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All posts for the month November, 2015

Simmering hot Vancouver and Toronto markets push Canadian home sales higher in 4Q

Published November 30, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

Hot Property Home House for Sale Real Estate Building Sign
Over the course of the past year Toronto home sales gained 3% to 8,620. Vancouver home sales rose by 7.6% in October to 3,748; for a gain of 19% from 1 year ago.

Canada’s home sales figures expanded in November to the 2nd highest levels in 6 years as demand held strong in the persistently hot home markets in Vancouver and Toronto metro areas.

However, the upward momentum wasn’t shared across the provinces. There were a number of markets where sales posted a monthly increase and those where sales fell, about evenly split. Across the country, overall this past year, sales rose 0.1%.

Prices in Vancouver metro were up 15.4% over the year. Greater Toronto was up 10.4%.

Prices for homes nationally as sold in October was $454,867, up 8.2% driven by the Toronto and Vancouver markets.

Aside from the Toronto & Vancouver markets, the average was $338,923, up 2.4% from a year ago.

Bank of Montreal’s chief economist’s have reported that the housing market has split into 3 basic groups: 1) Vancouver and Toronto – hot as an oven baking bread, the Prairie areas sagging along with the decrease in price of oil, and a middle-ground group that includes areas like Montreal and Ottawa. Saskatoon, Regina , Edmonton, Calgary had all posted double-digit sales declines in October and so far in November. Strikingly, Calgary’s home sales decreased 36% per cent from the past year; similarly across much of Alberta & Saskatchewan.

Crude oil prices are currently around $45(US) per barrel after a climb up to about $62(US) a barrel back in June. Over the year, the price of crude has dropped majorly from above $110(US) one year ago.

Canadian buyers are still in the market mostly to buy detached homes; which have been in short supply in Vancouver and Toronto. At the end of October there were 5 1/2 months of national inventory, down from 5 3/4 months in September. The smaller supply and constant demand has ebbed home prices higher; despite the options in term of the availability of condominiums.

This past October saw a greater divergence of Vancouver pricing from the whole rest of the country.

Sales-to-new listings ratio was 58% in October across Canada. A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40-60% implies generally consistent and balanced housing market conditions.

What do you think the future is going to bring for all these markets? We’d love to hear your opinions. Free free to give us a call, even just to say hi, at 1-800-728-6577.

Phone Tips 4 Real-Estate Agents

Published November 23, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

cell_phone_tips_realestateleadsThe [cell/smart] phone… The #1 business tool; in which you can’t survive without. Real Estate certainly is an “on-the-go” career and your smart-phone is your contact database, your map/GPS, your internet connection – and most importantly, your connection to your clients.

How you conduct yourself on the phone has a large influence on your professional image. Agents who have good phone etiquette differentiate themselves from agents who make a bad impression, inadvertently or not. You might be already doing a great job, but everything can be made a bit better with some extra attention, clean-up, and polish.

Here’s are some of the most effective telephone tips to practice, and keep in mind, for Real Estate agents:

Do whatever you can to keep your phone number maximally visible, as possible, to your prospects & clients.

It is impossible to create a 2-way relationship with people who don’t know how to, or find it difficult, to reach you. First, make absolutely sure that your phone # is on every single page of your website, especially in large print on your site’s main page. Just in case you haven’t set it up yet, include it in your email signature. It should be upfront and easy to find on all of your offline marketing materials: on pens, brochures, and postcards.

If your phone starts ringing off the hook, it would be best to have a secretary or virtual secretary ready to handle any call overflow. Another option would be to have two phones, with two contact phone numbers. We have all misplaced or broken our phones at one point or another, and that means lost business during the replacement period.

Whenever possible, answer your phone, especially early morning calls.

Customer/agent relationships can disintegrate if they feel their agent doesn’t answer. Now, we’re pretty sure a few bad apples spoil the whole basket but please, but if you can answer your phone, do it!

No Weird Ringtones

If your client doesn’t like your ring-tone, they will think of it every time they call you. Best to select a classic ringtone, or just an old-fashioned bell, and stick with it.

Put your phone on vibrate mode when in person with a client

Also be careful to not let your phone negatively affect your real life interactions. If you are meeting with a seller client in their home, or performing a home showing with a buyer, it a good practice to be maximally courteous to those around you by putting your phone on vibrate mode; and only checking the message during a break in your conversation with customers, when in person with them.

