows the new buyers to take over your mortgage payments, and assume control over the property. Sub2 investors are looking for leverage so that they do not tie up their credit, but can obtain a rental property at the same time.

A seller may have a concern when dealing with a sub2 deal. For example, what if the buyer does not pay the mortgage and it ends up as a bad credit item for the seller? Well, there are protections that are in place for sellers during subject 2 existing financing deals.

  • A single late payment can be a deal breaker. It can be made so that in this event, the buyer is in default and they lose the property back to the seller. This single possibility is reason # 1 for it being a rare scenario. Most subject 2 investors are seasoned. They have been doing it for years, and have made millions through rentals with such deals.
  • Limitation clauses such as one requiring the buyer to refinance the property in their own name within a set time period reduces the risk even further. Let's say that in 2 years time, the buyer is required to refi. By then, they will have accumulated enough equity by paying down your loan for this to be a possibility through traditional lending methods. Even in the worse case, they can secure hard money after that time in order to leverage additional time to flip the property or get other financing.

Contract for deed, or lease option

If you aren't in a complete hurry for a bunch of cash, you can sell on a contract for deed, or a lease option. This will ensure that the buyer is responsible for upkeep, insurance, taxes, and everything else, while giving you a monthly income stream with little risk. With either technique, you are getting a fast sale. The best part is that you retain the deed to the home until the buyer's obligations are met. If they default, you can simply evict them and start over again with a new buyer. The best part is that you are earning interest with your equity at a rate you agreed on in the sale.

FSBO (for sale by owner) does not have to be hard. It can be quite lucritive, and amazingly fast when you learn to be open-minded and creative.

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Choose A CARING Real Estate Agent

Whether you are looking to sell your home, or seeking to buy either your first house, or a new one, statistics indicate, those represented by quality, responsive real estate agents, generally, obtain the best/ finest results! In most areas, there are a large number of agents, to choose from, so doesn’t it make sense, to take the time, and make the effort, to carefully, interview several, and determine, who’s best, for you? There are many factors to consider, but, since, for most of us, our house, represents, either our single – largest, or one of our largest, financial assets, it’s worth the effort, to get, what you need, and deserve. In other words, you need a CARING real estate agent, and. only, when you take the time, and effort, to choose wisely, it’s in your best interests. With that in mind, this article will briefly examine, consider, and review, using the mnemonic approach, what this means, and represents.

1. Character; clarity; cooperative: Focus on the true character, of each individual, Will he proceed, with the level of clarity, to make a quality difference, for the better? Does the prospective agent, proceed with a cooperative approach, rather than an adversarial one?

2. Attitude; aptitude; attention; articulate: You benefit when your representative possesses a positive, can – do, attitude, and looks for ways, you can, rather than focusing on problems. How well – developed are the individual’s skills and aptitude? Will he pay keen attention, to you, and your needs? Choose someone who is articulate, and clearly communicates with all parties!

3. Relevant; realistic; ready: Markets and economies change, and only someone, who pays attention, and uses relevant methods and approaches, achieves the finest results. Avoid someone who seeks to buy, your listing, by suggesting an overly optimistic, listing price. Is the agent, ready, for prime – time?

4. Integrity; ideas; imagination: The single – biggest thing to demand, is someone with absolute integrity! When you find this, then you need someone who will have a well – developed, relevant imagination, and ideas, which make a difference, for the better!

5. Needs; neighborhood: Choose someone who knows the neighborhood, thoroughly, and believes in it. Combining this, with putting your needs, first, is in your best – interest!

6. Generate goodwill; great: A great agent proves his worth and value. by generating goodwill, based on a combination of integrity, knowledge, skill – set, negotiating ability, and other relevant characteristics, as well as his responsiveness, etc. Find yourself, a great, rather, than, merely a good one!

Who you choose to serve your real estate needs, has a significant impact! Choose wisely, and carefully, and make it, a great – fit!

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Sell ​​Commercial Real Estate Notes

Selling commercial real estate notes allows you to convert small monthly payments into an immediate lump sum of cash. A commercial real estate note is simply a loan document signed when you financed the sale of your investment property. Commercial real estate notes are available for office, retail and industrial establishments.