Re-record any inappropriate outgoing voicemail message or unpleasant hold music

Make sure you have a professional sounding outgoing voice-mail message; not only on your office line but similarly on your cell phone too.

Something as simple as, “Hello, you have reached (your name) with XYZ Brokerage. Please do leave me a message. I will certainly quickly get back to you! ” is a huge improvement over an automated or impersonal – or too personal – message. And if you use hold music, be careful with your selections. Classical or simply instrumental music is a safe bet.

Return calls as soon as you can catch your breath again

Find a quiet spot in a house or outside or in your car and promptly let your caller know that you value your relationship with them. Homebuyers may very well be choosing their agent based on how quickly their calls are answered or messages responded to. Surely, there will always be that one pesky client who shamelessly calls you much more than others, and at any hour too. It is helpful to set accommodating communication expectations, during your first conservation or meeting, should help resolve those types of issues.

Always take an extra breath and never talk over a call

Haste makes waste, even when speaking on a telephone, in fact, especially. For the homeowner, it is the biggest financial decision of their lives. A Real Estate agent’s life is also busy and often stressful. So, although it may be tempting to cut a worrisome or anxious client’s concerns short – it is much better to allow your clients to express themselves fully. Phone calls don’t allow for eye contact, so let them know you have fully listened to them by repeating key points back to them before you answer. By being calm, showing that you understood what they have told you, by repeating summary of their concerns back to them before you address them – will make your client fall in love with you, it will also increase your referral rate!

Ok, if you counted them, there are only 7 listed above. Can you think of 3 more? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

Verbal Bloopers that new agents should never say

Published November 16, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

Surprised shocked woman face with open mouth

With the market in real estate having been back on the rise most everywhere, it is predictable that there are a “lot” of new agents out and about. If you are just trying out your new wings in real estate, this article concerns 4 things you shouldn’t say when you are chatting it up with prospects & clients.

Experienced agents will recognize these as rookie blunders. Maybe you have made similar ones before?

The example statements aren’t necessarily deal breakers. We included ideas on what you should say instead, immediately after you perhaps put your foot in your mouth. (Where did that expression come from anyway?)

A) Do your best not to say: “ I only check my messages during business hours.”

People today expect responsive agents, in today’s always connected world. We take our virtual offices with us, through our smartphones. Sure, you don’t want to be a smartphone slave either, but you must also display to your sellers & buyers that you will be there for them almost anytime, morning/afternoon or evening – or they most likely find an agent that is. Sure after 9pm, best to leave any messages for the morning.

Instead say something like this: How do you prefer to stay in touch? As your agent, I am here to answer all of your questions about your home buying and selling process. The best way to reach me is usually via … between the hours of .., but I stay alert to the needs of my clients always. If I do not respond immediately, you can expect to hear back from me within … # hours. Would this work for you?

B) Do your best not to say: “I don’t have a website. “

Not having an agent website in today’s web wide world is a high flying red-flag for many consumers. Leads don’t want to know more about who you work for, they assume you are working for them. They want to learn more about you, to see if you’re just the right fit to help them with the largest purchase of their lives.

Instead say something like this: Yes, please visit my website at any time to learn more about me. It is mobile-friendly too. You can check out new listings in the area and access the many resources that I have made available, over the years, to my clients including up-to-date neighborhood information plus so much more.

C) Do your best not to say: “I don’t do open houses. “

We all have learned that hard way that open houses don’t usually sell houses; however many sellers will expect you to plan and host at least 1 open house event. It is still a reasonable way to get your name out there and possibly greet and meet potential clients. Be sure to describe to your Sellers all the ways you will market their home, then your sellers will put less importance on open houses showings.

Instead say something like this: Certainly open-houses are one way to market your house. We can plan one if you choose. However, 90+ percent of buyers use the Internet during their searches, so I’ll be sharing your listing with the top real estate websites. I will also create a single-property-website for additional exposure, and that is like a “virtual open house” that will be open to online buyers anytime, anyday. Would you like that?

D.) Do your best not to say: “I will get you this house. “

Remember to under-promise and over-deliver. Are disappointed clients who had their hearts set on a certain house that you promised them are likely to give you a referral? Probably not.

Instead say something like this: I will do everything in my power to help you buy this house that you have fallen in love with. I suggest we start with you making an offer right away! If the offer is not accepted, we can talk about how we will proceed – in the event of a counteroffer. If your offer is accepted, then we will talk about the things that we expect to happen next .

Happy Selling!

35 Ideas for enhanced Agent Marketing

Published November 9, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

RealEstateLeads-ca-MarketingIdeas

 

Despite there being little time in the day beyond helping your clients buy & sell homes, and basically little-or-no-time to be your own advertising agency… but if you can find any extra time to use some of the following marketing tips – then this article might help you boost your career up another another notch or two.

This useful list includes a potpourri of 35 extra lead generation marketing ideas.

 

Blogging Tips

– Online marketing success includes administering a blog full of regularly fresh and compelling content with information that lures in readers. Begin or enhance your real estate blog to attract traffic and cultivate leads. Good headlines, attractive images and appropriate content will help you engage prospects.
– Creating content consistently is a vital part of process, but how do you stay inspired while maintaining your blog? Google topics for what interests you related to your expertise. Chances are what interests you will also interest you clients too, if appropriate.
– Your blog can be a powerful tool for establishing credibility in your market and for attracting clients. Proofread to avoid posting mistakes that might scare prospects away.

Photography Tips

– Select the best photos that will make your listings look great. Rotating photographs for stagnant listings is also a good idea.
– Since your career is mostly a face-to-face business, post the right headshot that is both professional and also personable. Your face is your visual brand! Don’t let a bad photo of you scare clients away before they even meet you. Update your photo as you age, so as to not be seen as casting false impressions. Posing for the right shot can take a couple of hours, but it will go a long way for you.

Listing Marketing Tips

– Create listing descriptions using the right key words to entice clients and quickly sell properties. Use popular keywords in your listing text to appeal to more buyers. Buzzwords like “hardwood floors” and “stainless steel appliances” peak interest.
– Convince seller prospects that you are the superhero real estate agent that will bring in a buyer for their home the fastest and for the highest price. The right preparation and presentation shows prospective clients that you have the skills and are willing to put in the effort to meet their needs.
– Learn how to assist sellers in preparing their home for their best advantage. Wasting your time with a property that is not ready for the market is more than likely a bad idea. Realistically priced properties that show sell the fastest.

Email Marketing Tips

– Looking to get in touch with prospects and referral sources? There are many different kinds of client interactions, but email scripts are a great starting point and can be modified to fit your specific needs. See our other article about email scripts from a couple of months back where we detail this issue.
– Choose subject lines that will be more likely to be opened. An appealing subject line will get more people to actually view your emails, instead of trashing them.
– Create newsletters that build your brand, establish your authority, and help keep yourself on top of the marketing game.

Social Media Marketing Tips

– Social media marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming or too much of a ‘time suck’. Using the power of social media, you can position a listing perfectly to reach interested buyers and prospects. Build yourself up as an authority on any channel by writing a great social media bio. Create a social media profile that resonates with influencers, colleagues, and prospects.
– Facebook is a powerful source for lead generation. Try to make your FB page stand out from the crowd. Facebook ads is a way to get your content in front of the right audience and easily target your market.
– Many agents successfully use Twitter to promote their own content and connect with the community at large. Join in on the fun and learn how to tweet with the best of them. Twitter provides an organic type of platform to potentially reach thousands of clients, with various different advertising options are available.
– LinkedIn still seems to be becoming the top choice for business-minded social media marketing, on track to surpassing Facebook & Twitter in business lead generation.

Telephone Marketing Tips

– Some conversations can be tense. Always keep your cool and impress prospects on the phone. Phone etiquette is a critical part of forging strong business relationships and building a solid client database.
– Texting allows you to most quickly and conveniently communicate with client. Spruce it up with voice between every 3-7 texts. Again, it is important to make sure all your interactions, texts included, are professional and effective.
– Just an email address is all you need to engage a new prospect, and get them to reveal their phone number. If that is all you have about them, work it.

Video Marketing Tips

– Grab the attention of potential prospects with video listings & testimonials. Perhaps learn how to create stunning videos that will attract potential buyers.
– Including videos as part of your social media marketing strategy helps create relationships with potential clients. Share real estate videos on FB using these strategies, or an even wider reach.

Seasonal Marketing Tips

– No matter what your budget or schedule, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to express your gratitude and appreciation to the clients, coworkers, and business colleagues who’ve helped your real estate business thrive. There are plenty of easy and inexpensive options, so why not spread the love?
– Seize the opportunity to refresh and expand your real estate business during the fall by hosting back-to-school events and promotions. Leverage back-to-school marketing to meet new clients and reconnect with referral sources.
– It is always tough to balance holiday cheer with professional staging, keep in mind what is ‘just right.’ as opposed to ‘too much’.