Commercial real estate note selling is based on certain fixed standards. The outstanding balance amount and the period of time are important for most buyers. Second in importance is the value of the property. People generally sell part of their commercial real estate notes instead of selling them as a whole. Partial sales are more profitable in most cases.

When a business involving real estate is sold, two notes are generally created, one each for the business and the real estate. The business note is similar to private mortgages and trust deeds, but it is not secured by real estate. A business note is generated when a person sells a business and decides to carry on the financing and collect regular payments from the new business owner.

A potential seller can sell commercial real estate notes as a whole, or a part of them. The best way to sell commercial real estate notes is to browse websites that display real estate note listings. Visitors to these websites range from individual buyers to companies and financial institutions. The chances of getting a better deal are very high. Real estate brokers are the natural source for selling commercial real estate notes. They can assist you in finding an ideal buyer. Advertising in local newspapers and real estate magazines also helps you sell commercial real estate notes.

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How Quality Real Estate Agents SHOW A House?

Although, there are many necessities of being a quality, real estate agent, one of the things, often – overlooked, is how, they will actually, SHOW the specific house. After all, agents only earn – their – keep, when / if, they make a difference, for the better, in terms of marketing, and selling, any house, they represent! The next time you observe, for example, an Open House, observe, how someone shows the property, and interacts with potential, qualified buyers. Does he balance, the usual, with the unusual, so, he not only uses the time – tested techniques, and ways, but, thinks, outside – the – box, to customize his presentation / showing, to demonstrate / illustrate its specific strengths and possibilities? With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, review, consider, examine, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and why it matters.

1. Service / serving; sustainable; solutions; system; strengths / stronger: An agent must provide the finest degree of excellence, and service / representation, to his clients! Consider, whether you are serving this client's best interests, needs, and specified! How will a particular agent's system, make a quality difference? How will he show, the property, to its best advantage, pointing out the strengths, and making the process, and possibilities, stronger, consistently? Will the solutions be, both, relevant and sustainable, and how will he, truly, serve his client?

2. Honesty; honorably; head / heart; house / home: Agents owe their clients, genuine honesty, and honorably, represent the best interests of them, rather than any personal agenda, and / or, self – interest! They balance, the logical, physical aspects of selling and representing, with the emotional ones, in a head / heart ratio! While they show a house, the art, is conveying how a prospective buyer, might visualize it, as their home!

3. Open Houses; options; opportunities: Different agents conduct Open Houses, differently! Some seem to go through the motions, and are, merely, there, while, owners are better served, when someone, uses these events, to enhance interest, and attention, and makes a connection, with attendees, especially those, who are serious , potential, qualified buyers! They point out the key options, as well as the opportunities, the subject property, possesses, and the possibilities, beyond what some, may be ready to easily, visualize!

4. Winning (features); wants / wishes; where: What are the winning, most attractive (to others) features of a house, and how is the best way, to highlight, them? One must identify, understand, and know, what their client wants, and align that, with what, a prospective buyer, wishes for, and seeks. Is where the house is located, in terms of neighborhood, block, conveniences (to shopping, transportation, etc), relative safety of the area, and convenience to transportation, a positive, motivating factor, or a distraction?

If you hope to sell your home, it is wise, to SHOW it, to the best of its possibilities! Choose wisely, because, who you hire, often, makes lots of difference!

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Essentials Of Marketing, Sales, And Selling Real Estate

Some people, appear to believe, the only thing needed, to successfully, sell one’s home, is making the decision to do so, and, offering it, for sale, advertising it, etc. Statistics indicate, in the vast number of instances, when homeowners use a professional, to sell their houses, they benefit, by receiving, a higher selling price, with less stress/ hassle/ inconvenience, and doing so, in a shorter period of time. Professional real estate agents understand the market, nuances, methods/ techniques, and serve, and represent their client’s best interests. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, some of the essentials of marketing, sales, and selling real estate.

1. Marketing: The process should begin, with client, and agent, being on the same – page, and agreeing to how to proceed, to achieve the homeowner’s objectives and priorities. One should hire an agent, who perceives and conceives of, creates, develops, explains thoroughly (to client’s satisfaction, and understanding), the components of his marketing plan, and the reasoning, and rationale, which makes it make sense, and achieve the primary objectives. Marketing must include: determining the home’s niche; prioritizing approaches; determining the best options and alternatives, etc; considering media choices, and deciding, which ones, might make the most sense, for the particular property; a marketing budget; and; fully explaining the reasoning behind the listing price, and the essentials of making price adjustments, if necessary.