Website Tips

– Did you know that 46% of consumers testify that a bad website is worse than no website? Position your website for success by making sure everyone knows about it. A professional website helps you reach out to prospective clients quickly and easily. Produce a great “About Me” page that gets online prospects to know something about you and trust you before they even meet you. Let your potential clients know that you enjoy working as a Real Estate Agent in your community, and are good at what you do.
– You can showcase a home on its very own single property website to market it; leverage the internet in your marketing efforts for that property.
– Collect as many testimonials from delighted customers and post them on your website and blog.

Prospecting Tips

– Agent income can vary wildly depending a variety of factors, including hours worked per week, location and expenses. Teach clients how much real estate agents really make so they don’t ask you to reduce your commission.
– Be on the lookout to pick up expired listings that other agents couldn’t sell.
– Real estate is certainly a relationship-driven industry. Adding sincere note of gratitude is a powerful way to create a good rapport with prospects and fortify your bonds with past clients and colleagues. Personalized and well-written thank you cards are always a good way to retain clients and open the doors for new business.

Miscellaneous Marketing Tips

– Sometimes, real estate marketing can take turns towards the unusual. Unorthodox marketing can help you stand out from the crowd, but that’s not always a good thing. Avoid marketing banners attached public trashcans for example. Try to associate your image and brand with the finer things in life.
– Of course avoid putting your foot in your mouth when dialoging with prospects. Learn from past mistakes and rephrase conversations with clients in ways that emphasize your professionalism.

8 Methods to Attract more Buyers to your Listings

Published November 2, 2015 by Real Estate Leads

Stately Single FamilyThe goal of every listing is to make ever listing as perfect and as as attractive as possible. It seems that sometimes that even when it all seems just right, it still doesn’t get the attention you anticipated for it?

It could have been the most charming property in the neighborhood, but still the listing didn’t turn up roses as expected. Maybe the property eventually sold for a good price too, but it just never quite received the initial attraction that you thought it would have. Often times it isn’t the property, but it is the listing. Some agents do produce poor looking online listings; making the house look worse than it actually is.

We put together a list of tips to consider for your listings; without additional advertising expenses.

1. Photos are Worth a Thousand Words
As people focus on what catches their eye when browsing listings, professional photos of the property are a must. If you are unable to snap sharp-looking, high-quality pictures, then it is worth it to hire a professional photographer. Maybe pick a day that has a pretty sunset, rainy/dreary days will just take away from the photo. Make sure all the lights are on, to make the place look more lively. If you take these tips, your photos will look amazing in comparison to competitive listings.

2. Focus on Selling Points
The selling points are used to ‘hook-in’ prospects. Focus on highlighting the unique & desirable features and save the typical aspects until later on in the description text.

3. Keeping it Clean & Simple
People like clean & simple. A cluttered house will only scare away buyers. Clean and simple interior photos are much more inviting than busy looking ones; which provoke disturbing feelings.

4. The value of Staging
Staging helps buyers visualize and see how space in the house can be used up. A staged home makes prospects feel more ‘at home’, compared to simple empty rooms.

5. Location details
Highlight the location of the property. Publishing ‘just minutes from the beach’, if it is a half hour drive – is a bad idea. When people look it up on google maps, they will feel deceived and disappointed and will resume their search.

Focus on what the property is actually close to, and point those conveniences out. If the property is in the middle of nowhere, then that is what the selling point should be based on; as for some people, those kind of properties are attractive in their own right.

6. Using the Keywords
Selecting the right keywords for use in your text, especially the title, will boost the chances that the property will be found by the right buyers. Choosing compelling working will trigger imaginations and emotions from prospective buyers. Utilize these words throughout your text, but try to place them more in the beginning to catch their interest early.

7. Honesty is usually the best policy
Do your best to be honest about your listings. Sell it as fast as possible for the highest possible price is the name of the game, but avoid inserting any bogus claims. If the backyard is small, don’t call it huge just because the wide-angle photo you took makes it seem so. If the kitchen is deteriorating, don’t write that it is beautiful.

When you take time out to see a property in person, they are expecting to see what’s described in the listing. If they are shocked, they simply won’t trust your next property recommendation.

8. Spice it Up
Spice up your writing a little but don’t try to overdo it with controversial humor or statements that may offend some people. Stay professional at all times.

If you utilize these tips when applicable, you will see an increase in buyers who are bookmarking your listings, and calling you!