2. Sales: Many, falsely, believe, sales, and selling, are the same! Sales, is a process, and approach, using the tried – and – proven approaches, without thinking, outside – the – box! It means creating a plan of action, in order to maximize the results, which a client, might achieve, and receive.

3. Selling: Unlike sales, selling is a consistent, proactive, activity, which emphasizes, closing – the – deal! It is, when performed properly, and effectively, both, an art, and a science. The art is the technique, which includes: attracting buyers, and other agents; articulating an inspiring, motivating, message, which is responsive to the potential buyers needs, goals, and priorities; matching up, the right buyer, with the right house; asking for the sale; and closing the deal. Obviously, this is not, a one – step, simplistic activity, but, rather, a well – considered, effectively trained, experience – focused, tried – and – proven, method, for achieving the goal!

If you hope to sell your home, begin by hiring the right, real estate agent, for you, who will, be able to, professionally, handle the marketing, sales, and selling of your house. Take the time, to interview agents, and hire the one, who is best for you!

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US Real Estate Predictions for 2019

Similar as to how political pundits claim that this election cycle will be the most important in a generation, this year could be the most important year in recent memory in terms of mortgage loans and the residential real estate industry at large. (And if you believe that I have some swap land in Florida I'd like to sell you). For a variety of reasons, I have decided unilaterally to keep it short and sweet this year. Hence, here are the three perennial predictions for 2019.

1. Gig Work.
At first glance, the phrase "Gig Work" seems antithetical to sound mortgage underwriting standards, but it is in fact actually very refreshing. And that is to say that as the aftermath of the 2008 crash could not be further from the subconscious, there perhaps is subprime "creep" into present underwriting standards. But this is not your Daddy's Oldsmobile underwriting standards. Meaning, that lenders today are more than willing to count part-time and intermittent work as bonifide income, even though it had been looked down upon post-2008.
According to Saideh Brown, President Emeritus of the National Council of Women at the United Nations, "Mortgage lenders are beginning to factor in gig-work for mortgage approval. This is only going to become more prevalent with the current job market. Banks are looking into all sources of income and gig-work is quickly becoming a primary source of income for millennials and must be factored in to get an emotional buy-in to homeownership from this generational block. "

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 1, expect creative – yet reasonable underwriting standards to become apart of normal mortgage underwriting procedures.

2. Saved by the Millennials (again). Whaaat ??
At second glance, who isn't bored by the self-absorbed Millennials. Me for one, but not withstanding that tongue and cheek denigrative response to the flavor of the month generation – who will undoubtedly be replaced by the next off-spring of eternal hopefulless, they do at least make for good print. And here's the angle; While many are concerned if real estate is a safe bet today, then historically speaking it is – and thus, one's perspective should be long term, despite the naysayers on non-real estate appreciation for 2019.

According to Dan Green, CEO of real estate site Growella, "Rising mortgage rates aren't slowing the Millennial Generation's desire for homeownership. Pent-up demand will continue to unfurl through 2019, moving home values ​​up across all price points. Like all markets , housing is defined by supply and demand. And, so long as supply and demand remain within tolerable ranges, housing will continue to be a good investment. "

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 2, buy now and forever hold your peace, since interest rates are still good.

3. Home price decline.
Real estate has always been local. Hence, the adage "Location, location, location." With that in mind, there is nothing to catastrophically fret about in terms of buying a home as a primary home. If you're an investor, then pick your fights carefully, since not all markets will perform as anticipated no matter how smart you may think you are! With that in mind (again), there will be a slight degree of variability – as there sound be, since it would be insanely moronically not to expect some degree of variability. Even in the Garden of Eve, market value likely dipped in price after Adam bit into the apple.
According to Ruben Gonzales, Chief Economist at Keller Williams, "As we look toward 2019, we are anticipating home sales to decline around 2%. We're expecting it to be another slightly slower year as buyers continue to wrangle with higher mortgage rates after contending with several years of rapid price growth. "

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 3, proceed with caution as an investor, but as a primary homebuyer nothing should reasonable caution you from a buying decision, since home appreciation should be an afterthought, and especially so depending upon your hold period.

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10 Tips For Choosing a Real Estate Agent

Whether you are buying or selling a property, choosing a real estate agent may be the most important decision you make. Good real estate agents can save you a substantial amount of time and money. They can also ensure that the buying or selling process is an enjoyable and memorable experience. Here are some tips for choosing a real estate agent:

1. Ask Friends/Family for Referrals

Ask family and friends for their advice on local agents. This way you will be sure to find an agent with a good reputation.

2. Consider More than One Agency

There is an array of agents that will kill for your business. That is why you should interview as many agents as you can. Compare agents with regard to their knowledge of the area, experience and qualifications. Also, ask for references from previous clients.

3. Choose an Agent that Knows the Importance of Customer Care

While interviewing different agents you will be able to establish their level of customer care or how far they will go to satisfy the customer. Look at things like their attitude towards returning phone calls and their willingness to meet with you.

4. Choose an Agent that Handles Homes in Your Price Range

When you opt for an agent that deals with homes in your price range, you will be sure to end up with an agent that will give his or her best effort. Some agents deal only with high-end properties and are used to high commissions. They are more likely to attend to these properties first.

5. Choose an Agent that Respects Your Time Schedule

If you will not be able to view properties during office hours, you need to find an agent that is willing to do business after hours or over weekends.

6. Look for an Agent that You Can Communicate With

Communication is vital when buying or selling real estate. Make sure that you choose an agent that understands your needs and that communicates them well. You will be best off if you choose and agent that registers a high level of comfort with you or with whom you are compatible with.

7. Choose an Agent that Provides Multiple Services

It will be a bonus if you can find an agent that can handle the buying/selling process as well as other additional services like arranging property inspections or who can refer you to a trustworthy real estate attorney.

8. Choose an Agent That Can Negotiate

Negotiating skills is an essential quality of a good real estate agent. Make sure you choose and agent with impeccable and proven negotiating skills.

9. Choose an Agent with Lots of Resources

Ask agents where your property will be advertised. Make sure that the agency uses print advertising (newspaper/magazines) as well as other promotional material such as brochures. Also check if the agency makes use of the Internet for advertising their listings.

10. Follow Your Instinct

Choose an agent that makes you feel comfortable and whom you trust. You level of comfort and satisfaction will let you know if you’ve met the right agent.

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8 Benefits of Having a Real Estate Website

Whether your old school or on the cutting edge of technology in your dynamic real estate business, everyone needs a website in this day and age. The benefits of having a real estate website are many in number, and the risks of getting left behind without one are very real. So, what exactly are these benefits? Read on for a brief sample.

1- Build a Strong Web Presence

Get found easier and instantly, via Google searches or links on other sites. Have your office’s address, phone numbers, e-mail address, logo, current listings, and specialization displayed at the click of a mouse. Show up in more places, under more categories, and associated with specific strategic keywords. If you combine your real estate website with the rest of a comprehensive marketing campaign, people can find you in so many different ways, your business will be hard to miss!

Make sure to create a listing on Google My Business for local listings, which are area-specific. Yes, you can select who sees you first, depending on where they live.

2- Generate More Leads

This is a no-brainer. Gone are the days of paying thousands of dollars for Yellow Pages ads and highway billboards, hoping enough people will see it and maybe call your office. Do you also want to pay someone just to answer the phone for you full-time, and rely on methods that the average client no longer uses? Your real estate website is like your modern-day “head office”. This should be the first and most important place your potential clients find you, and if you use an online form to collect client info, then the real estate leads are immediate, free, and warm. A website can also serve as the place that you direct clients to your social media, or vice versa, and have the public sign up for your impactful newsletter for regular announcements.

You’ll also now have a thorough database of potential client info for ongoing listings distribution or announcements.

3- Provide More Exposure to Your Properties

The bulk of a real estate website should be dedicated to property descriptions. This is the opportunity to display full-detail descriptions, brilliant digital photography, and 360-degree virtual tours. You can use as much or as little space as you like, provide clickable links, and make it a more interactive experience for the visitor. The listing created on your real estate website can also be shared (for free) via external links to your own social media pages, other real estate websites, community websites, or anywhere else your marketing efforts lead you.

Again, gone are the days of paying for paper advertising in a weekly or monthly magazine with black and white photos, lost among thousands of other listings in the same book. This just isn’t effective anymore, and can even be a waste of money.

4- Tell Them More About You

A real estate website is the perfect place for potential clients can learn more about you as a professional. This is more important in real estate than almost any other service business. Talk about and splash photos displaying awards you have won, events you participate in, community involvement, as well as your personal background and qualifications. When people get to know you this way (as an individual) they get to like you and trust you. This complements your social media and other real estate marketing strategies perfectly.

5- Tell Them About Your Business

Why wait for a local journalist to write an article about you in the paper or local magazine? Want to be known and respected in the local community? Modern technology puts the power back into your hands. Put the information out there yourself, and draw readers in to see it through strategic web techniques.

For no extra cost, you can regularly publish and update details such as the regions you work in, your years of experience, and areas of real estate expertise. Do you have a knowledgeable team? Are you influential in a hot part of town? Do you specialize in condos, revenue properties, or commercial buildings? Put that out there, forever and visible to the entire world. Include high definition photography and videos to reinforce the message, and make a strong first impression they won’t forget.

6- Create a Brand for Your Practice

If you’ve never succeeded in transforming yourself (and your practice) into a brand, or maybe never thought about it, then this is the way. Think about the biggest, most successful, “celebrity” real estate brokers in your area. They are household names, aren’t they? The public is familiar with their names and faces, the same way they know the name of the local grocery store, florist, or school. Top of mind awareness is ultra important in any business.

Think about it. Your picture everywhere, a logo people will remember, a slogan that rolls off the tongue. A properly executed real estate website can begin this process for you, and position you and your agency as the brand of choice in your local market.

7- Use It as Part of Your Listing Presentation

A listing presentation is what an agent shows to the home seller to convince them that he/she is qualified to sell their home. It usually includes stats, a marketing strategy, pricing, relevant experience, and the added value the agent brings to get the job done. If much of this information is already on your website, you save time and effort. Maybe your potential seller already saw a lot of these details and is already impressed by you before even placing the first call.

8- Exchange Information More Easily

No need for potential new clients to call and wait to speak to your receptionist. This small gesture alone can turn off the ultra busy and impatient 25 to 50-year-old shopper, who is used to having questions answered instantaneously these days. No more need to set up an appointment, drive to meet each other, and invest time just for some initial “this is how we work” info. All this can be accomplished with a few brief lines on your real estate website, which people can read within seconds and move onto the next step.

No need for clients to wait for a form to arrive by fax, or stay on the phone during business hours, to fill in their personal info.

This also allows existing and potential clients to provide feedback in an open forum, so you know what they’re looking for. All this can be done 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and not just during your office hours (when potential clients themselves are most busy).

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How to Work Real Estate Internet Leads Without Going Crazy

So you've finally figured out a way to generate real estate leads through the internet?

Congratulations, you're rich!

Except for one tiny little thing, of course: actually closing your leads and generating sales.

Without a solid system, the only thing you'll be generating is a lot of work and heartache. In fact, I would say it's better to avoid online leads all together unless you're willing to invest the time upfront to set up proper systems.

What exactly do I mean by a system? A proper lead follow up system consists of three parts:

1. Customer Service / Follow Up at Internet Speed

Everything is faster on the internet. Think of the last time you shopped for anything online. Were you willing to wait even half an hour for an answer from an online store, or did you just move on until you found the answer immediately?

Online customer service is an entire article in itself, but here are the basics:

  • Make it easy for them to contact you – post your phone # prominently and use an online form – just posting your email address is worthless.
  • Respond within 5 minutes – after 30 minutes you may as well not even bother.
  • ALWAYS provide something of value in every phone call / email / tweet / note on rock thrown through their window, etc. This could be market news, useful links, answers, etc.

2. Use a CRM System (even if it's just an excel sheet).

37 signals, a hugely successful software company has a great saying: make half a product, not a half a ** ed product. The same goes with leads: it's better to work half your leads well, than try to work all your leads and do a half-a ** ed job of it.

To do it right, you'll need to track your leads. For no frills, make an excel sheet with their info, how / why the found you, and what you've sent them so far. Don't forget the most critical part: prioritize your leads (I can't argue with the time-tested "A, B, C" system, but feel free to get creative if you need a little flair in your CRM).

My personal favorite for real estate CRM is Highrise, by the aforementioned 37 signals (just Google "highrise, they're # 1). It's free up to 250 contacts, it's drop dead simple to use, and it plays nicely with your email.

3. Give The People What They Want.

Ask yourself why they contacted you in the first place: what do they want? Figure that out, then create or find those resources and put them all in a folder called "resources" on your computer. For example: buyer's guides, market statistical reports, recent neighborhood sales, advice articles about picking lenders, etc.

That way, every time you email a lead you can either attach something useful, or link to it in your email. It also gives you a great reason to call them, so you can ask permission before sending them an attachment.

In all honesty, there is simply no way to get the same success rates from online leads as you do from referrals and personal connections – that's simply the nature of the beast. Done properly, though, you can generate a solid amount of business without letting online lead follow up take over your life.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go research the pet weight restriction of a condo building for a random lead who just called … hey, I never said it was easy!

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Real Estate Photography Tips For Realtors – Don't Do it Yourself, You'll Lose Your Commission Check

I've done it myself; taken what I thought were great listing pictures and used them for my online MLS listing. My clients thought they were fine and I thought they were just fine, until I started working as a buyer's agent in Seattle a few years back.

I worked with over 40 different buyers a week and everyday I'd hear, "Did you see those listing pictures? There's no way we want to see that house, it's a dump! Does the listing agent know how bad they are?" Obviously, the listing agent did not spend anything on real estate photography.

My buyers would also see some great listing photos and want to get in to see the home that afternoon. We'd step inside and they'd wonder if it was the same home they saw online. They felt cheated because the pictures were nothing like the real home. (but at least the listing agent got buyers walking through the house).

It all came down to the listing pictures they saw online. That's essential marketing for listings! Give buyers a great picture and they'll jump inside the house that day. Give them a "do-it-yourself" picture and they'll move onto the next home. The listing pictures make the difference, especially when you spend a few bucks on professional real estate photography!

Even when the listing pictures were better than the actual house, guess what? It still got the buyers inside! That's your goal as a listing agent; get as many showings as possible. Professional real estate photography makes that happen.

With upwards of 80% + of buyers looking online now, the listing photos are the first thing they're looking at and basing their initial impressions on.

How much money in lost commissions do you think you're missing because you won't spend a couple hundred bucks for professional real estate photography?

If you did spend the well invested marketing dollars on some professional real estate photography …….

  1. You could have more satisfied clients because the home sold faster.
  2. You could have made more cash because you didn't have to drop the sales price when the listing became stale on the market.
  3. You could look like a top producer in the area because of the quicker sales, better looking listings and more satisfied clients. Your overall image is enhanced, big time!

Isn't it funny how such a small aspect of your business can affect the whole thing? Anytime you realize how one issue affects your net profits, that'll make you perk up, right?

Now don't give me the excuse that it's too expensive because it's not. Look at it as a marketing and advertising expense because that's exactly what it is. And real estate photography is one of the best things you can spend your marketing dollars on.

You have a couple options ……..

You could grab a professional in real estate photography in your local area and offer them $ 50- $ 200 to come to your listing and take some fabulous photos. Make sure they're top notch, have all the right equipment and understand the goal of these photos. You don't want to pay for real estate photography that's no better than your own.

Your other option is to go with a company like Vicaso.com who does real estate photography exclusively. Their business is listing photos for real estate agents!

You can schedule your photo shoot on their website, pay about $ 200 or so and get the most captivating listing photos you'll ever see. Even if you have a crack house listed for sale, their real estate photography will make it look like a palace.

I'm telling you; don't skimp on your real estate photography. Look at the cost as an investment. If you spent $ 200 on professional real estate photography and got back another $ 20,000 in commissions that year from faster sales, more clients, and higher listing prices, wouldn't that be worth it? You betcha!

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